The Old Things Have Passed Away – I

To Pete, Christians were little more than a bunch of two-faced hypocrites who just loved to get dressed up on Sundays. But after he twice dreamed of being shot and then he was shot, his life went through amazing change.

Life on the farm

As a child I lived with my parents on a farm in Western Victoria and was raised a Roman Catholic. Dad was pretty hard at times and would often drag me out of bed on Sundays to get me to church. I remember one day when I had decided to ‘give church the flick.’ I took off across the paddocks with ‘the ol’ man’ in hot pursuit, waving a cricket bat and shouting for me to stop! But with a mind of my own and plenty of determination, I kept running. That is, until I heard him yell, “Right! I’m goin’ back fer the gun!” I knew dad always meant business and remembered the gun hung just above the back door. It didn’t take me long to come to the conclusion that it might be healthier if I just went to church. I started smoking cigarettes at around eight or nine and had my first joint of marijuana at fifteen. I played around with motorbikes and guns, preferring the outdoor life.

Life as a lad

I attended a country high school until year eleven and left when I was seventeen. To me, school was an easier option to carting hay or working in the woolshe.! Most of my boyish pranks were restricted to occasionally doing donuts on the local golf course or riding a motorbike through town in a slightly less than sober state! I didn’t think this was too serious at the time.

A disturbing dream

By around 30 years of age, I had become an alcoholic and drug addict. I didn’t consider this too unusual though, because all my mates were the same. I seemed to possess a natural dislike for work and spent a lot of my time drinking beer and smoking dope. I was either drunk or stoned! One night I was sleeping beside my girlfriend when I suddenly woke up panting and in a sweat. Waking her up, I said, “I’ve just dreamt that I’d been shot in the stomach.” She didn’t seem too concerned and rather casually replied “O yeah, good on ya” and went back to sleep. Two nights later I had exactly the same dream and once again woke up panting and in a sweat. “I just dreamt I’ve been shot in the guts again,” I exclaimed. This time my girlfriend took me more seriously.

Getting shot

It was Christmas Eve and a Friday night. I had decided to go around to a mate’s place for a few beers. On the way, I remembered the dreams I had and recall thinking “I hope I don’t get shot in the guts tonight.” As we drank and talked into the night, my mate was playing around with a loaded shotgun when it suddenly discharged. Realizing I had been hit in the stomach, I ran outside shouting, “Phil, you ******, you’ve shot me!” Although it didn’t seem too bad at first, I soon felt a stream of blood running down my leg. Fortunately, the local hospital was just down the road, so I started towards it. By the time I got out into the street however, I started ‘going down.’ I thought, “I’m going to die, but at least I’ll soon find out where you go when you do.” For some reason, I didn’t seem too worried. Others came to help and after loading me into the back of their van, drove me off to the hospital. I heard the doctors whispering and knew the situation wasn’t real good. I had pellets in my mouth, in my stomach, hand, face and right ear. After they removed the gunshot, I laid awake for three whole days.

Consulting the future predictors

Thoughts ran constantly through my head, “How come I had dreamt I was going to get shot? Was it some kind of premonition?” I didn’t give God a thought, because to me Christians were little more than a bunch of two-faced hypocrites who just loved to get dressed up on Sundays! Finally, a nurse gave me an injection and I slept for the next two days. When I had recovered sufficiently to be discharged from the hospital, I focused on finding answers for my dreams. I read about the predictions of Nostradamus, studied the teachings of psychics and chanellers, anything I could get my hands on. However, despite all that had happened, I didn’t stop drinking beer or smoking dope and before long I started believing what I was reading. I took a particular interest in anything to do with the end of the world. I read about Armageddon and studied Eastern Religions, but still had no interest in the God of the Bible.

Following a dark path

One day I saw an advertisement in a magazine, ‘Do you want to know the secrets of the Universe?’ I thought, “That sounds alright.” So I wrote away and they sent back books and information on certain rituals I could perform. I would set up a mirror with candles and an altar and recite a prayer. It wasn’t a prayer to the true Creator of the Universe, but to the god of the Cosmos! At the time, it all sounded harmless enough. After praying the prayer I would start shaking and remember thinking, ‘this is strange! what’s going on here?’ I soon became filled with pride. Everyone else was wrong and I was right. I continued drinking beer and whiskey, which led me down an even darker path as I drew closer into occult practices.

Astral Projection

By now I was growing more desperate in my search to find truth. I had become paranoid about the end of the world. I buried food in case there was a catastrophe. I was tiring from all the false predictions I was being fed, dates and predictions from which nothing ever eventuated! These so-called teachers also taught you how to leave your body! I only tried it a couple of times but that was enough. It was a strange experience to be actually out of your body whilst it was still lying on a bed!

I also looked into Buddhism and Hinduism but ultimately found those teachings complicated and unreliable!? Neither made any sense as far as I was concerned.

Turning towards the bible

It was at this point I finally started thinking about God and finding out more about Jesus. After all, I had looked at all the other religions with their alternative thinking and none had offered me any truly helpful answers. I became especially interested in biblical prophecy, finding particular interest in a book that had been written by a man called Barry Smith. I found his writings more reliable and informative than others. I was still not into reading the bible however, except the book of Revelation and the prophet Daniel.

Drink and marijuana were still my companions

When I finally decided to stop reading all the other New Age material, something inside me started to stir. I became depressed, anxious and tearful. I heard noises in my head. I couldn’t think, read a book, watch television or do anything. I was a total wreck. I even wondered if I was going mad and whether others suffer like this. I just didn’t know what was happening. Even so, I continued my drinking and smoking of marijuana.

The battle between good and evil

One day I picked up another Christian book with what is commonly known as ‘the sinner’s prayer’ in it. Through this prayer, you invite Jesus into your life. I did this, but felt no different. It said that Jesus would set you free and I sure wanted to be free! So I kept on asking Jesus to set me free. I would recite the Lord’s Prayer over and over. By now I was close to having a nervous breakdown. There was a struggle going on inside me, a spiritual battle was raging between the forces of good and the forces of evil. I needed to be released from whatever it was that was trying to control me.

Repent the kingdom of God is near

One night, I was having trouble sleeping. As I lay there in a wakeful state, I decided to amuse myself with a mind game I often played. The idea was to empty your mind, and then ask a question. The answer would be the first thought that came back into your head. So I asked what was the exact time and the answer came as 4:17. I thought, “that’s strange, why would I think that when it’s only 3:30am?” So I tried again and this time the word Matthew came to mind. I realized that Matthew 4:17 was in the Bible. So I got out of bed and looked it up. It said, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” I found this rather interesting and mentioned it to my girlfriend. I thought, ‘perhaps God is telling me something and maybe we should go to Church?’ Although it was something we would never have imagined doing, off we went to church!

Pete’s story continued

2005 Pete copyright