He Pulled Me Out Of the Miry Clay

I had a dream. In the dream I was seated with five or six people in a clinic for AIDS. I remember looking around at the people and then taking a pamphlet from the display on the table beside me. The pamphlet described the classic symptoms of a person who has the HIV virus, which causes AIDS. Symptoms such as weight loss, profuse sweating at night and loss of appetite. When I awoke from the dream I was very scared. It seemed so real to me. At this time, I was working for the state as a correctional officer. I shared my dream with a friend I was carpooling with, who laughingly made a joke of the whole thing. Funny as it may have seemed, deep inside it really bothered me. On June 1st 1991, I began working with a county Law Enforcement agency. As the months unfolded it seemed my problems grew worse. Everyday I thought about old girlfriend and wondered if they had given me AIDS. My bills were piled out of reach and I was a mental wreck. One night while at work, I remember being very cold so I put on a heavy jacket. One of my co-workers walked by and said, “Mmm, Mmm, Mmm Mitchell, I believe you’ve got that thing”.   He was referring to AIDS. I thought to myself, “If he knew how much that hurt me he would have never said it”. It seemed like everywhere I went I either heard about or saw something about AIDS. In less than one month I lost more than twenty pounds.

I wasn’t eating regularly and when I did, I didn’t eat much. Many nights I awoke to find my body drenched in sweat and my bed soaking wet. I was so worried. I had to talk to someone so I talked with my friends who really gave me a lot of support. In fact, one of my friends volunteered to take the HIV test with me, just so I wouldn’t be alone. When I explained to her all the things that had happened to me, both of us cried.

Soon after this I had another dream. I dreamed that it was night and I was walking down a road which runs between the trailers where I live. Ahead of me was a garbage Dumpster and mailboxes. About twenty men were standing in a circle near the garbage Dumpster and each one of them had a machine gun. As I walked to the center of the circle the men began shooting me. I fell to the ground in a puddle of blood but I was still alive because I could still hear shots being fired at me. Suddenly, the shooting ended and I opened my eyes and saw one of the men pointing his gun at me. This thought ran through my mind at that very moment. “If he shoots me one more time, I’m a dead man. Or I have one more chance to live”! I awoke from the dream and was so scared. In the following days I thought about many things, but mainly this; how hopeless one’s life is if you have AIDS.

I met a girl in Lima, Peru about 10 months earlier and fell in love with her. She was beautiful and so different. I loved her accent, her laugh; I loved everything about her. Four months later we were engaged to be married. I never looked at another woman, but I thought in my mind, how could I tell her about my past? How would I explain to her that I might have AIDS? I wanted to kill myself and leave her my insurance policy in an attempt to express how much I cared for her. I was so miserable and unhappy. If only I had never slept with anyone! How could I have been so foolish? My parents never taught me to be this way. In fact, for 21 years they took me to church and taught me the word of God. I knew that I had sinned against God. About one week had passed since I had taken the test for AIDS, and I had another week of waiting before I would learn the results of the test. It was the longest two weeks of my life! A few days passed and after coming home one night; I noticed two messages on my answering machine. The first message was from a good friend of mine whose name is Jenny. Very urgently she said, “Ron, Ron, This is an emergency, you have to call me as soon as possible.” Immediately, I thought of her best friend whom I had dated and in my mind I said, “ Oh my God, she’s got AIDS, and she gave it to me!” I can’t explain how alone and scared I felt.

The next message was from my brother who lives in Virginia. He said “Ronald, I need to talk to you so give me a call.” I could tell by the urgency in his voice, that whatever it was, it was serious. My brother and his wife are Christians and they had been praying for me a long time. Very nervously, I called my friend Jenny who said, “ Ron, the other night I was at a party and an older woman slapped me. What should I do?” I let out an enormous sigh of relief and said, “ Is that it.” Although, she had no idea what I was going through, I was so relieved. She knew that I worked in Law Enforcement and she merely needed some legal advice, so I explained to her what to do.

Next, I called my brother in Virginia. When he answered the phone I nearly lost my breath. He said, “Well, Ronald I called because of this. The other night Renee (His wife) and I both had a dream, and the dreams were so serious that God impressed us to pray about them. He said, I dreamed about you’re twin brother Donald. I dreamed that he was walking down a road, which ran between two rolls of trailers. He walked into a circle of people who stood near a garbage dumpster. They began to beat him and wouldn’t stop. They beat him to death and took his body and threw it in the garbage dumpster”. I listened in almost total shock. The similarities between the dream that I had and this one were amazing. Furthermore, neither my brother nor his wife had ever been to my house in Okeechobee, Florida. I was so scared. My brother said, “Donald has gotten discouraged and stopped going to church. He said that he just couldn’t bear the pressure anymore, so, him being beaten to death in the dream must represent him spiritually dying. He really needs prayer. I was so frightened, I could barely talk but I agreed with him. Then he said, “Okay, I’ll tell you about my wife’s dream. She dreamed that you called us and you were upset and crying. You told her that no one loved you or cared about you and that no one would keep you because you had that thing”. When he said that, I knew what it means in the bible when it says, “They were sore afraid”, Because I was! I could not feel my head it was so numb. I could hardly talk but I ask my brother to pray for me and I hung up the phone. I thought to myself  “I’m going to die”. I walked outside. It was cold, clouded and windy. Everything looked and felt so depressing and hopeless. That night I called a friend and ask if I could join he and his wife in Sunday school the next morning. He said sure, lets all meet at my house and ride together.

Sunday morning we all arrived in Sunday school and I had never been so glad to be in church in all my life! I wanted God to help me; He was my only hope. The best doctor in the world couldn’t help me. All the money in the world couldn’t help me. As close as my friends were, none of them could do anything for me. Eagerly, I sat in my seat as tears collected in my eyes. I heard the pastor say these words, “Make sure you bring your swimming trunks and go swimming, it’ll be right after the service is dismissed”. I said in my heart, “God, here I am, I’m dying and I’ve come here for help and this man is talking about going swimming”. And God spoke right back to my heart and said, “I never told you to come here, I told you to go to the little store front church by your house”.  And I said, “Why”? And God said, “When you see them pray, tears run down their faces because their prayer comes from the heart and they preach my word”. On our way back home I heard my friend say, “That service was dead”.

I had never felt so lonely and afraid in my life. That night I visited my best friend to watch some TV before going to work that night. For about two hours I sat and hardly said a word. Finally, I stood up and said, “It’s time for me to go home and get ready for work”. My friend said, “Are you okay”. I said, “yeah, I’ll be alright”.  I went home and put on my uniform and gun belt. As I drove down the road, I approached the intersection to make my turn but I couldn’t go any farther. I turned my car around and drove straight to that little storefront church. I stood at the front door gazing through a small opening in the curtain, which hang on the door. I could see everyone standing with his or her heads bowed. I heard the preacher say, “Gods calling someone, someone needs to come and pray”.  It was an altar call. I glanced down at my watch and noticed that I was late for work. I thought about the written reprimands I had received before for being late for work. All due to the mounting pressure I was experiencing in trying to cope with this whole ordeal. But I just couldn’t leave. I looked inside the church as the preacher continued his plea, begging for someone to come and pray. He kept saying, “God is calling someone to come and pray”. Looking at the people I thought, “Someone needs to come and pray”. God spoke to me and said, “It’s you”. I said in my heart, “God, I’m already late for work and I’m going to get fired if I’m late again. What can I do?” God spoke to my heart and said this, “Go to the pay phone and call your friend collect. Give him your work number and have him call them and tell them that you’re in trouble and you will be about an hour late”. I looked around and right there beside the church was a pay phone. I walked over to the phone and reaching into my pocket, I realized that I didn’t have a penny, I had to call collect. I gave my work phone number to my friend and ask him to call and tell them that I was in trouble and that I would be about an hour late. He said, “Okay, I’ll do it but what kind of trouble are you in?” I said, “I’ll explain it tomorrow”.

I walked back to the front door of the church and listened. I heard the preacher say, “You don’t have the promise of tomorrow”.  I thought to myself, “What if I reject this opportunity to be saved and get killed in a car accident on my way to work. I know that I’m not ready! I opened the door and made my way to one of three available seats on the front row. Every head was bowed. I looked up at the preacher and as his bowed head turned upward our eyes met. He pointed his finger right at me and said, “You’re the man that God is calling”. Using his finger he summoned me up to the altar. My eyes burst into a flood of tears as I confessed and repented of my sins and ask Jesus to forgive me and come into my heart. I cried uncontrollably as I felt a peace that passes understanding fill my soul. My misery turned to joy as Gods Spirit broke the heavy chains that burdened my heart. Instantly, I knew that I was fine. I knew that I was born again and I knew that I didn’t have AIDS!

The first thing I did when I got home was phone my brother in Virginia. Before I could tell him the good news he said, “You got saved didn’t you” I said, “Yes, but how did you know?” He said, “We went to church last night and I stood in the prayer line for you. God spoke to the pastors heart and he told me that everything would be alright, you didn’t have what you thought you had”. A few days later I walked into the clinic to receive the results for my HIV test and before the nurse could speak I said, “There’s nothing wrong with me, I’m fine”. She looked at the results and said, “You’re right, it’s negative”. God used the thing that I loved the most to bring me to repentance…My Life!