'I Was My Own God'
By Rod Thomas
The 700 Club
CBN.com -“My heart was beating like crazy, and then just a splitting pain in my chest, and then it stopped. It totally had stopped and I’m hearing this voice saying, ‘you're going to die. You're going to die.’”
22 year-old Ben smith was a long way from home when he heard that voice. He had come to London to go to college, but school was the furthest thing from his mind.
“When I got to London that was when I really went crazy and just drank all the time,” says Ben. “I started smoking marijuana, and I did some ecstasy. I wanted freedom and I thought that the freedom that I would find would be in those things and not in God.”
Ben wasraised in a Christian home, and now, the only thing his mother could do was pray.
“He was completely out of control and that was when I really started praying,” she said. “He would call me and I would just pray with him. I’d tell him the fullness of the truth. I’d use scripture.”
Ben only saw God as someone to give him what he wanted.
“I wanted some power. I wanted some control over my life. I really wanted God to be my genie,” says Ben. “I just wanted to rub the magic lamp and then all of a sudden, boom, money starts falling from the sky, beautiful women start falling from the sky, you know? Porsches, Ferraris, the whole bit.”
One day Ben says a stranger approached him on the street. “He said, ‘thank God every day. Promise me you'll do that.’ and I was like ‘yeah, okay.’ Then I said, ‘maybe I should thank god.’”
Though Ben thought about what the man said about God, he was still focused on getting what he wanted and on his terms. He started reading a book that seemed to give him answers.
“The book was basically about how you can be a god, and that Jesus had this realization and that he tried to pass this realization on to humanity. And I started thinking about it and I just had this belief all of a sudden that I was a god,” Ben remembers.
“This spiritual force comes into the room, almost instantaneously and it felt blissful. It got stronger and stronger and all of a sudden the bliss became so powerful on my physical body that it totally turned into total terror. And it felt like I was being pushed through my bed and like I was going through the floors of my apartment. I had my eyes closed because I’m trying to get in touch with this, because I thought it was God. It was like, ‘if you kept going where would you wind up? You're going down, not up. Where would you wind up?’ and I said, ‘in hell.’"
Ben says he wasn’t on drugs, nor was he dreaming. To him it was real. He asked a friend about it, who took him to a man named Daniel. In his home, things got even stranger.
“I could hear him communicate to me telepathically and he was sitting there looking at me and I was hearing his voice,” Ben recalls. “I look up at him and he's staring at me with just these Hitler like eyes with his hand on his temple. All of a sudden my heart’s just starts beating involuntarily just boom, boom; and then just a splitting pain in my chest and it stopped. It totally had stopped. I felt the blood stagnate in my veins.”
Ben’s body never left the room, but he says his spirit went to a place he believes was the gates of hell.
“It was the same room and the shape of the room and the same people and the shape of the people only they weren’t the same people. It wasn’t the same room. So, I looked around and said, ‘what’s going on here?’ they weren’t going to answer my question.”
“Then I asked to talk to Satan. Daniel leaned forward and said ‘you can’t talk to Satan yet,’ just as cold as you can imagine. Then I saw myself actually with massive amounts of money, massive amounts of power. I was like, ‘yeah, hey, this isn't so bad.’ And it was suddenly like I had a chance to literally sell my soul to Satan and I would get all these things and I’d get a shot back on earth."
But Ben realized that he was being lied to.
“Then I said, ‘I want to talk to Jesus.’ And as soon as I said that, these guys get thrown back into their chairs. There's this glorious light. It was like a beautiful luminescence. But in it was love. At the same time, I’m hearing, ‘no, he's not going to save you. He's not going to save you from Satan,’” Ben recalls. “I just keep begging god. I’m like, ‘Jesus save me.’ At that second, air came back in my lungs and my heart began to beat.”
Ben ran out of the apartment, and drove himself home, but his heart was still racing. He told his roommates to call an ambulance. He had enough strength to call his mother and asked her to pray.
“He said, "mom, I’m having a heart attack, I’m dying, I’ve got to go to the hospital,” his mother remembers. “I had gotten to where I was pretty fervent in my prayer and I was beginning to understand really praying prayers of faith. I called the 700 Club. I’d joined them that summer before and I thought, ‘I’ve got to have some power behind me.’"
Emergency workers stabilized Ben’s heart. In the emergency room, he thought about all that happened.
“While I was waiting, I wrestled with faith, like what is faith? And so I was like, ‘you just have to trust that God saved you for a reason.’”
When Ben left the hospital, he called for a cab to take him home.
“I get in the cab and I shut the door but I was still terrified and I needed to state an absolute reality, so I said, ‘there's a heaven and a hell, there's a good and evil, and there's a God and his name is Jesus Christ,’” Ben said. “The cab driver literally jumps in his seat, turns around and he says, ‘let me tell you something brother, you are absolutely right!’
The driver was also a pastor of a local church. Ben shared his story, and the pastor led him in a prayer to ask Christ into his heart.
“We prayed the prayer, ‘forgive me of my sins. I believe in you,’ and I believed in God,” Ben recalled. “And he just paused for a second and then he said, ‘and I pray that you would receive the Holy Spirit.’ And when he said that, I felt the Holy Spirit fall on me. It literally fell and this just total peace, this calmness fell on me. And I knew that I was saved.”
His mother was thrilled when she spoke to Ben.
“It was just the beginning, I think of really beginning to see all that God can do, and how He answers prayer,” she says.
Ben returned home to Texas, and started focusing on his new life with God. Now, he is truly free.
“I was desperately in bondage mentally, about the things that I believed, about the way that I should live all those things. I was totally a slave to lies,” Ben said. “Even when we are not faithful, He is faithful. And you see that, that's His kindness and that's the kindness that leads you to repentance. And so, finally, I’ve gotten to the point of not my will but our will be done; also, that I can trust Him.”
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