I felt like something was off, but I didn’t press the issue too much. My husband told me a colleague said he needed money because he had advanced stage cancer and could not pay for his prescription.
According to the ill man, his employer had somehow messed up his disability paperwork, so his payout was pending. $80.00 was all he needed to cover the cost of his medication. Also, he was adamant about not wanting any handouts from anyone and promised to give the money back in two weeks on his expected payout date.
Kenya expressed to me how dire this man’s circumstances were and that the prognosis wasn’t good. Despite deep nagging internal objections, my softheartedness overrode any suspicions I had.
Kenya and I have internalized the words of 1 John 3:17: “But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?”
So not helping out was unthinkable. We gave the man the money. Two weeks came and went and we heard nothing. After a few weeks, Kenya grew concerned about the health of his colleague and assumed his disappearance meant something terrible had happened. So he phoned another acquaintance who knew the ill man well and that’s when the whole truth came out.
He did have cancer, but it was not advanced stage cancer as he had led Kenya to believe. Also, the money he requested was to support his longtime heroin addiction.
No one aside from those who were very close to him even knew he had been using drugs for years. He was spiraling out of control. Turns out he had asked about 25-30 other people to front him $70-$80.
“He’s running a scam to support his habit,” Kenya’s better informed business acquaintance said.
As I previously mentioned, I felt like something was rotten about the whole thing from the onset. I wasn’t, however, thinking a heroin addiction and a money scam had anything to do with the situation.
Following the elaborate scheme, he essentially dropped off the face of the earth and went into hiding. He conned a bunch of people and then abandoned his job. He slipped totally under the radar. Of course my husband felt betrayed. He had been duped by someone he thought was both a colleague and a friend.
It was just an all-around sad situation. The addiction drove this person to make reckless choices. We're still praying for his deliverance. God is able to change any person’s heart and set them free.
This makes me think about Jacob, who was a liar and a trickster. He took advantage of loved ones, too. But God still turned his life around and used him mightily in the Kingdom. In Genesis 32, two decades after tricking his twin brother Esau out of his inheritance (See Genesis 27), Jacob was about to come face-to-face with his twin who had once been angry enough to kill him.
Being manipulated and taken advantage of doesn’t feel good, especially not when the person doing the manipulating and scheming is close to you. But Jacob had changed. He was a different person now.
In Genesis 32:12, Jacob cried out to the Lord. He wanted protection from Esau and assurance that God’s promise to bless and multiply his grandfather Abraham’s seed—which included him—would be kept.
Jacob needed a guarantee because he was petrified over the controversy that had never been resolved. He had heard Esau was on his way accompanied by 400 men. Jacob thought, perhaps, his brother hadn’t gotten over what had happened decades ago and was going to savagely and brutally retaliate.
That was never going to happen.
Jacob didn’t know the reunion would be a happy one and that Esau would be glad to see him. Jacob didn’t know the incredible harvest of blessings that were awaiting him and that God wouldn’t let any harm come to him as a consequence of his deceit.
But even though he was in the dark about what would happen next, Jacob wrestled with an angel and refused to let go until he received a blessing. What great faith! He fought for his destiny, even in times of uncertainty.
And according to verse 32, God changed his name from Jacob to Israel and out of this man’s loins would come the children of Israel, a great and mighty nation! The one who had started off as a deceiver was transformed by the power of God.
Friend, it doesn’t matter where you start, how low you have been, how many mistakes you have made, how many wrongs and injustices you have done or have been done to you, God won’t leave you where you are. He has this extraordinary way of erasing your past, cleansing you of unrighteousness, righting wrongs, carrying the load of your burdens and errors on His shoulders, and giving you a fresh start.
It’s called grace and that grace is being extended to you.
Whether you are the cause of your struggles or not; whether your behavior was bad or not; whether your own wrongdoing landed you in a sad predicament or not; whether it was your fault or not, God still has a great plan for you.
We all make mistakes. We all fall short. We all stumble. We all suffer at the hands of those who do us wrong. We are all misunderstood. We are all mistreated. We are all imperfect. And we are all in need of a Savior who has the power to make all things new!
I believe you’re reading this today because in one way or another, in some area, you need a fresh start. God is informing you that He’s giving you one. There are some issues you can’t resolve on your own, some burdens you can’t carry, some storms you can’t calm and some battles you can’t fight. There are some messes you can’t clean up, some outcomes you can’ reverse and some victories, on your own, you cannot secure.
Well, God is about to step in and change your destiny. He’s giving you a divine do-over. He’s reversing what has seemed to be a curse over your family, your finances, your health, your relationships, and other areas of your life.
He is going to bless you and do things you never thought possible. God is going to go above and beyond in the way He blesses you. You’re entering into a new world of possibility, a new season of opportunity and a brand new destiny.
To remind you of this truth, I feel led to stir the very first line of Isaiah 43:19 ESV, into your cup of inspiration, which simply says, “Behold, I am doing a new thing.”
As you drink down the contents of your cup, rejoice over your new thing. There is an inheritance, a harvest, a season of reaping good things that’s on the way for you. Your season of mourning, grieving and suffering is about to give way to a season of rejoicing, celebrating and triumphing because God has ordained it to be so.
Prepare for your fresh start. It is yours, not because you are perfect or so deserving, but simply because God loves you and He wants the best for you.
Now let’s pray.
God, I have not been perfect all my life. I have not been clear on how to do things right in every situation. Sometimes, even when I’m doing my best, I fall short, stumble and fail. But I thank You for Your unfailing love, mercy and great kindness toward me. Thank You for my fresh start. I declare by faith it is a brand new season of reaping good things and I give You all the honor and praise for it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
As always, thanks for reading and until next time... may today's cup of inspiration uplift, encourage, and empower you!
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