DON'T HATE GOD ANYMORE
(The John Miller Story)
Just before my youngest sister, Seri was born, a terrible tragedy struck my family. Our kin was stealing whiskey from our father's stock. From what I understand, there were several family members killing each other. All I can remember is hiding in my bedroom while all the shooting was going on outside. Then I heard someone coming through the back door next to my bedroom. When I looked out, I saw my brother, James, coming down the hall. My sister Ruby, shot and killed him and my next oldest brother Sammie, shot my sister Ruby, badly wounding her. Our family was broken up then.
I am a 53-year-old male. Born the first day of April, 1949. I was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi, to John Henry and Sarah Almedy Miller. I had four older brothers, one older sister, and five younger sisters. All my brothers and. sisters were born about one year apart.
My mother, who was a good woman and a God-fearing person, always tried to do the right thing with regards to all others, and she always took good care of all her children.
I do not remember my father too much, just what I was told about him. I was told that he was a drunk whiskey-making bootlegger, and a horrible person. He worked as an Operator and a Woodsman, Lumberjack.
After the tragic shooting incident in my family...those that weren't killed or carried to jail...the rest left the state. My mother moved from Mississippi to Arkansas with my five younger sisters, my brother (who was one year older than me), and myself. We relocated in a little town in Dyess, Arkansas. We lived on a farm that raised cotton, soybeans, corn, and hay.
The next couple of years were not a pleasant time. My mother was left with seven small kids, no money, no husband, and no relatives to help. She was too old to work the farm steadily. Things were getting worse by the day, but there was always alot of love and kindness for our family.
We would walk three or four miles to a little church to pray and thank God. I can remember my mother praying to God and thanking him for all our circumstances. She prayed for other people's sicknesses and any other problems that they were having in their lives. I confess that I did not understand why we thanked God for us being poor. All I could think about was how I felt, and all of my wants.
After awhile, my mother had no choice, but to take me and my brother out of school to work in the fields with her. We had to work for other farmers, and we lost everything we had. My brother and I were too small to work alone so we worked together as one. We both worked ten hours a day for $2.50. My mother, brother, and I worked thirty hours a day, combined time, for $5.00. Times were very hard, for a woman with seven children in the late fifties and sixties.
We were not the only family that was poor. There were other families with sick and elderly people. Thank God that my family was in good health. I hadn't thought much about our way of life until after a few years.
I hadn't thought much about our way of life until after a few years. I then began to notice that some people were driving new, shiny cars, and lived in nice big houses with family living in other states coming to visit them. I wondered if I had family living in other states, and if so, why didn't they come to visit us? Where was my daddy? Why didn't he come home? I asked my mother about my father, and if we had any other family. That is when I found out my daddy was a drunkard, and he had been one for a number of years. His family wouldn't have anything to do with him or us.
My mother did have one sister, Aunt May. I went to visit her once. She was a widow woman, with a mean attitude toward me. I thought to myself that same day that if I was ever married and had kids, they would never have to live like me. I rejected everybody, and hated everybody, including myself.
For the next couple of years, I drank alcohol and frequently assaulted people. I blamed everybody else for my problems. I had no friends, and didn't want any. I was told that I was just like my daddy. Part of me didn't like the way I was living my life, but I accepted being mean to others because it was the one thing I was good at.
I got married in 1964 to Mary Steward from Oklahoma. She was part Native American (Indian), and part Spanish. We had five boys and one girl together. I worked for Ford Motor Company and made good money. I was quite happy with my family. I quit drinking, and stayed out of trouble for about 25 years. My wife worked as a teenage counselor, and she was a good mother. Our kids were never much trouble to us.
Our oldest son met a girl, got married, and moved to Holland, MI where they had three children, two girls and a boy. In 1993, my oldest son got sick. By the end of 1993, all five of our sons were sick. By 1994, all five sons died. I didn't know what to do. My life went to hell in less than one year. We lost everything paying hospital bills. I was drinking everyday, and I blamed God for the death of our sons.
When my wife started preaching to me about God, I got mad and ran her and my daughter off. I told them that they could just go live with their God. I told her she was the reason for our kids' deaths. I didn't want anything to do with her or God, and told her to just leave me alone. I regretted doing that as soon as I said it, but I was to tied up in my own self-pity and anger - not accepting responsibility for my actions nor making wise choices, and not realizing I was taking the bait of Satan. All I wanted to do was drink and use drugs to escape the pain. That is all I did everyday and every night for over a year. Then I started selling drugs and stealing cars to finance my alcohol and drug habit. I used up all the money I could borrow or steal from people.
Finally I started getting into trouble with the law - wondering why it took them so long to catch me. I was in and out of jail for my alcohol, drug, and criminal assaultive behavior. I was out of jail on bond for an assault charge, but I knew that I was going to see prison time before I even went to court. I already made three years probation from a prior conviction of assaultive behavior. I had given up all hope, and continued to blame God, along with everybody else for my troubles. I continued using alcohol, drugs, and committing criminal assaultive behavior.
I landed back in prison a short time later. I continued my assaultive behavior in prison by assaulting other prisoners and staff. When the prison Psychologist came to talk to me, I assaulted him. After a year, he came back to talk to me again, and told me that we had something in common. He had lost his daughter. He told me about some of his personal problems and asked if I believed in God. Then he asked if I would talk to him about some of my problems. After I opened up and talked to him, he told me that he could help me if I would let him. He said that I was living in the past, and needed to accept responsibility for my actions. If I didn't change, I would be in prison for the rest of my life. Or worse yet, I wou1d be killed.
That was my wake up call. That same day, April 28th, 1997, I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. I prayed to God asking forgiveness for so many things...especially asking Him forgiveness for my hating Him so much for so long...and thanked him for all that He had done for me for dying for my sins - so I wouldn't be judged for them on the Judgment Day.
I adapted a common saying after that: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."
I began living one day at a time. I began to accept hardship as a means God uses to conform Christian believers into the likeness of Jesus Christ, strange as that sounds to our natural minds. Enduring hardships without allowing bitterness and anger to rise up in us will reap eternal rewards. To the glory of God...I have not had one ticket or been in trouble here in prison since that day I turned my life over to Jesus. I know it's the Holy Spirit who has given me the ability to change.
By God's help, and for His glory, I will keep working on my behavior for the rest of my life. I am so thankful for the spiritual awakening God brought about in my life. I came to Him out of bitter and angry darkness. I suppose some would think I had every reason to hate Him, and keep hating Him, but you know what? If I would have continued to hate Him...how would I ever be able to make peace with Him? It is a very sad thing to be so angry at God that you fail to realize there can be no peace with Him - holding onto your anger and unforgiveness towards Him. I was holding onto unforgiveness towards Him at an early age and didn't even realize it. People who do that are only hurting themselves, (and sadly, usually those closest to them), I have come to realize.
I've also come to realize that Satan and sin had a lot to do with the killing of my family members as well. Some people die by Satan's hand - not God's. The mystery of why Satan is allowed to kill innocent people at times will not be made aware to us until we reach heaven. Until Jesus returns and eliminates evil on this planet, Satan is going to be taking the lives of many innocent people. I've come to realize my mother was a very wise person for giving thanks to God in all circumstances (Please read: 2 Thessalonians 5:18). It was wisdom's way of keeping peace with the Lord, rather than letting the devil use anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness as a deadly barrier of separation between God and herself.
I want to thank God for Michigan's Macomb Correctional Facility's R.S.A.T. program (Residential Substance Abuse Treatment), and also the I.O.P program. These programs offer many opportunities. In attending them, I have learned facts about drug use and criminal behavior, why a person acts the way they do, and how to change from using my behavior that may harm me and others, to one that will benefit me and others.
While here in prison, I've also worked diligently to develop skills that will help me enhance social relationships, including how to be a better father, friend, and partner. I also have developed problem solving skills, and realistic personal goals, along with strategies for achieving my goals. I have learned to feel good about myself, and take pride in who I am instead of hating myself...and I owe it all to God who saved me from self-destructing
I've come to realize that innocent people die everyday. Those who loved them will be tempted to blame and hate God for allowing them to die, or be crippled. Every person who takes the path of blaming and hating God will be worse off for it. Those who take the path of refusing to hate and be bitter at God or others will pass the supreme test many people will be faced to pass or fail in their lifetime...and will receive mercy and grace from God and eventually eternal rewards they would never have received otherwise.
None of us are promised tomorrow. God doesn't owe us tomorrow. God doesn't owe us today. God gives each of us the power to hate Him and be angry and bitter at Him and others...or He gives us the power to forgive Him and others when we're tempted to enter into that hate, anger and bitterness. Wisdom takes the path of peace with God. Self-destruction takes the other path.
PLEASE HELP SHARE THE BEST NEWS GOD HAS FOR EVERY PERSON!
"And this gospel of the
died for sinners] shall be preached in all the world for a witness
unto all nations; and then shall the end come."
(Quote from Jesus Himself: Matthew 24:14).
Consider how many children in "all the nations" have never heard YET what Jesus accomplished for THEM at the cross? PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE GOOD NEWS TO THE LITTLE CHILDREN!
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JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT!
JESUS DID IT! - or - JESUS DID IT!
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