My interest in the Rapture and eternity began at an early age. Missionary friends of my parents told me about Jesus’ return when I was about ten years old. They also gave me a tract that described the Rapture, the tribulation, the Second Coming, and the Millennium. I remember studying it that night before I fell asleep.
When my father died a few months later, I felt both great sorrow and hope. I placed a rose from my dad’s coffin in my Bible at 1 Thessalonians 4, which signified to me when I would see my dad again. Thanks to the missionary couple, I knew to go to this passage for comfort.
I learned much more about the specifics of my hope at Talbot Theological Seminary and dearly loved preaching about future things as a young pastor. However, I soon found out that just knowing the specifics of my hope was not enough.
During my second pastorate, I faced much criticism in the church and fierce opposition at home. Within a few years I felt as though I had lost everything. I resigned as a pastor and later experienced personal betrayal on a level I never thought possible. As a result of my loneliness and despair, I wanted to run away from God, His people, and from what life seemed to be.
I went back to school and obtained an MBA degree from the University of Iowa. After that, I worked as a Senior Financial Analyst for many years at a computer data processing company. The upward turn in my life, however, did not heal the inner wounds of my heart that still ambushed me at times.
The turning point for me came at a Steve Green concert in 2005. As he sang In Brokenness You Shine, I felt as though I was alone in the crowded auditorium and he was singing this song just for me. The Lord worked through that song to restore my expectation of forever and following that night He continued to revive my anticipation of eternity such that I learned the value of a two-world perspective on life.
I knew all the details of my hope as a young pastor. but I did not value them above my earthly aspirations. As a result, my negative experience as a pastor and divorce hit me hard because these things destroyed all my dreams for success.
The essence of this two-world outlook that renewed my hope is that of valuing unseen and eternal realities over our temporal realities and aspirations (see Rom. 8:18 and 2 Cor. 4:17-18). As I learned importance of valuing heavenly realities over what I could gain in this life, Jesus healed the deep wounds of my heart and restored what I lost so long ago.
In June of 2016 I retired a bit early to pursue writing on a full-time basis. Since then I have also known failure, but many have written e-mails telling me of how the Lord used my words to speak into their lives. This reminds me anew of what truly matters as I await Jesus’ appearing to take me home.
To read about the Lord’s wonderful healing of the deep wounds of my heart, go to My Battle With PTSD: The Rugged Path to Healing.
Below is a picture of me with my wonderful and charming wife Ruth!