Dramatic Turn for Man on Path To Hell

“I was running the streets and crazy and I didn’t want to stop,” says Steve, “And I thought the only way to do that was to die. I didn’t care about my life anymore. I’d lost everybody that I had that had meant anything to me.”

Steve Benner was 12 years old when his father abandoned his family for another woman. Soon after Steve’s life took a dark turn. “I started running the streets at night,” he says. “You know, drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana. My father wasn’t there to say hey look, this is not what you’re supposed to do or anything. He was just—he was gone.”

By the age of 17 he had dropped had out of high school. Casual drug use turned into full-fledged addiction. “The next 10 years I did methamphetamine every day. I would smoke meth and I’d be up for a week at a time. It became something that I had to do daily in order just to be normal. You know, I didn’t work. I survived and paid for my drug habit by selling drugs and stealing.

His mother, who was a Christian was battling cancer, and fighting for Steven’s soul in prayer. “I put her through hell,” Steve says. “Six months before my mom died, she sat me down and she looked me in the eye. And she said my friend and I have been praying for you and I have a message for you. And she said, ‘In five years you’re not going to be the same person. You’re not going to look the same; you’re not going to act the same. People won’t even recognize you.’ And I looked at her and I laughed. And I got up and I walked away.”

When his mother died, he used meth to block his rage and pain. “Methamphetamine numbed me,” he says. “I felt no pain. I didn’t –I didn’t feel anything. Although I was very angry, nothing mattered. Having a good job didn’t matter. Having a family didn’t matter. Nothing mattered.”

After years of drug abuse and criminal activity, Steve was caught breaking into a home. Police trapped him in a nearby business’ restroom. “At that point,” says Steve,  “I decided that I was not going to prison. I was going to end my life that day. And I pulled out a large knife and I kicked the bathroom stall open. They tried to talk me into setting the knife down and I wasn’t going to do it. And I told them if you get close to me I’m killing you. And he raised his gun and he was about to kill me and his partner shot me with a Taser and hit me in the neck. And I went down and I dropped the knife.”

In jail, he was placed on suicide watch. “I just wanted to die. That was all I kept telling myself every day. I got to figure out how to kill myself. I had realized that everything I’d been doing my entire life had left a trail of hurt and pain for other people that didn’t deserve it. I looked at myself and I realized the monster I’d become. I was full of anger and hate. And addicted to drugs and I didn’t know how to cope. I didn’t know what to do.”

An inmate in Steve’s cell block encouraged Steve to turn to God. Steve says, “I picked up a Bible and I started reading. The words were jumping off the page at me. I started learning that I could be forgiven for the terrible things that I had done.”

Alone in his cell, Steve asked god to forgive him. “I said, ‘Lord, if you can fix my life, You can have it. I’m worth nothing. I –I’ve completely screwed my life up. And here. It’s yours.’ I felt warm. I felt this presence. I knew that I had just made a decision for Christ. I had hope again. It was like I woke up one day and I just –I had probably—I smiled for the first time in 20 years. And I realized it, and I got goose bumps.”

Steve says God immediately set him free from drug addiction. At that moment, he realized it had been five years since his mother had told him that his life would change. “Everything changed. I was happy. And I was looking at 7 years in prison and I wasn’t worried about it. I had peace.”

After serving his sentence, Steve was released from prison in 2014. The hole left in his heart by his dad’s rejection- had finally been filled with love from his heavenly father. Steve says, “I feel love that I haven’t felt in so many years. And I have a Father that I can depend on now who will never leave me of forsake me. You’re never too far-gone. As long as you’re here and you’re still breathing, God can reach down in the pit of hell and He can pull you out and set your feet on solid ground. And He can clean up your messes. No matter what you’ve done it’s never too late. As long as you’re still breathing it’s not too late. You can turn to Jesus and ask for help. And He’ll answer your call.” 

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