My Story // Tony

Listen to Tony's story

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” –John 3:16

This scripture is one of the most known in the Bible. You recognize it at many sporting events, bumper stickers, and other media. How many parents would give their sons or daughters for this world’s sin? I know I would have a tough time with that one. That kind of love was foreign to me. As a child I was raised in Catholicism and I was taught to know God through a priest. I did not know God’s love growing up even though he was watching out for me. Living in a broken home, I always felt lonely. I had a step father who was kind to me but abusive to my mom. After my parents divorced, I was left without a father. My biological father was never a part of my life. It wasn’t until the age of 42 when I finally met him. Living all those years without any contact with my biological father created feelings of anger and a lack of self-worth. I figured, if my own father did not want to know me, or be around me, then I must not be worthy. As I reflect back on my adolescent years, I could see God just waiting for me and letting me know he was there.

When I was in the sixth grade my teacher announced that the class would have a video production. I was so excited and wanted to be selected to help run the audio. I remember I decided to openly pray to God telling Him that I wanted the part and asking that He please give me favor. It was the first time I prayed openly and did not recite a repetitious prayer. I was excited as the teacher called my name. At that moment I realized I was important to God and he answered my prayer. I do not remember as a child being told that I was loved or that I made anyone feel proud. I was often left home alone and had to take care of my little sister. There was a time I burned my arm on the stove and had to take care of myself because I did not have any parents around. Because of my prayer being answered at school, I realized I could talk to God at times when I did not have anyone.

At the age of 18, I started to attending a non-denomination church with my aunt and uncle and accepted Jesus Christ as my savior. My uncle baptized me in water and the associate pastor baptized me in the Holy Spirit. I never felt so loved and important that my God would send his son to die for me. I keep growing in God and he keep showing his great love for me. In 2007, my kidneys failed and I had to start dialysis. Right before I started dialysis God used the story of the three Hebrew boys and the fiery furnace to reassure me that no matter what I would go through his love would be with me. A few years before I started dialysis I had a dream one night from God. I saw the Bible open up and the name Ephraim appeared. Two interesting verses about Ephraim is that Ephraim will be blessed through infirmity and there will be healing. Only through God’s love can anyone say their infirmities have been a blessing. There were many times my infirmity was a blessing. Because God has been consistent in showing his love for me I know he is always with me and for me. I am at awe of his love for me. No matter who you are, how bad you think you are, or how unworthy you feel, God loved you even before you were born. You only need to accept Jesus, and reach out to God.

tony lopez