You have to admire those we read about in the Bible who have conquered their struggles and have become such inspirational stories to us- men and women who have endured tragedy and turned it into triumph through faith. But there are those of faith today who inspire us as well, and to me there is one man in particular who inspires me - Jentezen Franklin.
Having been at his Free Chapel Church in Gainesville, Ga several years ago, I saw first hand the great work they are doing including a wonderful women's recovery residence, but what got me paying more attention to his story was when he shared openly about the struggles in his marriage and family. The transparency was awesome, and then in a 12 Step meeting, I ran into his former neighbor who grew up with him, and praised his integrity, and at that moment I knew God was telling me to follow this man's journey.
He wrote a book about it called Love Like You Have Never Been Hurt, and I usually catch 3-4 of his sermons weekly, but this morning he was a guest on another show (which I've never watched until this morning) and shared something that hit home completely with me. He spoke about the greatest sermons he preached came out of the greatest tragedy he had faced, and he also emphasized that most folks do not realize how much God lays on people who preach or teach in His name.
As I spoke about last week in some of our groups, God leads me to experience what I am about to talk about, sometimes after I choose a topic, though I have never experienced it before. Happened twice in the past several weeks, once when I spoke about defects and had a day full of chiseling away at how bad I used to be and how far I still have to go. It was as if He wanted me to understand the pain of those I was about to speak to.
When we see people like Dusty at Campus, Don at North Atlanta, Darryl at Life Church, Trey at GLR, Jentezen, and all the other wonderful men and women who speak in Jesus' name, think about the price they may have had to pay to put a message like that together from the experience they may have had to face. Every message may not be like that, but many are, and though we feel like those words were meant for us, they may have come from a great place of their own personal struggles.
The Struggle is real, the pain translates to triumph in multiple ways. We read about it, but we live it large and in living color today. Many thanks to those who come from a place of transparency- we feel your pain!
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.