The Tide Has Turned

I’ve not talked about this a lot on my blog, but I have on recent episodes of The God Journey.  Six weeks ago, when I arrived home from my trip to the Carolinas, I stumbled into a tragic situation that completely took me by surprise. It was catastrophic and I told listeners of the podcast that I would be taking some time away from my regular responsibilities to give God the maximum space to sort this out. That needed to happen in me as well as others involved in the circumstance. I’m not relating the specifics of what I faced because the story affects other people, and it is their story to tell, not mine.

During this time, I took great encouragement from Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 1:8-11:

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

I have never been in such pain or despair. I wept countless tears in agony and sorry. It would not be an understatement to say I despaired of life itself. I took great comfort in remembering that Jesus “during his time on earth offers himself to God with loud cries and tears offered himself to God.” (Hebrews 5:7) I understood completely.

I was powerless in the face of lies the enemy had sowed among some people I care about, and had those circumstances stood, they would have threatened everything about my future. I could only pour out my heart to God for weeks, hoping that he had a resolution I couldn’t see. Early on, I called some close friends to have them stand and watch with me to see what Father might be saying or doing. Though I got great counsel, insight, and encouragement, the circumstances continued to worsen. At times God would breathe hope in my heart, “This is not what it appears to be,” but I could only seem to grasp that hope for brief moments. I was afraid to believe those thoughts were his when I could have so easily interpreted my hopes as God’s voice.

A couple of weeks ago, the tide began to turn, and in recent days all has changed dramatically for the good. Light has appeared in the darkness. Lies have given way to truth, and love has been renewed in a most gracious way. What was painful before is playful now. In the last six days, I have moved from circumstances that had been excruciatingly painful through the first five weeks to excruciatingly beautiful over the weekend. Now, the excruciating is gone entirely, and I am at rest in the beauty and his salvation.

I know this whole ordeal lasted only six weeks, but these days have been hard, painful, and seemed far longer. It came on so suddenly and the shock and pain were so great that every day seemed like a week.  I am so glad to say now that I have survived the most challenging stretch of my journey to date. Everything I have experienced in him over the last thirty years was critical to have in my heart during these days. I am so grateful for what he has taught me about entrusting myself to his love instead of trying to fix it with my own wisdom and power.

He has done exceedingly abundantly above what I could have imagined even a couple of weeks ago. I have appreciated the space many of you have given me by not making demands on my time so that I could give my full attention to what lay before me. During this time Jesus proved to be all the refuge I needed when I was living beyond my limits and overwhelmed with pain. As I look back now, I see more clearly how he was there, even when my agony obscured my vision. In the first days, God spoke to my heart and said this circumstance will decisively change the trajectory of my life, but it will lead to more beautiful spaces.  I had no idea what he meant by that, but when I believed it my heart was at rest even in the horror of that situation. However, when my heart strayed from it, the loss would overwhelm me again.

I’m not sure what all of that means yet but I know I’ve been changed by this, and I’m sure in more ways than I yet see. These events and his grace in them will reshape the trajectory of my heart and my mission until the end of my days, and how I love hurting people even when I’m bearing the brunt of it.  Today, my heart is full of joy and gratefulness with a song in my heart and a settledness in my spirit that God’s pleasure is unfolding.  There is still much to be done for his healing to be complete, but the outcome now seems inevitable, and I can fully give myself to the process.

I am as delighted today as I was in despair a couple of weeks ago. I hope someday I’ll be able to share some of the details of all of this if it becomes appropriate. In the end, I can say, I have experienced the most striking demonstration of his love I’ve ever seen for all of us involved. I’ve learned so much about the way he works and how love can have its way even against the wicked schemes of darkness.

I will always be immeasurably grateful for those who prayed for me and sent Scriptures and words of encouragement, even though you had no idea what I was dealing with. So many people stood with me, hoped with me, wept with me, and now share my joy at the fruit of his work. I will be turning back to those things Father has asked me to put into the world in the days ahead.  We are back doing podcasts already. Soon I’ll continue writing on the sequel to So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore. I’ll also be rescheduling the trips I had to cancel and see where else Father might want me to go to encourage the hearts of others in the next season. Those conversations will be incredibly different now.

