Roads Go Ever On And On

In Isaiah 55:8, God reminds us, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” and He’s proven that to me time and time again. Back in 2004, when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I had no idea what kind of transformational process the Lord was going to begin in me. Having this thorn in the flesh brought me back to reality and compelled me to destroy the foundations of the empire I’d planned.

In 2007, I took a job teaching English at a Christian school, and while there, I started to get comfortable in my “Christian skin” as it were and began digging more deeply into what it means to be a born-again believer.

Fast forward to 2013. Today, I work for one of the most beloved and recognized pastors in the world, Dr. Charles Stanley—first as a copy/content editor and now as a member of the In Touch magazine staff. For many years, I dreamed of being a writer, and that’s exactly what I am today. Every day, I am privileged to work alongside some of the most amazing, godly people I’ve ever known. We perform many functions–everything from buffing a floor to editing a broadcast. But we share one goal, getting the good news of the gospel to as many people as possible through radio, television, web, and print.

Yes, a woman who, nine years ago, was a nominal Christian at best is now a part of an international ministry.

It should have been impossible, but God brought it to pass. Why? Because He enjoys drawing a perfectly straight line with a crooked instrument like me. I could never have guessed I would be as close to God as I am today or that He would allow me to use my talents in such a way. But that’s what He tells us to expect in His Word: For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope” (Jer. 29:11). Every day, when I sit down to work, I marvel at what He’s done in my life. I did nothing to earn this favor, and I am not worthy of it. I can never be.

But He doesn’t stop there. Sometimes, God blesses me beyond measure and teaches me more about His excellent greatness.

Proverbs 16:9 says, “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” I know the truth of that statement better than most. God has used many people to influence my Christian walk, and He’s now using me to grow up others in the faith. A few weeks ago, I got this letter from a reader. (If you click on the image, it should give you a larger version to read.)

letterfromreader

I’ve checked into this, and this person exists. He is indeed in prison for a host of crimes I don’t care to detail here. I can’t imagine what life must be like for him or what led him to such a desperate place. But God knew. The same heavenly Father who pulled me away from the trappings of the world did the same for him. God found him in one of the lowest, darkest, loneliest moments of his life and spoke to him through a 48-page, digest-sized magazine.

I often wonder about the journey that magazine took. I know how it was made of course, but when it was printed, how many hands at In Touch Ministries did it go through? How many people carried it with them or passed it on to some else before it finally found its way under that mattress? Did any of them know who it was meant for or what a difference it would make? There’s no way of knowing. One thing I do know, however, is that no one could orchestrate such an intricate journey except the Master.

That magazine lay in the cell where he would be placed, hidden where only he would find it, and opened precisely to the page he needed to read—a page I had written. (The article is here if you’d like to take a gander at it yourself.) The precision of it all is simply astonishing. There’s just no other word for it. It still boggles my mind when I try to think it through.

I’m willing to bet this man and I have little in common, but that didn’t matter to God. He made me walk through the darkest valley of my life to begin my own process of sanctification. Years later, He placed me in a position where my testimony could be shared with millions of people and helped me to write an article about physical illness. And He used those words to touch the heart of a man and pull him out of an entirely different sort of darkness. According to the legal system, he was beyond help. But he wasn’t beyond God. The Lord met him where he was and spoke to him through an article written by a woman frightfully far from perfect and still searching for answers herself.

The word “humbled” doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel every time I read this letter. It proves to me that God doesn’t make mistakes. I may feel like a cracked and crooked thing, but in His hand, I am a precise tool that helps to repair or shape another person. There is no telling how many people this man will impact where he’s been placed. His walk with God is just beginning, and that is a wonderful place to be. And I can’t wait to hear every page of his story when we meet in heaven.

Never doubt that the things you do and say make a difference or that God isn’t using you to impact someone else’s life. He loves surprising and delighting His children after all.

I’d love to hear your stories. Has God used someone to impact your life or directed you to bless another? Please tell me all about it in the comments section below!

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7 thoughts on “Roads Go Ever On And On

  1. This is WAY cool!
    With your permission, I’d like to re-post this at pillioddsandends as a guest blogger!

    Am I old enough to say, “I’m so proud of you, Jamie…”??? Hahahaha! Totally awesome. Oh, and I’m super psyched that I got to teach with you for those few years. I appreciate all the time we worked together, worried together, complained together, worshipped together…

    This is a great story!

    1. Please do, Mike. It’s one way we can keep telling others just how amazing good God is. 🙂

      And regarding the time we spent teaching together, you were one of those people who challenged me and helped me grow. Without your influence, I might not be where I am today.

    1. When I researched this guy using the information I had, I was stunned by his back story. His life has been one of violence that I cannot even fathom, but reading this letter reminded me that he matters no less to God than I do. All sin is equal, though we want to stratify it. However, sins, no matter how big they might be, are no trouble for His grace.

      And your story amazes me, ma’am. Your willingness to love and care for those five amazing kids speaks volumes about you!

  2. This was awesome to read about! We come across so many people in our paths. We never get to know how much, or if any, of an impact we make on a person and you have solid evidence that your story touched somebody. That’s amazing and as a child of God, what more could you want?! Its always easy to ask “why?” something happens but this letter to you was a clear answer. Awesome!

    1. I can’t even explain how humbled I felt by this. It was one of three letters I got about the article, and in two of the three, the writer told me they decided to get saved after reading it. All I can think about is that, one day, I’m going to see them both in heaven! 😀 God is indeed awesome.

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