To say Josh's story is incredible is an understatement. This is the faithful retelling of Josh's amazing life story.
Josh grew up in Michigan and was raised in a Christian home. He knew about Jesus, at a young age. One of his earliest memories came from a prayer shared by his father, a minister at a local church. Josh remembered being very upset one day. He was crying and inconsolable until his father prayed with him. Josh said he recalled an intense feeling of peace and a strong, yet gentle spiritual presence. To this day, he believes it was Jesus Christ, comforting him. In his early years, he would see no return of that peaceful time of prayer. Early on, he began to partake in vandalism, tagging (spray painting), larceny, and eventually he started smoking weed (marijuana), as early as the sixth grade. He soon became a small-time dealer. School was just not working out for Josh. Josh was also searching for his own identity. The young man was often in trouble with the law, moving in and out of youth detention centers, or a city jail. As an adolescent, Josh was also diagnosed with Attention Deficit, Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD. It often affected his thinking processes. Josh’s parents were praying hard for him all of the time. His dad had to take on the role of parent/defense attorney and in the same breath, private investigator. His father soon gained the nickname “detective”, from his relentless efforts to shut down any illegal drug trade, of his own flesh and blood. There were times where Josh’s father testified of having supernatural help, in foiling the unlawful extracurricular activities of his youngest son. At another time he was given directives to find Josh on the streets, and pick him up before he was to get into serious trouble, injury or possible death. During this time of constant trouble, it didn’t take long before drugs and alcohol became Josh’s closest companions. His appetite for substance abuse was only rivaled by his hunger for fast money. Stealing and hustling became second nature for him.
Pills, pain, and panic
At about the age of 18, mental illness also started to appear. By 19, his illness was identified as a type of “schizophrenia”. This news hit him like a ton of bricks, for a young man who thought he would be living his whole life like anyone else around him. The experts were telling him that there was a possibility of maintaining his mental health, with the help of medication, but there was no guarantee of living a completely normal life. Nevertheless, he continued to live a rough lifestyle. Josh’s mental state, became more and more unstable. Terrible headaches and scattered thoughts increased, with the dangerous mixture of psychological medication, illicit drugs, and alcohol. Things got worse for Josh. He became more and more mentally unstable. Violence seemed to overtake his life, Paranoia also crept in and Josh began carrying weapons of any type, out of fear that someone would hurt him. He sometimes engaged in physical violence, whenever he felt threatened. Anger and frustration were commonplace for him. He couldn’t seem to adjust or cope with his mental illness. His lifestyle appeared to match his mind, with actions becoming increasingly risky. He started selling hard drugs, carrying weapons and becoming involved in more illegal activities. Josh justified his behavior, by thinking to himself “I’m insane and will do what I want to do, I have no rules.” Bizarre thoughts would overtake his mind. He often found himself pacing back and forth for hours at a time. His mental state became so tortured, that for weeks at a time, he practically lived in his bedroom. He was not able to handle the pressures of life. Racing thoughts of death and paranoia kept him in bondage and fear. At times, he would hear disturbing voices and earsplitting laughter, which made it impossible for him to find rest. Throughout the next couple of years, Josh and his parents had to admit him into mental hospitals. Suicide and death were ruling his mind. Day after day, Josh lived in mental anguish that often escalated into incidents with the local police dept. Several misunderstandings nearly cost him his life, at times he was face to face with officer's guns. Frequently Josh was stopped by law enforcers, for nothing more than looking suspicious and acting strangely. He now professes that if it weren’t for God, he knows he would have been imprisoned, shot or dead.
Facing hopeless insanity or certain death, Josh decided to begin his search for God. The search started at his parent’s church. While he was there, the pastor talked about God who came earth to live, suffer as a man, and pay for our sins. The pastor then explained that Jesus Christ died in our place, to redeem us from our sinful life. Then an offer was presented to introduce people to Jesus. The pastor asked if anyone was willing to come forward and turn their lives over to God. Josh did come forward and prayed to meet this, Jesus. Shortly after that, another local minister happened to meet Josh on a street corner, as the minister was witnessing to others about God. He made a strong friendship with Josh from that day forward. Josh finally found a friend who accepted him and took a deep interest in his life, even knowing of Josh’s condition. This minister took him under his wing and began teaching him, step by step, about the ways of God. Josh recalls the time when he and the minister went down to a local river and there Josh confessed all of his worst sins to him. He felt extremely relieved to get those things off his chest. It was then that the minister prayed for Josh to receive healing for his life and power to overcome his problems. At that moment, Josh knew that God had entered into his spirit in a powerful way and he then received a special gift from God. The infilling of the Holy Spirit, with a special prayer language. This prayer language is also spoken about in the New Testament Bible as, “speaking in tongues” (1Cor.12:8-11). Praying in this prayer language, was instrumental in the change of Josh’s mental state. Although the mental illness was still evident for Josh, the more he prayed, the more he could walk insanity and peace of mind. Still, at times some things were hard and the struggle continued. On one instance, Josh was having an attack of confusing racing thoughts and somehow he ended up outside during a rainstorm, crying out to God. While outside in the rain, he heard a clear voice say to him, “Reach into your heart, and you will find your mind.” In that instance, a powerful rush of healing surged through his body. Josh continued his life and there were times where he would receive the healing grace of the Lord, only to fall back to drinking and living in sin. It was in those times that he testifies of falling back into a state of mental unrest. Incredibly, when he returned to God, he found himself returning to sanity. Josh began to realize that he needed to stay close to God, daily. He spent hours in prayer every day, to gain the strength to face the outside world. During all of this time, God was continuing to guide Josh, through dreams and visions. Josh would often see himself in a spiritual battle, with hideous demons that he was warring against. In one of these vivid dreams, he remembers being at the edge of a cliff, with feelings of hopelessness. In the next moment, Jesus Christ, arose in front of him, commanding an awesome power, with eyes like fire and hair like wool! Josh saw Jesus, as he opened his mouth and sang out a melody that lifted him up to God and encouraged him to keep pressing on. Josh stated that these dreams and visions were enormously influential, in causing his faith to grow in God. These visions have continued their influence on him, unto this day. When he finally decided to live for Jesus 100%, no matter what the cost, he found that he was free from the painful torture, he once endured, day after day.
There is no substitute for Christ's healing
Today, a few years later, Josh is healthy and well. He is also happily married, to the woman of his dreams. He has become an ordained, Christian street ministry Chaplain. He is known as a man of God, who has been used to bring hundreds to the mercy and love of Jesus Christ. He spends as much time as possible, out on the streets, speaking to people about God. Josh once operated as a man who was armed with paranoia and dangerous thinking, but today he is armed with a different kind of motivation, the love of God. Josh is now a soldier of God, extremely dangerous to those who seek to imprison humans, in spiritual sin and death. Lately, Josh has had the opportunity to minister to a patient, at one of the former mental institutions he once had treatment at. He urges those who are in the pain and sorrow of mental illness or depression to not only seek a remedy by medical means but to turn to Jesus with all of your heart and believe in him. Read the Bible and pray. Pray as if your life depends upon it because it does.
"I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:10)