I cannot begin to share with you how wonderful God has been to me. He has richly blessed me. As I reflect over my life, I am truly amazed how far God has brought me. It is out of that spirit of gratitude that I have been inspired to author a book I am entitling, “It’s Not Where You Start, But Where You Finish.” This book is really not about me, but more importantly, about how God has granted me his favor. With the help of my chief of staff, I plan to take the next year and a half to recount my journey from early childhood to the present time, displaying the magnificent power of God.
I am deeply indebted to Robert Bogle, CEO of the Philadelphia Tribune, for allowing me to write this monthly column. In several of my columns I expressed some of the pain in my life as the result of coming from a broken family. I have come to realize more than ever the importance of one putting his faith in God, no matter the family circumstance. It is out of some of those experiences that I have a deeper appreciation for the word of God. Romans 8:28 reads, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” I must admit I have heard this Scripture many times; in fact, I have even preached it. It became clear to me as I trace and track God over my days as a youth that I am not alone, for there are some things that happen in our lives that are far from good. It is amazing how God can take some of those bad things and turn them into blessings. I plan to share in this book the pain of seeing my father beat my mother; he abandoned us, thus leaving my mother, with the help of my grandmother, to raise me and my two sisters.
Now, I look back and see how God has placed persons in my life, like the late John F. White Sr., who became a strong role model in my early teens; and the Rev. Dr. Albert F. Campbell, pastor of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, who believed in me when I did not believe in myself, to license and ordain me at Mt. Carmel under his leadership. I went back to school to finish my education and attended college. It is my fervent prayer that this book will inspire others to understand that “It’s not where you start, but where you finish.”
I am in a wonderful season in my life, with blessings still unfolding, and I owe it all to God. I do not plan to leave out any of the pain and shame of my early years, nor do I plan to leave out any of God’s blessings. I have come to realize, as the songwriter said, “My good days outweigh my bad days, and I will not complain.” I know full well that the same God who has blessed me is able to bless others. There are so many African-American youths who have given up on themselves. They feel life has no value, even at an early age. Perhaps that is why we see so much violence in our communities. Many of them have no hope, dreams or aspirations. One of the greatest tragedies in life is to wake up every day and not have anything to look forward to. This book will show how God can take you out of the valley of despair to the mountain of hope, and turn grief into joy.
Every page of the book will have words that will flow from my heart to your heart. It is God, and he alone, who deserves the glory for all he’s done and for all he will do. Blessings are still unfolding, and I look forward to new blessings each day, for I know that morning by morning new mercies I see. Don’t dwell on your past, look to your future. It may be repetitious, but it is true, “It’s Not Where You Start, But Where You Finish.”
Rev. Charles Quann is the pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church.