Arrest Leads to Spiritual Freedom
By Randy Rudder
The 700 Club
CBN.com -Brandon Stearns was within minutes of committing suicide. “I wrote a note to my wife and said, ‘Tell Clayton I love him, and I’m sorry.’ I took my wedding ring off and put it on the note and then took a 45-cabler pistol out on a ridge, and I put the gun to my head.”
Brandon was tired--tired of his eight-year addiction to methamphetamines, of being arrested, and of letting his family down. “I just didn’t want to live anymore.”
Brandon grew up in a good family that attended church regularly. One day, on their way home from church, his mother stopped the car to have a heart-to-heart talk with her son. “We were driving down the road and she was presenting the Gospel to me,” he recalls. “And it was that day, when I was 12 years old, that I asked Christ into my heart.”
For a while he grew in his faith, but later took a detour down some very dark roads. When he was 19, someone introduced him to meth. “Methamphetamine has about an eight-minute high and, the person who takes it for the very first time, actually chases that eight minute high the rest of their life,” Brandon relates. “Immediately, it was nothing but a spiral downhill from the point that I took that drug the first time.”
His journey included arrests and several trips to the emergency room. “If it wasn’t going into the hospital, I was going to jail for possession of methamphetamines, for giving false information to police officers. Upon being arrested, I would be thrown into drug court programs, or 30-day live-in programs. My parents spent $7,000 and took me down to a place in Fresno to try to get me cleaned up, and nothing was ever able to deliver me from the grip that methamphetamines had on my life.”
Brandon almost died twice as a result of his drug abuse. “I actually mixed some marijuana with some methamphetamines, and ended up smoking it, and I had a bad reaction to it. I was told by the nurse, ‘If you don’t bear down and re-set your heart, your blood pressure is 220 over 110. You’re going to have a heart attack. You’re going to code on this table.’”
During this time, Brandon also met and married Sarah, who had no clue how deep her husband was into the drug culture. “That world to me was so far off, it wasn’t even a reality to me. I didn’t understand what the drug world was, and what it entailed,” she says.
“For about four years, I drug her through literal hell,” Brandon says. “I would always lose my jobs. I’d be gone two or three days at a time and they would come looking for me. I would say I was going to help a friend put a stereo in, and the next thing you know, I’m down in the Valley, with someone who was picking up a large amount of drugs.”
Sarah tried to help him, but Brandon’s addiction was too strong. “I thought every time he told me, ‘Oh I’m done, I’m sorry. I’m sorry,’ I believed him. And it became that co-dependent lifestyle.”
Eventually Brandon lost hope and decided to kill himself. But he couldn’t pull the trigger. “I just began to think about my mom finding me out there, and that being the last thing that my mom saw: her son with his head blown off sitting at the end of the ridge, and I just couldn’t do it. I broke down and started crying.”
Brandon was put on the county’s most wanted list for grand theft auto, possession, and burglary, all stemming from his meth addiction. “I was running for about six days. It was time. God would not let me go. Everywhere I went, people had their houses raided. Businesses would get raided. Every time I would leave a place, the police were hitting the place within minutes.”
Brandon was riding in a friend’s car when he noticed red lights flashing behind them. “They surrounded the car that I was in, and so I took the last cigarette that I smoked out of my mouth and put it on the ground. They threw me in the police car, and that day, on that road, I just leaned my head against the cop car window, and I said, ‘Lord I don’t want to be this person anymore. This is not what I want to be and I need you to change me.’”
Brandon was convicted and sentenced to four years in jail. While he was there, Sarah filed for divorce. “It was four years of empty promises,” Brandon says regretfully. “When I went to prison, that was it. It was over. Nobody in her right mind could stay with somebody like that. It was absolutely a horrible time in my life.”
One night, Brandon had a vision from God. “I saw somebody standing in front of me with his back turned to me, and I could only see from the shoulders down,” he recalls. “It looked like an older, brown garment, and a hand reached back and motioned me with his fingers, and said, ‘Follow me. Follow me.’ He said that three times. And I took a step to follow Him, and the vision ended.”
In that moment, Brandon dedicated his life to Christ. “I chose to follow the Lord, and just dig into His Word and just seek after Him like I’ve never sought after anything in my life.”
Brandon was released after three years, and found some strong Christian men to mentor him. “I am just absolutely blown away at the work that the Lord has done in a little over nine years in my life, thirty-six months of that in prison.”
Brandon and Sarah later reconciled and remarried. Sarah became a Christian when she saw the change in Brandon. Today he is the pastor of a growing church in California, and finally knows what it really means to be free.
“Jesus is the key that unlocks every door. He is the Deliverer. He is a Strong Tower. He is the Comforter. He is the Keeper of His people. He is the Son of the Living God. He is God in the flesh, and He is absolutely everything to me. It doesn’t matter how far you’ve gone or how long you’ve been there. If you call out to God, no matter where you are, He will answer you. God is never so far away that you can’t find Him or you can’t call to Him.”
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