I read in my morning’s devotions: “There are men who flatter themselves that they might do something great and good if they were only circumstanced differently, while they make no use of the faculties they already have by working in the positions where Providence has placed them. Man can make his circumstances, but circumstances should never make the man. Man should seize circumstances as his instruments with which to work. He should master circumstances, but should never allow circumstances to master him.”

I understand and know this well.  Every man, or woman, born, come into this world having dreams but it is reality which set in and will do one of two things, either it will push the individual forward to accomplishing good and great things despite those circumstances which knock them down, or, they will never rise to the person they should have been regardless of what happened in their lives.  I will use my own experiences, my life, to illustrate the point.

I can remember while sitting in an elementary school class hearing the caution:  “You do not want to do anything wrong and commit a crime.  For if you do, you will have a police record which will follow you around for the rest of your life.”  What was that supposed to mean?  For one, at that tender age, although living in the projects in the early to mid-60’s, I didn’t know any criminals. I didn’t know what it meant to be caught by the police and end up in jail, to have a record which prohibits you.  They were words which would be heard but not be appreciated.  The same with drugs.  The caution given in school:  “Don’t do drugs because it will ruin your life.”  What was the meaning of this, too?  I didn’t know what drugs were outside of what was administered by the doctor, given to my mother, to be administered to me, no matter how distasteful it might have been, yet, it was for my benefit.  That much I understood.

Then all the knowledge, good information, given me in my youth would all come about.  I would eventually in the so-called prime of my life encounter drugs and become a victim to the extent it would make me into a criminal, have an encounter with the police and end up in prison, more than once.  I would learn what it is to have a police record which would prohibit me from holding jobs and other privileges given to those citizens of upright character, but somehow within my character there was something within which would not allow me to pity myself but find a way to rise above these hardships and prove whatever did occur in the past would only strengthen me and open other doors not available to the good but for the benefit for those who’ve done evil which lead to good things.  God.

God is the one who can say to an invalid of almost 40 years, “Take up your bed and walk.”  God is the one who says to someone smitten with sin and whose lifestyle has been one of corruption and vice, “rise up”.  It is the same God who looks beyond what you did to what you will do.  It is God who determines the future of the man, or woman, while others try to prohibit He will offer them experiences and possibilities otherwise not given because if nobody else He will stand behind you and say, “I believe in you!”  God.

It takes courage outwardly, strength inwardly, resilience, fortitude and sometimes seeing what is not there and overlooking what is seen, not listening to what is being told you and hearing what others cannot hear, to overcome obstacles which are set before you for only one purpose, to make you stronger than had you done everything in the so-called proper way.  While many will call you:  convict, crack-head, whore, sex offender, fool, stupid, thief, liar, crazy, psychotic, mental case, societal reject, worthless, God calls you, “My child”.  “My Child.”  “MY CHILD.”  I guess when I was hearing all those things in my childhood, this is the one lesson I forgot and would take forty years to finally sink in, about who my Father really is!


October 30, 2014


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