Episode #318 — Today, his music is touching thousands. But the story that’s brought him here is simply incredible.
The seeds of faith were planted early, but Billy Ballenger would choose his own path and go through some heartbreaking struggles before he surrendered his life to God. Those detours would take Billy into the illicit drug trade and eventually to the night that found him lying face down on his own floor while a swat team arrested him for a drug deal gone bad. But God was just getting started with Billy Ballenger.
While Billy was out on bond in the months after his arrest and before his trial, he met a man who unexpectedly offered him a construction job and something even more unexpected, an invitation to church.
“We did go to his church. I started working for him. And when we first went to that church – coming out of the life we were living – it felt like needles sticking into your body all over! But we stayed with it. They loved us. And there was an altar call given one night, and we both raised our hands. And it was only two weeks later my wife was baptized there at that church, and then the next day we went to jury trial.”
“This whole time, we never told the pastor of that church that we were going to trial. We never told him any of that stuff. Ironically, his second job was as a sheriff’s deputy. God had all this lined up. So we go to jury trial having rededicated our lives to the Lord. I think I did it again when I was in jail. Thank God for the Baptist Christians that came in and shared Jesus again in jail. And I prayed the prayer again, and I rededicated my life again. But now Jodi was in jail. I was in a different jail. We go to trial, and we’re both found guilty.”
Even at the trial itself, there were sweet glimpses of redemption and hope.
“When they sentenced us to prison, that same pastor showed up at our hearing to be a character witness for us as a sheriff’s deputy. And he told that judge, ‘I really believe in this couple. I really believe in them.’ And that impacted us, but at the time it did not impact the judge! He still sentenced us both to six years in prison.”
“But you know what? The seeds were planted! Right now – and I want the listeners to hear this – God is sending people across your path. You may not see it. You may not know it. But trust Him. Talk to Him. Cry out to Him. Because He came running when we cried out to Him, and He turned that whole situation around. And we’ve been with Jesus ever since.”
Billy Ballenger is the earnest recording artist behind the fresh single & EP “Tree and the Nails”.On the Road with Billy Ballenger