24 Sep Interview with Siran Stacy – Part 2
Many of us do not deal with death until it comes into our homes, leaving us with only unanswered questions. Join us for Part 2 of our interview with Siran Stacey.
In November of 2007, Stacy’s life changed forever when his family’s van was struck by a drunk driver only one mile from their home. Stacy, his wife Ellen (36), his son Bronson (10), his daughters Lequisa (18), Sydney (9), Shelly (4), and Ellie Ann-Marie (2), were all in the vehicle at the time of the crash. Tragically, only Stacy and Shelly survived.
In 2008, Stacy was asked to speak about his experience at a small church in Alabama, and this prompted him to begin his own ministry. In the following year, Stacy was ordained as a minister of the Gospel at Destiny Worship Center in Destin, FL. Now, as one of the country’s leading motivational speakers, Stacy uses his story to make a difference in the lives of others. Stacy has drawn on his international career as a professional football player and his profound faith to become one of the premier inspirational speakers in a variety of settings. Stacy has spoken to churches, corporate groups, schools, prisons, military branches, and many other groups.
EASLEY: What was the defining moment for you, Siran, when you said, “Okay, I can’t stay here. I’ve got to do something.” Was there a pivotal moment for you?
STACY: There were two. I had thought about it. I tried to do all the church stuff. I heard all of the people say all of the church Scriptures: All things work together for good to them that love Him. Well, okay, do you want to walk in these shoes?
E: Not so much. Not so much right now.
S: You walk in these shoes and you quote that Scripture! God’s not going to give you more than you can bare. All these words. The church stuff didn’t help me. I kept looking for sermons. In this lonely walk, I kept looking for somebody, a preacher, a pastor. I mean I shut down from Alabama Football, from sports. I picked up the Bible and I kept reading God’s Word. I needed answers because I wanted out.
E: Did you read the Word because you were looking for hope? Were you angry? Were you curious?
S: I wanted to know why death had to be what death is. I wanted some knowledge of death. You see, most of us, we don’t really deal with death until it comes to our home.
E: And we don’t do it well then.
S: Yes, and so for me, I had no idea that this was going to happen and it’s like, “Why would you do this?”
E: It’s uncommon, but it’s more common that a husband will bury a wife; a wife will bury a husband; you might bury a child; but you buried five family members.
S: Yes, and I wanted out and so this Word that all these people talked about that I grew up with from an early age, if God is who He says He is, He knew about that night. He had to have known! So now we have got good and evil and the guy who murdered my family had AIDS and he was dying; he didn’t have long to live and so what did I do to him? He was going down the street hitting people and I thought about the inmates that I witnessed to. I went out to Huntsville, Texas and they kill more people out there on death row in Huntsville, Texas than anywhere in the world. I went out there and loved on those inmates telling them that, “God loves them. He’s a God of second chances.” One of the things a lot of inmates do is, they keep saying, “It was somebody else’s fault.” They don’t want to own up to the truth. The truth is that they’re guilty. My thing is is to get them to own up to it.
E: They have to own it.
S: This man was so touched by the message that God poured through me. He came up to me and he had to be like seventy-five years old, an elderly white men. He had tears in his eyes and he said, “Son, I did it.” He said, “I raped that little girl.”
S: He said, “Can God forgive me?”
S: I had tears in my eyes and I said, “God can do it.” We prayed there and I told him, “I may never see you again on this side of heaven, but I’ll see you again.” He kept weeping and the CO comes up and snatches him and tells him, “It’s time to go back.” But here I am thinking about these men, okay, and God is going to let this happen to me? It’s like, what?
E: Where’s the justice?
S: So for me, the emotions were bombarding me. They were intense even to the point where I didn’t even want to live. I can grasp or see why somebody wants to end their life.
E: Did you consider taking your life?
S: Yes, I did, because of the guilt; because of the shame.
S: And the pain. It was relentless and where was God? I kept crying out and praying, but there were no answers. So the pivotal moment was, (one of them), June 4th of 2008 and it was Ellie’s birthday, my youngest. She was the first that I saw that night and it’s like a picture burning in my mind. I can describe it now. It burned in my spirit so out of nowhere it was like a huge. (unfinished thought). I mean, I was in Destin, Florida; I was talking to an individual who was talking about ministry, things that I could do, and things that he wanted to help me with, and out of nowhere an overwhelming grief came over me. I said, “I got to go.” I left and I thought about just jumping off that Destin Bridge; there’s a Mid Bay Bridge that comes from Niceville over into Destin. I thought “Just end it.”
