We all make decisions that bring us to places where we ask ourselves, “How did I get here?”.
I’ve heard a lot of people say that they’ve seen their life flash before their eyes. I can say for a fact, laying in the backseat of my friends car that night in 2004, I saw a short, poorly lived one that I would have to fight for.
2004 Missoula, Montana:
I was lost, stuck in the drug world both as a user and dealer. I had a close friend whose father had just recently passed away in Chicago. I wanted to support this guy who had been like a brother to me, so I agreed to do the long trip with him for the funeral. After getting everything ready and making sure the car would sustain the long drive. I set off with him and one other guy I didn’t know very well, but who needed a ride to where we were going.
I remember saying goodbye to my family and seeing the worry on my mother’s face as she asked me not to go, I ignored this and said, “Everything is going to be fine”.
“Fine” was short-lived as my friend was driving recklessly and I began to feel a sense of panic, like something bad was about to happen. As the anxiety grew in my chest, my head began to pound. I asked if either of them had any pain killers for me, the guy I didn’t really know said he did and offered me about three pills which I took willingly. In the dark I couldn’t see very well, but they seemed safe so I took them. Shortly after taking the pills, I slipped into unconsciousness.
I woke up around an hour later, by what I believe to have been the Lord waking me up. I heard my friend and the other guy in the front seat talking. What I heard seemed unreal. They were plotting how they would kill me and dispose of my body. I laid in the backseat as quietly and still as I could.
Inside though, I was praying, but the only prayers I knew (growing up catholic) was “Hail Mary” and “Our Father”. Ironically no one would have known by how well I prayed those prayers, that I would someday get myself into this situation, and how I was going to get out of it.
I felt the car stop and realized we were at a rest stop somewhere in the middle of Wyoming. The guy I didn’t know very well went inside, and I saw my opportunity to confront my friend.
“How can you do this to me? We were like brothers - How could you betray me like this?”
As I tried to understand and plead for my life, the only reply he offered was, “Don’t make this harder than it has to be”.
I knew then that there was no changing his mind, in a second of courage I lunged forward and punched him, and ran out of the car dressed only socks, jeans and basketball jersey into to the cold winter night still groggy from the pills.
I ran with all my strength straight into what I could tell was a field, and just kept going until I saw the headlights of the car following me into the field. With another burst of energy I ran into the dark, straight into a barbed wire fence that trapped me. I knew I’d be dead if I didn’t get free from the fence, I ripped myself free tearing cloth and skin and then fell into a ditch. I climbed up the embankment covered in blood, mud, half frozen from the water, and saw the headlights stop. I just laid there hoping they wouldn’t see me, and once again I slipped into dark unconsciousness.
I woke up the next morning with the sun shining on my face, it was the brightest and most perfect sunlight I had ever experienced. With difficulty, I crawled up to level ground. There were packets of drugs that seemed to have been thrown around me to make it look like whoever was to find me that I had overdosed and fallen dead.
Filled with anger, I made it back to the rest stop. Bloody, muddy, half frozen in my ripped clothes - I looking like a zombie. I was able to call for help from a pay phone, but before the ambulance arrived, I had again passed out. This time I woke up in a hospital bed, I was safe, the blood tests taken revealed that along-side the drugs I had taken willingly before all of this, I had been heavily drugged and should not have woken up when I did. In addition to the the drugs, I had hypothermia I shouldn’t have survived the three-hour trip to the hospital. This was only one of the many miracles God performed.
I reported everything to the police, but made a point of not revealing any names. I wanted my revenge and didn’t want law enforcement to get in my way. With a stitched-up stomach and nothing but a hospital dressing gown on, I ran from the hospital furious with what had happened. Once again I saw God’s intervention in the form of a man who offered to help me. He took me to a Super8 motel and helped me get settled in. I was then able to contact my family and let them know what had happened and that I was fine.
My grandmother called a local church that showed up at my door with dinner, clothes and a Greyhound bus-ticket home. The pastor prayed for me and spoke to me the whole way to the bus station about God, about where my life would be headed if I didn’t commit my life to him. I got on that bus ride home with a full mind, not full of God but full of vengeful thoughts.
I healed physically, but did I take the opportunity to turn to God? NO! Instead, I harbored thoughts of revenge and my justice. I leaned that my “friend” and the other guy had made it to Chicago and when asked where I was told everyone there had been an accident, and that I had run off and overdosed somewhere in Wyoming. I grew even angrier because of this.
Time passed…and eventually we both got caught by authorities on others charges, and sent to the same jail. I wrote my “friend” a letter that said I had “forgiven” him and gotten over the idea of revenge, but I wanted nothing to do with him. I didn’t want to hear anything from him. What had happened ruined a brotherhood that could never be restored. I slipped him the letter and never looked back.
Roughly eleven years after this incident I found myself married and on a journey of getting to know God alongside the woman I loved. We walked into church that morning and sat down like any other Sunday. I felt a hand on my shoulder, as I turned around to see who it was, I can honestly say it was the last person I expected. I found myself looking at the friend that had caused so much pain, the one I’d “forgiven” and wanted nothing to do with. He pleaded for my forgiveness. “I’ve found Jesus, I’ve found grace and redemption.” “What I did was wrong.” “Can we make things right?”
In that moment the greatest miracle of all happened: True forgiveness.
We hugged and cried together as God did what he does best, He restored us right there. I can’t say we’ve had a perfect or as close of a relationship as before, but we certainly have a better one in the sense of what came out of it. By the grace of God, we have been able to speak and share our testimonies to countless others.
I was able to start the H.E.L.P. Fest (Healing Every Living Person) and because God is so good and awesome, my friend and I were able to speak at this festival and see restoration and salvation all through and for Jesus Christ.
If you remember nothing else from my story, I pray the you remember this... Never lose hope and faith, even in the darkest times a pinch of hope and faith can get you through.
My name is Brandon Brown and this is one of my miracle stories.
I remember that time so well. Horrible. From the ambulance you sounded like you were going to die.I was just leaving for Catholic Mass that Sunday morning when the ambulance driver called.I thank God he kept you alive and he sent you that catholic priest to help you . Praise God. My I hate drugs and how it has ruined my family
I am so proud of the fruit and character I see flowing out of you because of the Fathers love!!!