I remember our church plant experience from 2007-2010 very well. I also remember going to a church planting conference and hearing Matt Chandler speak. He said something very interesting. He basically said God was more concerned about what He wanted to do in us than what He wanted to do through us. He continued by saying that God would use the church plant we were starting to demonstrate this very thing inside our hearts.
I had no idea what he meant at the time, but I certainly do now.
A very wise man that I know once told me that no one walks with God closely that doesn’t walk with a limp.
This is precisely what happens in Genesis 32. Jacob wants to follow God, but God knows He needs to wrestle with Jacob first so Jacob can experience some brokenness. After wrestling with God, Jacob was never the same. His name was changed to Israel, and he walked with a limp.
I wrestled with God during our church plant experience. We watched the thing start to take off, only to collapse. As I shared in a recent blog, it was 5 months after this that our son Caleb died. What a wrestling match I was experiencing during 2009-2010!
I finally figured out what Matt Chandler was trying to say at that conference. God did a work inside my heart, inside my family’s heart during that time. I walked away from that time forever changed. I did not know the arrogance and pride and self-reliance I walked with prior to 2007, but God used that time to humble me and cause me to trust Him more deeply.
Like I said, I am forever changed, but I walk with a limp. There are still scars I carry from our church plant experience and from losing Caleb. I can tell you this. Every time those scars resurface, I am forced and reminded to rely on the Lord.
May we be willing to let God pursue us, even if it means some brokenness along the way!