Our God is a God who restores all things. And I want to tell you about an amazing restoration job the Lord has performed in one man's life.
In Philippians 4, Paul reminds us to think about whatever is true, right, pure and praiseworthy. Because it's all too easy to get sucked into the cultural craziness around us, or to succumb to the pain and suffering we witness or experience every day.
That's why every Friday at BreakPoint.org, my colleague Warren Cole Smith tells a story about God at work in the lives of His people. To encourage us. To remind us that He's with us.
And I've got one such story to tell you, about a man I know, and interviewed recently.
His name is Victor Marx. His father was a pimp and a drug dealer. Four stepfathers abused and even tortured him. To escape the emotional pain, he began taking drugs as a teenager.
You probably think you know how this tragic tale ends—but you'd be wrong. Today, that boy, Victor Marx, is an evangelical Christian who runs a ministry that helps traumatized children.
When he grew up, Victor escaped his tormented home life by joining the Marines. Sent to Iraq, he transferred his anger to enemy soldiers. He also learned martial arts so that nobody could ever hurt him again.
Victor was still in the Marines when his father got in touch with him. The last Victor had heard, he was a practicing warlock. He sent Victor a letter apologizing for failing him and invited him to visit. And then he gave Victor a real shock: He told his son he had turned his life over to Christ.
Victor went to church with his father, and heard the message that Jesus loved him so much he had willingly died for his sins. For the first time in his life, Victor regretted the bad things he had done. He broke into tears and surrendered his life to Christ.
And then Victor began to confront his past. God told him to find his first stepfather and forgive him—or he himself would stay hard, mean, and angry. Victor found the old man, whose health had been destroyed by drinking and drugs. Victor read him scripture and witnessed to him, and just before he died, the old man accepted Christ.
In the years that followed, Victor—now married with five children—began meeting with a trauma specialist, who helped him confront the memories of abuse. He learned to forgive everyone who had ever harmed him. And he embraced Romans 8:28: "All things work together for good to them that love God."
This verse inspired the name of his new work helping trauma victims: All Things Possible Ministries.
"Often," Victor says, "When the worst, most unfair, cruel things happen to a person, we can't see what the result will be." But if we love and trust God, He can redeem the evil and turn it for good.
And this is the message he's given to the thousands of incarcerated kids he has spoken to, many of whom endured horrific childhoods, just as Victor did. His own story of childhood trauma helps him break down their resistance—and open them up to Christ's love.
Victor and ATP Ministries have also taken high-risk trips to Iraq to minister to traumatized children rescued from the clutches of ISIS. His ministry has given more than 21,000 comfort toys to children traumatized by war. He's even witnessed to captured ISIS soldiers.
One of the great questions people have about Christianity is why a good God allows suffering. Victor Marx has a personal answer to that question. "The worst things in my life," he says, "the greatest injustices, have actually been turned around for good."
Because our God is a God who restores all things.
Please come to BreakPoint.org every Friday for more stories of God at work.
The Victor Marx Story: A God Who Restores All Things
For more of Victor Marx's story and info on his ministry All Things Possible, click on the links in the Resources section. And as Eric mentioned, check out Warren Cole Smith's Friday feature at BreakPoint.org called "Restoring All Things" for more stories of God at work in the lives of everyday people. Click here to read his latest column.
First published at BreakPoint.