When I resigned as senior pastor of an IC (Institutional Church) 10 years ago, the fresh revelation of Father’s love and the opportunity to shrug off heavy burdens that come with serving a system of religious obligation made the resulting challenges seem small. False accusations, rejection by long time friends and the unknown future were simply the expected costs of choosing the road less traveled. But I didn’t realize that my wife had placed her entire sense of worth in her functions as worship leader, office manager and pastor’s wife. The resulting loss of her identity caused her to lose the desire to live. To say that I was devastated would be an understatement. We had just begun a journey toward a new life, and now I
felt like our lives had ended. Nothing but my wife’s painful state mattered to me anymore. I had no will to go on, no dreams, no vision. Of course I knew I had to keep on keeping on, but chose to do so only because ceasing to follow Christ was an option I had eliminated a long time ago. God did his thing with Rachel, healing came gradually, and finally her bright smile and upbeat attitude returned. Her view of Father and his love has gone through a wonderful transformation, and she wouldn’t reverse her journey for any price. Her foundation is no longer built on misplaced identity, and will withstand the new challenges still to come. And they will continue to come for everyone who follows Christ.
Life Worth Dying For
The fact that I have no idea what our lives will be like a year from now doesn’t really bother me. And there are no overwhelming trials pressing me down at the moment. Yet not too many days ago I woke up with no will to go on, no dreams, no vision. I told God that I felt like a dead man breathing. I have a wonderful marriage. My devoted daughter and son-in-law have made us proud grandparents. We have faithful friends. I’m watching Father do great things in the lives of those around me. So what was the problem? No problem, really, and the smell of death didn’t linger for long. But I was reminded that I can’t place my joy or sense of well being in my accomplishments or even the best that life has to offer. God has designed us to find lasting joy and worth in him alone. I’m reminded that I can no longer survive without my eyes fixed on him through a constant attitude of gratitude and realizing that he’s in the seeming setbacks as well as the blessings. Even the gifts that are straight from his hand cannot sustain my joy. That’s his place alone. Paul said he died daily. Strangely, it’s the only way to live the abundant life.
By David Fredrickson
Church Outside the Walls is the award winning four part documentary series on DVD that is the first to explore the current phenomenon surrounding the exodus of millions of Christians from religious institutions.
Featuring interviews with:
Wayne Jacobsen and Brad Cummings, the two men who teamed up with author William P. Young to publish his groundbreaking best selling novel “The Shack”.
Martin Scott author and international speaker.
Robert Lund, author and historian.
Professor Brent Walters, recognized early church historian.
Hosted by author and pastor for 30 years, David Fredrickson