Virtually everyone agrees that something is radically wrong with the church. Inside there is more polarization and conflict than ever, with all factions agreeing (for different reasons) that the church is in deep trouble.
As I rode the subway home, I was lost in thought. I recalled the moment on 9/11 when Brian and I had said goodbye to each other at the fort, when I realized that my relationship with God was practically nonexistent. But here I was, going to the church for help, and those ladies had cared. As I pieced everything together, something shifted inside of me. I felt hope.
In this video, Tim Keller looks at how the Good Samaritan points us to Christ and the story compels us to live with radical, transformative love for our neighbors no matter what they believe or how different they may be from us.
Following my parents to board a plane to move to the opposite side of the world made it clear that our life isn’t all about me, and that my own desires were not our family’s center of gravity. This act of unsolicited submission proved to be crucial to my future discipleship; it gave me an experiential understanding of myself in relation to God.
I realized I had made an idol out of being a pastor and when it was taken from me, I reacted like a small child with his toy taken away. I began to converse with God daily and digest his Word again daily and pray and sing and fast. And the prison I had willingly put myself in slowly melted away.
There’s a clear line of demarcation in each of our lives: the pre- versus the post- September 11th reality – and there’s nothing we can do to change this. What a strange and overwhelming feeling of powerlessness this realization brings, and yet, having been forced to confront it, our lives go on, in some ways as before and in other ways indelibly altered.
My wife has spent almost 30 years in constant and often unbearable pain. And for many Christians, this just doesn’t fit with the faith they’ve been taught in church. For them, Christianity is about overcoming, not about enduring. It’s about dreams coming true, not shattered dreams. And it’s certainly not about persistent suffering.