Crime, Drugs, and Discovering God’s Love – Kirovograd, Ukraine
Apr 26, 2018 2681
Before I came to Poltava to get treatment, I had feelings of resentment towards God. I believed he hadn’t listened to my requests. Many times I had asked him to give me financial wellbeing, saying if he did I would stop stealing and taking drugs, but he did not answer. However, now, looking back at my life, I realise it wasn’t like that at all.
When I was six, my grandmother died and it impacted my mother deeply. She lamented for days, asking God “Why?” Almost immediately after this we found out that my mother had metastases. The doctors said she had only 3 – 6 month left to live. We travelled around looking for all possible healers. We went by car with all the family. I remember that everywhere I went I was asked to pray. I was little and everybody said that God answers children’s prayers better. Sure enough, the disease went away. Later, when I was twelve, there was a similar situation, only with heart disease. Again, my mother was healed through prayer.
We began attending church and became very religious. However, I did not like the obligations religion came with. I was unable to play football, which was on Sundays, because I had to go to church. At church, I assisted the priest and learned that I could take some money from the tray where people put their offerings.
When I became a teenager I decided that the things my parents had taught me did not fit in with reality. They had taught me it is bad to tell lies, but I realised that you could raise your profile if you did. My parents had taught me that smoking is bad for you, but I discovered that you are treated like a grown-up if you smoke. I decided to learn from the “street”. I started stealing and taking drugs.
All the pupils in my class were excellent students, and it was impossible for me to stand out from the others by being good, so I made up my mind to stand out by bad behavior. By this point I had absolutely forgotten about God.
After school, I got a financial education in Kyiv. But when I came back home after finishing my studies, I decided to sell drugs. I became engaged in other criminal activity as well.
The Bible meetings have given me back faith in God’s love for me
Paying off bandits and militiamen was a usual thing for me. But then a new chief of militia was appointed and I noticed the militiamen watching us. I became afraid, realising that if we did not stop selling drugs that either death or prison was awaiting us. Therefore, I decided that it was time for me to go and seek treatment. As it turned out, things went exactly the way I had suspected they would. As soon as I came to the rehab centre, many of my friends were imprisoned. The hearing of the case is being held now, and I pray for it.
Still, it wasn’t just my fear that made me decide to seek treatment. I suffered from feelings of meaninglessness in life. Day after day, everything was the same – it was absurd, full of criminal activity, and it did not give me any joy.
However, as I have already said, I had feelings of resentment towards God. I thought he had not blessed me enough and had turned away from me. That is why at first I deliberately didn’t attend the Bible meetings held by a GNU pastor. Then I changed my mind and decided to go there in order to argue and disagree with what the pastor said.
But everything went differently to how I planned. At the Bible meetings there was an openhearted talk, and there was no accusation or moralising. It made me laugh that I previously called myself a believer having never read the Bible. We talked about that at our first meeting.
The Bible meetings have given me back faith in God’s love for me. I became interested again in getting to know him.
At the meetings, I like the discussions, which have changed many things in my life. We talked about Satan making people think that it is boring to live life with God. The pastor asked, “Do you think it is boring to be with God?” and I remembered how meaningless life was without him. Another question we looked at was: “Who stands to profit from my not loving God?” Only Satan does.
After that, I was invited to take part in a 40-day prayer marathon. I began praying and attending church. I liked the relationships between the people in the church, and wanted to be like them.
I have been sober for 6 months so far. I have repaired ties with my mother, and with God. I understand that previously I concentrated only on material things. Now my day starts with a prayer. I am in an active spiritual search. I already cannot imagine my life without God. My resentment towards him has gone away and I feel only thankfulness. Most of all, I am thankful to God that I am alive and free.
– Yurii (Edited by Ella Rodionoff)