The Night God Played Tag
By Mary Ruth Goochee
In the words of Jeremy Benson:
“Having my cousin commit suicide opened up like a new reality to me, that you could end it, that things do end, and that is an option.”
It was an option Jeremy Benson had never considered. His cousin was his hero. But one Christmas Eve his hero ended his own life, leaving Jeremy with questions and no answers.
“Although I was born into a Christian family and I had a concept of God in my mind, when you hit some of those bumps along the way, it’s hard to see how God’s relevant. And if He even understands some of the pain you’re going through.”
Jeremy lived with challenges ever since he was young.
“When I was eight, my parents got divorced. My mom got remarried and divorced a few more times. She did the best that she could, but it’s just a tough day and age to be a single mom. And even with support and other influences, we were on welfare.”
“It kind of brought a level of hopelessness to it, too. In the beginning of the month we’d have a lot of food; at the end of the month we were out of food. I often had to just, I had to go and steal food. And sell it out of my locker to get extra money, and you know, at 12, I was probably making about $75-$100 a week selling gum and lollipops.”
Jeremy’s efforts to help his family didn’t pay off. Their car was repossessed and they were evicted from their home. So Jeremy moved in with his father in Rhode Island.
“The school in Rhode Island was just a harder school. There was a lot of gang activity and I wouldn’t join either side, so it actually left me more vulnerable because I wouldn’t join a gang. At the time I was pretty timid, you know, but it eventually just kind of built an anger in me that, you know, got to the edge where I did start fighting a lot.”
“By the time I was 16, that’s when I really hit rock bottom. I was drinking all the time. I was smoking weed all the time. I had missed 55 days of school. I almost dropped out of high school.”
“One night, I was over at a friend’s house and we decided to play car tag. I was 16 at the time, and I remember trying to get away from my friend, who was in the truck following me. So I took a sharp turn, real quick, and I actually skidded into the front steps of a church. It was at that time where I just remember sitting there, looking at the church out the window, and just realizing that God - it was like God was trying to get my attention.”
“I just knew that the only hope that I did have was if God was real, to try to call on Him for help. And it was at that point that I remember kneeling down in the living room and just saying, ‘God, If you are real, I need you to come into my life and make a difference and make a change before it’s too late.’”
“After I prayed that prayer, you know, I really felt like God entered the room and honored what I had asked for, that I was saved, that God had rescued me.”
“Jesus really has become my best friend. He is so three-dimensional that he can not only be down-to-earth and be a best friend, but He is also Lord. He is also Savior. He is my hope. He’s my strength.”
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