All that mattered was that he was in love and felt happy. Anyone who warned him that he was heading in the wrong direction was cut off, family notwithstanding. What he didn’t realize at the time was that his love interest was taking him away from God.
As so often happens when we turn our backs on God, things soured quickly. He soon found himself single and in dire straits. He couldn’t afford electricity or even running water. Like the prodigal son of the parable, he lived like this for a while, too ashamed to let anyone know.
He recalls how he sensed God wooing him to pray about his situation, but he refused to do so. This went on for months. Fed up with his situation one afternoon, he decided it was worth at least a try.
He whispered a short prayer. No immediate change came.
One day, soon thereafter, he sat on his floor to call his mom for the first time in a long time, just to see how she was doing. But as soon as she said, “Hello,” he found himself weeping. The tone of her voice gave him the confidence to tell her what he’d been going through. Through tears, he related his tale of hardship. Not long after that call he moved to Wisconsin to be with family.
After rebuffing his relatives’ invitations to attend church, he finally acquiesced, yet wasn’t expecting anything to change. That was his first mistake: thinking God wouldn’t love someone like him. It was there that God touched his heart. He finally surrendered and was baptized in November 2021 at Iglesia Adventista Redención de Milwaukee.
The 25-year-old now finds himself more involved in young adult programs, focusing on God-centered activities, such as helping his mom in fundraising activities for those less fortunate in different parts of the world. He shares his faith by weaving Christ into just about every conversation, whether it’s with a co-worker or a stranger at the supermarket. He says he has found so much comfort and solace in Jesus that he can’t help but share the Good News. One year from now he wants to look back and see that he was able to lead someone to Jesus, showing them that even when they hit rock-bottom, they, too, can experience hope.
For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights (Psalms 18:31, NIV).
Josue Peralta is a writer and founder of Attractive, a web design and storytelling studio based in Wisconsin. He’s also host of the podcast, “Oatmeal at Dawn,” a collection of sermons he has written and preached throughout the country.