Those who hunger will be filled: Doug’s story

Doug found his hunger and thirst were filled when he learned the simple truth about who Jesus was when He lived on earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst

Jesus said: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6. Doug experienced this personally when years of emptiness came to a rich end. He found his hunger and thirst were filled when he learned the simple truth about who Jesus was when He lived on earth.

Audio Transcript: “Those who hunger will be filled: Doug’s story”

Narrator: Doug Lowery is a man with a strong faith, who has for many years lived a fulfilling life as a disciple of Jesus. But it took many years of searching before he found this life.

Doug: I grew up in a good home. I was the youngest of eight children. Mom and Dad were really good parents. We were a Christian family and I remember going to church every Sunday with my parents, we had that good moral basis to our life, which I’m really thankful for, actually. And I remember growing up we lived on a little farm, a little ranch, and we had some cows and horses. I remember as a young guy having my horse; mom and dad bought me a horse when I was 10 and 12 years old. And riding a horse around the farm and around the roads and up in the mountains. Just really good memories. Really fun time.

Narrator: When Doug was 11 years old, something happened that changed the course of not only his life, but that of his whole family.

Doug: My oldest brother, who was 12 years older than me, he was involved in a very serious motorcycle accident. He was severely brain damaged. And as an 11-year-old boy, that had quite an effect on me, because I was forced to ask questions like, “Who is God? And what if I die? Where am I going to go?” I think it made my heart and conscience tender. Thinking that death is so close to somebody you love, and you start to think about your own life and your own mortality.

Narrator: As Doug grew up, and throughout his high school years, he never really felt his questions, and his longing for God, were fulfilled.

Doug: As a young person, especially if you grow up in a small town like I did, you kind of think, well maybe the source of my dissatisfaction and my emptiness is this boring town I’m living in. So I’m going to do something different. I’m going to do something exciting to change my life. So that’s when I signed up for the marine corps. As I was in the marines, doing exciting things, and doing those things that I thought would fulfill my longing and make me happy, the dissatisfaction and the longings only grew more intense. That exciting lifestyle I was living didn’t solve the problem at all.

Narrator: When he was 21, Doug was discharged from the military, and his restlessness and searching caused him to move around a bit. In San Diego, he applied to an apprenticeship program, and while he waited to hear if he would be accepted, he went back to Montana once more, to help his dad on the farm. That summer of 1989, something happened that changed everything for Doug.

Doug: So, I was celebrating the 4th of July with some friends and after the fireworks show, I decided I was going to go home. I had to work the next day. So, as I was driving home, all of a sudden what I saw in front of me was a vehicle that was stalled in the middle of the road, perpendicular in the road, and there was nothing I could do to avoid it. I didn’t even have time to put on my brakes. And it’s quite interesting, as I was processing this in my mind and I saw that car just kind of appear out of nowhere, I remember very clearly saying to myself: “I’m dead.” Because I was going about 60 mph and I just didn’t think there was any way I was going to live through this.

Narrator: Doug hit the car head on, and his car flipped end over end, finally landing on the hood. It slid down the pavement for a bit, and Doug was seriously injured.

Doug: It was such a severe impact; I don’t remember a lot of detail from that point to when I was extracted by the emergency crew, but sometime during that time the car caught on fire. And the story goes – it was even in a newspaper the next day – how a stranger showed on the scene, with a fire extinguisher and he put out the fire, and then he kind of just disappeared! So, whether he was a nearby trucker, or an angel – my wife is convinced it was an angel – but anyway, that helped spare my life. So, as I was recovering in the hospital, it gave me some time to reflect. I knew, there was no doubt in my mind that God had spared my life in that accident. I saw pictures of the car some friends had brought me, and I thought, “Wow, there’s no way I should have lived through that! Now I’m hurt and laid up. And I probably won’t be able to go back to San Diego and do that apprenticeship program. What am I going to do with my life?” It was kind of a hopeless feeling I had in many ways.

Narrator: So Doug applied to the University of Montana instead, and started college there in January of 1990.

Doug: Here I’d just been spared from death in this accident, and decided I needed to alter my life, change what I was doing. My intention was to try to live different. So, I was going to college. Got good grades. Everything was going good that way. But I found myself slipping back into the same old lifestyle. Everything revolved around having fun. Everything revolved around myself. And I knew there had to be more than that to life. Because just trying to have fun didn’t fulfill these inner longings I had. It feels so empty. I remember doing things with my friends, and going out on weekends, and you know we’d do fun activities, and go skiing or whatever, and I’d come back and there was this empty feeling in my gut.

