Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath; the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies. But my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail.
- Isaiah 51:6
In this walk of life, perspective is the manna that sustains us through the desert. Our journey with Jesus never was promised to be perfect. If anything, He promised persecution, hatred from the world, and even foretold of Satan’s desire to “sift [us] like wheat” (Luke 22:31). So it is no surprise to God that when trials come, we may make mistakes, trip, fall, accidentally hurt people, or even hurt ourselves. But, the gift and beauty of God’s perspective helps us to press our faces against the window of faith, so that we may see through heavens eyes to keep going; to be steadfast, faithful, and persevere beyond what our natural situations may even allow. Perspective, ultimately leads us to become more like Christ.
As I’ve clasped God’s hand to lead me, I’ve made my own share of mistakes in this journey of servitude and leadership. But by this phenomenon of perspective, it has caused me to embrace my mistakes, supernaturally transforming them into spiritual truths.
In every mistake, there’s an invitation for the cancer of regret to knock on the doors of our hearts, with an agenda to immobilize our spirits into the caves of shame. But by God’s grace & leadership, when we put our faith in His goodness He never fails to inoculate this disease by making “ALL THINGS work together for the GOOD of those that love Him” (Romans 8:28), even regret. Because of His steadfast love for us, no matter how many times we make mistakes, we in turn become just as steadfast in our pursuit for Him as we get back up over and over, and over again.
Who I am today, is because of God’s hands that have molded my mistakes into monuments of His grace & mercy. And most recently, God created a new monument in my heart, to remind me of who I am first and foremost before any other role in this world. My recent trip to Uganda was where He began the work, but as I returned home this past week, I realized He chiseled away the final layer of stone with a recent unexpected loss of a friend.
In the final days of my stay in Uganda, I began to reflect deeply on my time there. On every outreach, it’s been a familiar place during the quiet moments of my heart. And so I found myself, standing alone on the wooden bridge beneath the watchful evening stars, listening to the African night choir of frogs by the rivers rushing beneath my feet. Suddenly my spirit began to sink as I realized that this trip was not without regret.
You see, in the midst of my arrival as a pastoral visit, I had somehow lost my identity during my stay. I encountered an interesting and foreign predicament. After God had led the team through a supernatural time of breakthrough and reconciliation, it was confusing for me to just come alongside as a student, or a leader. I wasn’t a student, because I continued to advise the team, but I had to bridal my leadership, as I didn’t want to disempower the team leaders God had chosen. Walking into unknown territory, I accidentally became …. A friend.
To the world, it is nothing short of harmlessness at first glance. But, in the atmosphere of DTS Outreach, spiritual warfare, and God’s plan to radically mold my brothers and sisters lives, friendship in itself can be deceptively distracting. Because you see, the companionship that friendships bring is temporal. But the divine truths of Christ that we can impart to one another will last for eternity.
I had realized that my first and foremost role and identity was not to be a leader, student, nor even a friend, but to be a Brother in Christ; one that prioritizes the revelation of Christ for those around me; to be a brother that leads people to see Christ in all that I say and do; to be sensitive to people’s relationship with Christ instead of my own friendship with them.
Why? Because the reality is that friendships fade, people move on, life just happens; meaning, there are no promises we may ever see each other again. And if these are the cards of life we are dealing with, then being a brother in Christ matters more than me being someone’s friend.
And as I expressed my gratitude to the team for their abundant grace in the midst of this unique mistake as a leader, unbeknownst to myself I was prophesying over my own life as I arrived home.
To make this long story short, I end with this. Life did happen, and as soon I arrived home I unexpectedly ended a friendship with a dear friend I walked closely with for a decade. In all honesty, she was one of my best friends; the kind of friend that you just expect growing old with and seeing your children one day play together. But for the sake of integrity and pointing toward Christ, we had to do what was best for her life.
And just like that, a friendship quickly faded before me as I spoke my last words to her saying: “Always look at Jesus”.
I’m quite uncertain of whether or not we’ll be friends later in this life. But one thing my confidence stands firm in, are the truths of Jesus I’ve imparted that will last for eternity.
May we exalt Christ above all else in our lives, because nothing but Jesus is our guarantee.
Love you all more than you know,