There Is Hope When Things Seem Hopeless
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- Format: Folded Tract
- Size: 3.5 inches x 5.5 inches
- Pages: 8
- Version: KJV
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There is Hope When Things Seem Hopeless
Growing up in a divorced family and not knowing my dad, I turned to drugs, fighting, and gangs at a young age. When I was in the 4th grade, I was suspended from school for fighting the first time. By my 6th grade year, I was sent to a private school and later expelled. This was the beginning of LIFE WITH NO HOPE. I would fight in school and get suspended, and then come back and fight in school and get suspended again. By age 13, I was bitter, angry, and my life was miserable. I wanted to fit in somewhere, so I started to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, and smoke weed. By the time I was 15 years old, I had been arrested multiple times for aggravated battery and for breaking into cars. The police would show up time after time to my classroom in 10th grade to place me under arrest.
After 24 felonies, I was sentenced to a prison boot camp for juveniles. It was there that I learned that I excelled in structured environments, but I had no idea who Jesus Christ was. I was not saved. I remember while incarcerated, a church group visited to host service (which I refused to be part of), but I could hear them sing the song “Pass Me Not O Gentle Savior” while I was sitting in my cell. I remember thinking how that was exactly what had happened to me. Hope, love, success, freedom, family—everything had passed me by.
After being released, I returned to high school for my junior year. Bitter, prideful, empty, hopeless, and looking for acceptance, I went back to my old crowd that I ran with before. I smoked weed and crystal meth, took prescription meds, and did whatever else was available to me. At this point, I didn't care anymore. My pride would never allow me to open and express my feelings, bitterness, and insecurities. I started to live a life that no one was going to stop; I was going to do whatever I wanted. Though I was searching for acceptance, love, joy, genuine happiness, purpose, and fulfilment, I never found anything. I was miserable. My senior year in high school, I ended up in a gang fight and was permanently expelled from high school. This led me to more destruction, more fighting, and more selfishness than I could ever imagine. Drinking, cocaine, pills, and weed is what I used to mask the pain of emptiness in my life.
At 17 years of age, I was arrested on Bourbon Street in New Orleans and went to jail at the New Orleans Parish Prison. I was housed with murderers and violent offenders. I remember not taking a shower for a week because the showers were in the back where the officers at the control station couldn’t see anything. I had to quickly learn how to live in an adult jail. Even though I was miserable, my heart had so much rebellion in it that I continued to ignore the destruction of my life. I had learned how to lie, manipulate, scam, and con anyone to get what I wanted.
The next year, I was arrested again in Pensacola Florida for multiple felonies involving drugs, robbery of drug dealers, fighting, and gang violence. Standing in the court room at age 18, the state attorney said at my sentencing that “I WAS A MENACE TO SOCIETY.” I was sentenced to 6 years in Florida State Prison. At age 18 (I was just a kid), I had no idea if I would ever make it out.
I remember in the first couple of weeks there that I was once again given an option to go to church. Although I do not remember anything said, I do remember going to an altar and just crying. I was not led to Christ, nor do I remember the Gospel being mentioned; I just remember crying. I knew I was some person that nobody knew. I had feelings, I wanted love, I was lonely, but I did not know how to explain it.
While serving my prison sentence, I was called in the middle of the night and transferred to another prison. It was designed for youthful offenders under age 24 to have a chance to get out early on probation. Although I did not complete the program on time, I was still released early from prison and placed on probation. After being released, I met up with another inmate that was in the same prison and ended up selling drugs with him. Eight months after I was released from prison, I had my door kicked in by the police. We already knew we were under surveillance, so we had removed everything the night before. I then ran across the country looking for a new life and met my biological father. More drinking and drugs continued, and I came back to Pensacola, Florida, hopeless. Arrested again for grand theft auto and possession of a firearm by convicted felon, I ended up back in jail. By this time I was 27 and I had burnt every bridge in my life.
Life was hopeless
At this point, I had been in and out of jails for the last 12 years. I had no hope. I had no relationship with anyone and all my friends either ended up in prison or in the grave. I was lost. I remember thinking “Why am I alive? Why is life worth living?” At age 28, while running from the law and addicted to drugs, I found a church bulletin with a pastor’s phone number on it and decided to call him. Lost, empty, bitter, and sick of life, I wanted whatever I could find. If there was a God, I wanted him. On January 3rd, 2007, (age 28) this pastor came to the house I was at and shared the gospel with me, how God sent His son Jesus to die on the cross for my sins. He showed me in the Bible how I could be saved and forgiven. It was that day around 10:30am that I repented to the Lord and received Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. I became a born again Christian. Love, freedom, forgiveness, and hope entered my life for the first time ever. I had desires and thoughts that I never had before. I found a sense of freedom I never thought was possible. Although I had a lot to learn and change, I knew God for the first time. I had HOPE!
During this time, I was still running from the law; I knew that I had to turn myself in. While sitting in the Escambia County jail in Pensacola, Florida, in 2008, I gave my life to Christ completely. I surrendered everything on my bunk alone one night crying out to God. I remember praying to God and telling Him that I had nothing to offer, but if God would take my life, I was willing to give Him the pieces. I surrendered to God. At my upcoming sentencing date, I was looking at 5 more years in prison. I remember praying the night before and I asked the Lord to give me 5 years if that’s what it would take to change my life. I was no longer looking to get out of trouble; I was serious about living for God. That day in court the judge asked me if I wanted to speak before my sentencing and I said yes and I asked the judge to sentence me to full-time. I didn’t want re-instatement of probation; I didn’t want house arrest. All I wanted was to get my time and get it over with. While standing alone before the Judge, I knew God was standing beside me and the Lord gave me mercy. I was sentenced to 13 months.
While I was serving my sentence, God began changing my life. I started reading my Bible and memorizing Scripture. I read my Bible in 4 months. The Word of God was changing me. I was memorizing Scripture every week. The first person I ever helped lead to Christ was another inmate. It was in April 2008 that I felt God had called me to preach. In July of 2008, I was released from jail, and I have never gone back. For 15 years I could never break the cycle of jails, prisons, and drugs. I could never break the statistics of returning to prison, but God did. I never had the power to be free, but God did. I never had the power or victory over sin, but God did. God’s grace and God’s power has delivered me and set me free.
I went to Bible School and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Divinity and was ordained into the Gospel Ministry in 2013. I have worked in jails and drug programs for 14 years, preached revivals, taught for many churches with my testimony, and was part of planting and pastoring that church for six years. I have been a director of an out-patient drug and alcohol program, the founder of Lifeline Ministry, and I’m married to my high school sweetheart. I have a home, a family, and I have owned my own business for almost 15 years. God not only saved my soul from hell, but also my life.
I still have a hard time believing that God would love me so much.
I finally have hope and I’m finally free!
I am writing this to share with you that I once had no hope. I was empty. I was a skeptic of religion. I lived life always looking for something and I never found it, until I found it in Christ! Sixteen years ago, I became a Christian; Christ has set me free and I’m still free today!
I pray that today you would not close this pamphlet or throw it away, but that you too would cry out to God admitting that you are a sinner—hopeless, just like I was—and know that God sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for you and pay for your sins and mine. You can be forgiven; you can be set free. There is hope when things seem hopeless!
Would you pray and receive Jesus Christ as your personal Savior today?
Jesus is everything you are looking for, I promise!
Romans 10:9—“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
2 Peter 3:9— “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
John 14:6— Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.”
I am free,
Brother Chuck Chavis