“At some point, you will have to confront the spirit that tells you, “It will never happen.” -Pastor Gene Bebee
It was Saturday evening, and I was working on some stuff for our Children’s Ministry at the kitchen table. I hadn’t slept well the night before, and I had been a little snappy about it with my wife. She had come over to the table for me to show her something that I was adding to the powerpoint that we use during class. Then she asked me what was wrong. Rather than being a man and saying nothing, I opened up and let the floodgates spill.
Without going into detail, this has been a rough year for us. Our little Emerie has been a constant ray of sunshine. Visiting the Grand Canyon and having a trip to Colorado paid for was definitely amazing. But the weight of some added things here lately, combined with some other pressing matters, had really begun changing my own thought life. I have found myself more apt to expect the hard times to continue than bothering to have faith that any good times were on the horizon. My peace was with my family. My wife. Outside of that, everything else in my life felt like an F-5, and I could feel myself being pulled away bit by bit; to the point that I even wondered privately if depression were starting to set it.
As I opened up and poured all of this out before my wife, the burden didn’t necessarily get better, but I was thankful to be able to finally open up. That night we talked some more, and then she prayed over me. Over us. Over all of this stuff. And then we had church the next morning.
Pastor Gene has been preaching a series called “Changing Your Sound”, which is very apt. Every message thus far has challenged us to remain steadfast in our faith and to not allow our circumstances to dictate our praise. Things I knew but was not actively engaging in my heart. His message for Sunday morning, though. Wow! It was almost like God gave PG a walkie, and let him hear everything that I was saying. He addressed it all, and when he gave the quote above, something in me began to break.
I might have a “title” as a Children’s Pastor in my church, but I often don’t feel like one. I stand in front of people on Sundays and encourage their hearts, but in my own heart, sometimes the struggle is overwhelming. It’s easy to believe God for someone else, yet feel like I’m somehow disqualified from the promises. I’m just a regular guy who has doubts about himself, who struggles with dreams and goals. And in this season, I have been doubting that things will ever get better, and if they don’t get better, what does this mean for our future? The haze of my doubts made it hard for me to see any way out. I even thought that possibly God had just removed His hand.
But that one statement…that was my moment. I had to confront my own thinking. Maybe a spirit was influencing it, but my thinking had become too toxic, that I was acting as the rebellious agent and sabotaging myself. My worship in that first service was conflicted as I fought against every negative impulse in my brain. When I began attacking my problems with the promises of God, I could feel the fog beginning to lift.
Our situation has not changed. Hard times persist. Some of the hardest we’ve faced, but I am constantly reminding myself that I will see the goodness of God in the land of the living. I don’t have to die to experience God’s presence or His goodness. I get it now, whether things improve or not. Trust has never been an easy thing for me, and even as a 38-year-old Christian, I’m still learning day by day what trusting God really means.
It’s not about getting what I want. It’s about trusting that what God wants is infinitely better, no matter what form it comes in. I’m actively changing my sound.