Lessons from the Hardest Year

Lessons from the Hardest Year

We’d just started the process of planting a church when we got a phone call that changed our lives. We didn’t know it then, but we’d just begun the hardest year of our lives.

I thought that I’d start a new church from a position of strength. I’d accumulated a couple of decades of ministry experience. I had big plans and strong convictions, as well as a strong network of support. I knew we needed God’s help, and that the task before us was bigger than I could accomplish on my own, but I was determined to begin with a strong start.

Instead, within 10 days of beginning to work on this new church, our lives collapsed. My wife and I would just sit together in the morning quietly, unable to speak. I clung to the truth of Romans 8:26-27: that the Spirit helps us in our weakness when we don’t know how to pray. I trusted that God heard our prayers even when we couldn’t voice them.

Our season lasted some time. One day, over a year after our crisis began, I attended a support group for people who were going through the same thing. I was amazed to enter a room and find so many others. How could the world go on when so many of us lived on the brink of disaster? I listened to the story of a man, expecting to find hope, but his story ended in heartbreak.

I went home and wrote these words the next day:

It’s not a secret that the past few years have been among the most difficult in our lives. Right now it seems that we’re entering another tough season, facing some health struggles that are very serious. It’s hard when there aren’t any easy answers, and when the suffering seems more than one can handle.

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