Tonight I was at Room In the Inn and I was able to sit down and talk with a man named Anthony. He has an incredible testimony. I was moved to tears multiple times and reminded constantly of God's grace and love for us. He said his prayer was that I would get something from his story and be able to share it with others. So here is Anthony's story...
He grew up in West Palm Beach with a nice family, mom and a dad, nice house and all that. He went to college and had a daughter while there. After that he went off the deep end. He said he grew to hate and despise his ex-girlfriend because she wouldn't let him see their daughter or bring her around his family. He got into drugs among other things. His bitterness and hate grew so much that he came up to Nashville, bought a gun, and planned to kill the mother of his daughter. Luckily, she wasn't home when he got to her house. He went back to the hotel and sat...high on crack he decided he didn't want to live anymore. He said he knew the devil had a hold of him and he didn't want to live anymore but he wanted to go to heaven. He held a bible in one hand and a gun in the other. As he pointed the gun to his head a feeling came over him and he couldn't do it. He cried out to God for the first time...and just fell asleep. The next morning after waking up he didn't know how he fell asleep especially while being so high. But he gave his life to Christ, threw his gun away, and felt God calling him back to Knoxville where he was wanted for burglary. To make the story a little shorter...he moved back and got arrested and spent months in jail, but while there started bible studies and multiple prayer groups. Eventually he was let out and came back to Nashville, got a job and started seeing his daughter.
Fast forward a couple years...he lost his job three weeks before last Christmas so that's why he is homeless. He has a great relationship with his daughter, Mayana who is 17, and he saves up enough money from odds and end jobs to get a hotel with her every other weekend so he can spend time with her. And he loves Jesus. His favorite thing to do is write sermons he says. He explained the one he is writing now to me. He talked about how it's hard loving the other homeless guys when they make fun of him or call him names, but he just kills them with kindness and they notice he's different.
I'll never forget what he told me..."I may not have a car, or house, or much money to my name but the joy and peace I have in my life is really what matters". He gets it. He has paid for his mistakes and had to suffer more than many of us ever will have to, but he is forgiven and his life shows that he gets it. He doesn't find fulfillment in what he has or doesn't have, but in the ways he obeys the Lord and is able to love others.
His parting words to me would be that he would pray for me as he went to sleep. That his story would somehow help in someway and it did. It showed me someone that truly understands what it means to be a follower of Christ, no matter what your past is.
That's why God gives us a story...so we can share it and as Anthony said...everything that happens, God gets the glory. It isn't about me or even the exact events that happen, but how through my story God gets the glory. Wise words from a homeless man I may never see again..."As long as God gets the glory through whatever happens, that is what matters."