Several years ago Wayne Hicks decided to kill himself. He sat alone in his home with a bottle of whiskey and a 9mm handgun determined to put an end to his pain.
Life no longer felt worth living; his wife had taken his daughter and left him because of his alcohol and anger issues, the bank had repossessed his vehicles and home, his business was bankrupt and he had been blacklisted.
"I put the gun against my head many times," he recalls, "Every time I put my finger on the trigger, a loud voice in my right ear would say 'Kill yourself, there is no way out of this life. Do it, do it now.' Then I would hear a soft voice in my left ear saying 'Wait until tomorrow morning'."
This went on until the bottle was empty and Wayne had passed out on the floor. The next morning a Christian friend he didn't know very well came to take him to church.
Wayne had been to church before. As a child he was forced to go even though his parents never attended.
His father was a violent alcoholic and his mother suffered from depression and anxiety.
"I became depressed at a young age," Wayne admits. "I feared my father and as I grew older my fear turned to anger and hatred towards him."
In Year 3 Wayne heard the story of Jesus from a teacher and made a commitment to follow Christ but stopped reading the Bible and praying soon afterwards.
At 15 Wayne's anger and hurt led him to find solace in parties, clubbing, brawling, alcohol, and drugs.
"My anger grew daily. I never feared anyone. Fighting became a way of life for me. I struggled with everything, life was a huge burden. I used my anger to cope – it was all I had to hold onto," Wayne confesses.
In his mid-twenties, knowing his life was a disaster, Wayne prayed asking God to bless him with someone who would love him and promising to quit drugs if He did.
"I heard God say 'You stop taking drugs and I'll bless you with someone who will love you'. The first night I went out sober I met Janean, a beautiful girl from a broken home," Wayne remembers. "She came to live with my family when her mother disowned her. Shortly after this she fell pregnant with our daughter Savannah."
They married but finding love did not solve all Wayne's problems.
"Life got worse as time went on. I worked full time during the day and ran a mobile disco at night. We struggled financially. Anger and depression were still part of my life. I never knew how to show Janean that I loved her and I struggled with the after effects of drugs for three years," Wayne shares.
I heard an inner voice say, ‘Get
up and live your life’"One night I got home from work and my wife asked me for a divorce. I refused and threatened her life. Two days later I arrived home and found the house empty. I was so devastated I collapsed on the floor and cried for a week."
That was the tipping point that caused Wayne to abandon all hope.
But the next morning, sitting in the back corner of the church with his friend he heard the minister say "I'm here to tell you that your life will never be right if you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ". Wayne got up, walked to front of the church and dropped to his knees.
"I asked Jesus to forgive me and to help me. That day I gave Jesus Christ my life. It felt like a tap opened in my head and water ran through my entire body cleansing me. I heard an inner voice say 'Get up and live your life.' I got up and was completely healed. I felt no anger, rage, depression, hatred, pain, or desire to drink or do drugs."
Wayne felt God promise to rebuild his life. At this stage, he and his wife had been divorced for two years, but shortly after his surrender to Jesus Janean came back to him, committed her life to Jesus and the couple were remarried after receiving Biblical counselling.
God also told Wayne to reconcile with his father, which he says was "a special time of healing".
Wayne acknowledges: "I am not alive today because of my own doing. I owe all that I am to Jesus who shed His blood for my sin on the cross at Calvary, who rose from the dead on the third day and who is seated at the right hand of God the Father in heaven. He picked me up out of the devil's clutches and gave me a new life."•