Servant of Christ. Married to Karen. Father to Gracie.
Owner of an Australian Shepherd. Coexists with a Cat.
Crushed by Sin; Saved by Jesus.
Shortly after my wife came to faith, we experienced some business setbacks. I remember at the time thinking, well, Christians need trials and tribulations, and besides, God would never allow anything bad to happen to us. I may have even convinced myself these ‘trials’ were more for my wife’s benefit than my own. My ignorant misapplication of faith paired with my utter arrogance would eventually erupt into a catastrophic business and life disaster. I can still remember sitting at my desk as the reality of our situation was setting in; I imagined dark skies of an impending storm coming upon us, and telling myself, “I’ve done everything I can to fix the situation, there is no way, God is going to send us into that storm.”
I grew up in the church, I made a declaration of faith at an early age and was baptized a short time later. Before I was twenty years old, I even flirted with the idea of going into the ministry. Like many twenty year old’s I knew a lot – you just had to ask me. Of course, the ignorance (and arrogance) of youth allowed my theology to evolve into something of my own creation. If I had to describe it, my theology probably had the depth of Joel Osteen and the breadth of truthfulness you might expect from Deepak Chopra; yes, it hindsight, it was a real mess – I was a mess.
As you might have guessed, God didn’t move the storm away from us – it barreled right down on us and sat there.
In a time span of a just a few months, we accumulated a list of challenges that includes a business failure, financial ruin, borrowing money from a friends and family, selling almost all our possessions, homelessness, the excitement of thinking we were pregnant, finding out we weren’t pregnant, being faced with a potential cancer fight where my wife would be the battlefield, and a crazy car accident that totaled our only vehicle. Friends would quietly disappear, another would sue me, our dog would die, but the absolute worst was watching our 5 year old daughter slowly come to realize the direness of our situation. A situation where I was powerless and answerless; I felt shame, failure, and tremendous humility. Even now, while I write that last sentence I can still feel the weight of those emotions come rushing back – absolute shame, failure, and humility.
Each day, my wife and I would do all we could to remedy our situation; we worked so hard yet seemed to make so little headway. Every day for 13 months we would find ourselves on the precipitous of hopelessness as each new day seemed to be bring new insurmountable challenges. Yet, while we could feel the void of hopelessness nearby, we were never hopeless.
Despite our circumstances, we had an odd peace. Despite our heavy discomfort, our uneasiness regarding the wonder of how we would survive another day, it drew us closer to God and to each other. Prayer would fill nearly every conscience moment of our day; we prayed together, alone, in the bathroom, in the car, everywhere and anywhere, we prayed. With each passing day, Karen and I would study God’s Word morning and evening, it would become the bookends of our day. As time passed, the magnitude of God’s Word seemingly gained greater depth and weight; it came alive. The simplicity of the Gospel became so clear, the pricelessness of Jesus – the beauty of His amazing grace – suddenly those words penned by John Newton became our own words, it became personal. The pervasive man-centered theology that infected my own mind and heart was purged with the truthfulness only found in Scripture and the reality of our situation seared those truths deep into my heart.
The realities of our experience, while indescribably painful at times gave us something even better; a powerful reminder of the Gospel itself. Throughout our experience, at the times when things seemed at their worse, our brothers and sisters-in-Christ, people who did not know us stepped in and loved us. People with the least were those who gave us the most; not because we earned it or deserved it, we didn’t. They didn’t owe us anything, nor was it because we even asked, people stepped into our life out of love, mercy, and sheer grace. It was beautiful.
Ultimately, it was my own sin that upended our life – a pursuit for everything other than God and a faith/confidence in myself over God. Yet despite my pride and selfishness, God saved me from wrath I deserve. And instead, he placed my sins upon his Son, whose death paid the wages I earned, whose burial was my debt to pay, and whose resurrection provides a redeemed life I do not deserve. By grace alone; by Christ alone; for the Glory of God alone; by faith alone – it is my prayer that all may know the simplicity of this truth: I was crushed by my sin; and saved by Jesus.
Do you know Jesus?
If you do not know Jesus as your King and Savior, this is your explicit invitation to seek him. Do not continue in your rebellion away from God or against God. None of us are promised tomorrow; please do not wait to put your faith in Jesus. You do not need to get right first; you cannot get yourself right. God will meet you right where you are but he will NOT leave you the same. If you have questions, I would love the opportunity to answer them. I do not judge you, I will not be rude, I will lovingly and respectfully answer your questions.
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