Miracle Minute

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Do I Have The Faith To Praise God During The Most Horrific Times?

By Derek Clark

I have seen and heard other people eagerly thanking God for what they have, and for the struggles He helped them endure. But I never felt any particular sense of gratitude toward God. Reviewing my life, it appears clearly to me that I’ve never thanked Him. After hearing my friend’s words, I chose to appreciate the Creator of Life. They say the older you get, the wiser you become. Perhaps life doesn’t unfold this way for everybody, but I certainly feel like it has for me.

For the greater part of my life, I believed God never listened to me. I felt like He’d thrown me away in the same callous way my parents had. I felt all alone. Believers may occasionally feel solitude, but their isolation is alleviated by their faith in the presence of God. I couldn’t enjoy that same comfort. I was just lonely. As a kid, I felt even more alone in church, when the congregation would collectively bear testimony to the truth of God. I might be in the middle of a few hundred people, yet the loneliness would settle coldly over me like snow. I had no connection with God. Yes, I would smile and agree with everyone else, pretending to give testimony. But doing so, if it fooled anybody else, certainly didn’t fool me. I always envied the others at my church. They were all so lucky, and so loved by God.

I questioned God’s existence. I tested Him by showing no appreciation. I would yell at Him, cuss at Him, mock Him. I would disrespect the church leaders. I would act out in His holiest places of worship, and laugh loudly during prayers. I certainly had no love in my heart for Him. I would justify it by saying, “God doesn’t love me. If He did, He wouldn’t let little kids like me suffer. Why should I love Him?” The only time I’ve even felt close to God in any way was during the birth of my children. But the feeling of intimacy with something miraculous wasn’t sustained, and I soon reverted back to my normal patterns of thinking.

As a child, I had a rough time mentally, emotionally and physically. I never considered the possibility that God was helping by getting me away from a mother who didn’t care for me, or want me around—who even accused me of being possessed by the devil himself. Thank God I got out of that house. Had I been raised in that place, I probably would have turned into a mental case, or ended up in prison, or even dead. My mother, father, and stepfather all did some horrific things to me, so I must give God the credit for taking me out of that situation. God was there in His triumphant glory, lifting me out of a bad home, and putting me in a foster home where the parents worked with me and loved me, even though I’d been wrongly diagnosed as mentally retarded.

I have played the victim role by constantly blaming God. I had an angel’s heart, but I was a confused and mislabeled little boy who could only communicate through rage and violence. This tendency followed me into my teenager years, as I became more self-destructive. I now realize that I wasn’t a victim of God, I was a victor with God, and He wanted the best for me. Although during my successes I didn’t feel close to God, I really believe He helped strengthen me without my asking.

For me, there are no convincing explanations as to why I’m where I am in life. The statistics are not good for foster children. A lot of prisons are filled with former foster kids, boys and girls who had no direction and were given up on. I think the Holy Spirit must have been inspiring me to make the right choice in tough situations, or to write a particular song, or to write this book. God is working through me, not as He does through a Prophet or Holy Man, but as a person who has gone through so much pain. He knows I can be an instrument for Him by spreading the message of Never Giving up on God’s Love. I am so appreciative that I am alive and living.

After my sister was killed, and not long after my stepbrother, I needed hope. This at a time when I was failing school, getting into trouble, and trying to figure out who I was as a teenager. It was so easy to lay these accidents on God’s shoulders. I hadn’t even thought to look at their deaths in a different way. I now don’t believe God was determined to hurt Derek by taking the people he loved away from him. I can’t explain death, or why people sometimes die before they live a long, full life. It makes me sad when young promising lives end so abruptly. It becomes unbearable for the people they leave behind. But I have also seen people strengthened in their faith after losing their child; they hold onto God even more.

Dr. Wayne Dyer said: “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Rather than get so upset and blame God for all the things that happened to me, why didn’t I look at it as a way to get closer to Him? I chose to distance myself, and then wondered why He wouldn’t answer my prayers or come to my aid when I called upon Him.

When I focused on the hate and the non-existence of God, I was continually poisoning my heart with negativity. I was fueling my body with poison instead of the light of my Heavenly Father. Rage clouded my judgment.
Written by Derek Clark

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