Well, how are you?

Hope things are going good in your world today is a video that I didn’t want to make. Just to be honest with you today I wanted to do a video on I want to talk about my fat camp stuff, my weight loss has kind of hit a hit a plateau. 

And I’ve got some reasons why I did an interview with a good friend of mine. And she actually really opened my eyes to some things I’ve been doing wrong. And I’ve been getting some input from a lot of y’all. And so that’s not what today is going to be about today is going to be about hurt. And it’s going to be about how hurt affects us.

April 27, 2014

I’m gonna go back in time. And I want to tell you about, I have about 66 instances in my life as a pastor where pain entered my life and really, really transformed me. But I want to go back to one of the most painful times in my life. And I just want to share that with you. And the reason why they wanted this video to be honest because I didn’t want to share the story. I don’t want to tell a story. I don’t want to talk about this story.

I just didn’t want to, I just didn’t want to, I didn’t want to deal with it. And I still don’t really want to deal with it. So we’re going to drive it together, it’s probably gonna be a long video, I’m going to encourage you to watch till the end, not because of YouTube and anything that reason but the truth is you won’t know the full truth until you see everything that happened. It was April 27, 2014, a day that my life and not only my life, but a lot of people’s lives were changed. Tornadoes were just ripping across states here in the south. And a tornado was coming towards our house, we knew it was coming. Everybody knew it was coming. Everybody was you know, bracing for getting ready for the tornado that would be here. And, and you know, in Arkansas, you know, you live the tornadoes a million times. And sometimes you see the devastate sometimes they more often than not, they don’t do what they thought you thought they were going to do. 

Tornado

Most of the time, it’s not as bad. And that’s really what we were expecting. In fact, I shot some video on my iPad, I was out in the yard when the tornado was coming. You could see the funnel cloud and everything and we’re on top of a mountain I was like, you know, it’s just going to kind of miss us. And I was going to, you know, tweet some, you know, kind of sassy remark about people that are afraid of storms, you shouldn’t be afraid of storms, you know, and I just had all this arrogance, full of arrogance by the way.

And the tornado did it crossed our house and went on and we, you know, we put the word out. Started calling people from church making sure everybody was okay. People start checking in, ‘we’re good, we’re good, we’re good. We’re good. We’re good. We’re good.’ 

And, and so you know, everything was fine. We were like, you know, another, you know, storm, we’re gonna be without power for a little bit. But everybody’s going to be fine. And we had one family that hadn’t checked in yet, April and Daniel Smith, and this family, April had previously been my personal assistant at the church and she was running at this point, the deaf ministry in our church and her husband, Daniel, just an incredible guy, man, we just were great friends.

And anyway, long story longer…we knew there was a subdivision that had been hit. But news wasn’t really out very much about it. It was down in the valley just below our house, we live on a kind of a ridge top and they were down in the valley. And, so we knew that one had been hit, but we didn’t know how bad. Jessica and Jeremiah are also friends of ours and friends of the Smiths as well. And Jeremiah said “I’m going to go down off the hill, and just go check on them. I’m just going to see how they’re.” Honestly, thought they would be fine. You know, I just do, any minute we’re going to get a phone call, they’re gonna be like, Hey, we’re good. You know, we lost the outbuilding, or, or whatever, you know, or nothing, really.

And so Jeremiah goes and checks. And I text him a few times. I’m like, Hey, man, what’s going on? How are things? What did you find? And it’s, you know, as time has passed, you know, quite a bit of time has passed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PO9IaI5s_ZE

It’s Bad

And finally text me back with just two words is all that he got to me. He said, “it’s bad.” That’s all he said. And I was like, it’s bad. What does that mean? It’s bad. You know, in my mind, I’m thinking, shoot, they probably got some damage, you know, they probably the porches knocked off, you know, something like that. And so anyway, I tell my wife, and just to tell you how unprepared I was. I tell her, I said, Look, I’m gonna run down the bottom, he’ll check things out, see how things are and so I go on a pair of shorts, a t-shirt, and I’m wearing a pair of crocs. I’ve got my cell phone in my pocket. That’s it. Jump in my jeep. The doors are off my jeep. It’s summertime, you know? And so I run down the hill on my jeep don’t think anything of it. 

