By: Tim Sader
If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. (2 Corinthians 11:30)
I spent countless playing videogames as a teen; it was a way for me to escape and enjoy something that I could control. When I wasn’t playing games I spent the remainder of my time outside in the neighborhood. The first week in our new home I would ride my chair up and down the street, around the block and to the park. Some of the first people I met lived beside eachother next to the mill; many of their families worked at through the years. Terry and Janet kept an eye on Ricky and Steven who were his little cousins during the day while their parents were at work. The Garrett’s were a multi-generational family they lived with Terry’s parents had a four year old daughter Terrus and a son Kelin who was two. My brother and I had long hair cut into mullets. Don’t be hating! Ricky and Steven asked Terry if he saw the ugly girls who moved in down the street. Personally I think they were in love; just kidding, we became friends with them almost right away. Then we met Terry, he had a heart condition and was unable to work so he was at home when our parents were at work. Terry was a big kid himself. He liked movies, played videogames, was creative and crafty. When we got bored he came up with things for us to do. He helped me perfect my chess skills and taught me how to talk southern. We had bon fires, camping trips in his yard and built forts in the woods behind his house. We learned about tough times in his generation, tying knots, using knives, handling guns and using a cross bow. Terry was like a scout leader, he would talk to us kids and trusted us with things our parents probably wouldn’t have allowed. I was the oldest kid on the block so I saw Terry as a friend whose perspective on things helped me gain confidece. Later he ran into some trouble with the law because of his probation and they left York in the middle of the night. Five years later the law caught up with him and he called out to me from the window of a police car when they rode past me in town. He took care of his legal issues and a few weeks later their family moved back into the same house they rented when we first met.
When the Garrett’s left I was only seventeen but was twenty-two when they came back. As soon as I finished my time at school in Columbia, SC I started hanging out with Terry again. I was into partying and he could drink so we celebrated my graduation with a bottle of rum. We had a lot of fun hanging out, partying and going to karaoke. He still gave me good advice, we talked about everything, dreamed up businesses and inventions. Some things I learned from Terry were not to dispise my weaknesses, to accept myself and laugh in the midst of my circumstances. He was fat, I was cripple and even these were not outside of our joking with one another. Though mixed in with our misbehaving we shared many conversations about the Lord and our personal beliefs in Him. We have many differences in what we believe spiritually and we were not shy about debating our view points. Neither of us were always completely wrong sometimes one of us or both would be right. Through our debating we seemed to grow in our relationship with God. Iron sharpens iron and we sharpened each others faith (Pr. 27:17). Terry and I love like friends but through our differences and in times of adversity we have become like family (Pr. 17:17). The Garretts have been there for us and we have been with them sometimes when noone else was there. Distance now separates us again but we never forsake friendship. There is little running to family 1500 miles away so friends and neighbors have been our support system when family couldn’t (Pr. 27:10). Terry showed me we may have a thorn in the flesh and like the apostle Paul says the grace of God is sufficient in our weakness. We can boast in our hardship and difficulties because when we are weak God is strong (2 Cor. 12:7-10).
Lord I ask that when we have times of fellowship and don’t agree on everything that other perspectives would help us grow in our faith. If faced with challenges to our faith from opponents help us to share you in a positive way and not be swayed by strange doctrine that is contrary to your word. Friendship is an important part of human growth it is how we learn to love others. Help us to develop friendships that challenge us to love and for them to do the same from us. Help our dysfunction smooth out our rough edges so we can be brothers and sisters worthy to call you our Lord. In Jesus name, Amen.
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No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. Luke 8:16