This is the shortest version of my testimony. It shows Jesus has real power and nobody is beyond His reach. If He could redeem and help me, then He can do that for anybody.
People naturally put their trust in things of this world for comfort or purpose. Might be people close to you, status, school, job, money, government, your church. You don't want those as your foundation and I learned the hard way about all of them. Quick examples.
I lived in many places but grew up rural. I do enjoy BBQ, guns, and campfires but country life was boring. Some of us liked TV, games, and science. We mostly dreamed of better lives in other places. I was mentally gifted but socially and physically weaker. I was a walking encyclopedia of knowledge and full of great ideas but no focus and a terrible procrastinator. People already exclude and mock nerds. Worse, the black school I went to also made me hate being white since nothing we did, except evil, counted. They'd cut us down and attack us. (There were good folks that kept me from being a hater). I learned to dodge problems or verbally take on whole crowds. Trying to be black and show out to fit in got more hate. Being half-white / half-black stuck with me. Walked a tight rope with no group to belong to. I started thinking through everything I did, worrying what people thought, and being ready for any problem. Dreaming big, worrying, and procrastinating stay bad habits. White, suburban schools were much easier but I was also a teenager with those problems.
In high school, many things happened: learned about programming/hacking, found Jesus, and 9/11 and Iraq. Computers turned my imagination into reality and put me in control (life didn't). We watched 9/11 live in class. It had many of us ready to serve and fight terrorists. Our President lying that Iraq was behind it killed more Americans than 9/11 itself, maimed tens of thousands, and killed hundreds of thousands of innocents overseas. The media, esp Fox, would lie that we were successful while overseas outlets would show videos of bombs missing and kids dying. Like Vietnam. Can't trust our institutions.
In church, people talked a focus on Christ until it cost them time, money, or worldly attachments. The Bible said Spirit brought holiness, love, and truth. Their jokes, movies, everything were sinful. They rarely helped folks different from them, kept lying about science, and most just seemed as fake as everyone else. Maybe our good moments were built on lies that make us feel good. I walked out on church and God. Apostasy is like re-crucifying Jesus: some said I'd never be forgiven.
I became a principled, fun, bad boy. I'd solve our problems myself. I'd take a path, learn from the best, do my thing, and move on. Sometimes stuck doing and having nothing. Highlights: Overcame social anxiety working high-volume retail. I became world-class at tech for computer security and boosting human potential. Researcher, educator, reformer (civil rights / anti-corruption), business expert, partier, martial artist, made a few people pick-up artists. Cops, spies, and gangsters respected me.
I stayed entertaining, calling out, or trolling others by pushing their buttons about religion, politics, sex, ideology, etc. On top of just being a jerk, the style was a good way to vent my PTSD. Whereas, I gave away real knowledge for free to anyone it would help. Boosted many underdogs. I was mainly motivated by ego and empathy. So many threats and PTSD, I overcompensated by outdoing everyone and being outwardly invincible. Inwardly, I felt others' pain like it was my own, saw a world full of it, my solutions couldn't go anywhere, and had insomnia and drank heavily for years.
I was probably about to build my masterpiece, business, and/or prison sentence if government got tired of me. Having other plans, God attempted to humble me with a brain injury: my knowledge, skills, and even memory of most of my life went... poof! I refused to bow, rebuilt my life, and friends joked I was like Jason Bourne. So, God both let Satan pile problems on and protected me from worst damage (esp myself). Those years are a blur to me.
The breaking point eventually came. My soul was already calling since His sheep hear His voice. His absence left a hole nothing else filled. He let Satan dump more on me: college and hospital debt; knees, liver, and car start failing; relative had $350,000 bail we had to help with; staff cuts had me sprinting 13 hours a day, once 18.5, serving angry customers; some other catastrophic problems. Practically crawling under the weight, I called to an "unknown God" saying, if He helped me, I'd do better and even pull others up with me on my way up.
High-potential people showed up out of nowhere with piles of interesting coincidences happening. They all said they were Christian, one had a positive effect on me, and another set me up three times at work for money (i.e. promotion). She joined specifically to do that. She picked me after I aggravated her by pushing her buttons like everyone else. My sins and bad habits made me an easy target. Aside from kicking those, God wanted me to rely on Him living His way, not use Him to live my way. When I prayed that, God moved her out of the way.
He re-taught me some humility, gentleness, and patience. Lots of quick, hard lessons. But why?
Coronavirus panic hit my very next shift. It seemed almost everyone started acting as selfish, evil, and chaotic as they do in movies when the world is ending. The good people just trying to take care of their families were helpless. I canceled starting a business to focus on helping them even though COVID might kill me (immune disorder). Praying, reading the Bible, and good works were all I knew to do. I wore a shirt with the Word of God on it so it would work while I worked.
I asked God how to serve Him right. God used a combo of that shirt, following specific commands, and narrow coincidences (signs) to point me at a woman who overflowed with love for Jesus Christ. I had forgotten what that even looked like. She brought me to the Mercy Hill Bible Study where I re-learned about our goals: know who Jesus is, see Him more in Scripture, and let His Spirit transform us to be like Him. More obedience and love flow out of that.
Things started happening that never happened before. He changed me to love others more, even strangers and enemies. Got feelings back that trauma took away. Heart-hardened people opened up. People I couldn't counsel found relief. Random events at work shifted to benefit more than hurt me. One person covered a large debt for me. (Again.) After prayers, struggling and dying folks had turn-arounds that baffled professionals. People's luck changed. Some I prayed hard for not only reported those outcomes: they used either the exact or close to the words in my prayers!
The Gospel clearly had power because fiction can't do that. From there, who I am, my life, and others lives around me have changed for the better in ways we'd all have said were impossible just last year. Psalm 116 comes to mind. I was an undeserving sinner. He brought me back, cleansed me of all that pain and filth inside, put His love and peace in me, and set me on fire with the Spirit to serve Him. My life now and till death will testify to the steadfast love of our God He gives through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Note: Currently at Longview Heights Baptist Church (The Well). Previous church was Mercy Hill Baptist Church. Visit either one if you want to meet people who love Jesus.
(Read the Gospel with proof its true, predictions He made to motivate you, learn evangelism, check out other essays, or go back to the home page.)