“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”1
In Jim Cymbala’s book, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, there is the story of a woman named Roberta Langella. A story she tells in her own words. At the age of 16, she left a broken home to move to New York City where she began living with a man twice her age. A man that got her into IV drug abuse through heroin and cocaine. One night after shooting up, her boyfriend thought she had died. He took off, leaving her on a rooftop where someone discovered her and called 911. The paramedics revived her.
Her feelings of worthlessness led her to one destructive, physically abusive, and drug-centered live-in relationship after another. She began going to underground clubs where she would shoot up and share needles with 20-30 people at a time. Eventually she and her latest boyfriend were out of money, out of food, the utilities had been turned off, and they were selling their furniture to finance their drug habit.
Faced with this impossible situation, she called her mother back in Florida, who let her move down, and got her into Narcotics Anonymous where she kicked the drug habit and soared with newfound confidence.
But then – everything came crashing down. A visit to the doctor unveiled a horrible fact. She was HIV positive.
After 2 years of being clean, she returned to cocaine with a vengeance. Wanting the drugs like never before. After a week-long cocaine binge, she was truly at the end. Faced with an impossible situation. HIV positive. No money. No love relationship.
Years prior, she had happened to meet a woman in her apartment building who attended Brooklyn Tabernacle. And for some reason, that Tuesday night with nowhere else to turn, she showed up at that church and went to the altar shedding tears she couldn’t stop. “God, I need you in my life. Help me please!”
That night her life was changed. God gave hope when there seemed to be no way out.Even though she was sick, she led a ministry at Brooklyn Tabernacle called, “New Beginnings," a weekly outreach to drug abusers. God used her life and her mistakes for good--bringing hope to others who have none.2
I am sure that, like us, Roberta’s life was a mixture of ups and downs. No one is perfect, and as mentioned before, we all have those sins with which we struggle. However, one thing to remember is that, just like God changes the seasons, he is ready to change us and help us begin a new season in our lives. A season of hope, transformation, and a personal relationship with Him that will bring the growth we long to see in ourselves.
Suggested prayer: Dear God, time and time again, both in my life and in the lives of others, I have seen your great grace abound. We falter, make mistakes, and stray, yet you love us and welcome us back into your arms every time. Change my heart and allow this season of my life to be where I choose to submit to your will. Use my mistakes as a testimony to others of how you use broken and ordinary people to be part of your perfect plan. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Romans 5:5 (NIV).
Jim Cymbala’s book, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire.
All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.