But as I start to get closer to it, where their road is, I start seeing debris. I start seeing tin and metal in construction type material. And I knew at that moment that there’s quite a bit of damage that’s in a wide debris field for a storm that’s not that “significant” and realize at this point, we still didn’t have reports that the storm was that bad. No one was really telling us that the storm is that bad. 

So anyway, I turned to go down in their subdivision, and when I do, you cross the hill and across the hill, there are rescue vehicle lights flashing all over the place. There’s a lot of traffic trying to get into the neighborhood. And, and it’s a mess. I can see it and it’s just pit y’all. It’s pitch black. I mean, there’s no lights, no streetlights, and I’m like, well, the power’s out. But as we get closer, the power wasn’t out. There were no streetlight poles, there were no light poles. As I got even closer there, the houses were leveled. And so I pull off to the side of the road, kind of pull-down in a ditch, and after this tornado had happened, it rained really hard. And so I pulled over in the ditch and my jeep kind of sank down the ditch and I was like, I’ll get that out later, I need to go see what’s going on. And I get out of my car with my phone. 

I’m just kind of traveling down the road and I run into a couple of other folks from church, a young couple, they were down there checking on friends of theirs. But as we get closer, we can tell this is bad, y’all. I don’t mean bad. I mean, like bad. There’s not a single structure standing. There’s not a wall standing in that, the subdivision is gone. It has been replaced by what looks like a garbage dump of building material. It’s everywhere. And it’s in that moment that I knew that this was when Jeremiah texted me and said it’s bad. 

People crying out in the darkness

I knew that it was, like, really bad. And the cell service was terrible, terribly spotty down there. I guess the cell towers had been knocked out. And so you couldn’t get texts out or in and there are flashing lights, and you can hear people out in the darkness. There’s moaning and crying and people hollering towards each other. And this has just happened.

And I keep walking one way to go to a friend of theirs. And I go the other way. And as I turn down the street, what I thought was April Street, you got to know that there aren’t streets, y’all the tornado had sucked the asphalt off the ground. That’s how bad this tornado was. And I mean, it was ferocious building material just snapped and fragmented. And just I mean, that there, there wasn’t even a big pile of rubble anywhere, y’all that’s how bad this was. I mean, the houses were complete, the foundations were slick like you just poured them. 

But it was hard to tell where the street would have been and where the houses were. And it’s up to me to use GPS on my phone. I’m like at 4% battery on my phone, I was completely unprepared. 

I turned down the street, which I think is April and Daniel Street. And as I’m walking down that street, I hear something and I turn my light on for a second. And this huge hog in the middle of the road and, and it’s laying there, it’s still partially alive. And I thought, gosh, that’s a weird thing just to hog out here. And I keep going and there are some trees across the road. And I walk through those trees and I’m trying to climb through them and I had to turn my phone light off because my battery’s almost dead. And I’m having to use the GPS to find it. And so I walked through this tree and as I’m walking, kind of getting through this rubble and tree and stuff and get through that to get to the other side, which is where I think their house pretty much is, I step on something and it moves. 

And yeah, I thought it was somebody I thought I’d stepped on somebody. And I’m trying to get my phone out of my pocket. I’m turning the phone on. It’s another hog. And I’ve stepped across a log and it’s lying beside the log, and I’m straddling the hog and he’s got a head injury. He’s bleeding out of his ears. And he’s kind of trying to get up and it’s just horrifying. Y’all It was so horrifying. I can’t even put it in words. And when I get on the other side of that, it’s at that moment that I began to think this is a dream.

This can’t be real. The houses are completely gone. I mean, we did storm cleanup and storm recovery for years for the church. And this is as bad as I’ve ever seen it anywhere. And there’s a hog in the middle of the road that I’ve just walked on, stepped across.

I’m like this has got to be a dream. It can’t be real. And I keep walking through. Because even if it is a dream, I’ve got to keep moving forward. 

A text comes from Jeremiah and he says, “Hey, we can’t find their kids.”

That’s when I knew.

