I know a lot of people who have had a horrible past filled with sin and misunderstanding of what God wants for their lives. I also know a lot of people who are going through hard times in their life and they don't know how they can survive. They come to me depressed because they feel like they cannot be used by God. What I have to explain to them is that, no matter what our past looks like, or the situations we are in, God's power is so great that He can use them in a way that will further His kingdom.
I recently had the chance to talk with a great guy named Cpt. Christopher Plekenpol who was in Iraq for six months as the commander of an armored tank company stationed outside of Fallujah. Chris has a ministry called "In-Him" which is all about living life out-loud. The verse that Chris uses to explain what exactly it means to "live out-loud" is 1 Peter 4:1-11.
Even though Chris was in a place where his life was always on the line, he always put his life in God's hands. Because of all the things that he was dealing with, Chris could have chosen to ignore God while he was in Iraq. Instead, he embraced God's love and power and did the complete opposite. While in Iraq, Chris wrote about situations that he went through and then related each one to a spiritual message. The compilation of all these writings became two books that he wrote while in Iraq.
I think a lot of times we get into a mindset that because of what we are going through, God cannot use us. No matter the situations we are going through though, we must always remember that the power God wields is unimaginable. His rule over everything is so great that He can take any situation and use it in order to further His Kingdom.
This time in Chris' life was no doubt one of his most stressful ones, but because of his obedience to God, and because of his faithful administration of God's grace even though his situation wasn't an easy one to be in, Chris' testimony and witness were strengthened.
Just like Chris' story, we all go through times in our lives where sharing God's message becomes harder because of the situations we are in. We must constantly remember though that it is our duty as Christians to tell others about Christ no matter the situation. If you feel that the situations you are in, or the past that you have, cancels out God's ability to use you, take comfort in the fact that God's power is more than enough. He will always provide the strength that we need (Psalms 29:11).