This past Sunday I had the opportunity to share among our former church family at Harbor Chapel Community Church. Janny and I hadn’t been there for a service since we completed our time on staff there almost a year and half ago. It was super fun to catch up with so many people that we care so deeply about and unbelievable to have so much love showered upon us we exchanged hugs. Honestly, it was quite humbling to be so loved by such a quality group of folks.
Jim York left the topic open to whatever we (Doyle Fikes partnered with me in the teaching by sharing a powerful family story of suffering) felt led. It was clearly going to be the most painful topic in light of the events of this past year, but with Janny’s insightful suggestion, we chose the topic of Sorrow, Suffering and Grief. Having been surrounded by my students’ stories of sorrow/suffering and culminating in the loss of our first child in October, there is no other reality that is more central to our current life story. Being able to share our pain and encourage others to fully embrace theirs was a liberating and somber experience. Suffering is central to the Story of God and if we simply shrug off the sacred time of grieving for some form of cheap/fake “happy thoughts,” then we have forgotten our story as individuals and forgotten the Story of God we are to participate in today.
Friends/family at Harbor Chapel, thanks for not fast forwarding through the suffering, but instead sharing in the pain with us. Your stories were raw, painful and tragic…in is that honesty that we are caused to remember the Story…and in the midst of sobbing, experience hope.
Listen to the talk here: (Doyle Fikes starts the talk and I pick it up @ minute 17)