Wake up calls aren’t always answered. The “phone” rings, but we humans easily dismiss the signs that something in our life has gone wrong. Our darkness causes certain symptoms that are so clear in hindsight, but are so easily dismissed as we are in the midst of our experiences. For Zach Noyes, one date in particular stands out.
On November 27, 2013, Zach was walking home after an event that shook him to his core. He was walking home after spending a night in jail for driving under the Influence of alcohol. He remembers that it was a four mile walk from jail to his home. He remembers thinking, “I can’t drink, ever again.”
During that walk his “phone” rang.
The thing about phone calls is that someone has to pick up the phone, dial our number and wait for us to answer. All we have to do is pick up and answer. The caller has a reason for communicating, for reaching out to us. In this case, the phone call was spiritual and the receiver was Zach Noyes and the reason was his life was about to change.
The caller? Jesus Christ.
Jesus came knocking and Zach answered. Zach realized that his priorities were all screwed up. “I was living for myself,” he said. He was trying to dull the pain of human existence and do anything to make himself happy. He now recognizes that the problem with alcohol and any other coping mechanism is that they’re never enough. He recalls learning from a sermon at Apex that we’re all trying to fill a God-shaped void in our lives. We do all kinds of things to support these costly habits; things that we are ashamed of. This points to the downward spiral of trying to stuff something into that void that simply cannot do so.
Zach found that void has been filled with perfect success by none other than Jesus Christ Himself. As a result, his new priority is, “trying to become the man that God wants me to be.”
This meant making some serious changes in his life. He went through his phone and removed more than 100 contacts; people that would encourage him to return to his old life style. He stopped hanging out with them and now relates that people he once partied with now no longer even ask. He worked to remove even the opportunity for temptation. He currently attends two house churches, is participating in a quad and is serving at Apex as part of the Apex Family ministry.
Zach points out that God’s grace was visible through several people in his church and family that welcomed him into their lives and homes; who poured energy and love into him.
“My life was a broken mess and all these people came out of the woodwork to love on me,” he said.
Love that clearly came from Jesus. He specifically talks about his sister, Nicole, who immediately demonstrated selfless support throughout this ordeal. He had to cancel a trip to see his family in New York because of his DUI, and his sister remained home with him and gave up her vacation clearly out of love for him. She broke the news to his parents whom he recalls being terribly disappointed. Once they saw he was serious about changing his life, they supported him wholeheartedly.
He clearly sees the grace God had for him even during the legal proceedings following the DUI. The penalties were half of the possible total; he did not lose his driver’s license but had a six month suspension of his driving privileges, except for work and church. During this restriction, this loss of freedom, Zach came to realize that his idea of freedom and control over his life were the exact opposite of true freedom.
He now finds his freedom in, “reading the Word with a purpose” and is growing in his prayer life. God’s grace is now real. He wants to put himself in a place of utter submission. Submission to the One on the other end of that phone call.
When the phone rang, he answered.
Author: Jonathan Allain