God’s perfect use of timing and testimonies is something I’ll never be able to comprehend, and I’m alright with that. Prior to my DTS lecture phase, God was working on removing shame from a certain part of my testimony. Part of my testimony that I kept a secret, until this past summer (2013), when I told some of my close friends. God is still working on that now, with me taking this step and putting it out there, where family, friends, and other people will see.
For years I had called myself a Christian, but lived a life opposite of such. Along with calling myself a Christian, I smoked a hefty amount of weed. I didn’t tell anyone about it, because I knew it was wrong, but was totally content with living the double life and didn’t want to hear all the criticisms. It got to the point where I would go to church high, or leave church early to smoke. It was a constant in my life and something that I could control. Something that was there to bring me peace, when nothing else in my life did. I assumed that everyone in my high school either hated me or had preconceived beliefs about me. It wasn’t a place where I could find peace. Having split parents wasn’t a place where I could go to find peace. The only place I could find peace was when I was alone and had a piece in my hand.
For a long time, even though I had quit smoking and had changed to living a God-centered lifestyle, I was still ashamed of my actions. God brought me through a season of showing me that, yes it was wrong, and no that wasn’t what He intended for me, but God still loved me and still wanted to use me for His kingdom.
I didn’t know why God wanted to remove the shame and have me be comfortable with sharing this portion of my testimony….
until I met Jorge.
The other day, we went to downtown Heredia, Costa Rica to do some street evangelism. We spent the first half of the morning walking around in small groups to just see what God had for us and the people of Costa Rica. We later met up at the park to share some testimonies and for the girls to perform their dance. After the dance, we continued to talk to the people in the park. Thinking my day was done, I nonchalantly walked over to the trash can to throw something away.
There was a group of homeless men sitting there that I had seen earlier so I just said my embarrassingly, american-accented “hola”. One man turned to me and asked in english where I was from. I told him the United States. He kindly pulled me away from the other men and started downloading his life to me. How he had lived in Chicago, New York, and Miami for parts of his life. He told me about all of the drugs he did and all of the sad, hard times he has had. He then told me he has smoked weed for 30 years. And out of all the drugs he’s done, that’s the only one he can’t quit. I asked if I could pray for God to rid him of his addictions and he said “please”. So I did. When I got to praying against the addiction to weed, I asked God what it was. “Why does Jorge, need marijuana?” All of the sudden, I was filled with this anxiety that I had known all too well. I asked Jorge if he smokes to get peace. He started to tear up. “Yes,” he said. I then told him my testimony involving weed. I told him that I have so much more peace with God, then I ever could have had with weed. God brings peace, not weed. I asked him if he wanted the same peace that I had. He instantly said “Yes!” I told him that God wants to give him that peace, and that it is going to change his entire life. That he will be able to spend eternity in peace. I then told him, that if he does this, there’s no looking back, he’s going to have to get rid of his drugs and fully commit to this new life with Jesus. His next response was not something I expected to hear when I first walked over to that trash can, “I’m ready, I want the God peace.”
I then had the privilege of praying a new brother into the kingdom. Jorge will be spending eternity in peace. A full, complete, and true peace. A peace we can’t find in anything else on this earth.
A peace that only our One, True, Heavenly Father can give us. God’s Perfect Peace.