To label me a prodigal would be only scratching at the surface of who I used to be
by Jim Hutson
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"Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of this world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things --and the things that are not-- to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him." 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 (NIV)
To is commonplace for me, when discussing what or why I feel the way I do, to bring up a statement of my past; who I was, what I was, and where I was headed. To simply say, "I am the most undeserving person in this room for God's grace." My life was not a pretty picture. As I say, "If they could only see me now.........."
I grew up in a home where the father figure was distant, and absent most of the time (if he wasn't working, he was sleeping). To wake this person up was to incite the wrath of the worst type. So most of the time was spent outside or quietly hiding in your room. There was no illness in the family, no weak children, so I was undiagnosed until I fell off the kitchen table and bite my tongue off with epilepsy. Once diagnosed, it was treated and 'cured' with drugs. But not before it affected the speech side of my brain. To this day, I have problems with BIG words and inflection (in normal talking).
At the age of five, Dad moved in with the woman he was cheating with. I still have the 'skin marks' that were caused by an extreme sunburn I got the day he left and I fell asleep crying on the front lawn. But, this woman would become my mother (raising me for my childhood). A year later, my birth mother dropped us off at the supermarket and called our Dad to come get us, leaving us alone. I wouldn't see her again for ten years and then only briefly.
At the age of fifteen, with all the righteous indignity and voice I could muster, I stood against my father as he ruined yet another marriage by infidelty. I had to eat crow when the church only backed up my oldest brother and left me to crawl back to my Dad and his new girlfriend. A year later, when I turned 16, I left home and moved to Florida....staying with my birth mom and my half sister in their respective homes for about six months before I struck out on my own. I spent my Senior year working full time, school full time. And doing whatever was directly opposed to God's law and the Bible.
Simple and abbrevated testimony, for the lines of the pages would be full of evil things, evil deeds, and darkness. Despair and desperation led me to believe I would not survive to the 30th year of my miserable existence on this forsaken world.
I would either be shot by the 'friends' I hung around with, be poisoned by the drugs I was constantly taking, or kill myself by my own hand. The misery and pain would never end until I reached that goal. God had turned His back upon me, a imperfect mistake that He had made.
I deal with the lifestyle effects of what my life was. I have aches and pains that most forty year old males don't have. I have financial problems that a child would never experience if they have even the most basic of financial responsiblity training. I have permanent acute depression. To say that I deal with alot would be simplifying the degree of what I do.
But God is more real, more closer, and more graceful than I deserve, more merciful than I should ever think to be capable of receiving. And He knows that in those times of despair and darkness, when I had thought all the light had gone from the world, that He stood on that road...calling my voice, naming my name, and seeking with His eyes that familiar silloutte that I would cut across the morning sky. He knows that there was that moment in time when He looked to the horizon and saw Christ, His only Son, carrying his lost brother ,limping and bruised, home.
There is nothing that I have done, could do, or will do to deserve the measure of grace and love that has been bought and paid for for me. But the fire I feel, the love I have, and the desire to fight for those who would feel the same, that is what I will give.
Being "a man on fire" for God.
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