Life Story God Moments Death Posted February 21, 2021

As a kid, I often ventured into the attic to dig through my parents' old stuff. But I'll never forget the day I found this framed sketch of a 1930's vehicle.

By the looks of it, it was good enough to win first prize at a fair or something. Sadly, I never learned much about it, but it wasn't for a lack of trying. When I asked my mother, she wasn't even aware of its existence. But when I had shown it to my father, his face became unlike a human face. What happened after that was, well... an overreaction, and I wouldn't know why it had happened until much later in life.

Apparently, my father was the artist of the said drawing. He was so talented back in the day that several schools offered him partial (and even full) rides into their art programs. But he never accepted any of them. Instead he went into business, something he believed was a "sure thing." That explained why he often discouraged me from doing anything creative as a kid. He eventually became one of the top managers at an American catalogue retail chain called BEST Products. From what I can remember, life was pretty good. My family was able to afford a nice house, put me through a good school, and partake in quite a few road trips. My father's gamble actually seemed to be paying off.

Unfortunately, his company would soon go bankrupt. My father would not only lose his job, but nearly everything he had – including his family. I just happened to show him his sketch right before everything fell apart. I might as well have treated his wounds with lemon juice.

But what I've come to appreciate in recent years is how he never gave up. He got remarried later in life and became a family man again. He put away the cut-throat business ways to become a life-saving paramedic. He went from being an irredeemable Browns fan to, well... still an irredeemable Browns fan, but also a redeemed man of God. And though he passed away far too soon (he was 47), he was fondly remembered and was believed to have lived a good, fulfilling life.

Before he passed away, he became worried about how my life would pan out. After so many years trying to convince me to abandon my creative ways and get into business, he ended up doing the exact opposite. But by that point, I was set to graduate with a certification in Business Management Technology. Changing my trajectory wouldn't have made any sense. That was right about when I experienced an anxiety attack, something so intense that I couldn't leave my house for months. It completely changed my life, and I took that as proof that I shouldn't be wasting any more time in some rat race.

Because what is success, really? We're all living in some capitalist-Calvinistic nightmare where even if we do theoretically succeed, the top prize is a bunch of things we'll never get to really enjoy because we're at meetings for twelve hours a day and spending the rest of our time either sleeping or communing. If my father were here today, he would tell you this is no way to live. He would tell you not to give up on your gifts like he did, or focus on things that don't really matter in the end, or assume you would have time later for God. He would tell you to live for Jesus today – with everything you've been given.

And that's exactly what I did... when I hardly had anything more than the clothes on back. I, too, ended up being down and out for a while. But I knew that if external circumstances can break someone, external circumstances can bring them back too. I was eventually led back to church – where I was lifted out of homelessness. Where I was given a vehicle and a job to put me back on my feet. Where I found the love of my life. Where I was encouraged to go back to school for ministry. And where I've been able to apply my God-given gifts to change lives and help advance the Kingdom.

In short, we've been designed by God to worship something. It's easy to get caught up in our careers and establish lofty goals, but these things can easily be lost. White picket-fence childhoods can turn into grown-up tragedies. Beauty is almost as fleeting as popular opinion. We know these things to be true. But we've been designed by God, more specifically, to worship Jesus. I encourage you today to come see what it's like to give your life to the One that gave His life for you. He wants us to be with Him, to experience Him, and to enjoy Him. What He has to offer is so, so, so, SO much better.

This is why God created us.

Dedicated to Robert Lee Branham. See you on the other side.