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  • Writer's pictureMichael Kenyon

Bigger Tool Boxes

Updated: Oct 11, 2021

I have struggled with many things in my life. Drugs, porn, identity, depression, you name it and it’s probably on my list. I’ve spent time homeless and addicted waking up with one purpose, to get my fix. Today I'm a father, husband, and missionary with many struggles, walking through the grief and pain of loss, temptations tugging at my flesh, celebrating God for what he’s doing, and often bitching about what he's not.

This morning I was meeting with a friend talking through life, family, ministry, and all the things that come along with life on the mission field. As we were sharing some current struggles and temptations I was encouraged. The question was thrown out, “why do we still struggle with things we've already beat”, At first I felt a bit discouraged then my perspective shifted as I remembered what James says in the bible. "Count it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you meet trials of any kind, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness."

In other words the struggles we face today can become our strength for tomorrow.

Our pain today, if we let it, can become our power for tomorrow.

The trials today will become our unwavering faith for tomorrow.

Trials are an opportunity to truly understand the grace of God.

If you are a father, husband, missionary, or taxi driver, facing a battle through pain, temptation, or maybe something you've beat before I want to encourage you. Though our battles may never end, if we can recognize them as our strength, power, and faith for tomorrow, and an opportunity to truly know the grace of God we can find courage to fight and joy in the midst.

Today I get to spend many days walking with young men through their own struggles and pain. Often times through places that are all to familiar. We can relate, mainly because I too have been wounded in similar places and I wear my scars as a trophy. My toolbox is overflowing with pain, failure, conquered temptations, passed struggles, and grace. These have become the tools that I rely on, and the faith that I lean on today. All those days of waking up in pain has become my power.

I need a bigger tool box!

One of my favorite authors Henri Nouwen says, “Whether we try to enter into a dislocated world, relate to a convulsive generation, or speak to a dying person, our service will not be perceived as authentic unless it comes from a heart wounded by the suffering about which we speak.”

So, count it all joy! The struggles, the pain, the failures, the temptations, the trials, let them fill your tool box. I often remember these words from a pastor who I love and respect. He said to me, “Never follow someone into battle without scars to prove they can make it through.”

Whatever you are facing today you can beat it. And when you do, embrace your scars. Raise them up as your trophy. There will be people along the way who need you in their battle.

Today I praise God for the pain. I praise God for my past addictions and mistakes, because of them I know grace, I know forgiveness, I know LOVE. I get the opportunity to walk with other young men through their pain and out the other side. I pray my children never have to walk the same dark alleys in life that I did but I also pray that they would be in a position to truly know and understand the grace of the Lord.

I have discovered that the only way to the other side is through.

Through the pain.

Through the struggle.

We have to dig deep and find the courage to face our reality head on and fight. This is precisely where the Lord has met me and where I know He will meet you.

May the Lord hear your cry

May He meet you in the battle with courage to fight

May He lift you out and make your steps secure

May He give you a new song

May He bless you and give us strength

May you know Grace

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