A life yielded to Christ should not be surprised when facing battles. Too often we look for the quick victory, seeking simplistic answers, story-book endings, and the perfect “testimony” that we can share with fellow believers. The temptation is to turn the grand tapestry of life events that God is weaving into a single thread that can be seen from beginning to end.
As ministers (meaning all believers) the temptation is to try to understand, when in reality we serve a God that accomplishes the unimaginable. This is in reality what it means to walk by faith—not seeking to understand, but instead trust that God is accomplishing the unimaginable even in the midst of battles, struggles and adversity.
There is the adage, “Fight the battles you can win.” Instead, I say, “Fight the battles that come before you. If you fight long enough, you will see your defeats become victories.”
While in Missouri, I invited a young man I’ve known for 10 years (since he was 10 years old) to spend some time with me at my parents farm. This young man has been one of the greatest joys of my life, but he is a constant battle as well. He is literally dodging bullets in Chicago, he should have been dead probably 100 times by now. Nevertheless, he is a fellow believer that is seeking how to follow God in his life. Keep on fighting.
Yesterday, through unexpected connections, I regained contact with a young man from my past ministry at Graffiti in Manhattan. Through some different circumstances, he had disappeared from my radar screen as well as Graffiti’s. I had released him to God, never expecting to see him again. We became Facebook friends yesterday and are hoping to connect soon. Keep on fighting.
At Graffiti 2, we have numerous stories of victories—check out the video section of our website and you can see them. Yet for every one of those stories, after the camera is turned off, life moves forward. Life that brings complications, temptations, and more difficult circumstances. Many might look at some of these events as defeats. Keep on fighting.
At an early point in my ministry, I had a humorous fantasy. As I walked down the street, I imagined my life being part of a movie with Coolio’s “Gangsta Paradise” as the soundtrack! Honestly since then, I have developed a distaste for such movies—movies that do more to provide a “feel-good” moment for the audience than to display the reality of life. I no longer imagine myself in a movie. That would be too simple—those stories have an ending. Instead, I keep on fighting, never knowing the unimaginable that God will bring tomorrow.
Graffiti 2 is entering into its 7th year of this battle.