‘I didn’t think I needed God’ – a prodigal’s story
Stuck in intensive care with liver failure and the prospect of having his arm amputated, Ryan's drink and drugs teenage rebellion threatened a deadly outcome. But God had other ideas ...
My name is Ryan and I am a living miracle. I have lived in the small South Wales Valleys town of Aberdare all my life, except for a time in prison. I have always believed in God. As a child I went to church with my family and attended Sunday School, but I was like the Prodigal Son. I didn’t think I needed God.
It was in my teenage years that I started to rebel by getting into gangs and found myself in all sorts of trouble – stealing, burglary, assault, drink driving, and criminal damage. My life revolved around drink and drugs. By the age of 15 I was permanently excluded from school, and in prison for arson.
After leaving prison I started taking cannabis and drinking more heavily to the point where I was hospitalised many times, but nothing could stop me and before long I was on hard drugs and injecting. One day I was injecting and the needle snapped in my arm and had to have an operation to remove it. I was told I could have died, but it didn’t stop me and I was straight back to injecting again.
I was also still in trouble with the law. I stole a car with my friends and was chased by the police. When they stopped us I got out and they set their dogs on us. One of the dogs savaged me and tore into my testicles, so I had a very painful hospital visit again! Did any of this stop me? No. I continued to slip deeper into drink and drugs, spending my whole weekend in my house injecting and drinking.
One Friday in May 2016 I took more drugs than normal and passed out. I didn’t wake up again until Sunday, and immediately realised I couldn’t feel my arms. I had slept on them stopping the blood circulation from my elbow to my fingertips. Although I could hardly move I managed to call an ambulance.
I had kidney failure, underwent nine operations, and spent weeks in intensive care. The plan was to amputate one of my arms. During this time I feared for my life. It was then in my hospital bed I started to call out to God to save me. My mother had always been praying for me along with other Christians, and now I was praying too! Within two weeks my kidneys started working again, and they decided not to amputate.
After 11 weeks I got out of hospital, bought a Bible and started going to church. Like the Prodigal Son I came home. I asked Jesus to forgive me and trusted in him to save me.
Now I believe there are no limits to what God can do. God has made everything new! I am forgiven and free from drugs. I am not on any detox or antidepressants as I thought I would be – God has taken it all away! My life has been transformed (see Psalm 40).
I know God has great plans for my life – something I never thought possible. I am enjoying my life today and I feel so blessed to have great people in my life and a new church family who care for me. Thank you Jesus!
PHOTO: Ryan at one of his old teenage haunts