Reach | Testimony #1
Mateas Stack | Student Ministry
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
Long before I knew this verse existed, my mother ingrained the gist of it into the brain of her four kids, “God has a plan.” Quite honestly, I had no idea who God was or why in moments of trial she said this; quickly I classified it as a cliché.
That sounds like a decision made by a bitter old person, but I can assure you I came to that conclusion at age seven – when my father unexpectedly passed away. I recall my mom collecting us in her arms and only saying those four words repeatedly. I was immensely confused and angered by the confidence she had in that statement and remained that way as we relearned how to be a family.
In the midst of moving and finding a new normal, I would hear her phrase and think, “Is she not paying attention?” I questioned her as she began dragging us to church, a place where more weirdos shared that phrase. Out of respect, I went along with the weirdness, until life’s deleterious fist struck again. This time my grandfather was taken by cancer and my oldest brother in murder. It became the ugliest time of my life.
During this time, my mom consistently brought us to church. I hated it. I hated coming into a room, as my life unraveled, to a guy screaming excitedly about God and His Son, Jesus, being awesome. Nothing made sense, I took everything and processed it through a lens that was angry, broken, and hurt. I hardened my heart and distorted God into someone maleficent. Despite my pleas, my mother still made me go.
Over the next span of time, God softened my heart, and I invited Jesus into my life at age ten. I still was not sure what that meant exactly, but I knew He was supposed to help me and I began feeling a change.
After this, I became a Sunday Christian with no deeper growth. I ignored the change I felt and kept unhealed pain close to my heart; nevertheless, God pursued me. On March 7, 2015, He won, and I truly began to see Jesus and His love for me. I was baptized the next week and have since begun living out my faith.
Today, I am pursuing full-time ministry. There are days I struggle to find God’s truth in the midst of my feelings, but He never fails to meet me where I am at and take me in the direction I need to go. Romans 8:28 is no longer a cliché or a source of anger, but has become a beacon of clarity knowing that whatever hits me is going to be worked together for good. Rarely do I know how, but I know it is worked to bring us closer to Jesus and the purpose He has brought to our lives.