Read: “Jesus got up and ordered the wind and the waves to be quiet. The wind stopped, and everything was calm.” Mark 4: 39 (CEV)
Reflect: Stories of redemption have always moved me. There’s something so human and whole and real about starting in an honest place of failure and brokenness. Ten years ago, when I first came to Eastlake Church, that’s where I was.
I was adrift in a storm. I didn’t know it. I just thought life was supposed to be violent and unforgiving; that my only defense was to satisfy my impulses to distract me from the pain. When my wife dragged me to church, I wasn’t looking for shelter. But that’s what I found—safe harbor from the storm. The calm acceptance of the church to all that was the mess of my life gave me the chance to be still and feel the presence of Christ. It was a chance to heal wounds that I was afraid to admit I even had.
The safe harbor of the church saved my marriage and my life.
Experts who work in drug and alcohol recovery programs will tell you that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It’s connection. Casting people out to teach them a lesson and make them earn their status as loved never works. It leads to loneliness, despair and more addiction. That lesson of connection travels beyond those struggling with addiction though. Acceptance, love and inclusion are at the center of our Christian faith. For me, they’re the answer to the question, why church?
React: Is there someone in your life who is seeking safe harbor in the storm? It may be someone who doesn’t even know they are lost. Reach out to them. Invite them in, just as they are.
Pray: Lord, help me to see myself in the pain of others and invite them into shelter in the loving care of our church.