Everyone loves a rags to riches story. Hollywood is full of stories of people who started from meek beginnings and are now success stories. The most remarkable of which that come to mind are the superhero stories that are just as popular now as ever. Take a story like Batman. Bruce Wayne was a child who witnessed his parents being murdered when he was only a child. Many have used tragic events like this to hold them back, but not Wayne. He, from that point on, swore to avenge their death by battling crime for the rest of his life. So, as an adult Batman devoted his time, energy, and effort to overcome the crime that could have easily ruined his life.
I use that as an example obviously out of humor. But don’t we all have an example like this from our own life? Don’t we all have that “thing” from our past that has propelled us to where we are today? Whether good or bad, we all have a few defining moments that set the trajectory for the rest of our lives.
My story is not any different. I spent the better part of 8 or so years on a path that lead me straight to drug addiction. I could spend this whole post blaming this or that for why I became an addict but the truth is this, I chose the path I was on. At one point or another I made the decisions that put me where I was. And, if you’re honest with yourself the bad choices you’ve made can’t be blamed on your dad walking out on you, that event from your childhood that you still are hurting over, or that bad relationship that you wish never happened. They may not have helped you in your journey, but you must accept the blame for your own bad decisions.
I digress, the point isn’t that you have or haven’t made bad decisions in life. The point of this post is asking, what are you going to do with them now that you’re on the other side? What do I do now that I’ve overcome my drug addiction? Do I sit and think, “Man that was close?” Or do I do all that I can to help others who are going through the same thing? Being an ex-addict, I’m able to reach a people group that I would have never been able to reach. My struggle can become their success. We aren’t given our testimonies to sit on and be ashamed of. We are given them to share with others. No one can truly appreciate the “riches” you’ve attained unless they know about the “rags” you had to get out of first.
The theme of overcoming struggles while suffering well is one of the main themes in the Bible. I’m not sure that I could say it any better than The Word For You Today from June 12th.
God has people like Jacob who, spiritually speaking, walk with a limp. After years of wrestling with stubborn issues, they’ve been radically changed by God’s power; now they’re able to minister to those they couldn’t have reached before. God also has people like Paul, who said: “A thorn was given me in the flesh…to keep me from being conceited” (2Cor 12:7 ESV). When Paul asked God to remove this thorn, God said: “[No,] My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor 12:9 ESV). No doubt, that’s the last thing Paul wanted to hear.
Understand this: God loves to use people who walk with a limp, or who are locked into thorny situations they can’t escape. Why? Because when they’re blessed they don’t become arrogant like some who think they deserve it. They’re a little warmer, and a little more willing to reach out and embrace others. Today God is looking for people with enough compassion to ask, “How are you?” then stop long enough to listen to the answer! When people have been hurt they need extra love and attention. They need to be held a little closer and prayed over a little longer. After all, that’s what God did for you; now it’s your turn to do it for somebody else. And yes, you’ll have to be patient and overcome their reluctance to trust you. Because they feel betrayed and “used” they struggle with doubts and resentments. but don’t give up on them: “Love never fails” (1Cor 13:8 NKJV). If you keep loving them, God will use you to bring them healing and hope.
The challenge is this: Do you want to use your limp to help others? Or do you want people to think you’ve walked perfectly your whole life? (Here’s a tip -they don’t think that anyway). Do you want to use the wisdom you gained from that old abusive relationship to help a girl going through the same thing? Or are you so selfish that you’d rather them think that you’ve had a love life that is without blemish? Do you share the mistakes you made in high school with your children? Or does your pride cause them to repeat the same bad decisions?
Let your struggles become the success of someone else. Use your limp to carry someone who can’t stand up on their own. Don’t hide your story. Instead, share it with anyone who will listen.