A place where God’s love shines.
One of my favorite pastors, Jud Wilhite of Central Christian Church in Las Vegas, Nevada, said in a sermon this past Sunday that in order for followers of Jesus to “rise above Earth’s noise,” they must live a life of willingness. Willingness to serve others, love others, and sacrifice for others.
Last week, I got the biggest privilege to serve God and others in a way I had never done before: by going on a mission trip. We went to Lighthouse Family Retreat, an organization dedicated to providing a simple, but powerful and inspirational week at the beach for families dealing with childhood cancer. It was hard and exhausting work, which included lots of meal lines and throwing-kids-in-a-pool sessions, but rewarding work; work that ultimately changed my life for the better.
I got to know and serve a family dealing with both childhood cancer and autism, truly dealing with more than any family ever should. By the end of the week, I learned how truly important it is to be supportive of one another, especially during the difficult times. I am thankful God put this family in my life to be an example of that principle.
I worked all week with a husband and wife, in their sixth year of service to Lighthouse, who used to be on the other side of the equation. They were serving in honor of their daughter — who passed away of cancer after attending Lighthouse four times. Watching these role models, who I can now call friends, leverage their past experiences to help others, was inspiring. It was perspective-giving. They were fantastic examples of sacrificing for others, loving others, and serving others. I’m thankful for them.
Perhaps most importantly, I witnessed people and families that had never fully invite Jesus Christ into their heart, give it all to Him. I think the theme of the week about halfway through, at least for me, became 100%. 100% devotion to Jesus inside the hearts of children who had been dealt a whole lot. 100% devotion to Jesus inside the hearts of parents who’ve had to spend so much of their childrens’ lives watching them struggle. It occured to me that even as a man of faith for awhile now, I don’t think I’ve ever truly been 100%. These families taught me how to fully devote.
But overall, there was one moment of Lighthouse that was most moving for me. During Thursday Night Worship, a member of the family partner team stood up and read 2 Corinthians 12:9–10, a passage found in the context of the Apostle Paul’s God-given “thorn.” It reads:
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9–10)
It was, for the first time as this verse was read, that I realized just how truly this rang throughout Lighthouse. These families were strong. The only explanation? Jesus Christ. His power rests on those enduring weaknesses. The reading of this verse, one I had read countless times before, changed my life because of the context I heard it read.
I’m so thankful to everyone reading who supported out trip, be it financially, prayerfully, or both. You made life change possible in several different ways and I’m truly grateful for you.
At Lighthouse, we don’t say “goodbye.” We say “see ya later.” I’m not saying goodbye to Lighthouse, but rather “see ya later.” I can’t wait to see you again.