My Next Right Step

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Last week was easily the longest and hardest week of my life thus far. And I had food poisoning for a week in college, so that’s really saying something.

Isaac didn’t bring me to Jesus. I know that. God created a very distinct and winding road for me to journey along that eventually and inevitably led me to falling down at His feet and begging for His grace. But Isaac, like so many other precious humans in my life, was on that road. He may not have designed my faith or built it with his own two hands, but he did have a huge role in the laying of the foundation. He did help me interpret the Scriptures in a way that was consistently challenging and relevant. He did baptize me in the ocean. He did allow God to speak through him straight to my heart as I waded through difficult times. He did stand across the sanctuary from me every week and with unashamed enthusiasm belt out worship songs in a way that inspired me to do the same. His “ism’s” build up much of the language I use when discussing faith. That raw and natural talent of interpreting, presenting and living the Gospel that so defined Isaac was something I looked forward to encountering every week. I was blessed to have this man in my life. I am a better, stronger, smarter and more Godly woman because of him.

None of that changes because of the past year. None of that changes because of Tuesday. If anything, it is truer now than ever.

Jim spoke yesterday of messy love. Of the “sloppy wet kiss” in the song “How He Loves.” The Gospel is messy. It was never about perfection loving perfection. The perfect love described and lived out in Jesus Christ is perfect because of Him. People like Isaac, like me and like you are incurably and imperfectly messy this side of heaven.

Isaac {and of course other great teachers, I’m sure} always spoke to the fact that no one has to have it all together to start following Jesus. In fact, if everyone waited to have it all together to seek a relationship with Christ, no one ever would. You will not-I will not-he did not have it all together. But he still followed Jesus. I still follow Jesus. I hope that you– or that you someday will– follow Jesus. Isaac’s life is testament to the power of what can happen when imperfect, messy people follow Jesus. They lead more imperfect, messy people to follow Jesus. That’s what he was created to do and that’s what he did. I will never know how imperfect he was. How long he had been in the trenches of his sin and how low of a pit the devil had created for him. I remember being so upset last year that he was still preaching from such a place! Well where else was he supposed  to preach from? Isaac was never going to be able to preach from a place of perfection. The only perfect preacher was Christ. Every other pastor is preaching about light from a place of darkness.

I will not and can not diminish the devastation of the reality of Isaac’s death. You need not worry that I’ve swept it under the rug.

But.

I will not and can not diminish the magnificence of the reality of Isaac’s life. You need not worry that I’ve swept it under the rug.

If this is going to be processed properly, the reality of both must be faced boldly. I cannot pretend to be in a better place with any of this. I implore you to do the same. Don’t put on a good face or build up a facade because you think you have to. God’s got you right where He wants you. He will do something with you right here-where you are. Not because it’s the only place He is-for in fact, God is everywhere- but it’s the only place you are. This messy, imperfect present. He will meet you in this. He will meet me in this. He met Isaac in this and He brought him home. Brought him into perfection and cleansed him one last time of all his messiness. That is perfect love. That is the Gospel. I tell you this because it is true.

“In a sense, it {Christianity} creates, rather than solves, the problem of pain, for pain would be no problem unless, side by side with our daily experience of this painful world, we had received what we think a good assurance that ultimate reality is righteous and loving.” -CS Lewis

3 Comments

  1. Katie, you bring me to tears. You just wrote the Gospel -plain and simple. You just gave everyone permission to be real and to follow Jesus in our less perfect selves. You paid and awesome tribute to Isaac in a very real and personal way. Isaac touched my life too…..deeply in the few times I was in his services. I can only imagine how much more deeply He touched yours. What you wrote took courage and conviction. I am glad you have both and that you share yourself so boldly with all of us.

    Reply

    1. Oh Mrs. G! Your reply was such a sweet blessing to me. I received it during a moment where I felt the weight of the situation greatly and your comment lifted me up. Thank you, thank you. So grateful to know you!

      Reply

  2. Katie, isaac must have been an amazing teacher. I am so sorry for your loss.
    Your words are so true and full of clarity.God has truly blessed you with a precious gift, and you use it to the fullest. Change the world Katie! One soul at a time. Love, Dee

    Reply

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