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CBN.com The year is 1970. Thirty-year-old Al Jandl takes a gunshot to the head. It wasn’t the first time Al found himself on the wrong end of a gun. Most of Al’s life was troubled by violence, alcohol abuse, and broken marriages. But to tell Al’s story, we have to take you to his childhood.
“As a kid growing up I was completely insecure,” Al tells The 700 Club. “I had all kinds of complexes. I hated life. I can just remember the screaming, the fighting. My dad was an alcoholic.”
It was the early 1940s. Al was only six and had already found trouble. He got kicked out of the first grade.
He was sent to a Lutheran school where he learned about God. But in high school, he followed in his father’s footsteps and became an alcoholic. He was desperate for love and fell for a girl who was pregnant with another man’s baby.
“And I told her, ‘If you don’t give that baby away, I’ll marry you.’ She accepted that offer one day and I married that girl.”
Al and his wife had their own child and the young family seemed complete. His wife had another baby. But Al noticed that the child didn’t look like him. His wife confessed.
“She got pregnant by that same married man again,” Al says. “She told me she was sleeping with him while we were married. She told me that they were having an affair. I was so angry, I went looking for that man.
“I’ve always been a little short guy. I always carried a gun ‘cause I would get beat up so much. So I went looking for him…”
The man survived the gunshot wounds, and Al was arrested.
While serving a three-month jail sentence, he got word that his wife was still having the affair. Hurt and angry, Al made a bold declaration.
“I said, ‘God, good guys never win. Only bad guys win. I want You to get out of my life.’
He took me up on it.”
He divorced his wife and married another woman or, rather, a few other women.
“I got a girl pregnant. I married her. Our marriage didn’t even last three years. I divorced my second wife on August the 13th and married my third wife on August the 14th,” Al recalls. “She was real wild. She got killed in a plane crash.”
At 30 he was back in the dating game. One day he stopped by a friend’s house for a drink. He didn’t realize the woman wanted more than his friendship. When he rejected her advances, she pulled out a gun.
“She said, ‘I’m going to shoot you.’ So she put the gun right up against my back and pulled the trigger.”
The bullet lodged in Al’s spinal cord. He stumbled out into the street. A 17-year-old girl who Al knew came to his rescue. He recovered and married the young girl.
If you’ve lost track, this is wife No. 4 but this marriage was different from the others. Al and his new wife decided to attend church. After a service, the pastor said something to Al that stuck in his mind.
Al recalls, “The pastor then followed me outside and said to me, ‘Son, you could be dead in the morning.’ I said to him, ‘If that’s the kind of God you serve, I want no part of this.’ And he said to me, ‘Son, I’m not telling you [that] you could be dead in the morning. I’m telling you you’re going to be dead in the morning.’”
“You’re going to be dead in the morning.” Those words echoed in Al’s mind as he lied in the floor. Although unconscious, Al was very much aware of what was happening.
“The second that happened I came out of my body,” Al says. “I went up to the roof. I can remember talking to God and saying, ‘God, give me another chance. I promise I’ll be good this time. I promise I’ll be good.’ I had promised God that if He’d let me live I would quit drinking, quit smoking. I would start going to church every Sunday.”
Al recovered. As life returned to normal, he quickly forgot the promises he made to God.
“I didn’t go to church. I was still drinking, I was still smoking.”
Two years later, Al caught his wife with another man. He got his gun, but this time it wasn’t to seek revenge. This time, it was to end his own life. But then he remembered that lonely night in prison where he told God to stay out of his life.
“Look at what a mess my life is now,” Al says. He asked God, “If You’re out there anywhere, please come back into my life and help me.
“I found a Bible in the closet. I opened it up to the book of Revelation. I don’t know why. I started reading. The power of God hit me. I jumped up and ran. I threw away my cigarettes and all the alcohol I had in the house and ran out in the street hollering, ‘This is the happiest day of my life!’”
At age 32, his life was changed in an instant.
“I’d been through Alcoholic Anonymous. I tried to quit smoking. I did everything in my power. I couldn’t do it. But He delivered me in one night, in one second.”
Today, Al Jandl serves God as pastor of a thriving church in Texas. He married one more time, and they’ve been together for more than 30 years.
“Man, if you meet the Lord, things are going to change in your life for the better. You’ll find your purpose, your destiny and the reason why you’re on this earth,” Al says. “My life wouldn’t be what it is today if Jesus Christ hadn’t died on the cross for me.”
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