The Calling Out
by Billy Beasley
Recently, I received the news that my cousin, Beanie had passed away. We spent a lot of time together in the early part of our lives but as it often is, we lost touch over the years. He was older than me by three years and as a young kid, I looked up to him. We walked down many a bad road together.
Looking back, I realize what I didn’t know as a teenager. He took me with him to many places and I am sure he heard negative things from friends his own age as to why this kid was brought along. Before, I go any deeper into this story; I want to make this crystal clear. I would have gotten into all the trouble I did with or without him. In fact, I was occasionally blamed for corrupting him, despite our age difference.
Churches and religious leaders often forget who Jesus chose to hang out with—the scourge of society. We were viewed as that and I can’t blame anyone for it. I have often said with tongue in cheek, that if I would have preached the gospel of Jesus Christ as passionately as I once proclaimed marijuana to be the answer to everything—half of the town would have been saved. We both paid a price for usage of harder drugs. You may live through the party times but that does not mean you escape the consequences down the road.
Many of us hung out in a pool room in our community of Sea Gate. It was a hot spot of drug activity and we were frowned upon by society. Some of us left that life before it was too late and sadly many did not.
So, picture this. Our Father looks down upon that smoke-filled pool room, laden with criminal activity, that held detestable characters, such as myself, and He says, “I am going to do a work here. I am going to call people out of that life. I am going to save those that not even many of the church people hold out hope for.”
Beanie was the first to say yes and his life transformed dramatically. I heard he had a mental breakdown and in truth, he struggled with mental health for the better part of his life. I called him and he said something to the effect of, “Don’t worry about me. I just discovered that Jesus Christ is really real.”
There was a change in him that I could not ignore and it went beyond him choosing to no longer party with us. There was something different inside of him. I think I would have discounted every other person on the planet about their so-called conversion. Everyone that is, but him.
Later, after my Damascus Road experience, Beanie and I spent time together as always, but it was different. We did not talk about the next party. We talked about Jesus and once again I found myself looking up to him.
One day we were walking the streets in our neighborhood—the same streets we walked and played sports on as kids, when he shared his struggles. He said something to the effect of how he had to find a way to walk with both feet on the ground after such a dramatic conversion. I would struggle with this as well.
He added something I have never forgotten.
“You never know what the Lord is up too. He could have called me to get you.”
Did God call Beanie solely to reach me? No, not any more than God placed a priority on Beanie, by calling him out first. God is no respecter of persons. However, was it part of the plan and did God know this was the one person who could influence me? Certainly.
The owner of the pool room had nothing to do with the illegal things we did. He was an older man who I once worked for racking pool balls. And he was happy when one of those people called out of that life was his youngest son. Shortly after that, his nephew reached out to his son. He was being called as well.
When I think back to the people called out of that pool room—I don’t think any of us met Jesus in an organized church setting. I have shared multiple times of how I was walking down a street alone and God showed up. I could write another column of the things that happened to me the months prior to that moment. All of a sudden there is that supernatural moment and you find yourself, exclaiming, “Oh, my God you are real.” And then you have a choice.
Beanie was once young and athletic, with a body consisting of natural muscles. He was a skilled guitar player. I knew he was talented but one day I listened as he played along with the lead guitarist from the group Yes, while the music played softly in the background from his record player. He performed the song flawlessly. Even I, with my limited knowledge of music realized there was greatness in him.
After he was Born Again, his music shifted, and he began writing music about his new life. He played the guitar and sang at the nearby church that he grew up in.
He would never reach his full potential here as his struggles with mental health continued. He would have good seasons, where he was grounded and then another cycle of trouble would torment his mind. My mom, his aunt, shared one time how he sadly said, “Mental illness is the worst, Aunt Bea.” Despite those struggles, at his core he was a gentle and big-hearted man, who loved Jesus.
I certainly do not count him as living a failed life. God does not call us to failure. My vision of Beanie today is him playing a guitar at the foot of the throne of the almighty God. He is walking with both feet on the ground. He is at peace and the struggles of mental health are banished forever.
Many of us will never be healed of our illnesses on this side of heaven. For most of us, we will only know His complete healing when we pass through the veil to a loving Father—with arms wide open.
About the Author
Billy Beasley resides in Carolina Beach, NC with his wife Julie and their Australian Cattle Dog, Teke. They are active members of Lifepoint Church in Wilmington, NC.
Billy is the author of The River Hideaway - a traditionally published work of faith based fiction and the newly published novel, The Preacher's Letter. He shares two simple beliefs with his favorite character in this novel. Faith in God and a conviction that ‘Hearts have no color’.
You can read Billy’s “Sunday Inspiration” column on the 2nd Sunday each month here at Mustard Seed Sentinel.