Still going strong on the EXTREME TOUR! We are reaching out to the lost by first demonstration Gods Love and then sharing Gods love. We recently visited Pikeville, KY and just headed on up to Norwalk, OH. Pikeville was amazing. Several people experienced Christ’s love through the Extreme Ministry. Also big thanks to Grace Fellowship church who took us in for several days. We are very thankful for them all.
After service at Grace Fellowship, a woman began telling me her story. She went through years of torment starting in Elementary School, through High School and early adult years. She was ridiculed for everything in her life including weight, looks and even the cloths she wore. Her self-worth took a very big hit and she was extremely depressed before she found the love of Christ in her life. After that, it took her a long time to learn how to use her testimony and experiences to help teens and children who struggle with similar experiences.
Although what really caught my attention was when she mentioned a particular man who ridiculed her tremendously her whole life. Surprisingly, he gave his life to Christ several years ago and felt obligated to contact her and apologize for his horrid treatment of her over the years. He even went on further to explain that his testimony to others was, in fact, that he was a horrible guy in school and in his adult years all because of his very own hurts and self-worth issues.
I thought to myself, Wow…look what God did there. However, I could tell by her facial expressions that his apology was not something she received and she still held on to bitterness toward him. She said she “Forgave” him in the “Christian Sense” I guess. But she never really let it go. Even though she claimed to use her forgiving heart and trauma to help others through their adversity, she never really forgave him and it was visible on her face throughout the conversation. Yes, she understood Christ’s love for her, but she was still working through the pain and she could not see the Blessing that she could provide for others.
At this time, she paused and waited for me to respond (after listening for 10 minutes with no break). I felt like she wanted me to say, I’m sorry….that must have been hard. Or maybe she wanted to hear….well it’s understandable that you would still be upset with him. Or maybe she just wanted a hug. I felt like she needed a bit more clarity and so I spoke.
“Wow that is amazing. God knew that you were made in his image…a strong person that could handle persecution for so many years. Not only that, the persecution that you went through was actually more for the bully’s benefit than for your benefit. I’m saying that this was a good thing, but what I see is that God used your strong will and helped you through all of that so that one day, that man who teased you for so long would have an amazing testimony that would be able to reach others who may be treating others just as poorly. It is much like Saul who persecuted Christians for so long but then became one of the biggest advocates of Christ in his time. What’s also neat is you are using your experience to lift others up as well.”
With that she burst in to tears and held me tight. She said she never saw it that way and you could see her face light up. She was filled with Pride and thanked me for providing a fuller understanding of why God allowed that to happen. It was something to be seen for sure.
Even today I don’t know how those words came from my mouth but they seemed to touch a person’s life at just the right time. Praise God.
As Christians we tend to believe that we go through persecution so that we will receive a blessing or that we are being trained for something really big in the future. I do not believe that is always the case. I believe that many times we go through persecution or adversity so that others may receive a blessing or become a power house for God. We are to rejoice in their blessing and rejoice in the fact that God utilizes us to make that blessing possible for someone else.
Not buying it? Well I think we all agree that Christ is the ultimate image of love and blessings. Christ himself came and suffered…for whose benefit? Clearly not God’s….because he does not need us…we need him. Yet he went through all that suffering and pain for one purpose only…so that you would receive the blessing of salvation on the cross. Are you taking joy in the fact that you are a part of God’s plan even when others receive the blessings?
Thoughts – Please share them on this page!