Death knocked on his door but Mercy Came Running – Reverend Steve Edwards’ Testimony
CROSS KEYS, Manchester:
He was high on life - living big and enjoying the pleasures of being a ladies' man - until several occurrences saw him standing face-to-face with death and a clearer picture drawn of how far away he was from fulfilling his true purpose.
The Reverend Steve Edwards made a step for the Lord at the age of 16, but soon found that his body, soul and mind were hitched in the crevices of a sinful, dark, promiscuous lifestyle that followed him throughout a significant part of his early adult life.
Stubborn as a mule, the episode of a near-death experience had to occur repeatedly for Edwards to realise that he was being summoned to a higher calling.
"One of my first wake-up calls happened when I chartered a taxi, who (the driver) was also a friend of mine, to a place called Bucks Avenue in May Pen. I had no idea what kind of place it was, but I was going to visit a woman there. Little did I know that this woman was the babymother of a gunman and ex-convict."
Edwards, who after being at the house for a while, realised that this woman had not ended the relationship officially with the man and his presence was cause enough for a feud.
"I was talking to the woman and, while talking, I heard a friend of mine shout out my name. As I turned around, I realised the babyfather was behind me, and the machete in his hand just missed me by an inch."
He continued, "I made a run for it, and, let me tell you, there was a sink hole at the back of the yard that I didn't know about, but as I ran, the Spirit said 'jump', and me jump right over the sink hole into the bushes. When I looked up, I saw the babyfather looking in the hole because he thought I had fallen in it. When I was in the clear, I walked from Bucks Avenue straight to Race Course Road."
One would think that after such an experience, trepidation would be the order of the day. But it was not so with Edwards, who found himself in another rut.
"I had a girlfriend and then I began 'fooling around' with her friend. I got caught up in an ulterior motive - one of the girls had to prove a point to the other, to my ignorance. It happened that one day on my way to a club, I saw these two women on the road quarrelling. I stopped and got the attention of one. While I tried to calm her down, I only heard when my friend called out my name. As I turned around, it was the knife that I saw coming."
Edwards told Family and Religion that the blade aimed for his head grazed the side, puncturing a vein. This landed him in hospital in a serious state, leaving doctors unsure of what to do.
"I laid on the bed and heard when the doctor said to the nurse, 'Brave up and tell the family that there is nothing else we can do'. By this time, I had lost a lot of blood and my body was refusing what was being given to me. I was left in the room with the janitor, and in my head I was praying for forgiveness because I thought this was it."
Edwards said he began tasting blood in his mouth as life came back to his body.
"Technically, I was dead, you know, because there was no pulse, no heartbeat, nothing. But as I tasted the blood, I got up and spewed it out. I was later transferred to KPH. It was then that I really decided that it is either God or nothing. After all, I was a miracle man. I realised that all the accidents that happened, mentioned and unmentioned, were a sign I had no more chances left. "
Starting his ministry almost 15 years ago, Edwards became an ordained pastor 10 years ago and is the pastor at the Ecclesia Worship Centre in Christ in Cross Keys.
"The devil tried numerous times to get me back to my old ways, but I was firm. I was playing around, but I decided to choose life. My ministry now is about reconciliation, restoration, harnessing and exposing. When men see extremity, God sees an opportunity. I am not a church builder; I am a kingdom builder, knowing full well that the more real we are with our Christian walk, the better it is for us," ended Edwards.