It doesn’t get any tougher that what you’re about to read. This is real and there’s a video profile at the end that I insist that you watch.
Suppose God were to create a modern day Job. I think his life might go something like this:
Let’s call our guy Joshua, and let’s throw everything at him. We’ll start with the parents. We’ll make his father a member of the Outlaws Motorcycle gang, and we’ll give Mom a drug addiction. That’s a tough start. Looks like Joshua might have to raise himself. Joshua does have an important adult relationship with his grandfather who helps guide Joshua. Too bad. A drunk driver kills off his Grandfather at the age of 12. Joshua starts drinking to mask his pain and becomes a 12 year old alcoholic.
At 14, we’ll introduce Joshua to drugs. All of them. And to make the challenge more interesting, we’re going to give Joshua an addictive personality so that he becomes an addict. Remember, he’s already an alcoholic. Let’s introduce him to pot–that’s an easy little gateway drug right? Okay, pots not enough. How about heroin, coke, crack, meth, LSD and every other fucking drug you can think of. Mission accomplished. At 14 Joshua becomes a drug addict and an alcoholic.
Joshua’s going to need easy access to all of those drugs, so let’s get him in a gang. A big one. One you’ve heard of. Use your imagination here. Joshua’s going to be a drug dealer, a gang banger and he’ll regularly participate in drive-by shootings. At this point, there’s not much use for school, so Joshua quits.
Here’s a great idea for his 16th birthday. We’re gonna have him shot. Yep. Joshua gets shot on his 16th birthday. By a friend. Shot. Some kids get a car for their 16th…Joshua takes a bullet. Happy Birthday! Joshua heals and continues his drinking and drugging ways. One day, Joshua gets epically fucked-up on speed balls, crank and LSD. He was 17. Remember he’s in a gang. Gang members pack heat. Okay, so here he is minding his own business, high as shit and guess who walks by? Yep. You guessed right. The guy who shot him on his 16th birthday. What does Joshua do? He walks across the street to the guy, says “remember me?”, and blows the guys brains out right there in the street. Street justice.
Joshua ends up in jail and earns his street name–Six–for the 6 felony murder charges he was facing. He ends up getting acquitted on the murder charges and gets out of prison. Joshua hangs with a really rough crowd and ends up back in prison. He serves a couple of 5 year terms and at 31 years old, has spent the last 10 years in prison. One day while in prison, Joshua gets high and drunk. He gets so fucked up that he is unable to walk. Some of his friends inside take him to the chapel and dump him on a pew where he could sober up. The prison minister that day is a member of Hells Angels. Remember, Joshua’s dad was an Outlaw, so this guy is an arch enemy. Joshua makes a half-assed attempt to make sense of what’s being said. Suddenly, Joshua experiences a moment of clarity. He stands up and confronts the Hells Angels minister.
“How did you do that?”
“Make me sober. I was so fucked up 10 minutes ago that my friends had to carry me in here and drop me off. I literally couldn’t walk. What is it that you’ve got?”
That was the moment that defines who Joshua is today. From that moment onward Joshua began to straighten out his life. He completed his GED while in prison and began studying the bible. He’s out of prison now, and has a desire to speak to at-risk youths, to keep them from going through the hell that has been his life. They’re likely not as strong as Joshua and they may not survive. Hearing Joshua speak would be a blessing to at risk-teens. I have no doubt about that whatsoever.
But God wasn’t done testing Joshua yet. Joshua broke his hip in a parking lot and had to have a partial hip replacement. He’s unable to do the honest work that he used to do in sober moments–construction. He’s applied for disability, but that’s a bureaucratic waiting game. Despite this set-back, his will is strong and he’s staying clean, sober and determined.
I’ve met Joshua several times now and have spent hours just listening to him talk about his ex-life. His story is compelling. At risk-youths would benefit from hearing him speak.
I like Joshua. I’m a fan. He’s lived against all odds and is determined to rise above his previous insanely challenging circumstances. He could go home and get off the streets, but he’d have to live with a meth addict. That’s not an option.
Think about the predicament he’s in. Not everybody that’s on the streets had a fair shot from the get-go, and frankly, not everyone on the streets is making any effort to get off. This guy’s trying hard. He has a purpose, the desire and the will to make it. He’s surrounded himself with real friends that help one another stay the course.
Put Joshua in your prayers.
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