Most of you from Summit will remember the series that we did for the first half of the year in I Peter entitled, “True Grit: It Ain’t Easy, But It’s Worth It.” For those of you who were not a part of the series, the discussion revolved around the fact that the Christian faith does not come with the promise of health, wealth, prosperity, and freedom from all worries, pain, and strife. In fact, it is more appropriate to say that the Christian walk comes with the promise of trials, suffering, and hardship. In John 16:33, Jesus clearly told his disciples that they will have trouble in this life. His encouragement to them was to take heart, however, because He had overcome to the world and He later tells them that He would be with them.
As much as I have read this passage, journeyed through the study in I Peter, and read a number of other passages in the Bible, I find that I keep buying the lie that says everything should be going great if I simply follow Christ. Then, my faith falters when something goes wrong. “Where are you, God? I thought everything was going to be peaches and cream!”
The primary purpose of this string of thoughts lies with some experiences that we have seen here in Michigan. The first is with our daughter, Adelina. She has not slept well since we have moved to our apartment. Jessica and I are always wary of apartments for two reasons. One, you never know who or what kind of people lived in the place you now live. Two, you are surrounded by people whom you don’t really know and you share a wall, a ceiling, or a floor with several of them. All of this to say, Adelina has woken up twice in the last week crying hysterically. She usually wakes up in the night and makes a noise or two, but then settles herself back down. Not these nights! I know that this seems like a small thing and that we have been blessed with a daughter who sleeps great (for the most part), but it is something that can creep in and cause us to ask, “Why would God let her wake up and cry so hard? We pray for her when she goes to sleep.”
I heard a missionary tell of how a friend of his once asked, “Are you really going to take your children to live out in the jungle. I love my children too much to take them on the mission field.” The missionary thought about this for a second and realized that God loved his kids way more than he ever could. And, since God is good and loving, he could trust in God no matter what may happen to his family. Nothing that happens in this life can change the goodness and faithfulness of God.
The second scenario that led to my string of thoughts was the time that we spent last week with the pastor of the church we are attending and his family. Jason and Heidi Holdridge have been serving at Impact Church for 7 years and, as of August 2011, Jason is now the lead pastor of the church. The church is a vibrant, growing community that reminds us a lot of Summit. The new position for Jason has come with more challenges and stresses as he is learning to adapt. Jason knows that Jessica and I have worked in ministry and it gave us a unique opportunity to serve him as he opened up about the things he is working through. We are so thankful for our time at Summit and the experiences that God has brought us through, because it allowed Jason to feel safe to unload some baggage in a safe environment to some people who can relate to what he is dealing with. It was a reminder to us of the importance of praying for those in leadership; for those men and women who are serving and sacrificing for the Kingdom of God.
Which leads me to…
Will you please make it a point to do two things this week?
1. Pray for our family. Pray that God would protect us from the schemes of the enemy and keep us safe. Pray that we would place our trust in God, not just in the good times but when life gets hard.
2. Pray for the leaders of your church. It may seem like they have it all together but they don’t. They need your prayers to stay strong and complete the work that God has commissioned them to do.
PS: Sorry that this was a little bit longer and that there weren’t as many pictures. I won’t make it a habit, but I will be making a video for you to see some of the projects I have been working on and some areas of the school 🙂