That’s when I knew that this wasn’t going to be us helping to put their porch back on. And

I knew it was going to be bad. But I knew we were going to find them. It just needed to find them. We didn’t know exactly where they were. 

April and Daniel were really hurt, and they were being transported out. And I need to get to the end of this road, needed to get to them. And there’s a light kind of at the end of their road. And so I walk to that light and there’s a lady and I start talking to her and she says “Scott, what are you doing?” I said, ‘Hey,’ and it’s my cousin Jenny.

Now Jenny, and I grew up together, but we hadn’t seen each other in years. I mean, we kept up with each other on Facebook, but we didn’t, hadn’t kept up with each other, you know, like seeing each other. And I said, “Jenny, how are you? What are you doing?” 

“I’m down, you’re helping. 

And I said, Jenny, I’m so glad you’re here. I’m here to try to find April’s kids.” 

And she said, “We found them.” 

I said, ‘we did.. you did?” 

She said, “Yes. We found their kids. Not good.”

I said, “it’s not good?”  

She said, “No, they’re over there.” 

My phone is on 1%. Y’all. I got no, no battery left. And she just looked at me, and I didn’t even ask for anything, says, “Hey, do you need a flashlight?”

I said I do. She said, “Here, take this one”. And she gave me this flashlight. (I’ve kept it. Anyhow, I’ve still got your flashlight, and I’ll buy you another one. Because I got to keep this one. I don’t even keep batteries in it anymore. Because I don’t want to go bad you don’t I don’t want the flashlight to go bad.) 

So she pointed to a lot across this field. She said, “their kids are over there.”

I said okay.

And she gave me the flashlight. And I could tell, you could tell… You could tell when you’re sending somebody into something, that’s not going to be good.

And so I walked through the flashlight and there’s just one lone man over there. He’s not, I don’t know, he’s an older guy. And I walk up and he doesn’t say anything. And he’s got a body bag. And he’s trying to zip it up.

And…

I may not be able to do this video.

I asked him if “that was April and Daniel’s kids?”

He said, “Yeah. Both of them.”

I thought in my mind, I thought, it’s fitting that they’re both together. 

He zipped the bag up, and asked me, “so would you help me lift this up on this gurney?” You know?

I said I would. And I helped him lift it up. We set them on it. Then he said, “can you help me…” He is by himself. And it’s just he and I, in the middle of the field. “Can you help me carry this out? Can you help me carry them out?”

So I grab one end of this gurney and we start walking across the field it. It rained really hard and the ground was really soft. And I remember, it was so surreal y’all everything was in slow motion. And I’m trying to walk, and it’s hard to walk, and you’re walking through debris and water just squish up into my shoes… and the smell

It smells like a garbage dump out there. It was the smell of raw earth, and water, and building materials, and there were still screams in the background, and faint cries and people calling. You couldn’t see anything. It would go from light for just a moment with the police flashers or the rescue vehicles flashers. You’d see something, you know, be like for second to be dark for a second… light… dark… and it was just so dark. And we went towards where the rescue vehicles were and we had to go maybe 150 maybe yards maybe, maybe it wasn’t that much. I don’t really remember. But we get to his vehicle and just a pickup truck y’all with like a camper shell on it. It was, I was thinking, like an ambulance or something. But it wasn’t, it was just a truck and I was surprised by that, just an old pickup truck.

And we put the gurney in the back of his truck and he closed the camper, and buckled it down and closed the camper shell and shut the tailgate closed on the camper shell. And didn’t say anything else.

He got in the truck and left. And I remember standing there thinking, “What do I do now? What do I do?” 

Headed to the Hospital

So there were some more rescue people not far from there. And I walked over to them and I asked him, “where were all the people who were injured being taken.” He said, “we’ve taken them to the hospital.” And he said that he thought that they probably went to Baptist because that’s a big Trauma Center here in Central Arkansas. 

And so I go back to my jeep and I have to lock the hubs in and really get it out of that ditch because it was a mess. And so the jeep’s covered in mud. So I’m on my way to Baptist, I’m texting my wife, and I’m telling her what’s going on and I said: “I’m on my way to Baptist, I’ve got to find April and Daniel and I’ve got to try to be with them.” 

