Everyone’s Story Matters

The year was 2009. Our band had been invited to do a worship concert at the Mens Prison in Kingman, AZ. As soon as the guards opened the doors to the hall the room flooded with men in their prison orange. It had been decided that at the end of our worship we would each introduce ourselves and give a quick testimony. I would go last and then introduce the chaplain. One by one our band members gave attention grabbing testimonies of how God had delivered them from abuse, addictions, habits, etc. , some ”me too” stories the inmates related to. Then came my turn. How could my story compete with theirs? I lived a relatively boring and sheltered life in comparison. As an athlete I had never dabbled much in drugs or alcohol. I didn’t have a story of some miraculous spiritual conversion being pulled into the light from the dark. I had been raised in a Christian home by two Godly parents. I was in church whenever there was a service. We were insulated from from drugs, sexy, alcohol, pornography and any other temptation common to teens. I was never allowed to go down that path. Boring. Or was it.

It dawned on me, that was my story. I was spared the pain of hangovers, withdrawals, unwanted children. I was raised in the knowledge of Christ-it is all I’ve ever known. That was my testimony, the grace of God over my life due to parents who prayed over me from my infancy, so that’s the story I told. It must have been good because when I tried to turn it over to the chaplain, he told me to keep going and I delivered an impromptu sermon on salvation and hope that resonated with the inmates. Many of them responded to the invitation to accept Christ. My story mattered.

Don’t ever feel that God can’t use your history, colorful or boring, to change the life of someone who can relate. God chose 12 men to be his apostles. Some were hated, some had reputations and others no one knew. This group of different stories turned the world upside down as they shared with anyone who would listen. I believe God puts people in our path with similar backgrounds that want to hear what we have to say about Christ and his mercy which covers all of us.

What’s your story? Would it make a great movie or a funny gif file? Praise God for stories of redemption and restoration, for marvelous life-changing transformations and for parents who protected their children from the pain and consequences of bad choices. Your story matters; tell it as He urges.

3 thoughts on “Everyone’s Story Matters

  1. Good blog as usual Joe!
    For much of my adult life, I haven’t felt worthy of heaven due to bad decisions and “going my own way”. In my stubborn, addictive, compulsiveness, I was forced to learn the hard way that when you separate, or try in vain to hide from God, the result is always pain, despair and depression and feeling like I was unredeemable. I guess I’m slow, but it only makes sense that God in his love, grace and mercy, allowed me to suffer the consequences of my bad choices like a good father who disciplines his children when they make poor life choices. I don’t know if you’re familiar with author Paul David Tripp, but I read his devosional almost every morning and he emphasis our need for grace over and over. I’ve found this encouraging in that even with a “wretch like me” there is hope, there is forgiveness and there is miraculous live saving grace!
    God Bless brother, or should I say “Papa” Joe!

    Like

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