I've never actually been to war. I played one game of paintball in college and found a corner to hide until the game was over. Nobody would want me in a battle with them, trust me. But life can sometimes feel like war. As Christians God tells us put on the Armor of God (Ephesians 6). Paul talks about us being in battle often. And there are two times in my life that I feel like I have been through something so intense and life changing that I will never be the same, like war.
One was when I went to Bible school in Upstate New York. It was cleverly coined the "West Point" of Christians schools. It was two years of intense learning of the Bible. We had hard rules we had to follow. We had hard places we had to live out what we learned. It was intense and I'm really having a hard time putting into words what it was like. It's just that, you had to be there to know. And I can meet people who went to the school and we can start telling our stories and we just know what we're talking about. We know the life and what it did to us. We didn't even have to be there at the same time. We will never be the same and we come out of the one or two years we were there and we laugh and say, "How did we get through that? Were we really that crazy?"
The second time is now. Living up here in the city. Living this intense urban life. No one really understands it outside of those here or who have been here. Again trying to put it into words what our life is like right now is almost impossible. You just have to know. You have to experience it. And having a community in the city is priceless. People that have come from all over the world to make it and experience the same things you are. People who have been changed by God and seek to love others. We get together every week like family and bond quickly because we are all we have here. Light in darkness. Yet we love those in the darkness. We want to love them to Life. It really doesn't matter how long people have been here. We all get it.
And a transient atmosphere comes with the territory. God equips, teaches, changes and then moves many people on. We've come to expect it. But it's still hard. It still hurts. It still sucks. Today we said "see ya later" to the Love family. They are moving back to Alabama and we know this is what God wants. We are excited to see what happens. We're excited to see God use them in major ways down south. But I have to remember that they need prayer. They are transitioning back into suburban life but they aren't the same people. They have experienced and have seen such a huge God in a Godless place. And to explain it to someone who doesn't know, is hard. So we will pray as we miss them. We will pray as we all get used to the new normal. We will pray as our hearts heal.
And as we sit around one day telling our war stories, we'll talk about the time that we lived a life eating dinner at 9:30PM and working 12 hour days like it was nothing. We'll tell stories about how God saved the unsaveable. How he changed the unchangeable. How he used the unusable. And how we got to be a part of it. We will laugh and talk about how we can't believe we lived through it. And we'll say to each other "How did we get through that? Were we really that crazy?"