She said okay, and then she texts back, she said, “I don’t think you’re going to get there.” she said that “the tornado cut across Interstate 40 and you’re cut, off… they probably sent them somewhere else.” And so sure enough, I get there. There’s debris all across Interstate 40. There’s no way to get through it. I’m like, there was no ambulance that came this way. And so I spun around, and she figured and so did I, that they probably went to Conway Regional. And so we go to Conway Regional Hospital, which is a smaller trauma unit. 

But when I get there, the parking lot is full, and it’s full of people even in the parking lot people are sitting in their cars and, and there’s a person sitting on his hood and his face was just cut and bloody, and another guy had his own makeshift sling on. There are people out in the parking lot, I thought my gosh, one lady was sitting on the side of her car and she was bleeding from her head and it was dripping on the ground. I’m thinking if this is what the people look like outside what’s going on inside? 

I go in, and inside the waiting room, it’s even worse, this looks like people had been in combat, and just a macabre scene of blood and people’s hair messed up, and people really scuffed and scarred and, and I get in. And there’s this long line. And there’s this woman at the front desk and a black lady at the front desk, and she’s trying to manage this entire room with all the people that are hurting.

I’m a pastor

And I knew I needed to get in April and Daniel and I waited in line. I finally got to her and I said Ma’am, I said, “I’m a pastor.” (and let me I want to share something with you guys, this is really important. We live in a really divided country. But this lady… in my ministry, there have been times where black women have been so pivotal. In the black culture, for Christians that are in the black culture, black Christians, they have a respect and an honor for pastors that I don’t find anywhere else. And some of the times in my ministry that I needed something really bad that I couldn’t accomplish alone, I was going to have to have help with so many times. I’ve had a black woman to help me do that. And I just say that because it just stands out in my mind. I see it over and over.) This lady, when I told her I was a pastor, and I told her what was going on and I needed to get to this family because their kids were dead. And I thought I needed to be the one to tell them.

She said, “Pastor, we’re gonna we’re gonna help you find them.” And she looked around that room. She said, “Everybody hang on just one minute, I’ll be right back.” Her voice was a voice of authority and calm. I mean, she just, and everybody in that room listened. We went to the back and this lady walked me around until we found April’s room. She wasn’t quite sure where it was at first. And so she brought me to this room. She said, she’s here pastor, she’s in there. And I stood in front of the door and she could see the hesitation.

I don’t want to

She said, “you got to go in.” As I know, I know I do. She said, “God’s gonna be with you.”

I said, “I know. I know.”

And so I walked through that door and the door closed behind me quietly, and I’m standing about six feet from the bed. April’s head is to the left, feet are to the right. And she’s laying on that bed. She’s in a like a, like a secure device. Like they just laid her up there where her back wouldn’t move. I don’t know what you call that thing. But she was secured in that there was a thing around her face. And she couldn’t see me, her head, she couldn’t turn her head, or she was like this and she didn’t hear me either. She had no idea I had walked in the room, and

her hair was just… was just matted and bushy, and it had sticks and dirt in it and her face was dirty and her body or hands were dirty and her lip, I could see her mouth, and her lip was cut all the way to the bone and the skin was pulled back.

She was in bad shape. And she was moaning. And I wasn’t exactly sure if she was even awake. I thought she may be unconscious. And she was just moaning and she was unconscious. But she started talking to God praying.

And I stood there, and I couldn’t get closer. Y’all. I couldn’t get any closer.

I started talking to God, I was like, “What do I have to offer? What am I going to… go into this room…what am I going to tell her? What am I going to say? I don’t want to tell her about our kids. She’s fighting for life right now. And I’m gonna tell her about her kids right now. And what do I have to offer? I’m not medical personnel…” I almost walked out of the room. That’s how cowardly I was such a coward.

But I knew I couldn’t leave that room.

