As many of you know, Denise and I started a non-profit in 2014. It’s focus is on suicide postvention. We go to the scene of a suicide and provide comfort and hope in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy.

Over the past three years, God had given us many opportunities. The work is expanding to the point where we now consist of three full time employees and an intern from OSU. We have been asked by the State to reproduce what we do all over Ohio. We are also beginning to develop into the suicide prevention space as well. I recently received my QPR trainer certification (Question, Persuade, Refer). With all of this, we are still honored to walk with so many wonderful people through this journey.

I can not begin to tell how humbled I am that God uses me in this way. Where satan tried to totally fuck up our life (John 10:10) and destroy us, God has turned that into life and hope for others.

Yet, even seeing all these wonderful things, I still feel overwhelmed much of the time. It’s hard to be “rah-rah-go-God” when my ministry involves looking into the darkest places. Is this world, with all of it’s failed, fallen, sinfulness, really where I want to live “my best life now”? Or is there something more?

Let’s take a look at what Jesus says again:

John 10:10

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Life to the FULL. I picture a gas gauge with the needle pegged to the F side. But, if he is talking about the here and now and not just eternity, then how is this any different from what others who don’t believe do everyday. Could it be in how we define “life to the full”?

This is where so many Christians have gotten themselves tripped up. They see a wonderful word like this, but begin to define it the way the world does. They begin to look to temporary things as the means to a full life, and miss Jesus’ point. He isn’t saying that he came to provide a way for you to fulfill your every desire and lust and get all the things you want here. He is saying that HE IS LIFE and HE IS THE FULLEST LIFE.

Does that mean we won’t see any blessings in this life. No, I don’t believe that at all. But, the blessings we do see are not an indicator of what every day will look like. They are an indicator of our gracious heavenly father moving on our behalf IN SPITE OF our present circumstances or situations. The blessings we receive are miracles, in that, they don’t just come whenever we want. Nor do they come on a regular schedule. If they did, we’d call them Wednesday, because they came every week.

Where would our faith be involved if it was just a given that everything was going to work out perfectly, on time. No problems, no worries, no difficulties… means no faith. Remember what James wrote:

James 1:2-8

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

It is only in the testing of our faith that we develop perseverance. And, it is only as perseverance works in us that we become mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Bottom line, it is only in the darkness that our light truly shines. You can have a candle in a room bathed with light, blow it out, and no one will notice. How many of us have lost the flame and don’t notice because we stay away from the darkness? How can we go out into the “highways and hedges and compel them to come in” when we refuse to leave our front porch? Jesus never promised that this life would be easy. In fact, just the opposite:

John 16:1-2, 33

16 “All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God.

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

“But take heart!” That’s the real promise. That’s where my faith can connect and begin to understand that I am not responsible for the outcome. “I have overcome the world” Here is the “life to the full” that Jesus is to me. I don’t need any of the trappings of success as this world defines it. In fact, that becomes a weight to me. All I need is Jesus. In him is everything I need. In him is my acceptance, In him is my worth determined. In him is my conscience cleansed. In him is my desire satisfied. In him is my fulfillment found. In him is my EVERY need met. I may not see how, or know when, but I have faith that he has overcome this world and so in him I have no fear of circumstances or situations. JESUS IS MY BEST LIFE NOW AND FOREVER, no matter what this world throws at me.

RAH! RAH! GO! GOD! (I just went and preached myself happy)