Back from the brink
After nearly putting a gun to his head twice, Joe discovered a forgiveness that takes away all guilt
“There is no better feeling in the world than being forgiven,” Joe Wilson says
Starting his first job as an apprentice mechanic, Joe Wilson immediately found the work stressful. The stress came because he was expected to work as though he was an experienced mechanic.
“I was under so much pressure and stress my hands were shaky,” Joe states.
Working six days a week, Joe was upset when his hours were changed to working Sundays, cutting him off from his regular church attendance.
Within six months, Joe admits that he “began to sink” as he took his eyes off the God he had known since childhood.
“I soon started using the same language as the other guys. I was swearing like a sailor. I also started looking at pornographic magazines that they kept in the restroom.”
At age 14, Joe recalls trusting in Jesus as his Saviour, and, initially, “everything was great. But I got teased in school because I would carry my Bible with me and read it in class. That hurt a lot but I kept it bottled up.”
The hurts compounded further when he learned that his last remaining grandfather only had six months to live, and he felt guilty that he had not expressed his love for him before he died.
Not long after this, Joe was fired from his job, which hurt him greatly, but again kept this to himself. He did the same thing when his heart was broken by two different girls.
“I prayed to God but never got anything. After a while I hated Him. Then I refused to believe He existed,” Joe says.
“I had so much bottled up inside that my hands were very shaky. The shaking became so bad that I couldn’t even hold a glass of water without spilling it. I was crumbling under all this pressure and stress and hurt.”
At breaking point, one night Joe told myself “I can’t take this anymore”, then reached into his dresser drawer and pulled out a pistol.
“I sat there and stared at it for what seemed like hours. Then it was like something came over me and I just put it away. At that time I didn’t know what it was. I know now that it was the loving merciful hand of God.”
Joe met another girl in December 2005. “We fell in love the first second we laid eyes on each other.”
During a Christmas Day church service, Joe watched his girlfriend say a prayer to God and, mistakenly believing she knew Jesus, asked her to marry him.
Joe sadly recalls that a few days later she was back to her old self and swearing really bad again. “That hurt a lot. I felt let down by her and God.”
Then Joe admits he made another mistake in sleeping with his fiancée.
“She was my first. I thought ‘Well, what would it hurt, we are getting married anyway.’ I regret what I did every day. She treated me like dirt. She would get mad over nothing and start swearing at me. If she had a bad day or was mad at someone she took it out on me.”
At this time Joe started going to church again to get his life sorted out, but things got worse and he split up with his fiancée on February 19, 2006.
Feeling extremely hurt, Joe went and bought another pistol.
“The sole purpose was to take my life,” he says, “But I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t even go as far as I did before. I knew God loved me and had a plan for me so I put it under my bed.
“I collapsed on my floor and wept and cried out to the Lord Jesus Christ for forgiveness and felt a warm presence over my whole body.”
A month after breaking up with his fiancée, Joe spoke at church for the first time. As he spoke about his trust in the wonderful love and forgiveness of Jesus, Joe says God changed him.
“As soon as I finished speaking, I felt that all the hurt and sorrow was gone.
“With God in my life and heart I found a peace and happiness that I never knew. It’s an amazing feeling knowing that when I lay down at night, if I never wake up, I have a better place to go.
“Without God life is miserable. There may be times when you are happy but inside there is emptiness that you can’t fill. I want to tell you the missing piece is Jesus Christ and all you have to do is tell Him you’re sorry for your sins (your rebellion against His commands) and ask Him into your heart and life. Believe me there is no better feeling in the world than being forgiven.”