A Violent Crime Almost Ended His Search for Approval
By Rod Thomas
The 700 Club
CBN.com-“I checked the doorknob and the door was open, so as I came in the house, before I can even get my gun up all the way, he had his gun open and we got into a shoot out.”
As a hardened criminal, Rodrick Daniels knew no boundaries, and it nearly cost him his life. Like most young boys, Rodrick never even considered a life of crime. In fact, as a pastor’s son, he aspired to be something much different.
“I really admired my dad. I always wanted to be like my dad. I can remember doing the altar calls and it seemed like every Sunday I would come up just because that was my dad.”
But his dad’s obligations left little time for his son, and Rodrick began to see God in that same light. “My understanding of God and Christ was, and who Jesus was, was a little bit skewed because it felt like I could never receive the approval of my dad. So I always believed that God never really received me.”
He found acceptance on the streets. “I started stealing and getting stuff that I thought I needed to get the approval of the people that were around me at that age. (I was) breaking in lockers at school and stealing from the store.”
The deeper he got into crime, the bolder, and more violent he became. “I was a beast, and I was a taker. If you had it and I wanted it, it was mine. It didn't matter who you were. I'd stick a gun in your face and take it.”
Over the years, Rodrick had short stints in prison for weapons, and drug trafficking. Eventually he married Nicole and they started a family. “There was nothing that she wouldn't do for me. If I needed her to pick up a gun, or to take some money here (she would do it). I would never get her involved, but she would know what was going on.”
Eventually, he found something more profitable than selling dope – he ripped off other drug dealers. “We would actually follow them home and hide in the garage until they pulled up and tie them up and make them get the drugs or the money.”
But one time, the dealer saw him coming, and was waiting. “He ended up shooting me five times; once in the head. I had a bullet go right through my head, and it went through my inner ear. Rodrick made it out of the house and collapsed on the street. “I was spitting up blood and I just had this overwhelming peace come over me. And I just laid there man, and just started praying to God that He would take care of my family, because I pretty much knew that it was over.”
No vital organs were hit, and his accomplice got him to a hospital. After he recovered he tried to go straight but on his own he couldn’t, and was soon using heroin. To fuel his habit, he started holding up stores – without a mask. “Inside I wanted to get caught. I wanted this whole thing to end. It was something in me that was saying, ‘This needs to end.’”
Twice, he was caught on camera, and police were staked out at their house. “I can remember telling my wife I was going to rob a bank. She's like, ‘no, don't leave, just stay.’ I eventually pulled out and sure enough, here comes a DT car. And then Nicole called me, my wife, she said, "you seen the police behind you?" I said, "yep." I said, "Well, it's over."
He was arrested and faced serious prison time. While in custody, he realized that to change his life, he needed help. “I just prayed and asked God to help me. I said, ‘God, I can't do it.’ I said, ‘I need you.’ I said, ‘I really need you,’ and that's when an overwhelming sense of grief hit me real hard. I really wanted to change.”
Rodrick was sentenced to five years. While inside, he prayed and studied the Bible everyday. The word of God is what eventually infiltrated my life and it made sense to me because I could read it, and the words came alive and Christ and the Holy Spirit just accepted me and came into my life and infiltrated my life. I felt there was worth; I had a purpose.
On the outside, Nicole had also become a Christian, and after his release, she and Rodrick were reunited. “That's my queen and I know that she loves the Lord and if I'm lacking, she can fill in. Where she's lacking, I can fill in. Today, Rodrick is fulfilling his childhood dream of being a man who, like his father, shares the love of Christ with others. He is grateful to God for another chance.
“God had a plan for my life. So now I understand that. And I understand the reason why I lived. I lived because Christ had work for me to do and He had souls that he wanted to win out there in the streets. I know that if I seek God and seek His face every day and put Him first and serve Him, I'm on the right path.”
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