(A Personal Testimony)
by Lynnford Beachy
The Bible says those who are saved will overcome, “…by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony…” (Revelation 12:11). Everyone has a testimony! God has done something amazing for you that will encourage and strengthen both you and others when you share it. “…he that watereth shall be watered also himself” (Proverbs 11:25). Your testimony is unique to you, and no matter how small and insignificant you may think it is, your testimony is perfectly designed to help others in ways that no other testimony will do. God is good all the time, and it is good to hear in what specific ways God has been good to you. I want to encourage you to share your testimony with others (See Luke 8:38-40.)
It is powerful to share your testimony with those who are going, or have gone, through similar circumstances. Just yesterday I was visiting a jail, sharing my testimony, and what started out with three people around a table quickly rose to about ten when they heard I was sharing my testimony. Someone called to his friend, saying, “You want to hear this, he was on acid.” I had brought pictures of my past life, which gained the interest of several more. We had a wonderful Bible study about God’s love, and they were very determined to commit their lives to the Lord and share their testimonies with others, especially youth. Testimonies are very helpful.
I grew up in a conservative, Christian home, where I learned about God’s love for me, personally. When I was eight years old I fell in love with Jesus, amazed by what He had done for me. When I was ten my parents divorced, and all six of us children stayed with my mom. We moved to the city of Tucson, Arizona, stopped going to church, and began going to public school. This was a huge culture shock for us, who had been home-schooled through our early years.
I was different from everyone and I desired to fit in and be accepted. I soon started to talk, dress, and act like those around me. This was not a good idea. The Bible says, “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed” (Proverbs 13:20). You should choose your friends wisely because peer pressure is a powerful influence, either for good or bad. Those who truly follow the Lord are in the minority, so if you want to be a Christian, be prepared to stand with the faithful few.
I chose the group of kids who soon were involved in smoking, drinking, and doing drugs. When I was thirteen, some of my friends got some beer and invited me to the alley where they convinced me to try it. I didn’t want to, but they called me a “wimp,” a “sissy,” and several other names, until I decided to give it a try. It tasted terrible, but I pretended to like it so my friends wouldn’t call me names.
My family (I am on the bottom left)
My best friend and I made promises to each other that even though some of our friends were starting to smoke pot, we would never do it. Sadly, I had a girlfriend who I did not realize was already into that. She persuaded me to try it. Just as I put the pipe to my mouth, my best friend looked at me through the window. He was disgusted and ran away. I ran after him, apologizing, but the next day I convinced him to try it too. I am so sorry I did this! The Bible says, “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not” (Proverbs 1:10). Don’t listen to people who try to get you to join them in their sins. Fortunately, that friend is now a Christian and free from drugs. Sadly, most of my other friends are not. Few from that world find their way out. It is better not to go there in the first place.
Deeper into Drugs
If you are considering trying some of these things, please don’t. For me, it started by smoking cigarettes at age 10, then drinking beer and smoking marijuana at age13, doing acid (LSD) and shrooms at age 14, smoking crack cocaine, then snorting cocaine at age 15, dealing drugs at age 16, smoking crystal meth at age 18. I was going deeper and deeper into drugs, trying to fill a void in my life. That void was a God-shaped hole that nothing could fill but God.
If someone had come to me trying to get me to smoke cocaine at age 10, I wouldn’t have done it, but I was convinced to try smoking cigarettes, which led to harder and harder drugs. Satan tricks us into doing some small sin, then after getting us to do that for a while, he steps it up with something worse. After a while we are involved in things we never would have imagined. The last step is in the first. If you don’t want to take the last step, don’t take the first.
At age fifteen I began playing guitar, learning all my favorite heavy metal songs. (Slayer was my favorite, while Metallica, Anthrax, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, etc. were also on my list of favorites.) My goal was to become a guitar player in a heavy metal band, and continue to do drugs and live my wicked lifestyle. God, however, had another plan for me. This, I was soon to discover.
As I sunk deeper into drugs, I kept doing all of the earlier drugs, except for when I started smoking pot, I quit smoking cigarettes. Marijuana was my main drug. I smoked it almost every day from ages 13-19. Some say it is not addictive, but one time when I was sixteen I decided to try to stop smoking it for one week, just to prove to myself that I could stop whenever I wanted. I made it for two days before getting back to it. For me it was addictive.
At age fourteen, I began taking acid, which became my second favorite drug. It was cheap, powerful, and lasted eight to twelve hours. Acid (LSD) is one of the most potent, mind altering drugs. It is made from lysergic acid and distributed in various ways. The most common for me was on a small sheet of paper that is cut into 100 small squares (about ¼ inch). Each little square is called “a hit,” and at that time cost about $5. It is usually placed under the tongue and allowed to dissolve. If you take it at night right before bed, you can go to sleep, but in thirty minutes from taking it you will wake up and won’t be able to sleep until the acid “trip” is over. I started out by taking a half hit each time, and after a few years worked my way up to five hits at a time.
