Emotion, passion and sentiment is not always visible within individuals. While some people may wear their feelings on their sleeves like an intense roller coaster ride, others remain reserved, hiding pain on the inside. During my sophomore year of high school, a friend from cross country punched me in the arm, near my shoulder blade every time I saw him. This reaction only told half the story. This gesture released the frustration inside his heart as he helplessly watched his mother lose a year long battle with cancer. After her funeral, Carl became my best friend at Concord High.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths, Proverbs 3:5-6.
This friendship coincided with my own decision to trust Jesus as my Savior. Following this decision on December 4th, 1984, I began to break out of my own depression due to a losing battle with stuttering. My transformation wasn’t immediately, but as I began to attend monthly Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ meetings, I discovered I wasn’t alone in facing demons from my past. No matter who you are and where you live, there will always be cycles of ups and downs. Yet, faith stabilizes broken and weary souls and when you enter into accountability relationships, this strengthens one’s ability to develop a firm foundation.
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity, 1 Timothy 4:12.
As I reflect upon the past 30 plus years, feelings tend to reveal a part of my past that I haven’t fully let go of, hoping to still remain in control. Depending upon the year or in some cases decade, its easy to regress, slipping back into former habits of the flesh. This is where the power of testimonies take faith to the next level. God has given me opportunities to share my faith from time to time. Unfortunately, many of these chances were neglected, overlooked or wasted. Nonetheless, I’m thankful for the few I made the most of, especially during a church service in Friendship, Maryland when I gave my first ever sermon. Don’t let troubles in life rain on the open doors that the Lord provides.
by Jay Mankus