E: End the pain.
S: I ended up driving to Geneva and I went to the gravesite where Bronson, and Ellen, and Ellie were buried there. It’s where I bought an extra plot where I’m going to buried beside them one day and so my name is there. I laid there all night long and I just cried to God, I said, “Take the pain away. I believe in you, but I want the pain to go away. I just want to stop hurting.” I read the Bible every day and the next day in II Corinthians, Chapter 12 and this man named Paul is crying to God asking Him three times to take away this pain. “Remove this thorn” three times. God says, “No, but my grace is sufficient for you.” That spoke to my spirit and I said, “With God’s grace I can get up when I just want to lay there.” God’s grace said, “Get up” when I just want to hide; God’s grace says, “Come out.” It’s the grace of God that even has me speaking here right now. It is His grace that says, “He’s more than enough.” I can recall that was one moment . The second moment is: I was in my bedroom and I had made this pact with my daughter Shelly; it’s just her and me now; two people in this house;it’s so eery. And all of the pictures, my wife’s clothes, I would not move anything and everything was in the exact same place. My son, Bronson, all of his stuff, his baseball, his hat, his awards; everything was in the exact same place. Nothing could be moved. Nothing. I got on my knees one night and I just cried in the bathroom. I had said, I wasn’t going to cry in front of Shelly anymore. I was in the bathroom by myself and I just cried and I said, “God, I want to give up. Whatever I’ve done, (unfinished thought). I said this. I remember the prayer. I said, “God,even to the person that murdered my family,God, I forgive him. I forgive him, Lord. I don’t know him. If he’s in hell right now, God, I’ll take his place.” I prayed that. I prayed it, Pastor, because I wanted too. Then Shelly comes into the room and she said, “Dad, stop crying,” and I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t stop. She started crying, and I remember I spoke “Jesus.” I said, “Jesus, whatever. Whatever Lord.”
E: How old is Shelly at this point?
S: She’s turned five. When I said that, there was an illumination in that bathroom.
E: Something happened.
S: Something happened and I started getting back up. I don’t know how to explain that except I believe that night it was a total surrendering all, everything. Not being a church goer, not being an (unfinished thought) “I surrender everything!” That’s what it was and I started speaking the Word of God. Everything that God was speaking I started speaking His Word. I started believing somehow in restoration. I’d see alll these people like Job; he went through this; he despaired of life. I read about Jeremiah in a pit and he’s crying. These are mighty patriarchs, even Christ Himself; He’s at the ultimate breaking point in the Garden of Gethsemane. They are crying out to God and yet they’re not hearing from God, yet they are still going forward somehow. So for me, I’m going to go forward.
E: You and I were talking before about II Corinthians, you mentioned Chapter 12. Chapter one is always, I love it, but it also kind of drives me crazy, where Paul talks about the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so our comfort is abundant through Christ. If we’re afflicted, it’s for your comfort and salvation; or if we’re comforted, it’s for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer. There’s a verse here which I don’t have any clue what it means. I say that and I know people could run with that, but when he writes, you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many.
Siran, how does prayer help in this situation? Because I get the church speak and I haven’t been in your shoes, but I certainly have been through grief and tragedy and I’ve seen a lot of well intentioned Christians say very stupid things to people and in very difficult times and sometimes there’s no place for words. Sometimes it’s just the fellowship of the suffering; “I’m going to sit here with you and put ashes on my head and say, “I’ve got no clue but I love God and I love you and let’s just sit here together.” But how does prayer help in this situation?
S: Well, it’s a mystery. But the Scriptures say in James 5:16: Confess your faults to one another, and pray with one another, so you may be healed. There’s a healing that’s going to take place when we do this; when just we sit and we just love somebody. That’s what you’re talking about. People said some terrible things to me.
E: Yes, they do. I’m sorry for what they’ve said. As part of the church community, I apologize for some of the stupid things.
S: Why would you ask somebody, “Why didn’t you see the truck?”
S: Why would you ask that?
E: Or a child who’s dying of brain cancer and they say, “You don’t have enough faith.” You want to just smack them.
S: Why would you say that?
E: He goes on to finish that Scripture. He says, “The prayers of the righteous availeth much.” Availeth much. I don’t know what that word means in the Greek.
E: Well one thing we can say is that we want it to availeth, for your wife to come back to life. That’s not what God had intended but is there a much;was there a result that He helped with you?
