All Things Are Possible!

John 8:32b,

32. …the truth shall make you free.

Heard that much in life? It’s one of the most famous, quoted verses of Scripture, whether used in context or not, whether by believers in Christ Jesus, or by those who do not believe.

But, however it’s used, and for whatever reason, the fact of the matter is, it’s true. So today, in the interests of truth, I intend to tell the true story of how God saved (and when I say saved, I mean RESCUED) my entire family, and in so doing, hopefully encourage someone to seek after the freedom that such a TRUTH offers (I’m going to keep details slim and not defame the memory of any deceased, and as for others still living, they have their own story to tell, so anything I write here will also be brief. They may expand the story I’m telling as they see fit).

I can only go back so many generations, before my knowledge becomes obscured, even non-existent. So, instead of trying to recap centuries worth of VanDeBogert’s and Powell’s, I will start the story with my grandparents, both paternal and maternal.

My mom and dad’s parents were of the Great Depression and World War II era. Life was hard everywhere and the American dream born in the 1950’s hadn’t yet come to pass. As with any generation of humans, both sin from man and grace from God abounded. My parent’s parents, like all humans, were sinners. However, the solution to such a condition, that is to say, the grace that comes only from God, as far as I know, was never really sought in their life. And if it was, it was only done temporarily. To my best understanding, none of my grandparents, prior to my existence, and in some cases after I was born, ever came to a saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (More on this later).

If you can imagine what two sinners without God in their life who marry might become, then perhaps you can get a picture. Some people, however, though sinners like all, for whatever reason, throw themselves more forcefully into the bondage of their sins and the law of sin inside of them, that they go above and beyond the normal. Or maybe I should say below and deeper than normal?

Some entertain a decadent lifestyle, some live hard and fast, some destroy, and some are self-destructive. My grandparents, like so many of us, both paternal and maternal, were such. I do not glorify this, but I also don’t avoid the fact. Some people come from roots they might describe as “good people”. Not me, and not my parents. My grandparents, suffice it to say, were not “good” people (but then again, Biblically speaking, who is?). This isn’t meant as a personal slight. Rather, in the interests of telling the truth, I have no other option, specific details aside, than to tell it like it was.

This sad fact of life, of course, played itself out on the children my grandparents eventually had. This includes not only my parents, but also aunts and uncles.

If you’ve ever studied people and thought about the psychological make-up each and every one of us has, you realize that parents, more than anyone, for good or for ill, stamp themselves, yea, even stomp themselves into their kids. Almost every child who declared they were going to be different, that they were going to rise above, that they were going to do whatever it took to not be like their parents eventually, with perhaps a few exceptions, failed. Young adults and twenty-somethings are right now in the process of failing.

I write that to write this: my grandparents were no different. They stamped, even stomped themselves unto my parents and, etc. Whatever sinful behavior my grandparents lived out in front of my parents, it had an effect. This isn’t to say that they were nothing more than irredeemible, immoral monsters; there was good, too, with memories of such still present. But rough, raw, hard, unwielding, unyielding to God people instill that into their children. And such a stock is the root from which both of my parents come. A side note, however, must be made before I go on:

1.) My mom’s dad died when she was thirteen. The circumstances of his death were not pleasant, and his passing, as I understand it, left a great void, that, like a vacuum, brought in many undesirable things into the circumstances regarding how my mom, from that point forward, grew up.

2.) My dad’s mom, contrary to what I just wrote above, may in fact, have been that “irredeemible, immoral monster” I just mentioned. Now, keep in mind, when I use the word irredeemible, I don’t mean to suggest that God wasn’t able to save her if she had but wanted and pursued Him; rather, because she did not, she made herself irredeemible. Make sense? And yes, from all accounts, she was, for most of my dad’s life, a monster.

Regarding my parents, much can be written. Much more than there is here room for. So I’ll just stick to the basics. My mom’s mom signed an official document allowing my mom to marry my dad underage. My mom became pregnant with my oldest brother when she was sixteen, just after my dad had returned home from the war in Vietnam. About a month after my mom’s seventeenth birthday, she gave birth to Matt. My next oldest brother, Jeremy, was born almost five years later. Almost two years after that, I was born.

Were there no good times? Was there no love? No happiness? Was depression and misery all there ever was in our home? To answer no to the first three and yes to the fourth is foolish. In fact, it would be a lie. But we all, everyone of us, can attest to the fact that, despite some good, happy times of love, there was also a menacing spectre, a cloud of dark sin that constantly beat up, and eventually broke up, our family.

Whatever old horrors of the past gave way to new horrors of the then present. If the damage people can do to each other is unknown to you, praise God it is so. You have been spared a great despair. But if you know, or can guess at it, then you might well imagine how traumatizing growing up in such a situation can be. As the old saying goes, no one leaves unscathed. Some of us barely survived, and that’s a hard price to have paid. Trust me, we know.

So, like I said, every member of my family has their own story to tell, so from this point forward, I’m not going to expound on anyone else but me.

I grew up a cocky, extra gifted perfectionist, who learned that as long as I had other pursuits and things I was good at, I could cope. No matter how bad life at home was, straight A’s and various other scholastic achievements made my life worth living. I was, for most of my early youth, on top of the world.

That lasted until I was in sixth grade, when my parents divorced. From that point forward, so many things, at least for me, and perhaps, for whatever reason, especially for me, went from bad to worse. My carefully crafted facade of “I’m fine, nothing phases me”, suddenly took a hit from which it could not recover.