So, she starts to pray. And she prays and she asked God to help her, and I listen to her cry to the Lord. And when she asked the Lord to help her, y’all It was like there was a hand in my back. And I didn’t move my feet, they literally slid across the floor, and I believe God slid me up to the side of her bed. He pushed me there because the whole time I’m talking to God. “I’m not going over there. I don’t have anything to offer her. And what am I going to tell her I’ve got nothing but more bad news. I’m the bearer of the worst news a person could have and she’s going through this already.” I don’t want to be there for that, and I don’t have anything I can do to help her. God and I negotiate, and God doesn’t negotiate. And he shoved me to that bed and I hit the bed.

And when I did, she immediately saw me. She could have seen me otherwise, except for He pushed me into the bed, just like I was like a cross. And so she looks up, and there I am. And she says, “Pastor Scott.” 

I said, “April.”

She said, “They can’t find my kids.” 

I said, “I know April, I know that. We’re gonna figure it out. God’s gonna be with us.” 

And she’s, “I know that He’s already with me. God’s good, he’s going to be good.” She’s speaking to me with our lips split apart, she just a mess. And her face is still just saturated in that room. 

She said, “You know, I need to find out where my kids are.” 

I said, “April. So we’re gonna figure that out. So let me ask you this. Do you trust me?” 

She said, “of course, I trust you, Pastor Scott.” 

I said, “Well if any news comes in, I’m gonna let you know if anything changes, I’m going to let you know. But for right now, we got to get through this pain you’re in, we gotta get through what’s going on with you right now. And we got to figure out where Daniel is and what’s going on with him.” 

And she said, “You’re right, I’m in so much pain, every time I have this pain, I almost pass out. It’s so bad. I’m in pain right now.” 

And I say, “well, we’re gonna pray. So we’re gonna pray for one or three things, but we’re going to pray for either God to take your pain away, or God to give you the strength to deal with that pain or see a doctor to come through that door with a syringe full of morphine or something that’s going to take the pain away. And that’s what we’re going to pray for. April, do you believe?”

 She said, “I believe.” 

I said that and let me tell you all, we prayed, No more than I said, “ in Jesus name, amen, that door popped open. And there was a young doctor with a syringe full of something that was for pain. And I asked him, I said, “is that for pain?” He said, “Yes, sir. It is.” I said, “good.” He gave that to her and April had some relief for a moment.

God Provides

Over the next 36 hours-ish, we prayed that prayer hundreds of times. And every single time God would answer that prayer, He would answer her prayer with relief. It didn’t last for hours, it would normally only last for minutes, we would have about five minutes to 20 minutes, and then the pain would return. God would either take her pain away, God would either give her the strength to do that pain, or God would send somebody in that room a doctor with a pill with a syringe with something to go in the I.V. or something that would relieve her pain. 

You know, I saw God answer those prayers immediately, hundreds of times. Someone says How can you know for sure God is real? Because I have experienced Him doing things that are unexplainable. Every single time we prayed, God answered, immediately

Changed my life.

We prayed every day. April would ask about her kids, and I’d say, “April. you got to trust me.” She would say, “I do trust you, I’m just praying. I want them to be okay. I know they’re okay. So I’m just praying.” I said, “I know that.” That night in the emergency room she said, “can you find Daniel, where’s Daniel?” “Well, let me go check on him.” I went to Daniel’s room. He was just a few rooms down. I just wandered around till I found him, and he was in the room and his parents were there with him. And it was bad, y’all. The ER doctor was in the room, and I caught him on the way out. I asked, “how is he?” He said, “he’s not gonna live. He’s gonna die. I’ve seen people with significantly less trauma, head trauma, and not survive, he won’t survive. They just need to be prepared for that.”

And so I go back to April’s room and she asked me, “how’s Daniel Doin’?” I said, “he’s doing the same you, he’s alive and they’re working with him. And we’re just going to keep praying and we’re gonna keep getting better.”

So I spend the next few days in the hospital with April, till her family gets there and help treat, you know, help talk to doctors, help manage your care. Her uncle was there. (He’s a super kind uncle. He was an amazing man. In fact, I really need to reach out to him… just an amazing guy.) He and I spent the next few days working with April, and Daniel. They were at two different hospitals for a while, and we did eventually get them put into the same hospital. We coordinated that.

Second Storm

But after about 36 hours, I was going to go home, take a shower… her family was there, and I was going to go home, take a shower and then I was going to come back. Let her have one night’s rest, and I was going to come back the next day, and tell her about her kids.

And everybody agreed. So I went home. 

Okay, when I came out of hospital I turned my phone on for the first time. I turned it on just briefly to text my wife and tell her everything, what was going on. I turn my phone on and it just starts blowing up, man. I’ve got all these text messages I’ve got people contacted me, Facebook‘s gone crazy. I’ve got emails, you all hate mail. I mean, I got people going on.. ‘We hate your guts.” “How could you do this?” “How cold-hearted,” … all this big long stuff. 

Evidently, what had happened while April was in the hospital, a family member that no one really knew about, had decided to set up a GoFundMe account and raise money for April. He had good intentions and he had nothing… You know, he didn’t have any ill will but no one knew who he was and you know there were some people who said hey, this guy’s not on the up and up, you know, we don’t know. And so he got investigated, the guy got investigated. The city of Vilonia had been working with him, or some people from Vilonia, maybe the schools had been working with him or whatever. And anyway, word got back that I was the one who had had somehow sparked the investigation into this guy trying to do the GoFundMe account or whatever. 

And so the whole city of Vilonia is livid. I mean, I’ve got death threats, I’ve got people saying you come to Vilonia, we’re gonna hurt you, you know. I haven’t even been out of the hospital yet. I’ve not made one phone call. And you know, since this since the tornadoes hit. And I set my car and I call my wife and she said, “It’s terrible.  Scott, they’re just you know, massacring you.” I just remember sitting there thinking, how can all this be? How can this much bad and hurt happen, but it was happening, y’all it was happening. Later, we set up an account. The church did. I say “we: the church” set up an account to collect money for April. The nationwide outpouring for April was incredible.

Hope Beyond Pain

I go back, I knew it had to go back to the hospital. I need to talk to April, I need to work with her Daniel both. So I go back and I sit down with April and I told her about her children.

And she cried.

You know, she cried. She cried but she didn’t cry. The Bible says for those of us who are in the faith, we sorrow but we don’t sorrow as those who have no hope. She had hope and faith even at that moment. You don’t lose your children, in a way like that, and it not affect your life. You just can’t. There are scars that you’re just gonna walk with when you go through something like that. And that’s where April was.

April and are still close friends. I mean, we still talk. Anytime we see each other. It’s always like a reunion. You know, when you go through something with people, it’s a huge thing.

You know, the repercussions of all the stuff that happened afterward, the GoFundMe account, the people that were hurt out of that, or whatever, you know, that went on for a while. I mean, honestly, I was public enemy number one for an entire city for a bit. And to the point where when our church had collected the money for the Smith family, people said that we had taken money from them, and had done it for the money. Hurt on top of hurt y’all. And to the point where we hired an accountant and an independent accountant to audit the account, make sure that we had done more than our part. And we did, obviously.

But I couldn’t understand how you could go through something so painful, and then still have people be so mean and hurtful and angry. And I mean, it’s probably the most vulnerable I’ve ever been, to have that many people come against me in the middle of something I really had nothing to do with. But it didn’t matter. People don’t care, people will be mean, they don’t care. People don’t care if it’s true. And they don’t care who you are. They don’t care. They’ll pass on information even though they don’t even know whether it’s true or not. But they’ll pass it on because, you know, hey, ‘I want to be interesting.’ And that makes me interesting. And I want to get somebody’s goat and somebody should get gotten, and that’s really what came out of that. 

So, it was my great hurt. So you say well, ‘Scott, how did it change you?’ It changed me in this way. For a long time. I told myself I would not get involved with people on that level again. See, as a pastor, you inherit the pain of someone else. You know, it’s one thing for someone to say. ‘man I’d hate for that to happen to me and mine,’ ‘if that happened to my kids,’ ‘I’d hate for that to happen in my house.’ Right? You know, whatever tragedy someone goes through, and you go through, but as a pastor when it happens to anybody and you’re the pastor, it’s like it happened to you. You inherited it. 

I still hurt for April and Daniel, and their children, the loss of their children, are still hard. Those are things that you’d never get past. It’s not just that it’s your kids, those are your kids because you pastor these people.