S: There was because I got a right mind experience, like the demoniac man, that Jesus helped like when he went to the Tombs at Gerasene. I had a right mind experience and so wait a minute! This side of heaven if I did my study about death and how it got in, when Paul said in Romans 8:18, he says, “I reckon the sufferings of this present time, are not to be compared to the glory that’s going to be revealed in us.” So there’s something else that’s going to be revealed in us. I mean my story even now here on this earth, God is writing it out. My story is not going to be just 11-19-07 and somehow when He says this Scripture that eyes have not seen, ears have not heard, neither has it been revealed in the heart the things that God (unfinished thought). Well, I don’t know what all God is going to do and restore. So by faith, Pastor, I put it in that, instead of what I’ve lost, instead of these afflictions, that you’re talking about in I Corinthians 12. Paul is somehow saying, he’s thanking people for their prayers. They’re doing something and I know this. I know people are praying for me. I didn’t come out of that hell experience by myself.
E: Something sustained you even in your darkest, darkest time.
S: Yes, yes.
E: Let’s fast forward. A big jump in time.
E: First time I meet you. You have this beautiful woman by your side. She’s pregnant.
S: She is.
E: And now you’re smiling.
S: Yes, I’m going to be a father again. I’m forty six years old. Now I’m going to be a father again. The fact that I got married in 2013, was a miracle.
E: That could be an entirely different program about what you’ve gone through.
S: Yes, yes.
E: What kind of person would marry into this? Because this is never going to go away. This is your story. There will be grief; there will be joy; there will be memories that are sweet; there will be all those things anybody goes through in grief times five for you, and yet she agreed to say, “I’ll be your wife. I’ll bear you children.”
S: She did. She did. She’s an amazing woman. Jeanie Marie, she’s an amazing person. She’s full of God’s Spirit. She’s the most graceful woman I’ve ever met in my life. She has a heart that I can’t even describe.
E: Someone who’s listening to you and me: they’ve got grief, and pain, and loss, and they don’t have a happy ending.
S: Don’t give up. Your story is still being written out. Don’t give up. I got so close to giving up. So many times it didn’t even make sense. It just did not make sense to read the Bible; it didn’t makes sense to go to church; it didn’t make sense to even pray. I couldn’t even see this God that I was praying to, but you don’t give up.
E: Of course, you’ve got a much stronger voice to say that. I often tell people, “You know God’s not mad at you if you don’t read your Bible; He’s not mad at you if you don’t go to church; He’s not mad at you if you withdrawal.” We can only handle so much pain.
E: We all process differently.
S: We do.
E: We need to give people “the permission” to say you don’t have to put up the pretense of being a good Christian, smiling, and counting it all joy, brother. You can suffer, you can grieve, but at some point, we want to encourage them to say, “He loves you, and He cares about you. He’s not going to leave you there.”
S: He didn’t leave me there. You know what? He heard Jonah in the belly of that great fish and the Bible says, that fish spewed him out. That’s so significant. He said, “I’m in hell.” We can be in a hell type experience, but listen to me. If you continue to pray, like you said, “You don’t have to be a scholar, to be perfect, but you can understand that God is love.” If He loves you this much, He will bring you out and He brought so many of us out, so many of the other people out.You don’t have to get into the Word, just look around you at the miracles of people that are surviviing from cancer, people that are surviving from divorce, people that are teenagers that somehow rededicate their lives and they are getting their college degrees, when they are coming out of juvenile prisons. Let me tell you what? You can come out. That’s what He put inside of me. Without a shadow of a doubt, Pastor, when I go and stand in front of whomever, it’s not so much as me speaking, it’s God Spirit speaking through me.
E: In spite of us.
E: I love the Whitney Houston rendition of Hold On Help Is On The Way song: He may not come, when you want Him to come, but He’ll be there right on time.
S: Yes, He will.
E: It’s a reminder that this world is not our home.
S: It is not.
E: This timeline is not ours and it’s a life of faith, no matter how we parse it.
S: Amen! But Jesus said, “I came so you can have life and life more abundantly.” So He’s given us abundant life.
E: Siran Stacy, we could talk for a lot longer. It’s a privilege to have you. It’s humbling to have you.
S: Thank you! It’s a joy!
E: Thanks for sharing your heart.
S: Absolute joy to be here.
E: We pray for that new baby coming.
S: Thank you. Please pray, because I’m going to be there. (Laughter)
E: Can’t wait. God bless you, Sir.
S: Thank you. God bless you.