Sunday, June 29, 1975. Jack Nicholson was number one at the box office with One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, the Vietnam conflict had only concluded months earlier, and a child who would be Tinin was born into the world three months too early. Much sorrow, pain and pity came with him into the world.
This is how it felt for Baby Tinin.
Rushing, immense pain scorches the flesh. It’s too early. It’s summer. I’m not supposed to be here until the fall. Why does it hurt to breathe? Why can’t I see? What are you cutting? Agh!
Despite the hernia operations, the tubes running to and from his body, illness after illness, tribulation after tribulation, God’s angels watched over the preemie guarding him from all Satan’s demons and possibly HMOs. Upon reaching the third month of life, Baby Tinin was allowed to leave the halls of various hospitals. Tinin’s father later informed his son that he prayed to God to allow the little baby to survive. God had watched over little Tinin allowing him his allotted time.
Tinin’s mother to this date states she lost three years of sleep due to her little boy’s nocturnal habits. Through the projectile vomiting, late nights and an unusually, surly disposition, Tinin’s mom struggled like a trooper to protect her youngest child.
The Lord continued to watch over little Tinin even when the mischievous child found himself trapped under a moving lawn mower. Christ most assuredly sat in teenager Tinin’s passenger seat on July 28, 1993, when a semi-truck crashed into Tinin’s 1985 Mustang sending Tinin into an apartment complex. The truck’s headlights were neatly positioned in Tinin’s backseat. Tinin walked away without a scratch. After the lawn mower incident, but before the semi-truck crash, Death personified herself on December 14, 1989, and touched not just Tinin but his family as well.
Tinin had always known about God, Heaven and the Bible, but December 14, 1989, was the day that taught a new lesson. Fourteen year-old Tinin listened as the surreal feelings taunted and kicked him while the words, “He’s dead,” assaulted his ears and soul. James Fred Duncan, Tinin’s maternal grandfather, had left his life here to go onto Christ. “He’s dead,” to a young child with no real knowledge of eternity, salvation and Christ is awfully final, cruel, and shattering.
This is how it felt to be Kevin Tinin on December 14, 1989.
Utter emptiness save for the growing anger and fear. I cannot breathe. I cannot stand. Every thought bears down swarming my brain. The past taunts that the future is no more. I feel hollow as if not there. Soon my eyes will betray me and flood my cheeks with hidden emotion. Every fallen tear, every precious memory cut as if I had eaten shattered pieces of glass. Dead. How can that be? We just played Aggravation on Sunday. I brought him his mail on Friday. That was only six days ago! Told me he did days before.
Grandson visited Grandfather on December 12th. Grandfather tells Grandson during a conversation about jumping, "The only jumping I'll be doing is to the grave."
Satan under the guise of misplaced guilt snickers, "If only you had been there."
That is what it was like for Tinin on December 14, 1989. His situation is not his own. We all go through variations of it time after time in our lives. We walk through and with Death in our lives. Little did Tinin know of the comfort of that good Shepherd.
One thing Tinin was very adamant about after the burial was the lasting effect. His grandfather's death acted as the catalyst for a young boy's personality to grow. The teenager's innocence had been stripped much like Adam and Eve's in the garden. This young boy now knew Death. He recognized her feel and her scent. Once a child learns of Death and her power, but not the healing power of Christ, the world is a little darker than before.
One essay later detailing his feelings about the loss and Tinin won The State of Tennessee Young Writers’ Award for 1990. That essay started the writing career. This is the point in the story where one would expect and demand to hear that someone stepped up and educated the heart-broken grandson about Christ and eternal bliss, but no such resolution. No one sat with young Tinin to explain death in relation to Christ save limited conversations with a grandmother. While the grandmotherly talks were part of the grieving process, they did not lend to healing. Instead of leaning on that old rugged cross, young Tinin fell into a dark abyss that only a few survive.
Now let us bring this around to Christ. Moses brought down ten rule; the ten rules that in actuality do govern and set the standard for all laws to follow. The first rule is that we are to have no other gods before Him. If we replace God with other “gods” or any materialistic item, we have broken the law. We have committed idolatry. In essence if this is a foreign word to your mind, it essentially means God takes a backseat to your wants and thoughts that do not concern him. Young, unaware Tinin broke the first.
After Death disemboweled the very life from Tinin’s soul, she wrapped him up and smothered the goodness. Without the Son, he was in the dark, a true life Anakin Skywalker, complete with a temper ready to explode in vaderesque fashion. Professional wrestler The Undertaker became his mentor. Young Tinin grew distant and cold from his two close friends. As with all death, his pain could not be felt by others. At least that is the thought from the fourteen year-old mindset that had not yet matured. Time and self-study in The Bible guided him through a little. Even with a limited understanding of Christ, young Tinin had not yet reached the point of grasping the ramifications of what Christ had done for him and YOU.
