Jentezen Franklin is no stranger to the hardships of life.
The senior pastor of Free Chapel, a multi-campus church with a global reach, shared with The Christian Post how he clearly felt God’s call on his life as a teenager.
“At 16 years old, I heard a preacher preach and it moved me to my core,” he recalled. “I was fighting back to tears. I went to the altar and whispered a prayer: ‘God, if you want me to preach, I want to be able to touch people.’ And I felt like God had heard my prayer and that all would be well moving forward.”
But within six months of his conversion, Franklin experienced what he referred to as the “trial of a lifetime.” After developing a deficiency in his blood, boils broke out all over Franklin’s face and body, severely impacting his quality of life.
“I went to doctor after doctor and I ended up having to drop out of school,” he said. “Teachers were kind enough to let me do my assignments from home, but I lived an isolated life for a full year. It was depressing. It became the worst nightmare of my life. I looked like a freak. Kids would laugh at me at school. I felt like a monster.”
In the midst of his pain, Franklin cried out to God and asked, “Why me, Lord?”
In that moment, he was faced with a decision: “I could either let roots of bitterness grow or choose to produce the fruits of the Spirit,” he said. “So I began truly reading the Bible for myself and pray and listening to cassette tapes of the preacher. I was getting the Word in me and developing a relationship with God like never before.”
Today, The New York Times best-selling author said he still draws on those times of solace with God when preparing for sermons: “The Holy Spirit will take me back to that year of life when I was totally isolated, cut off, and lonely,” he said. “I wouldn’t change that year for anything.”
“Sometimes,” he added, “we ask God for something, and He sends it in strangely-wrapped packages we don’t recognize. When I asked God for the ministry, I thought it would come with a pulpit and microphone. I never dreamed the package would come in suffering and boils and through questioning God.”
According to Franklin, abundant life can be found in every setback: “If we don’t give up, God will prove Himself faithful,” the pastor said. “When you get there, it won’t be about the reward. It will be about God and the process He took you through. You’ll give Him the glory. It’s the process of sanctifying the dream, purpose, and mission.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett