Ray Thomas sold drugs, did time in prison and went on the run for seven years before attempting to take his own life. He believes he died, experienced hell, and came back to life. He told Christian Today about his journey to faith, and how he’s now mobilising young people to change in their communities.
Ray left home as a teenager and began experimenting with drugs. When he moved onto selling them, he ended up in prison and spent a year in jail; an experience he says was “horrible”. After leaving prison he soon got back into drugs and went on the run for seven years, before eventually handing himself in and going back to jail. “At 35 I was a broken man… I came off the phone to my mum absolutely heartbroken and in tears and said if this is life, there’s got to be more.”
“I remember looking up, I didn’t know why at the time, and said ‘If you’re really there, God, save me.’ Two weeks later there was a knock on my cell door, and they said someone was there to see me, which was weird because I didn’t get many visitors. When I walked into a holding cell, a little old lady was sat there. She smiled at me and I smiled back, and she said ‘You have a lovely smile, God’s got a plan for your life’… that point was the start of my Christian journey. But I left prison not knowing what it was to be a Christian.”
After falling back into drugs, Ray almost died several times. He fell on a live railway line and 720 volts went through his body, but thankfully the train was late. “I remember coming off the railway line and someone said to me, ‘God must have a plan for your life,’ and I thought that rang a bell,” he recalls. However, he attempted to kill himself twice more. It was only upon a third attempt, in a bathtub at home, that he succeeded.
“I took half an ounce of cocaine, which would kill anyone, and I died. On my last breath, as my organs were failing and I was catastrophically overheating, I said ‘Lord would you give me one
more chance?’ and then I went to a place that I would describe as hopeless nothingness,” he says. “It was utter darkness and separation from God… I knew the anguish of being there, and I
knew there was no way back. Now… In that place I said ‘Tell my brother I love him’, and I don’t know why, but I was pulled back,” he recalls.
“I sat up in the bath and my organs were all working fine. I was in my right mind, I had no side effects of drugs, and I heard God’s audible voice saying, ‘Go back and save your brother’. I saw the face of Jesus in front of me, and that was the start of another part of the journey.” Now, Ray leads Rise Up, a mentoring programme in the South West which this week was part of the TAG youth conference in Exeter.
Source: Christian Today
BIBLE STUDY: John 5:24-26
PRAISE God that He is in the business of raising the spiritually dead, as He did with Ray. PRAY that many young people may be led from a life of drugs and death to true life in Christ.