"If anyone could possibly be too far gone for God--I'd be that person. I was enslaved by a secret struggle that destroyed my life …"
Gone. Everyone he loved and everything he worked so hard to achieve in life had been ripped from him. The loss was almost too much to bear, yet Keith knew there was no one to blame but himself.
The 42-year-old Pennsylvania man curled up on a futon in his sister's basement (his temporary home), and read a passage of scripture that popped up on his cell phone. It was from 1 Peter 1:14-15, NLT: "So you must live as God's obedient children. Don't slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn't know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy."
The words stung. But that's usually what happens as medicine penetrates a wound. Keith took a deep breath and squeezed shut his eyes. Everything was crystal clear now. It was so obvious how he had gotten to this miserable point, and he regretted every selfish step.
"It all started when I chose to 'satisfy my own desires,' not the will of God," he remembers. "I had allowed myself to slip back into my old ways--just as scripture warns us not to do. I let sinful choices take over."
Eventually, those choices stole his family, his ministry, his money … his reputation.
"It's one thing to make crazy decisions when we're young and naïve and inclined to learn the hard way," he says. "It's entirely different when we're middle-aged, supposedly 'seasoned in the faith'--and in my case … a pastor."
A secret struggle began to enslave him. And even though Keith put up a desperate fight to break free, his world caved in on top of him. "I brought shame on my kids and broke my wife's heart," he says. "The fact is, I had lied to everyone--over and over for so many years. That's hard to live with."
His phone chimed again, so he tapped the screen. More Scripture: "'Lord, help!' they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them, snatching them from the door of death" (Psalm 107:19-20, NLT).
This time, the words were soothing.
"Too often, our shame inside tries to convince us that we are worthless—too far gone for God," Keith admits. "But God's Word tells us something different. Verse after verse reveals how Christ feels about us. He forgives, heals, and restores. He snatches us from death's door. He loves us too much to ever let us go."
Keith's life will never be the same. Emotional wounds and vivid memories constantly remind him of all that he has lost. Old temptations kick in whenever he is weak. Yet after years of feeling trapped by sin, Keith has found freedom. What finally made the difference for him? The Bible. Specifically, the goTandem app.
"It has been like an IV drip of truth in my life," he says. "The questions and scriptures I receive on my phone nail my weaknesses. Every time I hear that familiar 'ping,' I stop what I'm doing and read the verse. Even if I'm driving, I pull over and tap my phone.
"Verse after verse is nudging me closer to Jesus, teaching me that He can redeem any sin," Keith adds. "The Lord is restoring my broken life, and He's using goTandem to do it."
What's Your Story?
Behind every life is a story, and behind every story is the Author—the Builder of history, the Maker of the ages, our loving Creator.
The Bible itself is God's message of salvation; the ultimate story of restoration, of hope, of eternal life through Jesus Christ. And God is calling us to take His story to heart—living it, working it out in our daily lives, and sharing it with everyone we meet.