Acid enhances your mood, speeds up your thinking, and seriously disconnects you from reality. Because it enhances your mood, if you are in a bad mood, you suddenly are in a really, really bad mood. I often thought people were out to get me, and I heard and imagined things that were not real. Over the five years that I took acid, I took approximately 500 hits, and had three bad trips, where things went really wrong and I wanted to get off of it very badly. But once you take it, you cannot get off until it is over; eight to twelve hours later.
One effect of the drug is rapid, random thoughts. Normally, I could walk through a field of grass and think nothing of it, but on acid I would wonder, “Why is the grass green?” “Why isn’t it purple?” “What makes it green?” For every one normal thought, I would have at least ten random thoughts.
I had heard stories of people who had taken acid (even only one time) and became stuck on it for the rest of their lives. This idea scared me a little, but I figured that it would never happen to me. However, that wishful thinking changed when I was nineteen and took my last acid trip.
My Last Acid Trip
On August 19, 1991, I invited six friends over to my apartment to have a drug party. We had all taken acid, and had beer and plenty of pot to smoke. At about 4am, six hours after taking the acid, I went into my room to get something. While I was in there, I had a very strong impression from the Lord that I was a lost sinner going to hell, and that God loves me and wants me to go to heaven. He also told me that I needed to move to Indiana (away from my drug lifestyle to a Christian influence), learn about God, and then come back and teach my friends. This was a surprise to me, because I thought God only loved good people who go to church and do good things. I believed in God, but I didn’t think He cared about me, personally. I figured since God didn’t want anything to do with me, I didn’t want anything to do with Him.
This was a strange experience because no one had been talking to me about the Lord. I hadn’t been thinking about Him. In my case, God didn’t use a preacher, or some other person to share the truth with me, but He dealt with me directly. I had no desire to change my life, but after He revealed to me that He loves me, everything changed. One minute my goals and desires were to continue in my condition, and the next minute I was disgusted with my wicked lifestyle. The things I once loved, I hated, and the things I once hated I loved.
There are verses that explain this: “And if they be bound in fetters, and be holden in cords of affliction; Then He sheweth them their work, and their transgressions that they have exceeded. He openeth also their ear to discipline, and commandeth that they return from iniquity. If they obey and serve Him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures. But if they obey not, they shall perish by the sword, and they shall die without knowledge” (Job 36:8-12).
I came out of my room and began telling my friends what had happened. I told them that we all need to quit doing drugs, listening to this music, and living this lifestyle, or we would go to hell. All my friends were shocked. They could not believe I was saying those things. One of my friends, Brian, whom I had only known for two weeks, looked at me, his eyes red, and said, “I worship the devil, and I’m going to kill you.” I knew he was serious, but I laughed at him and replied, “What good is that going to do you? Will you get a higher rank in hell and burn hotter?” I continued, “You should read the Bible; Satan is going to lose. Why would you want to serve him?”
From that time on, most of my friends avoided me. I soon realized who my real friends were, and who were the ones who hung around just to get free drugs and have someone to support their lifestyle. When every- thing you can do for someone is stripped away, your true friends will shine.
The Trip Wouldn’t End
That following morning I should have gone to sleep after the acid wore off, but this time it didn’t stop. For the next three nights I couldn’t sleep; the acid trip would not go away. After four sleepless nights, I was finally able to get to sleep. I was thankful because I figured the acid trip would go away, but when I awoke I was still just as much on acid as before. I was very concerned by this time. Nothing like this had ever happened to me during the hundreds of times I had done this. I was certain that I was stuck on acid and would be that way for the rest of my life. The only stories I had heard of people having an extended acid trip was that they get stuck on it for life.
For the next two months, I was determined to follow the Lord but I was very confused from the acid and from not knowing how to follow God. I quit my job as a line-cook (I could not maintain this job in my condition). I destroyed all of my drug paraphernalia and flushed my drugs down the toilet. I pulled all of the heavy metal posters and tapestries from my wall, gathered my satanic music and thoroughly destroyed them. I wanted to make sure nobody would be able to use these things again. I took my guitar and bashed it against the concrete until it was unusable. I was determined to live a new life.
For those two months I spent a lot of time alone, fighting a spiritual battle, and often losing. I told all my friends that I had quit doing or selling drugs. Most of them would not come to see me anymore, so I made it a point to visit them all and tell them about Jesus. Sadly, during my visits I often found myself doing drugs with them even though I had said “I quit.” This made me feel very ashamed. I knew that I needed to end that old lifestyle, but I did not know how to do it.
A few close friends saw that I was struggling and convinced me to get some medical help. I was very afraid of doing this because I was sure that I would be put in a straight jacket and locked in a “rubber room” for the rest of my life. After visiting two hospitals, I ended up in a mental health area, where I followed the nice lady who said she could help me, until I rounded a corner and found myself among a group of crazy people in a mental hospital. Here I was locked up for three days, until I could convince the doctor that I was sane enough to go out in public. I felt that I was not crazy, just on acid. After three days they released me and put me on a medication that I thought was supposed to reverse the effects of the acid. However, the only thing it did was give me blurred vision. I couldn’t even read signs.
