The Old Rugged Cross

NOTE: I wrote this four months after finding my 19 year old son after he’d taken his own life…


There have been moments these past months that I’ve wanted to give up on God.

I’m simply being honest.

As one who grew up in a violent, alcoholic home, I witnessed more violence as a child than I care to remember.

As a full-time pastor now for 30+ years, I’ve had, on occasion, the unfortunate opportunity to see the very ugly side of what some have otherwise called “Christianity.”

But those pale in comparison to the events of May 13th, 2013, when my world caved in around me.

In light of the pain we suffer on planet earth, what proof is there that there is a God? More than that, what proof is there that that God really loves me?

From their outstanding work, “Name Above All Names,” Alistair Begg & Sinclair Ferguson write,

It is the cross alone that ultimately proves the love of God to us – not the circumstances of our lives.

We must not allow ourselves to be tricked into thinking that if things are going well with us, Then we can be sure of God’s love. For life can often seem dark and painful. Things do not always go well for us.

Rather, we look to the sacrifice of the cross and the proof God gave there of His love. ‘God [demonstrated proof of] His love toward us, in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’ (Romans 5:8)

This is the proof I need. This is the truth I need to hear. This dispels the lies of the enemy.”

This is the unstoppable, indefensible, indisputable love of God in Christ Jesus.

I love you, Nick

Spiritual Confusion

“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.” (Proverbs 3:5-6, Message)

The beloved missionary/teacher, Oswald Chambers, wrote,

“There are times in your spiritual life when there is confusion, and the way out of it is not simply to say that you should not be confused. It is not a matter of right and wrong, but a matter of God taking you through a way that you temporarily do not understand. And it is only by going through the spiritual confusion that you will come to the understanding of what God wants for you.”

I am amazed at how many believers are scared to confess to God that they’re having a difficult time trusting Him.  (It’s not like He doesn’t know this already.) 

Nowhere in Scripture do we read that we are not allowed to be honest enough with God to admit that they have no idea what He’s up to in our lives. 

The Psalms are replete with passages representing this very type of human honesty with God.  David wrote,

O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way? How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand?” (Psalm 13:1-2)

Confusion where following Christ is concerned is not only common, it’s normal. Why else would we have so many passages within our Bible like the one cited at the beginning of this blog from Proverbs 3?

Be honest with God.  If you’re confused, tell Him.  Lean on Him.  Trust Him.  When everything in life seems to be screaming at you, “Don’t trust God!”, trust Him anyway.  He’s got you.  As a dear of friend told me after my son took his life, “Nick, if faith was easy, it wouldn’t be called faith.”

Like Chambers stated, “it is only by going through the spiritual confusion that you will come to the understanding of what God wants for you.”

Soli Deo Gloria, nw