This article is called “OUR DARKEST MOMENTS.” I want to share this article with my readers. This is not my written article and sometimes I will share an article by someone else. That is what I am doing here. It is a true story and was written by Pastor Max Lucado and his friend Jeff Allen. I post this article because I see a great meaning in the article and it addresses many of the problems and struggles we face in life. I will add a conclusion of my own at the end and some photo’s for this article. I hope it will truly bless you.
“Max Lucado: I learned a lesson that God never did give up on me. He could have. I was misbehaving. I was hiding. I was doing the very thing I promised I wouldn’t do, and I was telling people not to do. So that’s just one of the times in which God has been gracious enough to pull me back on track.
Life-Changing Grace for Our Darkest Moments: Max Lucado & Jeff Allen – Episode #372
Narrator: Welcome to the Jesus Calling Podcast. We all make mistakes in our lives—big and small—and worry about letting people down, or not living up to who we think we should be. But imagine if someone saw our mistakes, no matter how grave, and instead of chastising us, still believed in us and thought we were amazing? That’s what God’s grace is like. It’s a kind of love that forgives us and gives us a fresh start over and over again, without end.
Author and pastor Max Lucado shares his personal journey from soaring to heights of success to rock bottom moments where he questioned why he was doing what he was doing. Max draws parallels between his experiences and the story of Jacob, and how God’s grace overflows to us, even in our worst moments. Veteran comedian Jeff Allen opens up about the struggles in his life caused by addiction, and the rock bottom moment that led him to seek help, and how he ultimately found his way through a relationship with Christ and the unfailing grace that comes with it.
Let’s start with Max’s story.
Max Lucado: Well, Max Lucado here. I’m a pastor at the Oak Hill Church in San Antonio, Texas. I’ve been at the same church since 1988.
My role at the church has changed a bit. I’m not a senior pastor any longer. I am what we call a teaching pastor, and I love this role. It’s kind of the role we have for the former senior pastor to still hang around. I get to travel with my wife. We just celebrated forty-two years of marriage and we enjoy seeing our grandkids and then also just going on fun trips. So I’m excited about this season of life.
I’ve always been fascinated with the story of Jacob. He’s the second son, the twin son of Rebecca. And Rebecca felt that God told her he would rule over his brother, Esau. Now, we don’t know what all transpired, but we do know that Rebecca is the one who set him up to try to trick Esau out of being first born. It’s a fascinating cultural thing that to be firstborn meant everything, and Jacob tried to swindle Esau out of the birthright and ended up on the run. And then twenty years later, was about to have an encounter with Esau for the first time.
He didn’t know if Esau was going to forgive him or kill him. He spent the night by the river Jabbok. He wrestled with God. He wrestled with God all night long, slippery body slipping and falling back and forth, wrestling.
He finally thought he had defeated God or he had overcome God, or that God had the blessing. And then God reached out and just touched him on the hip and down he went. It’s a picture of that moment in which we’re wrestling with God.
But Jacob, he struggles more than he doesn’t, and so many things happen to him, much of which are by his own misdoings. And yet God never gave up on him. He never did. Even after some of the most terrible events, I mean, just times in which he simply came undone and forgot who he was for God, forgot who God was. Yet God is still the one who reaches out and rescues and redeems Jacob.
There are times in which we wrestle with God, and I think back on one of those seasons in my life where on the outside, it appeared everything was going great. I’m sixty-eight years old now. When I was fifty, life was chug, chug, chugging along, and everything was hitting on all cylinders. The church was growing. We had a brand-new building. It was almost paid for. I had a celebrity status. I hate to say that, but I had a celebrity status in the country.
There were times buses that would come to our church. I thought I was something special. What people didn’t know is our staff was in freefall. We had ministers arguing with each other. We had good ministers resigning because of the toxic nature of the set. And what could their senior pastor do? Well, he didn’t have time to do it. He was too busy being a superstar. And I was feeling the stress of trying to meet everybody’s expectations, angry at the staff, book deadlines, sermon deadlines. and I have a proclivity to treat problems with alcohol.
And so to treat the anxiety, I began to drive across town to a convenience store and buy a big can of beer, and put it in a brown paper bag and sit in my car and drink it. And this happened I don’t know how many times, maybe a half a dozen or maybe even ten times. And finally, on one of those occasions, I really sensed the Lord speaking to me as if He was saying, “What are you doing here? What in the world are you doing, hiding from people? Driving across town, pretending you’re something when you’re not?”
And it was a wrestling with God moment, and just like Jacob was brought to his knees, I was brought to mine. And I realized that apart from God, I can’t even make it through the day. And so God’s grace was great over me, and I shared that story with our elders, even shared it with some of our church. And the healing began. – Max Lucado
I learned a lesson that God never did give up on me. He could have. I was misbehaving. I was hiding. I was doing the very thing I promised I wouldn’t do, and I was telling people not to do. Sothat’s just one of the times in which God has been gracious enough to pull me back on track. I can relate to Jacob.
Unmasking Secrecy, Embracing Truth
Any time we’re doing this behind-the-scenes, in the shadows type of activities, that’s a sign that we’re off the right path. And boy, we can justify it. We can explain it away. We can say it’s not so bad. And that is making excuses or justifying it or promising it is not going to last long or everybody would do it if they had my problems or nobody gets me, you know? So secrecy and excuses, those are the telltale signs that we’re off the path.