“There can be only one.” This line has been uttered by numerous actors on the Highlander Series/movies, but in all retrospect, Christ IS THE ONE who first said it.
"I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
There is no other way to God, the Father, except through Christ the Son. As previously mentioned, the crash that occurred on July 28, 1993, should have awakened young, teenaged Tinin to the true concept of Christ/salvation, but sadly it did not. The previous day had not furthered Tinin into the realm of all things holy either. The morning of July 27, 1993 was a typical summer day. The sun rose as always, children enjoyed summer break, teachers denied a month such as August existed, SOMEWHERE, someone accepted Christ as Savior. Sadly on this date, Tinin learned that his mother had Lupus. Essentially, Lupus is an incurable disease where your body turns on itself and your immune system is systematically destroyed. Even Christians with a strong faith at times show their humanity and ask, “WHY?” The eighteen year-old Tinin, full of rage, asked why many times with quite a number of yet undiscovered adjectives attached before the interrogative pronoun. It took Tinin many years to find the answer that Christ had all along. If you, dear reader, are reading this and do not have a perfect life, if something is troubling your heart or body, I pray you find comfort in these scriptures:
Again I saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, or the battle to the strong, or bread to the wise, or riches to the discerning, or favor to the skillful; rather, time and chance happen to all of them.
Time and chance happens to us all. I BELIEVE THAT. Hang on. Wait a minute. Does that mean God sits back and does nothing? NO! God is very real and active in the lives of His people (especially the ones like that young Tinin who didn’t realize it) When things happen in our lives, they just happen. But, God knows when, where and why. The book of Psalms states that He knows our every day. He should because he gave them to us. That’s why it is called FAITH. We must put it in Him with our hearts not minds.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 Spoken by Paul
Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so I would not exalt myself. 8 Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away from me. 9 But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may reside in me. 10 So because of Christ, I am pleased in weaknesses, in insults, in catastrophes, in persecutions, and in pressures. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Understand this. It’s not about you, it never has been and never will be! , "My grace is sufficient for you. My goodness! We exalt Christ by exalting Him through our sufferings! My mother’s lupus, grandmother’s cancer, and a number of other calamities do nothing but allow us to shine and exalt Christ if we stand firm on the rock that is His Word!
On the way to the comic book store, Mr. Jp, a new Christian, spoke of The Bible and God. College Student, Tinin, full of secular edumakation, informed Jp that he knew all that “stuff.” What the young man lacked was a child-like faith when thinking of salvation, that guy named Christ, and His identity.
After much debate, Tinin believed with his heart and confessed with his mouth that Christ had died for him. He felt something move inside. No doubt it was Christ knocking at the door. Tinin had always been a good person. He had never gotten drunk, drank period for that matter, stayed sexually pure by choice, helped those who needed it, and was on a first class boat ride straight to Hell without Christ. Now it is not my intention to anger, you constant reader, by indulging in a theological debate. Scripture, God’s word, says that no one comes to God except through Christ. Whoever believes that Christ is Lord will be saved. Bathing in the Jordan, sprinkling water or no amount of “I’ve done this and this and that” will help a person get to Heaven. Only Lord Christ through Grace is able to save us from the wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Yet, like many people who do believe, Tinin’s work in Christ, his faith, was lukewarm at best for another three years. Dear readers, you know the type. Someone says Christ is their lord, but six Sundays later coupled with flimsy church attendance and giving in to worldly thought begs to differ. Before any critic or guilty person accuses me of being judgmental, I just offer, in defense, this thought; if a person belongs to Christ; a non-believer should see it by thoughts and actions that reflect Lord Christ. My point is, it could not be seen in Tinin
Anyway, Tinin accepted Christ as Savior, but again, like many lukewarm believers, being a Christian looked good on paper. It would be awhile before his faith in Christ would mature.
Then the Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is like him."
September 3, 1994 exemplified this scripture. It was on this day that the future was foretold. At 4:30 P.M. in the parking lot of Decatur County Hospital, Tinin met the woman that would be his wife, the woman God had chosen for him.
This is Kevin Tinin's mindset on September 3, 1994. Elation, happiness, fulfillment and the contented feeling of knowing loneliness had been banished forevermore.
We met on a blind date thanks to Lori Rhodes and her beau, Mike. I don't intend to bore anyone with the details of our courtship, but I will say that I believe God put us to together and He has been the one that has kept us together all these years. Marsha exemplifies Christian forgiveness, kindness, generosity, and love. Tinin and Marsha were baptized on June 16, 1996 in a river in Sardis, TN. Brother Lloyd Blankenship, who later would marry the two June 20, 1997, performed the service.
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