Handing Out Hope
Romans 4:18 (KJV)
Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, so shall thy seed be.
In January of 2000, I moved to Nashville, TN to work for Saturn Corporation, a subsidiary of General Motors Company. I had mixed feelings about going. Intrinsically, I knew something was happening in my life. I felt much like Abraham, when God sent him away to another land. The move to Saturn in Springhill, TN was hard because I was leaving my family behind. We are a close knit clan, so leaving them for just a 3-hour car ride was still hard. In October of 1999, we had just buried my uncle Walter, who was like a father to me, so my heart was still tender. But God orchestrated this move to Nashville and I was obedient to the call.
No sooner had I arrived in Nashville, (Franklin, TN to be exact) did my mom get diagnosed with Leukemia. Devastation is the word that I would use to describe my whole life at that moment. My mom was my very best friend, my confidante, my champion, my “Day 1” as the young people say. Instantly, I knew that I had to start a radical prayer journey. I knew that God would meet me on this journey. I started getting up every morning before going to work in order to pray and read my Bible. My prayer was that my mother would be healed. From the moment, I found out about her illness, I started chasing God.
Every Sunday, I would attend church and take copious notes and then re-read them as I got time throughout the week. I now realize that I was in a spiritual battle. Since the battlefield is the mind, I had to constantly take my thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). The catch - I had to make sure that I knew enough word to snatch them back. So I attended Bible Study, Sunday School and even joined the tape ministry. Every Sunday, I was granted access to old cassette tapes that weren’t purchased in prior weeks and I loved it. In my car, in my home, and at work I listened to the word of God, ran to the Bible to read the references and memorized verses and scriptures with fervor.
In the midst of my pain, I learned to hand out hope. It was like I was an ear hustler, an eavesdropper. Every time, I heard someone with a problem, I’d offer them a cassette tape. You’re having problems, in your marriage? There’s a cassette tape for that! You have a wayward kid? There’s a tape for that! Financial struggles? There’s a tape for that! And that’s how my ministry started. That’s how I started HANDING OUT HOPE!
Those cassette tapes brought me so much joy and hope! They taught me to hope against hope. I was like Abraham, believing even though the situation was unbelievable. They gave me courage to keep going and I shared that courage with others every day, every week. The tapes weren’t some magical pill or a placebo that hid my pain, they contained the faithful word of God that did not return void and did what it promised to do.
Isn’t it amazing how God uses us when we are down to our last, when we have counted ourselves out and have thrown the towel in, in defeat. Ever wonder why? I believe it is because at that point, we have surrendered our will to His, given up the fight, and finally learned to live in the RED.
As you go through your trials and tests, don’t forget to tap into the spirit and find out how God wants to use your pain. All pain is for a purpose. I promise; pinky promise. In the midst of your pain, don’t forget to hand out hope!
Stay in the RED!