Mel Trotter: The Drunk Who Met God
From the time I began going to school, it was easy for me to make friends. This caught the eyes of some who began to groom me with political ambitions in mind. Soon, what had started as rather innocent affairs, began to turn into social events including the social drink and all that goes with it. It wasn’t long before the social drink was not reserved for special occasions, but became morning, noon, and night experiences. The virtues I had been noted for began to disappear as steam does when it hits the cold air. My ambitious political friends left first. They couldn’t have faith in a young lush – even if they had been the ones who started me drinking. It wasn’t long before even the children began to avoid me because I was anything but friendly when I would weave back from the saloon. I went from one job to another and from one place to live to another, and each time both the job and apartment became less desirable.
One day found me in Chicago living in a rat infested cellar apartment in the worst section of the city. Why my wife and little child stayed with me only God knows, for the pain and suffering I caused them cannot be described.
One day our little child was taken seriously ill. A faithful doctor came even though he knew there would be no payment for his call. After diagnosing the case, he reached into his own pocket, took out some money and thrust it into my hands, “Mel, run, don’t walk to the drug store which is two blocks from here – here’s the prescription. Come right back. It might even now be too late – so hurry!”
I climbed the stairs and was out on to the pavement. I looked to my left and sure enough I saw a drug store about two blocks away, but then I looked to my right and saw that the saloon was only one half block away. A sudden desire came over me – one that drove all thought of my sick child out of my head. Even the fact that the money in my hand did not belong to me was erased as I blindly rushed to the bar. Soon the doctor’s money was all gone and soon some other fool started buying and we continued on and on through the day and into the night. When it was time to close I was so far gone that the saloon keeper just threw me into the back room to sleep it off. When he came back the next day I was still there and it wasn’t until the night began to approach that I came enough to my senses to decide to go home.
When I arrived back, I slowly descended the rickety stairs. I saw that someone was talking very quietly to my wife and they were crying. I still did not know why and was still too far gone to have understood. There had been no furniture before, but now there was a little box on a stand. As I went over and looked into the box I saw that it was the body of my little child, but looking very different. Someone had put on her clean clothes, new clothes and somehow there was even a pair of brand new little shoes. Still I didn’t get the message. As I stood there that urge came over me. I craved another drink. What I wouldn’t do for another drink.
My dear friends – as I think back on this next part my heart feels as if it were ripped out – for I am so ashamed. As the urge overwhelmed me, I hurriedly slipped the new shoes from the cold feet of my precious child, rammed them into my pocket – I still had not attracted the attention of my wife and the woman with her – I stole out of the apartment and I sold those shoes for a few pennies and bought another drink. I had gone down so low that I have often said that I had to reach up to touch bottom.
With all of this, I was still not awakened to reality, until one day I decided to end it all. With me gone, I reasoned that the world would be better off, especially my wife. With this end in mind, I headed for Lake Michigan to drown myself. It had gotten dark and cold and, as I wove down a street that would take me to the lake, I was suddenly given a push by someone who said: “Why don’t you go in there Bud? Its nice and warm.”
As I went through the open door, someone set me in a chair. It all happened so quickly that it took my muddled brain a little while to realize that I was in a room filled with men and a man was speaking. He was talking as if he knew all about me as he said: “Perhaps you have come here tonight and you haven’t even planned it – in fact you had decided that you’re going to end it all – for you feel that no one understands you, no one cares, and there is no hope. My friend, I’m here to tell you there is Someone Who understands you, there is Someone Who cares for you, and I can tell you there is hope for you. You will find all of your answers when you come to Jesus Christ and receive Him as your personal Savior. He not only wants to save you from your mess, but wants to go with you the rest of your life. The speaker was Harry Monroe and the place was the Pacific Garden Mission. I became a different person that night. God saved me and made me a new man. My wife got a new husband – the part with its sin and stain was washed away and I found a brand new tomorrow.
Mel Trotter was not only born again, God miraculously delivered him from alcohol. He never took another drink. He went on to become a preacher of the same gospel of Jesus Christ that had so delivered him. From that time on, until he died in 1940 at the age of 72, he planted 67 rescue missions in cities all across America.
Obviously, for Mel Trotter’s life to be so thoroughly and permanently transformed, something powerful must have happened to it, but what was it? What was it actually that produced such a dramatic change? To born again Christians, Mel’s transformation, while amazing, is not unusual. There are literally millions around the world who have experienced the same thing. Our churches are filled with similar stories going back all the way to the time of Christ. But to really understand what happened to Mel Trotter we need to back much further than that. We need to go back to the prophets who promised that one day the Savior of mankind would be born. Moses promised that the Savior would be a prophet like himself Who would come with God’s message to man. (Deuteronomy 18:19) Isaiah said He would be born of a virgin. (Isaiah 7:14) Micah told us that He would be born in the town of Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2) Isaiah said that although He would be born a man, He would be the mighty God. (Isaiah 9:6) Isaiah said also, that the times of this Savior would be marked by miraculous healing. Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart (deer) and the tongue of the dumb sing. (Isaiah 35:5-6) Isaiah promised that in spite of these miracles He would be rejected by His people, and killed, but it would be in his death He would accomplish His mission to man. He being innocent, would die in the place of all sinners. He would literally bear our punishment in our place, so we could be forgiven and allowed into Heaven freely. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief: . . . Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace (with God) was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own wa; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53) David said He would not stay dead, but would rise again. (Psalm 16:8-10) Isaiah told us that the news of this Savior would spread around the world with many finding forgiveness and salvation through Him. All these promises were fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
There is another set of promises though that talked about the nature of the salvation this Savior was to offer to all mankind, and they describe exactly what happened to Mel Trotter. I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and I will give them an heart of flesh. That they may walk in my statutes, and keep my ordinances, and do them: and they shall be My people, and I will be their God. (Jeremiah 31:31, Ezekiel 11:19-21) God promised that in the times of this Savior He would begin to do a new thing. His salvation would be complete, He would not only forgive completely the sins of those who put their trust in the Savior, but He would also take out their hard, cold hearts that hated Him, or were disinterested in Him, and replace them with hearts that loved Him and followed Him. God promised that He would put a new Spirit in those who trusted in this Savior. It is a point of fact that this describes exactly what has happened to millions of people for two thousand years who have trusted Jesus Christ as their Savior.
The fact that this new birth is real is only half of the story. Jesus said it was necessary. The wind bloweth where it listeth (wants to) and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh and wither it goeth, so is every one that is born of the Spirit. (John 3:8) Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3) Have you been born again? Have you experienced the forgiveness of sins Mel Trotter and millions of others have? Have you experienced the salvation from sin God offers freely to all? Do what Mel did. Repent of your sins, and trust completely in Jesus Christ as your Savior. The Bible promises: That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thy heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (Romans 10:9) Jesus Christ promised: All that the Father give me shall come to me, and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. (John 6:37)
Think about it. Would God have gone to the trouble of providing a very real salvation from sin, if sin did not matter to Him. It does matter to Him very much. He warns: But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)
Pray a prayer from your heart like this: Dear Jesus, I am sorry for my sins. I believe that you paid for them in full when you bled and died on the cross. I believe you rose from the dead, and are offering me forgiveness and salvation from sin. Please forgive my sins and save me. Just like I trust a chair to hold me up, I now place my trust in you for salvation from sin and hell. Thank you for your promise. Thank you for saving me. Amen.
If you prayed that prayer and meant it, would you let us know so we can pray for you and help you get started in your spiritual growth? It only takes a moment to be saved, but growing as a Christian takes a lifetime.