Joseph Rojas, center, tried to commit suicide while a cocaine addict. Today he is the lead singer for Seventh Day Slumber, which will perform at Heavenfest on Saturday at Northern Hills Church in Brighton. Photo by Eliza Marie Somers, The Denver Post
Alcoholics, drug addicts, liars, robbers, people who aimlessly wander the streets. We all have known someone like this, and if not, we’ve hurriedly walked past people begging in the shadows of our existence.
Joseph Rojas, lead singer for Seventh Day Slumber, was one of those people. By age 14, he was using cocaine, and by the time he was 22, he had a $400-a-day cocaine habit. That habit put him on the brink of death. This is his story, a story he will bring to Heavenfest on Saturday (noon-10 p.m.) at Brighton’s Northern Hills Church, and it’s much better story in his own words.
“I’m a work in progress,” said Rojas, 35. “I make a lot of mistakes still, and I’m not where I want to be in my relationship with God, but I’m nowhere near where I was.”
Where he was, was on his mother’s floor having a heart attack, trying to commit suicide.
“I was stealing from my own mother to get high,” Rojas said. “A mother that did nothing but love me. She would always tell me about Jesus, but I was an atheist. My mother had to file bankruptcy because of my drug addiction. She lost everything that she owned, and I was tired of hurting her. And I decided I was going to end my life — that she would only have to hurt one more time. Anyway I took a lethal dose of cocaine to stop my heart. She wasn’t supposed to be the one to find me, but she walked in unexpectedly and I ended up having a heart attack in front of her.
“I’m lying on the floor and she’s crying to God to save my life — a God I didn’t believe in. The paramedics came, and they had me hooked up to all these wires and I was coming in and out of consciousness, and I couldn’t speak. And there was this moment where I felt the hand of God in the back of the ambulance.
“I don’t mean a hand on me; it was like God was with me. I just felt this power. His presence. It was the most comforting feeling. And since I couldn’t speak, I spoke with my heart to God that if he will still have me as messed up as I am, a worthless drug addict, if he could find some use for me to find it in your heart to take me back after all I’ve done, I’ll give my life to you and I’ll live for God. And that was the first time in my life I felt the love of a father, because I grew up without a father. I felt like I was whole.
“Someone once asked me if I met God, what would be the one question that I would ask him? I would ask him: ‘What did you see in me? How did you see anything good?’ God is amazing. He looks at the heart, man looks at the outward appearance. And I have tattoos all up and down my arms — it’s an iffy subject with Christians. It’s more acceptable now, but I had to cover them up.”
“There is no covering up Rojas’ past life, a testimony to God’s grace that he uses to urge people to turn to God.
“Our soul purpose of having a band is for people who grew up like me not going to church and for people who have gotten away from the church to bring them back to a relationship with Jesus, because we know that a life without God is a life filled with pain. We’ve all tried it, and we all had some pretty messed-up results.
“Healing is a process. God’s done amazing things in my life, and I can’t help but praise him.”
[ENDER]Eliza Marie Somers: 303–954-1629 or firstname.lastname@example.org