As a young boy, my mind was quick, my comprehension high, my memory sharp. Teachers told my mother that I was a gifted child with lots of potential. But the gift of a good mind was quickly squandered and abused.
In the fifth grade my friends and I began taking Valium in the restrooms during recess. In the sixth grade we were smoking marijuana almost every day after school. By the seventh grade we were snorting cocaine and experimenting with LSD. The days at school were made up mainly of drug deals and party plans. Soon I could barely remember my own address, and reading became hard labor.
The sobering question occasionally crossed my mind. “What am I doing to myself?” I became dissatisfied with the emptiness of my life. It was a glorious day when I embraced the reality of God’s existence and the precious realization that this God is infinitely good and loving, even toward me.
Through a remarkable series of providences, the Lord led me to become a Seventh-day Adventist Christian at the age of 18. Then it hit me with full force: I had been destroying myself all those years. As I tried to read, to remember, and comprehend the great truths of Scripture, it became painfully evident that I had injured the delicate machinery God had given me. Feelings of shame and despair almost took me down. But somehow, no doubt by God’s tender mercy, my hunger for truth prevailed. At an evangelistic meeting I learned the principles of stewardship: Return one tenth of your income to the Lord, and He will open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing beyond what you will have room to receive.
Perhaps the Lord might do the same with my mind. I decided I would give one tenth of each 24-hour period (about two and a half hours) to the study of God’s Word. Of course this was not a requirement of God, and some may think it extreme, but I needed something dramatic to pull me out of my crisis and restore my brain to normal function.
At first it was difficult to force my mind to focus. For almost a year most of what I read seemed piled up as only a confusing mass of puzzle pieces in my mind. But by God’s grace I persisted with the plan, hoping that it would eventually get easier. And slowly biblical truth started to take shape. The puzzle began to look like a single picture. Soon I found it easy to repeat from memory numerous Bible verses and some whole chapters. More important, I realized with deep gratitude that I was becoming personally acquainted with God’s beautiful character.
It’s been 16 years now since my restoration. I can detect no aftermath from my previous ruin. God has truly opened the storehouse of heaven and blessed me abundantly above all I could ask or think.
“I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten” (Joel 2:25).
By Ty Gibson
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