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November 30, 2020

What were you doing 41 years ago today? As I write this, about this time 41 years ago, I was unconscious, riding in an ambulance between Stanley and Marshfield, Wisconsin. I had just been shot by the police (I was responsible for this; the police were doing their duty – thank you Mr. L). I had been taken by ambulance to the Stanley hospital and they were able to temporarily stabilize me, but my injuries were critical, and I needed to be taken to a larger hospital. We arrived, over icy roads, and I was rushed into surgery (I still have the papers with my x signature on them). This was on a Friday evening and I came to on the following Monday evening. (I do not remember all that happened, but it has been told and shared with me by various folks).
What I do remember is this? First of all, before all of this happened, I wanted to die. Life was horrible, nothing was going my way, I was depressed, and the world was against me… or so I thought. So, I attempted suicide. After this happened, I realized that I did not want to die but wanted to live and life was not as bad as I thought. Although it was going to get harder! I also remember the pain of being shot and the pain from the infection (gangrene).
To make a long story short, the surgery went well (other than my right hand) and I was in the hospital for a while, recuperating and therapy, especially learning to walk again. I was transferred to Clark County Jail, did my High School schoolwork there (graduated but could not attend graduation), went to trial and was sentenced to Green Bay Correctional Institution (prison) and then paroled.
I bring this up because today is the 41st Anniversary of my dying which led to wanting to live. Of getting another chance. Of realizing there is always hope. After all of these years, the memories haven’t faded, and my missing fingers and scars remind me of poor decisions. It’s like the new song by John Anderson “I’m Still Hangin On” that reminds me of this journey. “So many who served with me, are lost and they’re not here today (hang in there, Tim), one wrong move and you’d be dead or back, I was tryin’ to pull my life together, you could knock me down with just a feather, how I’m still here remains a mystery, there were people makin’ bets, that I’d be dead and gone, oh, but I’m still hangin’ on (my paraphrase).”
Another song I heard recently is by Margo Price “Prisoner of the Highway”. Some of her lyrics really hit home: “Had chains around my ankles, handcuffs on my wrists. I was haunted by decisions and the simple things I missed… and I don’t know where I’m headed, and I don’t know where it ends.”
My point in sharing this is that it is not a mystery why I am still here. You see, God had other plans for me. Obviously, the plans I had for myself were not going well and if God can use me, God can use you. If God can pull me out of the mess, I got myself into, God can get you out of the situation you are in. Yes, I was haunted by my decisions and I didn’t know where I was headed (other than an early grave) but now I know where I am headed and, as long as I trust in
God and place God first, I do know where it ends (and there will not be chains and handcuffs, hallelujah!) On this anniversary day, I pray that each and every one of you find what I have found: a lifetime of hope. God bless and God’s got this!

About Rev. Bud Budzinski

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