San Augustine pastor walks by faith, not by sight

San Augustine pastor walks by faith, not by sight
SOurce: KTRE staff
SOurce: KTRE staff
Source: KTRE staff
Source: KTRE staff

SAN AUGUSTINE, TX (KTRE) - Imagine waking up every day and not being able to see the sun rise or the face of your wife and daughters.

For Justin Griffin, it is a part of his life, but Griffin has not let the blindness in his eyes hold him back.

Griffin is the pastor at San Augustine's Memorial Presbyterian Church. Griffin said 2nd Corinthians 5:7 is more than just a memory verse; it's his life.

"I have learned what it means to walk by faith and not by sight," Griffin said. "At times it is frustrating, but I see through eyes more spiritually now."

For him every step is one of faith.

"It is not easy living with this disability," Griffin said. "I am a blind person that lives in a world made for people who can see.

The 42 year old South Carolina native suffers from Retinitis Pigmentosa, a genetic eye disease that causes damage to the retina. Griffin said by the end of high school he had gone completely blind.

In my family, the woman carry it but do not receive it and the men receive it but do not carry it," Griffin said.

Griffin knew from a young age that he may go blind, but said it was never a concern to a child who had his mind on other things.

"My parents said, well you have this eye disease, and you may or may not go blind," Griffin said. "I was 7, 8 or 9 at that time, and children that young really don't think about it, so I hadn't thought about it for a while. So I didn't know that was going to happen."

It was a time of his life where Griffin said he was not focused on faith. His main goal was to become a mercenary after serving in the army, but he said god had a different plan.

"Even though blindness is a struggle, God used it for his plans and purposes and changed my life," Griffin said. "Instead of being a killer of people, I now present the Gospel to them."

So with no eyes to guide him, Griffin said he turned to god for help, while sitting in detention one day.

"Just by reading through the word of the lord, I saw the hope and I saw the happiness," Griffin said. "I saw forgiveness."

Griffin would end up going to Bible College before earning a Master's in General Theology from Columbia International University in Columbia, South Carolina. Since graduation Griffin has preached in several South Carolina churches as well as churches in Tennessee and Illinois before moving to San Augustine, just over a year ago.

Ever since accepting his faith, he's been on a spiritual journey. It's a journey outlined in his newest book; Little Book on Prayer.

"Being blind, facing obstacles in life, discrimination, hostilities, even for being just a Christian, I find that being in a constant prayer, a constant conversation with God helps me get through the day," Griffin said.

Griffin's blindness also lead him to another skill as an illusionist, using simple tricks to share his faith with one simple a message.

"You will meet obstacles in life but when you put your mind to it and try really hard, there are things you can accomplish that you never put your mind to before," Griffin said.

As Griffin steps behind the wood stained pulpit every Sunday, he has no regrets.

"I say the lord giveth and the lord taketh away," Griffin said. "Blessed be the name of the Lord, and to know my hand is in god's hand and he will lead me through an obstacle I face."

Griffin has learned through the loss of sight how not only to survive, but also how to thrive.

For more information of Rev. Justin Griffin's books, click here.

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