For two decades, Robert struggled to understand why God allowed him to suffer. When he finally discovered the answer at Atlanta Mission, it changed everything.
When I was 2, my father was killed by lightning. After that, my family struggled financially and we fell into severe poverty. My mother had to work long hours to make ends meet. That meant she had to leave me with people she trusted to look after me. Instead, one of them abused me. Repeatedly.
I felt so ashamed and abandoned. I was alone and scared. I wanted my dad back! He would have kept me safe. Now, there was no one to defend me. Some adults tried to help: “God is your loving father,” they’d say. But if that was true, why didn’t He protect me?
Time didn’t heal those wounds — but drugs and alcohol sure made it hurt less. The problem was, my drug abuse made life harder for everyone else — my mom, daughter, sister . . . and eventually, myself. During two decades of addiction, I ended up shot, stabbed, and beaten. I also struggled with extended periods of homelessness.
Growing to Understand God’s Purpose
There came a time when everyone I loved had told me to stay away. I was toxic. Then one night while I was alone, getting high again, I had a deeply unsettling thought — what if God lost patience with me? I knew He’s an all-loving God, but . . . His love was all I had left — and I wasn’t exactly loving Him back.
I began to see how much I was missing. I couldn’t sleep. I was broken-hearted. And that’s why I finally came to Atlanta Mission . . . Thank God!
This place transformed my life. Here, I came to realize that my dad didn’t abandon me. His death was a tragedy. The real problem was how I responded to it. I also came to understand that God had never left me. I even started to see God’s purpose in my suffering — and that He loved me. And the more I experienced His love, the more I dedicated myself to sharing that love with the other guys at Atlanta Mission. God’s love, the love I experienced here, transformed me.
Today, God has healed the family relationships I ruined. He’s making me a better father, son, and brother. And I’m so grateful for everyone who made my transformation possible.