This wonderful story of transformation tells of how a couple whose lives were devastated by depression and alcoholism have found freedom and peace through turning to God.
As a young adult, Rex had a tough time. His wife had been unfaithful many times and their marriage was on the rocks. He was drinking 10 to 12 pints of beer most nights after work to cope with the stress and misery, and he was often drunk. Eventually the marriage ended in divorce and Rev moved home to look after his father who was dying of cancer.
On top of these problems, Rex seemed to be accident prone to the extreme. Within a short timespan he fell off an archway, crashed his car over a wall, and reversed into a police vehicle. And this was just the start! It was even due to an accident that he met his new wife Bev, but this time it wasn’t Rex’s fault. She managed to ‘herd’ a cow into a hole and he had to use a digger to drag the unfortunate animal out again.
Rex and Bev shared a drink problem from the beginning of their relationship. When their children were born Bev suffered from post-natal depression and this fuelled the alcohol issue, which also made her violent at times. It led to fighting between them and created an unhappy home environment for the children. Rex often looked after the children because she would regularly be intoxicated both day and night. Eventually this led to Bev having a nervous breakdown and a spell in hospital. Still the drinking continued.
Then, after both of them suffering years of misery, a miracle happened.
Rex says, “Bev met two Christians who asked her to go to church.” And she did just that! At first she would go to church on a Sunday morning still pretty drunk from the night before, but eventually she stopped going out on Saturday evenings so that she could go to church sober. “I slowly noticed change”, Rex adds. “It took time. She became happier and calm again and lots better after baptism, like someone new, more alive.”
Seeing the change in Bev encouraged Rex to give it a try.
At first he just went to a few social events. He attended an ‘Alpha’ course mainly to please Bev. One evening, Rex had injured his back and was in such pain that he had to lay in the back of the car while a friend drove him to the church meeting. In the church he was laying on the floor in agony when people began to pray for him. Rex says, “15 minutes later the pain was gone, and I felt fine. I am convinced now that the enemy [devil] had tried to stop me going on the Alpha course.”
There was now no going back. Rex had seen a massive change in Bev, and he was ready to become a Christian himself. He could see clearly in his wife that God was real and that he did help those who ask just like he promised. The following weekend he gave his life to Christ. Soon afterwards he too was baptised.
There have been a number of further miracles for both Rex and Bev following their commitment to Christ. Rex came out of an operation deaf in one ear, but years later after prayer he was able to hear again. He suffered from depression and panic attacks, which led to him having to take early retirement, but God healed him. He was also healed of arthritis.
Bev had a relapse and got so drunk one night that she ended up in hospital. Disappointing as this was at the time, they believe now that God allowed it to happen to bring about complete healing so that she could be ready for her next role. “Now Bev is teetotal.” Rex shares. “… She had signed up for street pastors and couldn’t be drunk one week and be a street pastor the next!” The Bible says in Romans chapter 8;
“… in all things God works for the good for those who love him…”
Rex and Bev see that God was at work even in their darkest times. They recognise that the bad things that happen to us are often instigated by the devil, who does exist, but they have also seen that God is able to turn many negative situations around to bring both Rex and Bev into a loving relationship with him and with each other;
“God has always had a plan for me and protected me. In all the accidents I had where the enemy tried to get rid of me, God watched over me. And He was working for us both before we even realised it. Without Him we could have split up or one of us could have died. We are stronger because of what we have been through together with God. When I first came to church a friend said, ‘When you get to know Him, the Lord is awesome’, and He is awesome!”
Story by Ralph Burden
Photo: Rex and Bev. photo attribution: taken by Myrtle Lawrence and used with permission.