When I told the doctors about it, they said, “Oh, that is just a side effect.” I had no good effect! They switched my medication, but I was too afraid of it to even take the first one. I don’t believe there is a medicine in the world that can reverse the effects of acid.
I tried to function as a normal individual even though I was on acid. I got a job as a cook, working at Denny’s, but I could only handle that for three days. I tried different ways to get out of Tucson to move to Indiana where I had Christian family (the Lord had told me that first night that I needed to move to Indiana). I could not see any other options, so I tried to hitchhike. This failed and, instead, I was taken by the police to another mental hospital where I would stay for nine days. They were planning to transfer me to the state mental hospital, where I would have likely remained for the rest of my life, but the Lord worked it out for me to be released.
While I was in the hospital, my dad from Minnesota, and my sister from Indiana, both invited me to stay with them for a while. The day after I was released from the hospital my dad showed up with a bus that could hold all of my belongings, planning to take me to Minnesota. Although this was not where I had wanted to go, I was glad to get out of Tucson.
It had been almost two months from the day I took my last acid trip, and I was still just as much on acid as when I first took it. My dad gave me a little book called Steps to Christ. I was amazed when I read it because it was talking about struggles that I was going through (without any mention of acid). I thought I was the only one in the world going through these things. I learned how to pray, confess my sins, and be forgiven. (I recommend that book to everyone. Contact us and we will get you a copy.)
My dad showed me a verse that changed my life. It reads, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them” (Ezekiel 36:26, 27). When I read this verse, I knew that was exactly what I needed. I had tried and failed to be obedient to the Lord. I knew I needed a new heart.
My dad told me that I should ask God to give me a new heart, and invite Jesus to live in my heart (Revelation 3:20). He gave me some of the best advice I have ever gotten. He said, “When you pray, you will not feel your heart being changed, but believe that He does it because He promised. When you get up from that prayer, don’t stop believing that you have a new heart, and after a few days you will notice there has been a change.”
It was just like my dad said. I got up from that prayer excited that I was a new person. I didn’t notice anything different, but inside I knew that I was a new person. I kept on believing that I had a new heart and, after a few days, I noticed that I responded to things differently. Before, if someone would do something mean to me I would immediately want to retaliate. I had the mentality, “If you do something bad to me, I am going to do something bad to you.” But after my new heart, that feeling was completely absent. Instead of wanting to hurt them, I just had pity for them and loved them. This was totally new for me, and I was happy for it.
At the same time I noticed the change in my life I noticed that I was no longer on acid. Praise God, that was a miracle! I guess God figured that while He was in there doing heart surgery, He may as well take away the acid. That transformation took place October 15, 1991. It has been twenty-five years now, and I have never done drugs since. I believe God did a thorough job fixing my acid trip, because I have never had a flashback. You see, once you take acid even one time, you can have flashbacks at any time in the future. A flashback is when a person experiences the effects of acid—days, months, or even years after taking it. This has never happened to me.
On our way to Minnesota, we broke down in Nebraska, and other events worked it out so that instead of moving to Minnesota, I actually moved to Indiana. There are several reasons why I believe God put me exactly where He wanted me to be at that time. I began to study the Bible and learn as much as I could. I also read a lot of books on history and other topics. It was my goal to learn as much as I could as fast as I could. The Lord rewarded me for that effort, and now He has called me to write literature and have speaking engagements around the world. I thank God greatly for all He has done for me and for pulling me out of the wicked lifestyle I was living.
I want to encourage you to pray for others, even if you think they are beyond hope. The Bible says, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;… For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1_Timothy 2:1, 2, 4).
I had family members praying for me when I was on drugs. The Lord intervened in my life amazingly, coming directly to me to pull me out of that wicked life. I am “a brand plucked out of the fire?” (Zechariah 3:2). God says, “I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not…” (Isaiah 65:1). I believe the prayers for me played a big part in my transformation. For years there was no sign of a change, but instead I grew worse. I did not notice anything going on in my life to lead me to a change, but God had a plan for me. He has a plan for you too, and for those friends or family for whom you have been praying.
Friends, God loves you more than words can describe. Perhaps you are struggling with drugs or other addictions. Do not despair! God is eager to see you through and bless you. In my conversion, faith played a huge role. Believing that God would keep His promises to me, and continuing to believe even though I could not see any evidence, was a key for God’s promises to be fulfilled in my life. He has made those same promises to you. Accept them, and believe the reality of them for you. Keep believing even when you see no evidence. In spiritual struggles, faith comes before experiencing the reality. Never stop believing He loves you and that He is performing His promises in and through you.
The Lord has richly blessed me, for which I am not worthy at all. “What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord” (Psalm 116:12, 13). God changed my life and now my goal is to get the truth about God’s love out to the world in whatever way I can. I am praying for you, and I appreciate your prayers for me and my family as well.
(This article will be made into a small booklet for distribution. Contact us if you would like some to share with others. Editor).