Others Devotional, volume 15

Present Suffering and Future Glory by Greg Wojczynski

Scripture: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:18-21; 28

These verses have had a resounding impact on my life, and verse 28 has become my life verse. You see, my life isn’t what most of you think it is or what it has been like. On the outside I look like a normal guy, who went to a typical Christian school who has an amazing family with the best job in the Valley and followed the same path as a lot of people you are familiar with. However, my life didn’t always look this great, and the road to get here has been a journey.

I was born and raised in the inner-city of Detroit. My family was extremely poor, and I actually thought food stamps were a form of currency. I lived through bankruptcies and poverty. We lived off the government to make ends meet. I thought that this life was the norm, especially in my city, and it was a good life. My three brothers and I had a ton of fun with my friends down the street. However, life took an unexpected turn in 1994.

I was 12 and one Saturday morning in April, my mom passed away suddenly in a car accident. This was the biggest explosion I have ever experienced and to this day, it affects me a great deal. Soon after my mom died, my father became absent, dealing with his own internal struggles and not knowing how to cope with losing his partner and having to raise four boys on his own. I can see now that through his absence, God sent the right people to step into my life and make a difference.

One summer day, my youth leader at church took my twin brother and me to a Christian camp outside of Detroit as a sort of escape from our reality. He took us driving through the woods on golf carts where I proceeded to crash one, causing some major damage. Being a broke 12-year-old, the owner bargained with me and said that if I would work a week at camp for free, my debt would be paid. Agreeing to this deal would turn out to be the best decision I could have ever made. This camp ended up changing my life and has molded me into the man I have become today.

Not having a father who was present, I welcomed the owner of the camp who stepped into my life and became a father figure rather quickly to me. He showed me love and was always there for me. I soon started working every weekend and then every summer at the camp. I soon moved out of my house and into the owners’ basement, and he became my legal guardian until I was 18. The owner, Wally, became a very important person and a role model in my life.

Wally taught me what it was to be a man of integrity and to love the Lord with all my heart, mind and strength. He pushed me to go to college, something I had never even considered or imagined possible. He showed me love and didn’t look at me as some inner city kid with a chip on his shoulder. He saw me as his son and loved me no matter what I did or didn’t do. This was a far cry from what was happening in my real home.

Out of the four boys in my house, only two of us graduated from high school, so going to college was a feat. My little brother was a drug dealer and a petty thief, and ended up in prison for over five years. My older brother dealt with run-ins with the law and will struggle with addictions his entire life. I have witnessed a lot of ugly situations in my life, but these verses from Romans help to remind me that God’s hand in the present and the past help mold us and make us into who we are.

As an adult child of God, I can now see how God has used my broken past “for my good.” As an administrator and teacher, I have to deal with all sorts of situations in students’ lives. My background makes it easier to empathize with most kids. I have dealt with death, living in a single-parent home, having an absentee father, having a step-family, prisons, mental illness and helping family members through addictions. This helps me to be a better principal and father to my kids because I have had to deal with a majority of situations.

I’m not saying you have to go through all of this to be a good principal or father, but I am saying that God has a plan for the ups and downs in life, and He can and will use them for the greater good. You may be going through tough situations in life right now that you think will never end or you may be asking yourself, as I did, “Why is this happening to me?” The answer doesn’t always reveal itself right away and sometimes God answers prayers in ways that you never thought possible.

When I was young, life was crazy and nothing but bad things seemed to be happening, but God allowed me to crash a golf-cart into a tree. He knew what would play out after that crash. I didn’t know at that time but that golf cart played a significant role in who I am today. My life has been filled with crazy experiences, but I would not trade them for anything because all of that has shaped me and has made me a better husband, father, and principal.

I like the Christian life analogy of making a cake. If you were to taste the ingredients separately (eggs, flour, and baking soda…) they would be gross. You mix them together and and add a little heat and sugar and you get something amazing. God doesn’t say that this will happen to everyone and in every circumstance. He does make it clear, though, that all things work together for those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.

Prayer: Lord, help me to look beyond my circumstances for I know that you work in mysterious ways. Help me to have faith and to trust that you are in control of my future. Help me to know and trust know that in all things You work for the good of those who love You. You are a sovereign God, and you know the plans for my life. Help me to reflect you in all circumstances. Amen.

About the Author: Greg Wojczynski is originally from Detroit, Michigan, but has lived in Southern Ca. for the past eleven years. He cheers for all the major sports teams in Detroit even though they constantly let him down. While in Southern CA he met his gorgeous wife, Elizabeth, and has experienced the best seven years of his life since. He has three beautiful daughters, Lucy (5), Clara (3) and Evelyn (1). He is in his second year of being the high school principal at CVC and has enjoyed every second of being a Cavalier.

Originally published on January 12, 2017.

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