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This Sunday – June 13

I once got lost in the mountains with a group of high school friends. There were seven of us and we were camping at Wiseman’s View on the edge of the Linville Gorge in North Carolina. We had gone down into the gorge. It’s really not a bad place to be lost, and we weren’t dangerously lost, but we didn’t know that. All we knew was that we didn’t know where we were or how to get back to anyplace that would help us find our way out. We had to battle our way through some dense and thorny underbrush to finally come to a road that led us out.

There are some places on a journey that you would never choose to visit.

This Sunday I will conclude the series on Knowing Where You Are, by talking about the tough places on the journey that have the potential to deepen our faith – if they don’t kill us.

The Bible has several ways to describe these tough paces: the storm, the pit, the desert. We don’t talk about these places much because they are not fun or happy places. Matter-of-fact, we talk about these places so rarely that if you find yourself in one you will most likely feel ashamed, like it’s totally your fault and a sign of failure. By the way, the isolation that results from ignoring and hiding tough places produces its own kind of spiritual wasteland.

Yet, it is in these places that often the most important things happen in our lives. They become the places of Deepening. They forge a faith that is like tempered steel.

If we don’t lose heart.

King David and other writers of the Psalms were honest and desperate about tough places. We’ll look at Psalm 27 to understand what to do when you don’t know what to do.


  1. Curt Lowndes says:

    This sounds great. We have definitely lost the language of lament and pain in the church, but our scriptures (particularly the psalms) are full of that language. It’s time for us to be honest with ourselves and everyone else about how difficult this life can be. The church must be a place where we can speak the truth about ourselves, the world in which we live, injustice, etc. People will see through our masks if we pretend everything is great all the time. I’m really looking forward to this Sunday.

  2. Meredith Cochran says:

    I agree. Mark- thanks for your vision, and personal modeling, of a church where people don’t have to pretend to be just fine all the time. It draws out our real character, which is deeper and more complex and more beautiful than being “fine.” I look forward to the real and raw truth you will share!

  3. I work with a really good guy. He is a solid kinda guy, a gentle Man. His wife found out she was pregnant, and he was Thrilled. Then he found out he is called back to Iraq, and will leave in a month. Then his wife has a miscarriage. He told me all this, and then said “It’s okay though. It’ll all be alright.” I could tell he was trying to be ‘hopeful’ and ‘keep the faith’. I said “Ya know, psalms is Full of David being Angry or scared is full honesty, and feeling Helpless. Its alright to be honest with God. He knows our heart anyway.” The idea of this kind of honest in the bible made him smile and laugh and he said “Thats true.” He took a deep sigh, like he had Permission from God to Feel what he was going through.

    I Can’t Even Imagine! I know that our feelings don’t overwhelm God. I am still asking the Holy Spirit to help me to be present to people when feeling so raw. Sounds like a Great Word Mark!