It’s hard to believe that it has been two months since my last post. Little did I know that my reflections on Lament were simply a prelude for what was to come in the days ahead.
Straight up – it has been an extremely demanding summer; in fact, the past eight weeks have been some of the most challenging days I have experienced in some time. First off, my son became an economic causality and was laid off from his job. Next up my wife lost her job in an ugly way as she was treated inequitable and unjustly by her former employer. And then our daughter spent eight days in the hospital with a very serious flare-up of her colitis. More than a few times I have looked to the heavens and given voice to my lament to the Lord with this question – “what in the world are you doing God?”
During his opening talk at this year’s Leadership Summit, Bill Hybels introduced me to a fresh image that has helped me process the events of the past couple of months. The image comes from the world of sailing (one of Hybels’ passions) and is that of the rogue wave. A rogue wave is an unexpected, unpredictable, abnormally large wave that occurs on a seemingly random basis in the oceans. One of the things I realized afresh this summer is the reality that rogue waves are not confined to the oceans – you and I are confronted by them throughout our journey on terra firma. One of my favorite lines from Hybels’ talk was this:
“The normal we once knew and loved has left the building.”
Hybels reminded the 60,000 plus leaders participating in the Summit that it is times like these where our faith is challenged and our deepest convictions about the God and the community of faith are put to the test. Is the Church really the hope of the world? And in my case, will the Church not so much be the hope of the world, but will it be a source of hope and help to me as I face the rogue waves of my own journey?
The most potent line from Hybels talk (which I immediately text to my wife) was this:
“We’re going to get through this chapter in life together.”
And we have!
Let me use this forum to say thank you to all of you in the Community of Faith who have been a source of real help and hope to me and my family during this season. Your timely texts and emails, the meals you have delivered to our doorstep, your continual prayers, your hugs and encouraging words – they have helped sustain me through the rough waters of this season.
One other thing that has helped sustain me along the way has been music. And Matt Redman’s recent release, “We Shall Not Be Shaken” has served as a powerful reminder of God’s presence and provision even in the midst of rogue waves. The title track reminds me that even when everything is breaking, God is left unshaken – when everything is tumbling down, God is the solid ground.
We shall not be shaken!