Thursday, August 04, 2011
Alan Youngblood-A Man on a Mission
When Alan Youngblood walks into the media room at the International Christian Retail Show in Atlanta, there is a shift in the atmosphere. It’s not, as some would believe, his polished and distinguished appearance that is responsible. Rather, as he pulls up a chair to discuss his book Voice of Many Waters, Youngblood’s passion is irrefutable and the obvious driving force behind the man he has become. It is difficult for him to discuss any aspect of his Heavenly encounter without tearing up, revealing the authenticity of his spiritual transformation. As we talk, the constant hum of conversation in the background fades, and it’s not long before I am totally immersed in Youngblood’s zone.
“You can only speak so much about faith. Yes, I am a man of faith. All of us pray in faith. But then it’s the distance between the time we pray and the time the answer comes which is the testing ground. Many times, it could be weeks. It could be a month. It could be a year. It could be years before the answer comes. That’s the testing ground. That’s a time of trust. Faith is the opening of the door and the beginning; trust is the distance that time says ‘I’ll stand here. I’ll be here. I know He will show up.’ When? I don’t know and you know what? I’ve reached the place I don’t care. I know that He will.”
It’s a strong message delivered by an average sized man, yet this is no ordinary man. His life is a testimony of struggles we hope to avoid and encounters we pray to experience. The contradiction of extreme favor and almost constant tribulation has provided an extraordinary spiritual education for Youngblood. His story begins almost 30 years ago when, on News Years Eve in 1980, he has a revelation that to this day, still impacts everything about him. “I was carried into Heaven-translated. (I) didn’t die but I arrived there unexpectedly.” He explains that he was unable to go into the city of Heaven-literally standing out side of the gates-until he was completely changed. It was there that he met the one written about in Revelation as the voice of many waters.
To define that conversion he illustrates, “My life had been the life of a Christian person-religious person-that had turned into the ideal pharisaical. My life was an absolute; what I assumed was in perfect position. I had built it myself. My company was an excellent company. My marriage has always been superb. I was on top of my world. (I) went to church every time the doors were opened and served on church boards in large churches.” When I probe deeper regarding how radical this change was, he declares “I have a witness” as he turns to his wife, Barbara, seated beside him. She instantly affirms his statement. “I got a new husband, absolutely. After that night of his encounter, after his life changed, I noticed right away that he had a different look. After a few days I began to see him tear up and crying when, after being married all of those years to him, I had never seen him shed a tear. People noticed his countenance wasn’t hard; (it) was more compassionate and softer. This was very unusual. His attitude, his behavior just changed. We went to church one way (that) night and we came home and he was totally different.” When speaking of how unorthodox his transformation was, she adds, “Being brought up in such rigid religious doctrine (made it hard to) understand how he could just go to the front of the church and be gone-it wasn’t the traditional way that you’d normally see it happen. That was hard to comprehend-(the) how, when, what where.”
Youngblood had no difficulty explaining what resulted from going to the front of that church back in 1980. “What really changed my life wasn’t Heaven. What changed my life was I fell in love with Christ. I had never loved Him at all. I loved things. I loved my family. I loved pleasure. But I fell in love with the Christ. It is very difficult to fall in love with someone that-I had been taught through the church-was after me to catch me and write down all of my sins in some kind of book. They were right to a degree. He was after me, (but) to show me His love. I wasn’t looking for Him. I wasn’t trying to find a close relationship or to know Him personally. For sure, it wasn’t something I would have pursued. But then He came, and what touches my heart even these 30 years later, is this. He came looking for me. He was seeking me, when I was not seeking Him. That tells me what kind of God that is there for all humanity.”
The Youngblood family would need his new found dependence on Christ in the years to come. He watched as his mother struggled with Alzheimer’s, his wife experienced heart disease, and both daughters recovered from their own fatal illnesses. This is a family that has been tried time and time again, coming out victorious because their leader refuses to bend. I wondered if there was ever a time he was tempted to give up. He shakes his head with a determined assurance “Never. Never and here’s the reason that you never do. Life is full of challenges for everybody in some form or another. Here’s the key-He’s above the challenge. His word can not be challenged. He will always be victorious. It’s from tragedy to triumph, again and again. I personally look forward to the challenges that life throws at me because I know that I have a God who will literally carry us to victory every time.”
Voice of Many Waters was mere days from being released when Youngblood confronted his own challenge. “This time last year I was dying in a hospital in Fort Worth, Texas. When I arrived in the hospital, I was semiconscious, my fever was 104 and eventually when they rushed me into ICU with an unknown disease, my heart rate was 38. My kidneys, my liver-everything in my body was failing. Within days, we had five specialists. The battle was on. The doctor’s were doing what they could. Within 3 days time they put $63,000 worth of anecdotes in me trying to fight off one of three things. The good news was I had none of (them). The bad news was I had West Nile Virus. I had been bitten by a mosquito and that mosquito carried West Nile and it was a lethal dose. There is no anecdote and what happens to you (is) you die. They disconnected all those things from my body because they were worthless and there was nothing to treat me with. Laying there in that state, dying, unconscious to this world but very conscious in the supernatural realm, laying there in ICU, into my room walked the Christ himself.”
He countinues telling a powerful story of healing that makes his Heavenly encounter in 1980 almost pale in comparison. But Youngblood would argue this point. It “was the beginning of the story- (a story about) the incredible, personal, always present God who will never, ever fail us. Do you know who He is seeking; all of humanity-every person, every color, every creed, whether they’re seeking Him or not, it doesn’t matter. He is looking for that lost sheep. It comes down to this. He’s looking for you. He knows your name; He loves you with amazing love no matter who you are or where you are. Even if you do not see Him or hear Him or call upon His name, He is there.”
As Alan and his wife, Barbara, leave the room following the interview, I am overwhelmed with the sudden emptiness of their chairs. My time with them could only be defined as a supernatural experience. I realized that shift in atmosphere when Youngblood entered the room earlier was the aura of his conviction. It was palatable and genuine and undeniably sacred. Youngblood doesn’t realize it but he still walks among the unearthly. He exudes confidence that only happens when you have heard, in one sense or another, The Voice of Many Waters.
Alan is known by a host of family and friends as a man driven with passion who is characterized by loyalty and deep devotion to God, family, and hurting humanity. He is a highly respected business leader and Christian counselor and mentor in the Dallas-Ft. Worth community, a man with a rich diversity of experience- a licensed minister, and a resume that includes pastoring three churches, a builder and designer of unique homes, a television host of Open Your Eyes on Daystar television, an author and an inspirational speaker. Alan and his wife, Barbara, have been married for 46 years and have three daughters who have given them the greatest gifts ever- 8 wonderful grandchildren. The family loves outdoor activities and spending quality time together as a family unit. For more information visit Voice of Many Waters.com.