My oldest brother always had a way of making me believe that God had great plans for me. Even when I was in the midst of trouble or knee deep in sin he would look me in the eye and tell me, ”Tindell God is going to do great things in your life”. I tried to brush it off like I did everything else but for some reason his words always stuck with me. He believed in me when he shouldn’t have and he didn’t give up on me even though all the odds seemed stacked against him. He knew that this was just a phase of my life and it wasn’t the end. He knew that one day God would turn my trials into glory for his name. There is no mistaking Gods work, he takes pain, heartache, and rejection and turns them into great things for his kingdom. Loneliness will turn into longing for him which will turn into fulfillment and might even turn into meeting someone which might turn into a family. Alcohol abuse and addiction turns into redemption that turns into compassion for others which turns into the spreading of hope. Ugly circumstances turn into great testimony. There doesn’t seem to be anything greater than a testimony of hope, a life transformed by a great God.
We are coming up on Easter as I write this and at church on Sunday they had people come out with big poster boards that had “I remember” with a portion of their life and when they flipped it over it had what God had done for them. One said I remember being homeless, addicted to drugs and on the back it said found God, now I work for a homeless shelter and am no longer homeless. One said I remember being in prison feeling hopeless and alone and the other side it said, found God and a wife and now I work for a prison ministry. Each cardboard had the same scenario, pain and heartache redeemed to fulness and joy. All the while amazing grace played in the background, “my chains are gone, I’ve been set free, My God my savior has ransomed me.”
See God would just be another god if it weren’t for stories like these, redemption that could only come from a powerful savior. It can only happen because he traded everything for a chance to win your heart. There could be no backside to the cardboard cut out but we each have an “I remember” time, pain that was so deep it is worth writing down but if you’ve found God then there is always a back side. He is always whispering in your ear, I made you to do great things for my kingdom.
My card would read like this, I remember addictions, heartache, and loneliness but the back would say, redeemed in 2005 married, fulfilled, and happily serving high school kids just like me. Nothing says how great is our God than scenarios such as these. We were all made for greater things, a chance to show the world the glory God deserves. Stories like these are the greatest testimony, it tells the world you have been through the dark but made it to the light. It tells the world that there is hope and most of all it tells them that they are not alone.