A Bad Beginning Isn’t the End

12 02 2017

Many have heard me say that other than the birth of my children the 80s it was a decadeRock _n I’d just as soon forget. We all, from time to time, fall on rough road that makes us wonder if we’re going to live through it. But this traumatic moment seemed to drag on and even get worse with each passing day; I never became suicidal but frankly I would have welcomed death had it come.

It all started with a real-estate venture I invested in with hopes of riches beyond what my family and I would ever need.  Unfortunately, that would soon prove to be the worst money pit I ever fell in; there was constantly more cash going out than coming in. The upkeep, mortgage payments and loss of revenue from renters not paying or moving out leaving an apartment in shambles was staggering. I was going all over the state borrowing money from every lending institution that would deal with me, just to keep everything afloat. The real crushing blow came when the IRS froze all my assets and placed heavy fines for not filing taxes properly, and then I was accused of embezzling funds by the partnership. Not exactly the way I dreamed my rise as real-estate mogul was going to be. Sheesh!!

Also during the 80s two other heartbreaks came home to roost. The first was the loss of my beloved Great Aunt Pearl in a car accident; the loss of this dear lady and mentor sent me into a depression that lasted some seven years. Finally, to top off the cake while traveling to Ohio for Christmas I slid through a stop on an icy road causing me collide with another vehicle; this nearly took the life of another wonderful lady in my life, Cathy my wife.

So as you can see if there was a way I could open up the earth, push all that in and cover it, I would. I didn’t understand why all this was happening, and for the first time in my life as a Christian I began to question, “God where are you when I need you the most?” It just didn’t make sense how He could let so much happen when all I wanted to do was serve Him. So was this then the end? In a word, Nope!

I heard these words recently and believe they can be credited to our pastor; “A bad beginning isn’t the end.” My world was falling apart, but it wasn’t the final chapter in the Gray One’s Legacy. Even though I felt like God had deserted me, a soft voice quietly was saying, “I’m still here.” It first came in prayer where I stopped complaining all the time and began thanking Him that I knew He still loved me. It came reading more of His Word;

Psalm 50:15 “and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”

Philippians 4:19 “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

I had to make a decision, are these just words written on paper to make me feel good, or is this truth of God’s love? I praise Him that I chose the latter.

Then of course there were the folks God placed in our path that helped with encouragement and prayers; I shudder to think where I’d be today without their support.

Now I could go on to tell you why I think these things happened as they did, but that’s not really important to me anymore. What is central is that my love for the Lord became stronger, and so did I.

It wasn’t easy or quick but slowly we got through all the problems. I worked extra jobs to pay all that was owed, never giving a thought to filing bankruptcy. We lived on bare minimum where Cathy’s talents at stretching a dollar kept us in our home and food on the table. We drove the best jalopy $200 could buy; then when it broke down we’d take it to the junkyard and buy another. (Little side note here; the kids would often lay on the seats or the floor so no one would see them in dad’s junk-mobile). Perhaps the best that happened to me was realizing as much as I wanted Pearly Mae back I knew she wouldn’t want to be; she was now in Glory with her Lord!

It was slow, hard and long “Traveling the Rock Road” back in the 80s, but when we came out, it proved to be one of the best learning experiences on trusting God I could have ever experienced. “But God, let’s not have any repeats, okay?!!”

Let me leave you today with some verses I have reread constantly, to remind me of those words, “A bad beginning isn’t the end.” Perhaps you’ll find yourself hiding them in your heart as this man has.

Romans 5:1-5 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, Hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

Where there’s “Hope,” there’s a new beginning. Awesome!!
See ya next time.


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3 responses

13 02 2017
jeff bonnell

Thank you John !

13 02 2017
Portion of your life and the closeness you had with the Lord and still do!!!

Thank you John for sharing ! You and Cathy have been great friends to me! Lots of Love and prayers for you both !!!!! My God keep his light shining on you both and Bless you in everything you do and say !!!! Linda Sanders

14 02 2017
Beverly Crane

Looking in on the outside of this blessed couple God joined together, no one would ever imagine the trials and tribulations you both have been through. It is very clear to see that God put you two together and made you both strong in Him. You both are planting the seeds and sharing the blessings. What an inspiration you both are to so many people. Thank you from my heart❤

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