As my sister Jacquita and my wife Alicia can probably attest, out of all the blogs I’ve written so far, I took the time to especially print this particular one, as this one is not only my personal favorite, but because it has so much meaning to our family and to our faith in Christ. This blog has ministered to thousands around the world, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to let it minister to many more!
“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for ALL to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
One thing I have always appreciated about my walk with Jesus is the way He dealt with people: when He was with His close friends, He shared with them intimate details about Himself, and about the Kingdom of God, even though they didn’t always understand. To the crowds, however, he always told stories to express a point. Following His example, I want to tell you a story about my late uncle, Robert “Rock” Young, and the prayer he wrote that still reaches people around the world today.
My Uncle Robert graduated high school at the age of 16, and soon after enlisted in the U.S. Army to go fight in Vietnam. He lied about his age to enlist, and by the time the Army found out the truth, he was already a sergeant in the Army at the age of 18. He was highly decorated for combat, including being awarded the Purple Heart for being injured in the line of combat. But as everyone knows, Vietnam took its toll on its combatants, and my uncle was no exception; by the time he was Honorably Discharged in 1972, he was already hooked on marijuana and heroin, demons that would plague him for the rest of his life.
He worked in the daytime as a gifted aircraft mechanic, especially working on small aircraft and helicopters. But at night, his other “hustle” was on: dealing and using drugs, and pimping women. Needless to say, he was arrested on several occasions, and spent quite a bit of time in prison. He had one daughter, but never married her mother due to the fear in his mind that if one of his rivals were out to kill him, they would kill his fiancee’ and daughter too, so he did not marry her for her protection. The woman he did marry ended up going to jail with him on drug charges. When he did get out of prison for the last time, he started to go back to church on occasion, but never really on a regular basis, stating (to my mother and grandmother’s displeasure, but it WAS the truth,) that there were more hustlers, whores, and crooks inside the four walls of the church pretending to be saved and godly, but he knew the truth about them. He decided he really did not want to play with the Lord like that…
During the last couple of years of his life, he and I became rather close, seeing as how I was finally grown and could understand a lot of what he was going through, and he and I were at one time both living with my grandmother in her house. Even though he knew I didn’t approve of some of the things he was doing, (my mom and I really felt he was putting my grandmother in jeopardy,) he and I looked out for each other, more like brothers than uncle and nephew. He was one of my biggest supporters when I finally stopped running from my call to preach the Gospel and began in May of 1993. He and I talked about it at length, and the last Sunday in October, 1993, I preached my second sermon in our home church, at which service he attended. Neither of us knew it at that time, but it would be the first and last time he would ever hear me preach… The title of my message that day was “There is Hope for the Lost Generation,” and it was based on the parable of the prodigal son in Luke. My message was, no matter how far down the road you think you’ve traveled, there was no distance too great for God not to make it up if you but turned around, said “I’m sorry” to Him, and accept His love and forgiveness. If this present generation were to do that, there was indeed hope for a “lost generation”. Uncle Robert came down and hugged me and told me he enjoyed the message, and we walked home together following the service, but I had no idea that to this day, that message would be the most impactful I’ve ever preached…
My uncle Robert died on February 1, 1994, his body finally giving up its fight to recover from all the drug abuse. He was only 44. Because of his previous lifestyle there were questions as to whether or not he had everything right with God. And then, we found the letter… It was handwritten by him, and it answered beyond the shadow of a doubt all of our questions. It ministered to all of us so much, we used it as a key part of his obituary, which we still use today to bring others into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. When I read it in his handwriting, I broke down and cried because I realized that it was directly after I had preached my message that he had written it, and it was the last time he attended church services there. As you read it, it is my sincere prayer and hope that YOU will take a good look at your life, and if it’s not what you were hoping it would be, today is YOUR chance to say “I’m sorry, God, I messed up, and I want to be right with you. Please forgive me…” Jesus invites you, I invite you, and “Rock” from Heaven invites you to come and make peace with God.
My Personal Prayer and Confession of My Sins
I ask of you this day (10/29/93) to please hear my prayer, listen to my heart cry to you for help. I confess my sins to you one by one and beg for your forgiveness.
Lord, I’ve cursed other people for their shortcomings, I ask forgiveness.
Lord, I’ve hustled for “things” and women, I’ve committed adultery.
Lord, I’ve not been working in my belief that Jesus died to forgive us of our sins.
Lord, I’ve not taken care of your temple within my body.
Lord, I’ve backslided and become weak.
Lord, my mind has become confused, my will power gone. I need you Lord, and ask for your forgiveness this day.
Please, Lord, help me grow stronger to You. I know You never left me.
Please heal my sickly body, mind, and soul. Feel the voidness I feel with Your love.
Jesus, Jesus, help me to turn around my life today. Guide me, protect me, show me the right things to do. Give me the strength to fight off evil, and knowledge to know the courage and the will power to avoid things that aren’t good. Bless my family, my church people, the people who care for You and me. Help me to be understood, loved, and respected, to find the right mate in life so I won’t be lonely, to be successful and helpful.
Thank You, Jesus, for everything You’ve done.
Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life.
(In memory of Robert Oree “Rock” Young: June 26, 1949 – February 1, 1994)