In the story of Jacob, after he betrayed his brother, Esau, he had to take off to hide out in the Highlands with his Uncle Laban. That first day on the journey when he was sleeping on a stone—here’s this son of a patriarch, he didn’t even have a pillow for his head. He’s sleeping on the stone on the desert floor. And God appeared to him in a vision, a ladder from heaven came down. What a picture of God’s grace. God found Jacob in the Badlands and came to him and spoke to him, and God will do the same for us. I believe that God will meet us in those times. He will. – Max Lucado
He comes to us, He finds us, whether it’s in a car in a convenience store parking lot or the desert on the way to Mesopotamia. Now He comes to us. He comes to us. He finds us. Be open to that, but don’t dismiss Him. Be obedient. Acknowledge what you’ve done. Find help, confess it, go to a circle of friends, begin to get your life in order, because the longer you resist Him, the harder it is to accept Him.Make sure you give problems to God before the problems get to you. Max Lucado
Navigating Anxious Moments Through Knowing God
I remember a time I boarded a flight. I knew the pilot. As I got on the plane, I said, “Hey, Joe, how are you doing?”I knew his story. I knew he flew in the Air Force. I knew he flew fighter jets. I mean, the guy was super capable. And so I took my seat and wouldn’t you know it about midway into the flight, his voice comes over the intercom saying, “Prepare yourself for some turbulence.
It’s going to be rough, but we’re going to get through it.” Well, you know, when I heard his voice, knowing his experience and having a personal relationship with him, I just kind of settled down. I said, “Yeah, okay, we’ll be fine.”
I had a huge advantage over the rest of the passengers. You could see anxiety in their faces because it did get choppy there for a while, really up and down, but I was able to weather that with more confidence, not because there was no turbulence, but because I had a personal relationship with the pilot.
We have a huge advantage. We know the pilot. We know what He has guided the church through or people through. We know He’s not intimidated. We know we’ll be okay. And so the key is not trying to live a life in which we are escaping turbulence or trying to manage the turbulence on our own. The key is making sure we know the pilot. – Max Lucado
It’s an interesting time in which we live. You know, the stress and the anxiety are off the charts and most tragically manifested in the suicide rate. This the highest it’s been since World War II.
We’re dealing with more change than ever before. The world is changing at lightning speed. There’s no shame in going and receiving pharmaceutical help. And there’s nothing at all to be ashamed about if you want to see a therapist on a regular basis. We’ve got to talk this through.
Anxiety is often the result of perceived chaos. When we think the world is spinning out of control, it keeps us awake at night. But if God is big, then our problems are small. But if our problems are big, then it usually means our perception of God is small. So make a big deal out of God. You know, spend time with Him.
He’s not intimidated by the condition of the world. In fact, He said that the world would get like this and then ask Him for help. Just ask Him specifically everything about prayer and petition. The Scripture says, “With Thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God. So pray about everything.”
Jesus Listens, September 23rd:
My great God,
Although many of my prayers are not yet answered, I find hope in Your great faithfulness. You keep all Your promises—in Your perfect way and Your perfect timing. You have promised to give me Peace that can displace the trouble and fear in my heart. If I become weary of waiting, please remind me that You also wait—so that You may be gracious to me and have mercy on me. You hold back until I am ready to receive the things You have lovingly prepared for me. As I spend time in Your Presence, I rejoice in the promise that all those who wait for You are blessed.
In Your gracious Name, Jesus, Amen.”
I believe that many of us can identify with Pastor Max Lucaedo and the things he had to deal with and hide from everyone, but God knows, and we never fool Him. Being human we sin, mess up and make mistakes. And we do not want others to know it or think bad of us, so we hide it. But you cannot hide it from God, He always knows. The amazing part is that God is always there ready to forgive us and restore our fellowship with Him. Hebrews 13:5 “5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.“
I am truly thankful, that Max Lucaedo, recognized the wrong that he was doing as a Pastor. If I am correct, he resigned as the Pastor, yet still remained in the church and continued in Ministry. Too many so-called Pastors get caught, shed a tear and say I am sorry, but keep on believing that they have the right to remain as a pastor. No one ever talks about how a Pastor can “DIS-QUALIFY” themself from the Ministry. I Timothy Chapter 3 (QUALIFICATIONS).
Finally, Christians are not perfect people, they just have a perfect SAVIOR. Christians are not perfect people; they are simply FORGIVEN. If you are not a Christian then I beg you to accept Jesus Christ as you own personal Savior. According to the Bible Christians will be going home to heaven soon, then hell will be unleashed upon this earth and over 50% of everyone on earth will die. We have all done wrong things that we should not have. God calls that SIN and will never accept any sin. Jesus came to earth and paid for everyone’s sin, and God accepted his payment for all sin.
Recognize that Jesus pleased God for us because we could not. Bow your heart and talk to God, ask him for forgiveness and He will forgive you and give you eternal life with him in heaven. Romans 10:13 “For who so ever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
We have all had dark moments in our lives. What did we learn from it? I can only tell you that Jesus is the light at the end of the tunnel. You will never find the true meaning of your life until you find Jesus Christ, because your life is eternal.
Your thoughts, opinions and comments are welcome so leave them below in the comment section. RAY