I want to share with you a short story. It was a little over 14 years ago when I was at one of the darkest places in my life. I was strung out on drugs, homeless crashing at my aunt’s house, and in violation of my probation. My first daughter had just turned a year old. I sent her to live with father’s parents. I was so depressed and sick. I didn’t know what else to do. I believed that Jesus was real and that He would help me if I prayed and cried out to Him. So I did.
I will never forget that night and the series of events that happened from then on. I was lying on the top bunk of my cousin’s bed crying, “Please God help me! I am tired of all of this. I need your help! I want my daughter back. I want my family back. Please God help me!” I cried myself to sleep that night. The next morning I went ahead living my dysfunctional life. I went off to work and on my lunch break I got high and ended up committing a crime. I was arrested for not only that charge but for violation of probation. I knew that I was facing a prison sentence. I was scared, but I also had a sense of relief. No more running. No more hiding. Finally!! All of sudden I remembered my prayer from the previous night. “God this is your idea of answering my prayer? Ok??”
Our Lord in His mercy and grace gave me favor once again with the judge. After three months in jail I was sentenced to a drug rehabilitation center as an alternative to prison. If I completed this six month program my probation would be reinstated and I could move on with my life. But I was still so full of rebellion. I ended breaking the rules and violating my stay. Back to jail I went to await sentencing. This would be the third time that I would violate and the judge promised me that if I messed up again that I would be sentenced to prison for sure. That’s exactly what happened. I was sentenced to five years in the Florida State Prison.
Seems like a terrible story huh? Well it isn’t! What I didn’t share with you is that from the day that I got locked up I began drawing close to God and He drew close to me too. I got a bible and I would read and ask God to help me understand His Word. I did not know that what I was asking would result in the process of renewing my mind. I began to pray and seek Him like never before. He put a beautiful woman of God in my life, Sonia, who was not only strong in her faith but strong in personality too. He knew I needed someone like her to mentor me and speak into my life words of faith, truth, hope, and power. We meet at the rehab center where she had volunteered for an outreach event. She promised that she would write me. I did not believe her but she wrote me letters weekly from then on. She became my spiritual mother. It was through her that I first really experienced the love of Christ. She is still by my side today.
By the grace of God my five year sentenced ended up being eighteen months instead. Those eighteen months the Holy Spirit taught me the Word of God and filled me to overflowing with His Spirit. One day I received a card from my Sonia with my name and the meaning of it. Lisa comes from Elizabeth, which means consecrated to God. Consecrated means set aside, or to declare or set apart as sacred. All of a sudden I realized that the Lord allowed me to be sent to prison not only to save me from my destructive path but so that I could be set apart for Him and His purpose. Without the rest of the world and drama in my ear I could finally hear from God. My life has not been the same since. Everything that I lost and that the enemy took from me God has been restored to me in abundance. The years of pain, loneliness, and sadness have been replaced with joy, peace, and hope. Today I am surrounded by people who love me. I have undeservedly been rewarded with the blessing of several children. Our God has been faithful to build me up in Christ Jesus. I am no longer a victim of life’s circumstances. I am an over comer in Christ Jesus!
I wanted to share this with you because I believe that there is someone who has been crying out to God, “Help me God! Please help me!” and it may seem that your situation is getting worse, but it isn’t. God may not answer your prayers the way that you think He should but you cannot rely on your own understanding. His ways are so much higher than ours. His ways are so much better. You may not see it right now, but God is working in the midst of everything. Learn to walk by faith and not by sight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
I don’t know what your situation is but as I’ve shared I had created such a mess of my life that even though He saved me the moment I believed and cried out to Him, He still needed to do some major reconstruction to my entire life from the inside out. In my rebelliousness I planted some bad seeds and I still needed to reap what I had sown and face the consequences of my actions. I could have gotten angry at God but it wasn’t His fault that I ended up in prison. It was mine. It was my own foolishness and rebelliousness that got me there. It was our Lord in His mercy and grace by the power of His Holy Spirit that gave me the strength, courage, and perseverance to endure through it all without becoming angry and bitter.
Proverbs 19:3 says, “People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the LORD.” There are people who get made at God when they are overwhelmed with debt but they mismanage their money and are tightfisted, scared to give their tithes and offerings. Others get mad at Him because they don’t see a breakthrough in their families but instead of speaking words of faith in their home they are speaking words of unbelief, doubt, and defeat. They are tearing apart their own homes by the words of their mouth. There comes a time where we have to accept responsibility for our disobedience, repent, and ask God to help us back onto the narrow road. We have to learn to desire God’s will more than our own.
When God is restructuring our life we cannot get angry with Him. We must remember that God is the Master Potter. He is working at His wheel. We are the jar of clay that He had a very specific plan and divine purpose for from the time that we were in our mother’s womb. However, because of our desire to have our own way and all the resistance we gave Him we messed the jar up some. So he has to start over remolding and shaping us. But this is a good thing because when God is working with a willing vessel they become one of His vessels of honor which He uses to make the riches of His glory shine through. (Jeremiah 18:1-7, Romans 9:21-23)
I want to encourage you to let go of your own plans and your own will. Become a willing vessel and trust the Lord through the remolding process. Allow Him to continue the good work that He has started. He knows what He is doing. We can trust Him with our lives. We can be sure that the end results and reward will be better than the beginning. Hold on to the verses in Isaiah 43:18-19
“But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”
You cried out, “God Help Me!” now it’s time that you let Him help you HIS WAY, NOT YOUR WAY! Obey and trust Him you will not be sorry.