Grateful for His New Life Found in Faith
Share This article
“I used to tell people in my late teen years, I’m not going to live to see thirty, not with the way that I’m living,” says Michael Dow. “I was either going to die from some drug over-dose or experience, I was going to die in a jail cell somewhere, or I was going to die because of things that were happening out on the streets.”
Michael Dow searched for meaning and acceptance in his life. As a teenager, he used drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism for the pain and abandonment he had experienced at home.
Michael describes how it all started, “Things went sideways, because of brokenness and addiction in my own home. What started as immature wine coolers and cigarettes, turned into hard liquor, all kinds of alcohol, [and] smoking weed. [I] ended up getting expelled from school, ended up homeless living on the streets as an addict and a drug dealer that was constantly in and out of jail, and there didn’t seem to be any end to the exposure or the down-spiraling.”
Harder drugs and addiction soon took over. The more Michael tried to pull himself out of the darkness he felt in his life, the deeper he fell into it. “I thought God created two types of people, people that would kind of have this storybook kind of life right, like mom, dad, couple of kids, dog, maybe a bird or a fish, nice house, white picket fence,” says Michael. “And then there were others, that their lot in life was suffering, and pain, and trial. And so hope wasn’t even a word for me. The worst part about it was I realized I didn’t have the ability to do anything about it myself.”
In the midst of gloom and desperation, Michael called out to a God he didn’t know or understand. Michael paints a mental picture of the moment he cried out to God, “And I looked out into the sky one night, with tears running down my face and I said, ‘God, I don’t even know if You’re real, I don’t know if You’re out there, I’ve heard people talk about You, I don’t even necessarily believe that You’re real, but if You are, You’re the only thing, person, whatever, that can change my life, because I want to be different, I just don’t know how and I can’t. And if you’re not real, I’m going to die being who I am.'”
Around that time, Michael became interested in a girl he met at a party – she asked him to go to church with her. “She said, 'If you come to church, my parents will let me spend more time with you,'” describes Michael. “So like any other 20-year old guy trying to connect with a girl, like well, we’re going to church then. I would go drunk and high out of my mind to church and sit in the back row and laugh at everybody, because of how silly this place was.”
During one Sunday night service, the pastor’s wife approached him and asked if he would pray with her and the pastor at the altar. Michael says, “I end up at the altar, all I care about necessarily is this girl I’m dating, and the pastor says, ‘Can I pray for you?’ And he said, ‘How about this, would you be willing tonight to lay your life down for God and decide that from this day forward you’ll no longer live your life for yourself and the things that you want only, but from tonight forward you’re going to live your life for God, and in a way that would be pleasing to him?’ So I said, 'Yeah, man I’ll do that,' and everybody seemed kind of shocked like, ‘Oh man, the drug dealer, the guy that’s in trouble a lot, he’s going to get saved.’ And he said, 'You can pray what I’m praying, or you can say whatever comes out of your heart.' He’s like, ‘but would you just lift your hands and you know, we’ll kind of lead you,’ describes Michael. “So I lifted my hands and I prayed this prayer and I broke into what was this crazy, visionary encounter. Across this distance I saw a man and I knew immediately that the man was Jesus. And with this joy and this excitement on his face, he started running in my direction, and grabbed me, and embraced me, and held me close, and man I just broke down. I just cried, and cried, and cried, and he just spoke certain things over my life. I was, what I later found out the Bible calls, a new creation. Immediately delivered from drug addiction, alcoholism, perversion, rage and violence, and brokenness, just a brand new person."
Michael embraced this transformation and began his journey following Jesus. He met the pastor’s daughter who he later married and started a family with. Together they lead an international ministry team and share the love of God that gives hope to the hopeless.
“There’s no pit too deep, there’s no hole too dark, there’s no experience in brokenness or suffering that is beyond the reach of God’s love and power to be able to rush into our circumstance and redeem us and transform us,” says Michael. “Man, gratitude to God for the life that He has privileged me to be able to live now day-by-day. I—I don’t deserve it.”
Share This article