Thank you for joining me once again in the cozy confines of my garage. Before we get into this week’s PODCAST, I wanted you to hear my heart. A heart that is overflowing with deep feelings of compassion and understanding.
It’s been a difficult week, to say the least. As I talk to you now, Atlanta is burning. The latest hotspot to erupt in the wake of the volcanic racial tensions that are seething in our country.
Covid-19 infections are spiking in several states this week, including my great state of Oregon.
People are suffering. People are scared. People feel uncertain. Insecure. Confused. Conflicted. Including many followers of Jesus.
Just this morning I received another one, a private message from someone confessing to me that they are struggling in their faith. Barely holding on.
I am hearing more and more of this the longer this societal craziness continues.
So if you’ll permit me, for this week’s podcast I want to share with you a message that I gave at a High School Camp last summer. One in which I tell my story of losing my faith, only to get it back—this through what was undeniably Divine Intervention.
Though my specific circumstances may differ from those of others who are similarly struggling in their faith—or perhaps have sadly, like me, lost their faith completely—the overarching message is equally applicable.
As I thought about it, this message serves as the perfect counterbalance to last week’s podcast. There I shared about how God directly intervened to save my life physically from a condition that could have, a perhaps should have, killed my body. For this week, how God directly intervened to save my life spiritually from a condition that killed my soul.
Mine is a story of hope that emerges from a time of despair. I offer it to you, humbly, in the hope that if you or someone you love is struggling in his or her faith, you and they might find the spiritual strength to take another step and to live another day.
My beloved little Safe Haven family is really going through it right now. In a word, we are being broken.
To focus that just a bit, let me say that I am amazed at the significant struggles and overwhelming challenges that some of our precious people are experiencing — painful loses; seemingly senseless disappointments; literally excruciating physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual challenges that defy explanation. Storm clouds are billowing. I cannot help but to imagine the reasons why.
In talking to each of these individuals on multiple occasions, they are understandably wrestling with it all, yet all the while demonstrating a firm-if-sometimes-faltering faith in God’s good plans that leaves me in awe.
I know, I know, I know that God never breaks His people without some amazing purposes behind His breaking. Some of our dear Safe Haven family members are being broken — No doubt about that! — but to what good purposes only time will tell. (Emphasis upon that hope-filled word, “will.”) The stories are just now unfolding. Stories that will be told. Stories of God’s abiding grace and peace. Stories of God’s sustaining strength and power. Stories of how God will profoundly touch the world through the profound pain of my friends. Stories that will illustrate the unbreakable law of nature: We can’t enjoy a shimmering rainbow without some falling rain.
I also know that as God breaks my friends individually, He is also breaking Safe Haven collectively. He is breaking us as we share in these burdens together. A safe haven indeed — an unpretentious cadre of committed Christ-followers who desperately love Him and relentlessly love each other despite the unexpected trials and tribulations that life throws our way. It will be amazing, in the days and weeks ahead, to see not only what purposes lie behind God breaking certain individuals, but what purposes lie behind His breaking our family as a whole.
In the mean time, I have the unspeakable privilege of walking through these storms with some pretty special people whom I love with all my heart. It’s times like these that I am so incredibly thankful that God gave me the priceless privilege of being their pastor. But more than that, to be their friend.