I grew up in between foster care and a dysfunctional home where there was never a plan. The inconsistency and unpredictability of my childhood left me shaken, removed from my family and feeling deeply unwanted and unloved. No plan for relational connection, finances, provision or stability, and their parents hadn't planned or prepared any of that for them either. My childhood felt completely chaotic and painful. When I encountered the hope and love of Jesus through a fiery and loving evangelist, I was undone by the true love and hope I had been introduced to. She confidently told me that “God loves you, babygirl, like a good, good daddy should, and He has a good plan for your life.”
I was taken back by these words. The concepts of a “good daddy” and a “good plan” were so foreign to me that any possibility of hope and truth being attached to them brought me to tears. “God is good and He has a good plan for my life..” echoed in my head and heart, flooding me with relief and hope like I’d never known. After this week’s readings, I was reminded of these first sweet moments of my journey when I began discovering and contemplating the goodness of God and the realness of His plans and purposes for my life, and for all of humanity. To have been given insight that God was indeed in control, working together His perfect master plan, gave me relief and confidence unlike anything my young heart had ever fathomed. Fast-forwarding to my perspective all these years later, seeing in part, the full, beautiful story of God’s love and master plan woven together from Genesis to Revelation leaves me in awe of His bigness, goodness, and sovereignty. “The days of His flesh were but the unfolding in time of the plan of God from the beginning. It was always before His mind. He intended to save out of the world a people for Himself and to build a church of the Spirit which would never perish. No one was excluded from His gracious purpose.” (Winter, 2009) Not even me. An abandoned, unwanted foster child who turned to drugs and a life of darkness to search for love and purpose. When that life left me feeling more unwanted and hopeless than before, I found myself as a 15-year-old teenager on drugs, living in a motel room, where I decided to end my life like my best friend had. This very night is when God sent to me Crystal, that fiery evangelist, just 1 year sober from meth, eager to carry to me the same message of hope that changed her life. He knew how deeply my heart needed to see His power to redeem before my eyes. Her story swept me up in a river of hope that I haven’t ever been able to get away from. His plans for redemption and connection to humanity were extended to me personally and I couldn’t resist being pursued and embraced by Love Himself, revealed on the cross. This unfathomable power and love is the very heart of the gospel the world is waiting to hear from Us, His Church.
Winter, Ralph D., and Steven C. Hawthorne. Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. William Carey Library, 2009.