Narrator: This feeling was like being in chains for Doug. He couldn’t describe what the feeling was, but he knew he wasn’t free. It was like a heavy weight was holding him back. But then he met a man who shared with him who Jesus was, in a way that Doug had never heard it before.

Doug: This man was able to share from the Bible and teach me that Jesus was a man just like me! He was tempted in every respect like I was tempted. He was tempted, and that He never sinned when He was tempted. And that really resonated with me. That this is true. This Jesus was tempted in every respect. He didn’t sin – can’t I do that? Can that happen with me? So that made a huge impact on my life. Just that knowledge that Jesus was a man like me and wasn’t some mystical figure. Because that’s what I had thought about Him. He was a mystical figure who really didn’t … Well, He was God, right? He didn’t need any help. But that’s not what the Bible says about Him. It says He was a man just like me in every respect, and He was tempted in all respects. So now I could see Jesus as a man who was on the same level that I was, in that way. That He was a man who knew what temptation was, and He could help me in my temptations.

I realized at that point that these longings and desires that I had were actually a desire to become free from sin. I had been bound to sin. I didn’t even know how to phrase that, or how to articulate it, but I was living a life that totally revolved around myself. Totally revolved around having fun. There was nobody outside of my life that I really cared about, in that way, other than myself and fulfilling my own lusts.

Narrator: Doug was given a book that explored in depth this concept of who Jesus was, as He was written about in God’s word. He started it on a Friday night and was so engrossed by it that he finished it the next day.

Doug: And the book taught me that in my own temptations that I haven’t necessarily sinned because I’m tempted. It’s actually my own lusts and desires that dwell inside of me that cause me to be tempted. And if I don’t agree with those thoughts, and I don’t want those thoughts to come into being, then I can actually get help and fight against them so that I don’t have to give into these temptations that come my way. And that was totally – that was a radical concept to me. It gave me a hope in my life that now Jesus can help me too, because He was tempted, He overcame. He cried out to God and got help. I can do the same thing. My life can change, I can get help.

I remember closing that book thinking, “Now what God? What do I do now?” I just had this tremendous sense, I needed to get down on my knees and ask for forgiveness. So right then and there on the spot I got down on my knees and asked God to forgive me and I asked Jesus to come into my heart. It wasn’t like the world had been turned upside down in that way, outwardly, but in my heart, I felt like I had an anchor. I had a way to go.

I read God’s word a lot. I really read in the Scriptures. I had a real hunger that … a hunger and a thirst, like Jesus says. I had a hunger and thirst that I wanted to know what the word said. Teach me, and instruct me. And in all simplicity, He was able to do that. What was the biggest help for me was to see how Jesus Himself took it. What He did as a young man. He was tempted powerfully, in every respect. And He cried out to God for help in His time of need. So that’s what I did. God helped me in my time of need.

So, as I’ve been developing in my Christian life, God has really given me grace to overcome. I’ve been able to overcome sin inside of me as He’s given me light. As a brand-new Christian, it was a matter of being able to overcome youthful lusts. But as we grow and develop and continue to go this way, then God gives us new light about things inside of me that He wants to change. There were things inside of me that I didn’t even know needed changing. I didn’t know that honor seeking and envy, and those things that dwell inside of us as people, I didn’t know that that was even something that was wrong until God gave me light over it. And then He gives me light that: “Hey Doug! In that situation that you were just in, you were actually seeking honor from that person.” Or: “Doug, isn’t that envy that’s welling up inside of you right now?” When that voice speaks to me, it’s actually an opportunity to overcome. I’m being tempted and I can now go to the throne of grace and get help in my time of need to overcome envy, overcome honor-seeking, overcome any of these things that God gives me light about.

But it’s been a process in my life where God doesn’t give me light over everything all at one time. No man could bear that. So as I’m faithfully walking in the light that God has given me today, He continues to show me more and more areas that He wants to help me in, He wants to cleanse me from.

I’d have to say that I’ve genuinely experienced that my life has been fulfilled. From somebody who has been empty and longing for more to somebody who has a peace and rest and comfort in the middle of my life. But yet, in that I’m still making progress. I’m still getting light over what could be better and what could be even more blessed. It’s the way Jesus Himself lived. He was in development right up until the very end. And it’s the most satisfying life possible.

Jesus can help you overcome sin; He can help you become a happy person. You can go the same way that He went. You can get power to overcome sin in your life. And that is the most satisfactory thing that a person could ever live. Just think that these bonds and these chains that are holding you, preventing you from being happy, preventing this longing from being fulfilled, that can be broken. Your longings can be fulfilled in Christ Jesus. He has the power to help you overcome.

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Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.