I internalized the pain. I had already learned how to not be emotional. It was perhaps, for many years, the defining characteristic of our family: Don’t let it out, hold it in, don’t ever crack, don’t ever show weakness. We succeeded often. We failed a lot at it, too.

By high school, at the end of my freshman year and going into that summer, I was a wreck. Going into my sophomore year, I was on more anti-depressants than I remember. A standard high level dose of Prozac is 80 mg. I was on 250 mg. I became a non-living zombie. I didn’t function. I eventually couldn’t even go to school. A teacher from the high school came once a week to adminster my homework and tests from my classes. Without her, I would not have graduated, and I may not have survived.

Dissatisfied with my psychiatric care, I was soon off to a different doctor. A new diagnosis with new medication came with the new doctor. I went through the ringer with this stuff. Here’s a list: Paxil, Prozac, Lithium, Desipramine, Effexor, and massive Vitamin supplements just to keep me alive, not to mention the sleeping pills my mom didn’t get for me because she was worried I would get addicted. I saw at least three different psychiatrists, two different psychologists, two different counselors, tried twice a week private sessions for years, group therapy, and, after having a nervous breakdown, spent some time in a pyschiatric care facility, where there were new counselors, new doctors, new meds, and etc.

By the time I graduated, I was a spiritual mess. My life was a nightmare of brokenness. Nothing and no one helped. In so many ways, at that time, every one in my family, all of us in our own ways, were coming apart at the seams. My mom remarried. John, my step-dad, it seemed like, was the only stable one we had.

There is so much more to tell, but time doesn’t permit. Suffice it to say, by the time I was in my twenties, I was bi-polar, bordering on becoming a dissassociated, split personality sociopath.

But I had friends who had a Savior, and they, God bless them, knew how to pray. And God, bless Him, knows how to answer prayer and save.

So far, though, it’s otherwise all been pretty grim, right? And I haven’t even mentioned many specifics. So why am I writing this? Why did I title this All Things Are Possible?

Because. Because I was an emotionally dead, warped, subverted, devil-loving antichrist, and God hater. Can I get it across any better? Everyday I blasphemed God. I constantly dared Him to kill me. If you can think of it, and it was vulgar or mean, I called God that, to His face, on purpose. My prayers, such as they might be called, were really just sessions of me venting my spleen at God to tell Him how much I despised Him. And if it wasn’t Him I hated, it was other people. Misanthropy, par excellence. When people suffered, I rejoiced. When people died, I smiled. When I found out so and so had attempted suicide but lived, I became mad at their survival and wished they would have died. I was not a good person. I’m still not.

But I am one thing: I am the first in a long, direct line of family members who God saved. The Lord saved me March 9, 2003. He saved my mom about a week later. He saved my dad a month after that. He saved my step-dad on my birthday, November 13th, 2003. He saved my oldest brother Matt the following year, and also blessed him with an amazing, beautiful daughter who the doctors wanted to abort because her mom was sick with a brain tumor (which God instantly, miraculously cured one day while we were praying in my mom’s living room, not to mention saving both her and her oldest son–he received the Holy Ghost when he was five years old as Pastor Contreras and I were attending the nursery during a midweek church service).

The following year, God saved Jeremy, then his wife Trinh soon after, then their oldest daugher not long later. I was there for all of this. I helped baptize almost all of them. Pastor Contreras and I were praying with Tiffany when she received the Holy Ghost. She was eleven years old at the time. It was at a youth rally. Not long after that, God saved my cousin Barry (and eventually brought him a wife and family).

Then, my dear old grandma, my mom’s mom, the only grandparent I had living, at the nice age of eighty something, repented of her sins and received the Holy Spirit when my brother Jeremy was praying with her. We baptized her in the name of Jesus Christ. About two years ago, Jeremy’s next oldest received the Holy Ghost at a Brother Felix Crowder revival at our church. She was baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus soon after.

And this is just my direct, immediate family. I didn’t mention my other cousin, who God saved about a month before me, even though none of us knew it until well after the fact (and his wife, too!). It also doesn’t include Jeremy and Trinh’s nephew, who received the Holy Ghost at the age of nine while visiting our church. Nor does it include the multitudes who have, through the ministry God has given my family, been saved by the Lord Jesus Christ. To God be the glory!

So, that’s why I’m writing this. And that’s why I’ve titled this post what I’ve titled it. Because, believe me, considering where we all came from, there was no way any of us ever should have been saved.

Whoever reads this, I know. You’re praying, even begging God to save someone you love. You’re pleading daily, even. You’ve fasted. You think you might fast some more. You’ve been down the rejected road of seeing them not care what you believe. You’re on the point of giving up, thinking they’re just never going to give their life to Jesus. Don’t!

The story I just shared is absolutely true. We were all there and you can ask any of us. So my prayer is, saintly brother or sister, let this true story, this truth of Gospel salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ free you from the worry and doubt that God is going to save your dearest, lost loved ones. He has already made the way. The promise never fails to come true.

God saves to the uttermost all who come to Him through Jesus Christ, His Son (Hebrews 7:25).

I leave you with this:

Isaiah 59:1,

1. Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear…

Have faith, friend. Like what it teaches in Romans 4:21, what God has promised, He is able to perform.

Peace and God bless,

Aaron

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~ by votivesoul on 01/16/2013.

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