This is a guest post from a good friend of mine, Justin Marshall.
He knows what it’s like to be in over his head with the ways of this world.
He also knows of the amazing grace and redemption of Christ.
I’m encouraged by his existence.
On the evening of November 1st, 2010 my life imploded.
With snot running from my nose and tears blurring my vision,
I confessed to my parents that I was a heroin addict.
This was the nadir of my life.
I had never been so humiliated, embarrassed and terrified.
In the midst of my darkest moment I cried out,
“God, whatever you want for my life, it’s got to be better than this.
I’ll do anything you want, even if it means living in a tent in Africa.”
The next afternoon dog-eared and dope sick I checked into a thirty-one day rehab program.
I wish I could tell you that everything was peaches and cream from here on forward,
but awful doesn’t adequately describe heroin detox.
During the next week, I clung to a small devotional my parents had left with me.
A peace washed over me that I can’t explain.
I felt comforted knowing I wasn’t in control anymore.
Life began getting better.
But, God wasn’t done with me.
I spent the next year living at a Christian discipleship program.
Day by day Jesus gripped my heart and life returned to my veins.
This is not to say things were easy.
God gave me victory, but it wasn’t without a bloody battle.
I had never remotely pondered becoming a missionary.
It seemed boring and I didn’t feel qualified.
After all I had just started on this whole Jesus thing.
When I heard about The World Race I had an epiphany.
Something clicked, and I knew this was where God wanted me.
This crazy adventure seemed completely impractical and yet so right.
A week later I applied and got accepted.
Eleven months after I hesitantly told God I would do whatever He wanted (even live in Africa),
I found myself called to abandon everything for the Gospel.
Never in a million years would I have planned this.
God demolished me on the Race.
I couldn’t explain the sincere smiles and joyful laughter amidst the rubble of poverty.
It made me feel guilty and heartbroken, realizing how much I take for granted.
The resiliency of the human spirit is breathtaking.
Even in the darkest, most deperate corners of the earth, Jesus lives.
I don’t claim to understand His plan or why suffering exists,
but I’ve learned to trust in His goodness even when I can’t see the end result.
I’m not perfect by a long stretch.
I continue to screw up and fail on a regular basis.
My story has its warts and I fall flat on my face most of the time,
but I’ve come to terms with one thing. I’m no longer willing to settle for ordinary.
Life is meant to be lived in deep gulps, dangerously and on the bleeding edge.
Comfort is not the Gospel.
Justin gets it.
He realized the weight of his actions.
He realized that his secrets were killing him.
He owned it.
He got help.
Not only did he give up his addiction, but he gave his life away.
He peaced around the world.
Held orphans and preached the gospel
and lived out the grace he had so freely been given.
Jesus changed Justin…
And Justin lives to change the world.
No one is too far gone.
No drug addict.
No sex addict.
No burnt out stay at home mom.
No depressed teenager.
No one is too far gone.
The Lord wants everyone.