Thank you for your kindness and patience to me during this time.

17 thoughts on “The Tide Has Turned”

  1. Wayne,
    I’ll admit that I don’t have any idea of the circumstances of this situation, and therefore it’s been hard to know how to pray for you. But just knowing of your pain through listening to your recent podcasts and reading this blogpost, I am learning that, A) the details are none of my business, and B) I can and will pray for more of God’s healing for you and everyone involved, and C) in time, God will reveal any lessons I need to learn through you and other Christians in my life. I am so grateful that God has made himself known to me, and I look forward to a lifetime of growing ever closer to him.
    Sincerely,
    Donna P

  2. Ndubuisi Anthony Ugwuanyi

    Thank God for His steadfast love and kindness for His children. I can guess the magnitude of the challenge you went through. However, it is refreshing, reassuring and comforting to learn how you agonizingly persevered during this period. Your faith in Him is massive. I wish you more grace. And l bless the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ and the brethren who stood watch with you. Truly, His love endures forever.

  3. I am SO thankful for the outcome to this difficult time for you. I could feel a measure of your pain & agony through your words😥
    But what a glorious ending! How loved you are🥰❤️‍🔥
    Thank you for sharing

  4. Dear Wayne & Sara,
    Often Father has brought you two to my mind since you, Wayne, were in NC/SC.
    So grateful that the tide has turned and know there is an incredible story you may be able to share someday.
    Thank you for bringing us on this journey.
    In Him who holds all things together, ❤ Delia

  5. My family is in much the same kind of storm right now. It has been battering us about for almost four years with no relief in sight. I can relate to what you said about momentary breaks in the tension which quickly came to an end. We also have found the power in the grace filled support of Christian friends.
    We don’t know when the time of refreshing will come. We are striving to keep our eyes on Jesus and learn to live loved by him.

  6. I’m sorry to hear so many of you are in similar circumstances or at least call up similar feelings and prayers. Our hearts go out to you as Jesus comes alongside you and shows you how to navigate your circumstances. I realize it is very rare to have one like this find a new footing so quickly. Sometimes these things go on for a long time and some never are resolved in this life. Just remember, God gets the last word on everyone and everything. He may not get it right away but he will.

    And to those of you who have prayed and held us before the Father, please know this blog was written as appreciation to you and gratefulness to God. I love this family!

  7. Gail Russell-Baker

    So happy for you. Jesus is faithful. You are such a good man. I have never heard you so depleted and confused. We your followers could only pray. I’ve suffered betrayal and have isolated myself from these people. I depend on the healing of Jesus as my body is suffering from tremendous trouble. I have emailed you my childhood and marriage trauma. If you ever want my trauma details to publish they are yours to tell as you see fit. I love the integrity, honesty of both of you. My mental health is ok thanks to you and Kyle. I look forward to reading TRY SOFTER along with you and Sara. I’ve had two miracles of healing in my life since I’ve known Jesus. However I didn’t know my body was Keeping Score. Now I look forward to being completely healed in my body.
    I pray it’s sooner rather than later. I have a lot to do for Jesus but require my body to support me.
    Gail from Oz.

  8. So thankful to get this post. We didn’t need to know what it was, God understands groans and tears. And lowering friends through rooftops. It’s enough to know, your experiencing his love more deeply and relief from pain and despair. I really look forward to the deepening beauty he spoke would come of this in your life. Thanks for being so genuine and allowing us to participate in prayer as you have prayed and loved so many of us….

  9. Wow, Wayne. I cannot fathom what has happened — both the valley and mountaintop — but I’m so grateful that you have come through this stronger in Jesus. That is wonderful news and a great encouragement to all of us as we go through all kinds of trials. Blessings and love to you both.

  10. David Rhinehart

    Wayne, thanks for your leadership in the good times and the difficult times. It exciting to see and experience the body of Christ sharing in His love and affection. Continued prayers for you and your family as you continue to heal through this difficult time. You are loved and appreciated!

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