Everyone wants to “make a difference” in their brief time on this earth. This is true of the intensely spiritual person – but it’s also true of the one who doesn’t acknowledge any form of supernatural realm. Every person who has ever come to me for counsel has exposed that, at the root of their problem is a delusion that their life doesn’t matter. Either they’ve been told this by an insensitive parent or other authority figure, or significant circumstances in life have driven them to that conclusion.
This weekend a young man in his late twenties shared with our church the challenges in his life that nearly destroyed him. Though he grew up in a home with a praying mama, there was so much turmoil in the household and an abusive father that he concluded early in life that he didn’t matter. His friends became people who had similar low self-esteem and they introduced him to the drug culture. It eventually led to a dark night in a vacant field in Detroit where two acquaintances put ten 45 caliber shells into his body and left him to die.
For the first time in a long time Gary called out to God for help. He was somehow able to muster enough strength to crawl out of the field, where a bystander found him and called 911. In spite of losing 83% of his blood (well beyond anything medically possible for a human being to live), and enduring several operations which removed or repaired vital organs, he would survive. Yet months later after he was released, he was still home-bound and emotionally worse off than ever – since he couldn’t see how he’d ever be able to improve his lot in life.
But through the personal ministry of some church friends and an associate pastor who led Gary to forgive those who had hurt him in the past and to renounce the spiritual forces that had deceived him into believing he was worthless, he was totally set free to understand that he could make a difference within his sphere of influence. It’s been a long haul, but now this young man has part-time employment, has recently returned from a mission trip to Rwanda and is sharing his story to encourage others whom life has likewise challenged and stepped all over.
It’s interesting, because this same message was given at our People for Jesus meeting this Saturday by Dr’s Jerry and Sherill. When the Holy Spirit reinforces a message it gets my attention. God clearly wants His people to know how He values each one of us and has included us in His grand plan. But sometimes we get so self-absorbed in the circumstances of life that often don’t play fair – that we lose sight of the big picture and our part in it.
The enemy of God of course wants to keep us down and distracted with our problems. Sometimes we need each other to get us out of these doldrums. God’s power and love and mercy and grace are not restricted by anything you’ve been through, whatever discouraging words you’ve been subjected to, whatever hurts you’ve experienced. It’s important, even necessary, to forgive those who have hurt you – and forgive yourself. And renounce the bad behaviors you’ve been subjected to or have been involved in – and declare them dead to you. You may even need special ministry like Gary received, to get fully set free to do God’s bidding – so don’t be ashamed to seek it. We’re here to help each other.
Whatever your age or physical or emotional state, know that God holds you in high esteem and has a job for you. You just need to find out what it is. Until you know for sure, just serve others as the opportunities present themselves – and you’ll be surprised as other doors open for you. This is an exciting life – and we live in an exciting time in history.