It’s been an incredible gift for Laura and I (and Emma!) to spend the last two days at The Summit Network Pastors Retreat in Raleigh-Durham, NC. We’ve been able to connect with old friends, meet new church planters in the network and have a great time celebrating all God is doing through this network of churches. But, more than all of that, it’s been an incredible celebration of God’s faithfulness.
I can’t begin to count the number of times Laura or I has used the phrase, “Can you believe it was only 3/4 years ago that…” And then we end the sentence with something that now feels like it happened a lifetime ago. Three years ago, we still lived in Raleigh-Durham and were getting ready to move back to DC to see what God wanted to do through Restoration City. Jack was only 15 months old. We knew God had called us to Restoration City but had no idea what that would look like. Honestly, we were incredibly excited and incredibly scared!
But, in a lot of ways, it’s four years ago that’s been on my mind a lot these last few days. Four years ago, I knew I was called to plant a church but worked for a pastor that was vehemently opposed to church planting. I was watching a college ministry I had built from the ground up retreat from the campuses of our city and close its doors. I wasn’t teaching or preaching at all. Life was nothing but uncertainty and I had a wife and 3 month old son to care for and lead. Those were the darkest days of my walk with Jesus. I was tempted to give up on the church, on ministry and on myself. I was tired, frustrated and felt terribly alone.
Maybe you’re in a similar spot right now. Nothing’s working. Everything’s crumbling. Uncertainty and fear seem to be the only constant. Hope seems so illusive and it would be so easy to give up on ever finding it again. If that’s you, I get it. I’ve been there.
And I wrote this whole post to say one thing to you: Don’t give up because God hasn’t given up on you!
He will be your “refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” while He carries you through this storm. I promise you, His grace really is sufficient. He hasn’t let go of you, abandoned you or turned His face from you. Maybe He’s discipling you. Maybe He’s testing you. He’s certainly molding you, shaping you, preparing you. And He promises He’s fighting for you.
While Laura and I were praying, God was working to connect me to The Summit Network through a friend. I called him in desperation one day which prompted him to have a conversation with the Summit guys about where I felt God was leading me. And then I got a call from Summit asking me to come to RDU to spend a year with an incredible church, raise up a team and head back to DC to plant Restoration City. I never say any of it coming and never orchestrated a bit of it. But God did.
In all of the uncertainty, He was working. Lining up. Getting things ready.
And I believe He’ll do the same in your life. Don’t you dare give up. God didn’t give you your dream just to taunt you with it. He’s placed hopes, desires and passions inside your soul because He wants to bring them to life. None of it may make sense to you right now but that doesn’t mean He isn’t working.
Hang in there. Trust. Believe. Pray.