We are Called to Love

And I made up my mind, I don’t want to do that again.

I’m gonna tell you what, I didn’t want to get hurt again. And you know what, I didn’t want to get involved in people’s lives again, I did not want to. I didn’t want to go that deep. I mean, it’s nothing but hurt. I mean, on top of having to go through it with these people. I got slammed, all I got was my reputation destroyed. You know, I had people, I still have people, that hate me for these things. Then no matter what, they don’t care whether it’s true, y’all they don’t care. And so for a long time, I said I’m not going to do that again.

But I can’t live like that. God told me I couldn’t live like that. You know, it’s like when I stood in that room and April’s room at that emergency room that night, and God shoved me up to the bed. You know what if you’re a follower of Jesus, you have to love like you’ve never been hurt.

You have to go after it, and even if people hurt you, and even if they malign you, you just simply have to accept that God is going to straighten that out in the end, and you have to trust Him. Because you know what God told us to do. He said, Love one another.

So he said, ‘this command, I’m gonna give you a new commandment, even do something new. Love one another.’ 

Why did he tell us that? We know we’re supposed to love each other! That’s the core thing. Love God and love people. Why is that such a big deal to God? Because you know what, it’s freaking hard. That’s why you’re gonna go through some stuff. And you know what I’ve learned, I learned out of all of this. Number one, God’s going to provide in the midst of these painful moments, you got to love again. 

If you don’t love again, you don’t live again. 

You know what I can’t? I can’t live without loving. And I have to love, and you can’t love without risk. And you can’t love without getting hurt, you can’t do it. And so for some of you who have been hurt by somebody, you’ve been hurt by circumstance, you gotta love again. You’re going to trust God. And you’re going to love again, and you’re going to go forward again. 

And I’m going to do it again. And you know what, if a storm comes and somebody is caught in that storm, I’m going to go again. And if I have to go to the hospital with them, I’m going to go to the hospital again. If I need to help somebody, I’m going to help them again.

And you know what? Does that mean that you’re going to get accolades or you’re gonna get pats? Probably not, you’re probably not going to get patted on the back. In fact, you’re probably gonna get misunderstood and maligned and hated on, and everything else.

But that’s not what you’re here for. You’re here to please God. What God tells us to do today: love. That’s exactly what Jesus did. You know what Jesus did? He loved us and came into the world that he created. You know, we did to him, we crucified him.

How about that? The greatest of heaven came to earth, born among men, gave us the words of life, and how did we show our appreciation? We crucified and nailed him to a tree.

That’s what you got to expect. But here’s what I’ll tell you. In the end, God is given the glory and in the end, God will have the final say. We need to live for God regardless of what the outcome is. When you love people, regardless of what the outcome is, it’s never going to be wrong to love. So if you’ve been hurt, I’m going to say you, got to put it behind you. You got to have a short memory. 

Forgetfulness of Love

I’ll remember this flashlight, God gave me in the middle of the night, and I’ll remember my cousin Jenny (and Jenny, I’ll get I’m sorry. I’m gonna keep your flashlight. I’m not going to give it back.) I’m going to remember that and remember, I got provided. Remember, all those prayers got answered. 

But I’m not gonna remember the people who were mad, and I don’t stay mad. Oh, no bitterness, no resentment. People meant well, maybe they didn’t. I don’t know. That’s not for me to judge. Here’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna love them anyway. I’m gonna love them anyway. And you know what, I’m gonna go into the storms anyway. I’m gonna walk with people that crap anyway. I’m going to do that anyway. Because that’s what I’m supposed to do. And God deserves that.

He’s walked through junk for me, I promise you, he came into my mess. And he walked among my people, and he gave his life for me. So I’m going to live for Him. That’s what I’m going to do. And that’s what you got to do. You got to love. You gotta love like, you’ve never been hurt. It’s a big deal. I appreciate you listen’ to this video, hope it’s not too long. I needed to say it. I really did. I feel better. First time I’ve really told that story like that. So anyway, I pray until next time, God blesses you and I hope that this has been an encouragement to you. God bless you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WH1fImZvs_o
%d bloggers like this: