January 8th

This may be hard thought, but I know it’s God’s heart. You see, yesterday was exactly 8 years to the day of when I was sentenced to State Prison for 5 ½ years. On that day, I walked into the courtroom as a convict because of a reckless decision I made which resulted in the death of Mr. Hort Kap. Yet because of the forgiveness extended to me by Mr. Kap’s son, Noun, I walked out of the courtroom as a man of conviction. To be a convict to me was to accept full responsibility for the guilt of the day and the consequences that would follow. In addition, to be a man of conviction to me was to also accept completely the grace of the day and the calling of God that would follow.

I could not imagine how my sentencing day would unfold and I cannot properly even portray what happened in words. And that is why I am extra grateful that cameras were rolling and were able to capture the miracle of mercy for the world to see. I actually just re-shared this video on my Facebook and would love for you to see what I’m talking about when I say, “On January 7th, 2010, I was physically incarcerated, yet spiritually liberated.”

That catalyst in my life stands alone. I went away for the next 55 months as a man of conviction, determined to point people to Christ in all I said and did. I succeeded at times and failed at other times, but every experience proved that God is faithful all the time.  And God’s faithfulness was not only with me day by day, but His faithfulness saw me doing what I am doing today, even from the deepest misery of my yesterday.

In other words, after the judge rendered down his verdict of 5 ½ years to State Prison, I left the court room in shackles and chains. I was to be shipped off to the Atlantic County Jail and eventually to Trenton’s Central Reception. Yet even within the uncertainties of those days and the years of prison thereafter, and even through the countless jumpsuits or prison garb that I would wear, and even through the shackles on my hands and feet with the chain around my waist--through it all—God’s faithfulness saw the exit of prison at the same time He saw my entry to prison.

Do you understand what that means? It means that even if we do not know how our circumstances are going to play out, God in His faithfulness already see’s who we are when we enter and who we will be when we come out. He saw me in the midst of my tragedy at the same time that He saw me active in ministry. He sits as King alone above all of our circumstances, which means the good, the bad, the ugly, it all has a purpose in His economy. This thought totally humbles me.

You may be about to enter a trial or you may even be in the midst of your trial and are totally blinded by the shock and confusion, or totally paralyzed by guilt and shame. Either way, your sight to see beyond your moment is not necessary. I mean, you don’t need to walk by sight but by faith in God, trusting that He knows the end from the beginning. You don’t need to see nor know how or why, you just need to reconcile to yourself the fact that God is good all the time.  

"@mattmaherstory one of the most memorable talks I ever saw at my HS. Thank you so much for your story- it really changed my perspective."
@kimbolaa Summit High School
"I'd rather stand alone with Jesus than sit in a crowd without Him."
- Matthew Maher