I saw this blog post by Andrew Peterson and just had to quote some of it, it’s so good! I encourage you to read the entire thing. Some excerpts that stuck out to me:
. . . And yet, though everyone seems to know him, I’ve never heard a single negative story about the guy. I’ve been in Nashville for 15 years now, and, well, you tend to hear less-than-flattering stories about folks from time to time (I’m sure there are a few about me floating around out there), but I have yet to hear one of those about Steven. What that might lead a rascal like me to conclude is that either a) Steven is so squeaky-clean he must be hard to like or b) he’s a complete wreck and he’s hiding it. I didn’t realize until this tour was underway that there’s a third option. Here it is: Steven is a wreck, he’s not hiding it, and because of the mighty presence of Jesus in his life, grace abounds to those around him.
It’s the great, confounding reversal of the Gospel of Jesus. If the word we preach is one of attainable perfection, of law, of justification by works, then when we fail, our testimony fails with it. But if we preach our deep brokenness and Christ’s deeper healing, if we preach our inability to take a single breath but for God’s grace, then our weakness exalts him and we’re functioning as we were meant to since the foundation of the world. Steven isn’t super-human. He’s just human. But what a glorious thing to be! An attempt on our part to be super-human will result only in our in-humanness–like a teacup trying to be a fork: useless. But if the teacup will just be a teacup, it will be filled. Humans were made (as was everything under the sun) for the glory of the Maker. Why should we try to be anything but fully human? Let God fill us up and pour us out; let him do what he will, let us be what we were meant to be. That gives us the freedom to sing about what’s really happening in our hearts without being afraid of sullying the good name of God. If our hearts are contending with the forces of darkness, clinging desperately to the hope of a Savior, then to sing boldly about the battle is no shame to us and all glory to our King.
. . . But what’s so wonderfully subversive about the Gospel is that our ability to honestly bear our grief and woundedness just makes room for God’s grace to cast light on all that shadow; it makes room for us to love each other. When we encounter that kind of grace we come away remembering not just the sin but, overwhelmingly, the goodness, and the grace . . .
. . . The faithful kind of doubting costs us something. It harnesses the questions like a sail in the wind and drives us on rather than away.
. . . That’s been the greatest gift of this tour to me: Steven’s example of faith and faithful doubting. He doesn’t just stand on the stage and talk about the death of his little girl and his family’s continuing pain–he follows it up with vav. Every night when Steven closes the show with “Blessed Be the Name of the Lord,” it’s like he’s bellowing “And yet!”, and he does it with authority, because we can all sense what it costs him to say it. “You give and take away! Blessed be the name of the Lord!” More than once I have thought, “This wouldn’t make sense if the Gospel weren’t true. But there it is.” I have felt more than once that we’re in a battle, and that Steven is the commander of our little unit, waving the flag of God’s goodness in the face of the darkness. And I have felt more than once that I would take a bullet for him.
It does cost us to keep fighting to believe that God is good and that light will ultimately triumph over darkness; but it cost Jesus much more – it cost him his life. This precious tribute by Andrew Peterson for his friend gives us a glimpse of the man Christ Jesus, who walks with us into the darkest of places almost playfully, as a child playing by a lion just to show that he can!