Tyler Perry is known for his zany portrayals of intriguing characters in several TV shows and movies, probably the most notable being the Madea series. Many people do not know, however, that Tyler Perry is a Christian, even though he has been vocal about his beliefs throughout his career. Just recently, he was one of the main speakers at the John Maxwell conference, “Live to Lead.” Success did not come easy for Tyler, but his testimony can share how God is moving in our lives and bringing clarity.
Tyler Perry suffered years of abuse from his father; a father who is described by Perry as a man “whose answer to everything was to beat it out of you.” Perry even tried to commit suicide as a way to escape the life in which he was living. In 1992, Perry released a musical that he financed himself called, I Know I’ve Been Changed; comprised of a series of letters that touched on several topics such as abuse, but also forgiveness as well. Thirty people saw this musical the first weekend it was released. Perry tried time and time again to capture audiences and even found himself living out of his car at one point. It wasn’t until he performed I Know I’ve Been Changed in Atlanta in 1998, that he was recognized for his incredible talent. These performances opened up the opportunity for him to expand his acting career.
It would not be a surprise to learn if Perry cried out to God in frustration and anger, during these difficult years. It would be surprising to hear if he didn’t question God’s plan for him. God brought good out of these difficult circumstances, however, and now Perry’s testimony is a source of hope for people who find themselves in very similar situations.
God continues to surprise us in how He works in our lives. For myself, I never thought I would be working for a marketing agency, especially a few years ago when my first job out of university was selling debit machines to businesses, door to door. I was yelled at, shunned, and chased out of businesses on a daily basis, but one CEO took a chance on me, and let me share the benefits of integrating a debit machine into his workplace. One month later, I found myself working for him as his Digital Marketing Manager. I didn’t know anything about marketing businesses through digital channels, or website development, but the rent was getting paid and that’s all that mattered. The need for more money pushed me to find another position, and a few months later I was working in an industry dominated by men, pulling sales out of thin air, at a used car and trailer dealership. This job was the most destructive one that I have ever held. I lasted six months. With no job and no prospects, it was God’s goodness that allowed me to secure a position at another marketing agency, one that I am still at today. Within the midst of these jobs, I didn’t rejoice in the blisters on my feet, the hours of walking, the unhealthy company cultures, the characters who I was trying to sell to, or the sexism that I encountered. But now that these positions are behind me, God has filled in the gaps. God has brought teachings and knowledge out of difficult circumstances and prepared me for the job that I have today. God turned each step that I took during this two-year period, and used it to strengthen my character, teach me about a complex industry, and show how He can bring good out of difficult life circumstances.
When in the midst of a difficult season, it is hard to see how God is working in our lives, but He is, in an incredible way. It can feel as if there are gaps in our daily lives, which can bring about fear, misunderstanding, and confusion. But when we come out on the other side of a difficult time, we have the pleasure and opportunity to see how God took those gaps and used them to bring clarity, to teach us, and show how He has a plan for our lives.
1 Thessalonians 16-18 says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
God is a good, good God. Our days have been planned since before we were conceived. God, the creator of the heavens and the earth, knows what step we will take when we will take it, and how it will impact our lives. Even in moments of despair, struggle, and hardship, He is working all things out for good. It can be difficult to understand what is happening in our lives and why, but we need to allow God to bring clarity to the gaps in our understanding and to see how He is in the midst of every situation.
It is hard to understand a season and what it will bring while in the middle of it, but as soon as the season is over we can see the fruit that’s been produced. If you are in a time of your life where nothing makes sense or there seem to be more questions than answers, know that God is working for your good.
He will bring clarity, He will give us answers, He will show us His masterpiece, and it will be more incredible than we can ever know. Are we ready to allow him to fill in the gaps of our understanding?
Jesus in all things, I’ve seen a glimpse of your heart. A billion years, still I’ll be singing. –Love so Great, Hillsong Worship