When Lonnie and I were together, when we were married, she started collecting lighthouses. For some reason, I didn't pay much attention to it. I thought, oh, that's kind of neat. And I said, you know, there's a story behind that thing, about me.
I was very involved in our church. I was a trumpet player, I've been a trumpet player since high school and I played in church quite a bit. One day I was invited to go to Las Vegas with one of my customers. I went with him - I had never gambled in my life. I did so when I was there.
Lonnie found out I did this and she wasn't very happy and I don't blame her, but I went again. And I started lying to her and saying I was going to go see someone over the weekend, well I ended up going to Las Vegas. Well, I got addicted. Then I started womanizing and I was completely shut off from the reality. I was completely shut off from what my marriage meant to me. I was looking at money as a source of happiness rather than a source of necessity. Ultimately I lost everything.
I was looking out the window, looking at something different, thinking, yeah, there's got to be something better than what I have. I guess what it was is that I completely ignored that I was saved.
We were separated for 11 years after the divorce. She came over, she brought me meals and she wanted to pray with me. She continued praying even though I was going out with other people and drinking and gambling, she was still praying for me and she still loved me.
One day, my son called me up and said, "Dad, mom had a heart attack." I was in the waiting room during her surgery and I was in deep despair and I asked God, "You know, I know you were always there for me, you stayed with me regardless. You're the light of my life and I want you back."
And after she got out, I went into her room and she had all these tubes coming out of her and I went up to her bed and I got on my knees and I looked at her in they eye and I said, "Can you forgive me?" And she goes, "Dale, if God can forgive you, I can forgive you." We held hands and we prayed together. And that was the beginning of another 20 years of our lives. We got back together after all that.
You know, I remember Paul said about his thorn in his side, he had an affirmity. Well Lonnie had an affirmity but she shared the gospel and that's what I looked at in her! She was a rock! She was a solid person! She had Christ in her life and she never gave up. She never gave up on me. And her witness was the thing that drew me back to her.
The last three years, things started falling apart with her health. She told me before she died, "Dale, I don't want you to give up that horn." You see, back in those 11 years when I was in the darkness, I sold my trumpet. I sold it to get money so I could gamble. I didn't have it with me, so I went out and bought a new one. And she says, "Go out and play for the Lord like you used to do in your ministry."
I had a ship, and I was sailing that ship and I could see the lighthouse there, but I ignored it. The lighthouse of security - security in the Lord Jesus, that He is guiding you wherever you go. He never left me.
Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have light of life."