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We were scheduled to fly to a national staff conference for a youth ministry I was with, when one of the women on our staff came to me and said, "Ron, I'm afraid to fly." Well, the conference was so far away we didn't have much choice. She said, "I want to talk to somebody on the staff about flying, and I decided I would talk to you." And I said, "Well, how did I become the lucky winner here?" She said, "Well, you go up and come down so many times in those things, I figured you'd understand." She was seeking out someone who's done it a lot. Well, I mean, we have 23 people on the staff she could have talked to, but she said, "I'm going to go to the person who's done it a lot. I want to hear from someone who's been there."
You know what? I've found that's especially true of people who are, let's say, trying to lose weight. You try to talk to people who've been there, done that. Have you noticed the weight loss products that are sold on television about every ten minutes? They don't always have a doctor come on and some very thin person. Now, maybe a thin person who had benefitted from the product. They usually have someone who has lost weight using the product, who traded in their larger sized clothes for a smaller size, and they're the ones who come on and pitch it. Advertisers know that the best salesmen for a product is someone who's been there.
Being overweight - take it from me, I've had experience - it's not fun. But a lot of people want to know how you lost it if you used to be there. And even though it wasn't fun, it gives you credentials with people who are struggling with it now. It's interesting: yesterday's misery can become today's credentials.
Today's frustration, today's agony, today's illness, today's hurt takes on meaning when you bring it to the Lord and say, "Lord, sanctify this experience. Teach me new sensitivities. Teach me new things about You. I want this tragedy to count, to help other people." It's the same with sins that have been sinned against you; the abuse, the mistreatment, the criticism. You know how it feels, and it's not a waste. It becomes equipment for ministry to other wounded people.
It's terrific! God uses the apparent junk of our lives to build radar in you for ministry to others like you. You talk about amazing grace? How God can recycle that garbage into something He can use to change lives - it's amazing. In God's hands, the misery of today can become tomorrow's strange credentials.
© (c) Ronald P. Hutchcraft
Distributed by Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc.