Deliverance for a Drug Dealer
The Testimony of Heath Henning
I was born in Burlington Wisconsin, 1984, as the youngest of three boys. My parents’ relationship was deteriorating before I was born and by the time of my earliest memory, I had no father. I was to only meet him at the age of ten when my mother had given up on my brothers and me for the extent of trouble we caused.
By the age of nine I had been introduced to marijuana and cigarettes. This quickly gave way to stealing from gas stations to maintain my smoking habit. It was at nine years of age I was arrested by the police for the first time which also became a habit. By the age of ten, I was getting drunk; by eleven I was sniffing cocaine and began selling marijuana so I could afford getting high. I was skipping school and constantly in and out of court rooms for the crimes I had committed.
When I was thirteen I spent time in juvenile detention for the first of many times. I was only following the footsteps of my older brothers who had gone through the same system. My oldest brother was waved in to adult court at sixteen for three accounts of armed burglary and sentenced to ten years in prison. My other brother had been shuffled around foster homes, group homes and juvenile detention centers. Because of the many violent actions we had been involved with I fear for my life that someone would seek retaliation. I wouldn’t leave my house without a weapon.
In a court hearing when I was fifteen my mom refused to allow me to return to her house so the judge had no chose but to send me to a group home. I was bounced around in the system for a year and I harbored great bitterness towards my mother for it.
I returned home a weak after I turn sixteen with a car and license. My middle brother had gotten out of jail shortly before I had returned and we began selling drugs again. I dropped out of school because I was selling close to five hundred dollars in street value of cocaine each day and my brother sold a few pounds of marijuana every week. At a time when we had an abundance of drugs and money, life was a constant party with friends. I did whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, yet I was miserable, covering it up with drug induced laughter. I couldn’t trust any of the so-called friends around. I was paranoid that they were planning to rob me for my drugs and money. I feared police, and every person I sold a bag to I wondered if they were snitches or plotting to rob me.
At this time of my life I considered myself a practical atheist. This is to say I rejected the very thought that a God could exist; not because I had an intellectual reason, but simply because it was practical for my lifestyle. If God did exist, He would be a judge; there would be an immutable bases for morality. It was easier to deny such a Being existed than to admit my accountability to Him.
In December of that year, my brother and I were arrested. Sitting in the interrogation room, the police officer enter to slap Polaroid pictures on the table in front of me. He stated that all the drugs in the pictures were found in my car and I was facing twenty year. I laid my head down on the table and for the first time in my life made a prayer. I didn’t know if God existed or if I was just talking to myself, but I was desperate. I prayed for deliverance from my circumstance; what I need was a miracle.
I sat in the interrogation room for hours as my buzz was wearing off. Suddenly, an officer opened the door and told me to leave. This was odd. I was under age and it was after curfew. How could they let me leave? The drugs were still considered in my possession and possession is nine-tenths of the law. I wasn’t about to stop and ask, I just got up and left, wondering if this was the miraculous deliverance I was pleading for. That was the turning point in my mind that caused me to begin questioning whether God truly did exist. Though I didn’t begin a diligent search to find that answer, I kept the thought in the back of my mind for years.
The next few years I indulged in the lust of the flesh, partying, getting high and drunk. I grew marijuana and sold it as well as pharmaceuticals that were stolen. I built a recording studio and was involved with the underground hip-hop culture producing the most abominable music.
When I was nineteen, my oldest brother was released from prison after six year of his ten year sentence. I spent the night talking with him at my mother’s house the day he got home. He borrowed me a book entitled The Signature of God that presented evidence that the Bible was truly the word of God. The evidence presented ranged from archaeology, science, fulfilled prophecies and many other things. I was convinced that the Bible was indeed the word of God so I began to read it. All I knew was that since God is God, whatever the Bible say is true so if I disagreed with it, I was wrong and needed to change my mind.
So I began reading in Genesis. I remember reading through Leviticus with confused emotions. I wanted to conform my life to whatever God’s word said, but I didn’t understand the sacrifices of the Old Testament as a type to be fulfilled in Christ. I recall thinking to myself, “where can I buy a goat?” “How much does one cost?” “Where do we make such sacrifices?” “Is this even legal in America?” I simply interpreted the Scripture literally. Although I didn’t understand, I realized that we sin at a great cost (Isaiah 59:2), and that cost was the blood of an innocent creature that would die in our place (Leviticus 17:11; Hebrews 9:22).
When I reach the New Testament many things began slowly making sense. However, it was Romans chapter three that God used to reveal to me the glorious gospel of salvation (Romans 3:21-31). Finally I understood how the Lord Jesus Christ had fulfilled the sacrifice which calves and goats never could (Hebrews 10:4; 9:11-12). How He shed His blood on the cross and died for my sins (Colossians 1:20; Ephesians 1:7; 1 John. 1:7). How He rose from the grave and offers freely the gift of salvation to all who would put their faith in Him (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; 1 Peter 1:3). How there are no works which I could perform to merit favor from God (Ephesians 2:8-9; Galatians 2:16), but that it was all in the completed works of Jesus Christ Who took the punishment in my place (2 Corinthians 5:21).
After being born again I completed reading the Bible and continued with great fervency to study it thoroughly. I started searching for a church to attend but quickly realized the reality of the Bible’s warning of an end time apostasy of the Christian faith. At this time many people were encouraging me to use my recording studio for God by making “Christian rap.” This was very tempting to me but I felt a strong conviction that it was not acceptable. After thoroughly researching into the Contemporary Christian Music I came to strongly oppose it and I came to realize that it was the Holy Spirit convicting me that this was very wrong. I visited close to seventy churches in the next years and a half before I found one that preached the Bible. It was a small fundamental independent Baptist church.
With over a decade of addiction, it took a while to overcome such a lifestyle. God has graciously transformed my life and has blessed me exceeding abundantly above all that I could ask or think. I served three years as the director of an addictions ministry before moving to East Troy where I now live with my family and am now a member of Mukwonago Baptist Church with a ministry focused on evangelism on a secular university campus and offering apologetic presentations at the weekly Set Free Bible study.