The Dead of Night

It’s 2:30am in the morning. I should be asleep, but I’m not.

Sleep and I play a relentless game of hide and seek nowadays. I’m not a good seeker, let’s just leave it at that. :)

To be honest, I dread the stillness of the night. For in the bustle of the day, I can shut out the pain, dull the ache of my heart and push away the fear and discouragement.

But in the stillness of the night, I can’t hide from my brokenness anymore. It hunts me down and I can’t seem to escape. The pain becomes unavoidable and the wounds of my heart begin to bleed again. Resentment, anger, bitterness, fear, discouragement, sadness and heartache stalk me with the intent to destroy.

Listen, I know we are not “supposed” to be broken in today’s world of Christianity. We are “supposed” to have it all together. We are “supposed” to gather together on Sundays in our Sunday best, with smiles painted onto our faces. I know we aren’t “supposed” to share our struggles, I know we aren’t “supposed” to struggle with sin or temptations.
I get it. We are “supposed” to be “perfect” and anything imperfect needs to be hidden.
(At least that is the message that seems to be prevalent in today’s Christian culture.)

Yet, can I break the silence in the midst of this pandemic going on right now and say, I’M BROKEN!

The past year of my life has been a nightmare. I’ve lost friend after friend, I’ve seen the curtain pulled back on ministry after ministry and it has been heartbreaking to see the compromise behind the scenes. I’ve had the curtain pulled back too on Christianity in America and my heart has failed within me as I have found out the majority of pulpits are handing down a false gospel.
Every time I get used to this painful new normal, someone else close to me stabs me or I learn some crushing new avenue of a false gospel or of an evil lurking in our culture.

For any of you who have followed this ministry, you will know here at BOJF we have always called for a high view of God. We have always proclaimed we are to be holy as God is holy. We have continually called for the believer to be pure and that we are to be men and women of character and integrity.

Yet, can I be brutally honest here for a moment? I’m seriously questioning the worth of purity, holiness and integrity. I’m seriously wondering if a remnant of believers really exists. After what I’ve seen this past year, I’m skeptical of every ministry and believer out there. Not to mention, I have the stats and experience to show my skepticism is well-founded.

The overwhelming pain in my life that keeps me up right now, is because I have chosen to follow the Lord and keep His Word,
no matter the cost.
Makes me wonder why I am doing this whole Christian thing.

Now, don’t worry my friends. I’m not giving up. I’m not backing down off this battlefield. I’m not tossing my personal holiness to the wind.
For even in the dark night of the soul I am walking through right now, there is something in me that won’t let me quit. I WANT to give up, I WANT to throw my hands up and walk away. I WANT to forget ministry, I WANT to forget BOJF. I WANT to forget this whole Christian thing.

Yet, I can’t.
I’m attributing this to the Holy Spirit and His power at work in my life. ‘Cause there is nothing in Nathaniel Mervar that wants to keep going.

So why do I share all this? Am I seeking to enlist you to pity me? No, not by a long shot. Far be it from me to do something like that!

Dear friends, I am simply being honest.
I CRAVE real in this world. I CRAVE for believers to be open and honest, saying, “Hey, I am struggling!” I CRAVE for it to be okay to be broken before the Lord and I’m not told that is bad, that I need to hide it. I CRAVE for believers who let one another be broken before the Lord, instead of trying to “fix” one another. I CRAVE for leaders to be honest and open when it comes to our struggles.
I CRAVE for myself to be stripped totally of every dependence upon self, until my only hope is to cling to the King of kings and Him alone.

Look, I know there is a chance you might look at this ministry and think how easy it looks to be for us. Or that we have no struggles or difficulty.
Please, allow me to be candidly honest.
The past year here at BOJF, all has been done with a director whose heart has been crushed, who doesn’t sleep well anymore and who wants to toss in the hat and be done. Not to mention a team that has been through some incredibly hard times as well.

Look, I don’t know what you are wrestling through right now. I don’t know what heartbreak you are wading through. I don’t know what trial you are facing. I don’t know what loss you have had or are experiencing. I don’t know where you are ready to toss in the towel.

Yet, can I let you know something?
You aren’t in this alone. Every believer is in this with you. We are ALL broken people, very broken.

We NEED Jesus! WE NEED HIM! Lean into His strength. Don’t hide your struggles! Bring them into the light of the King! Let His power be made perfect in your weakness!

I’m broken, you’re broken, we are all broken. Let’s stop hiding in the dead of night and let’s bring this brokeness into the light.

After all, it has never been about us and our perfection. Rather, it has always been about the sinless Savior and what He has done for us. Jesus is where my hope and strength is found, not in Nathaniel.

Dear friend, it is okay to be broken. I’m not going to shame you for it or tell you to get your act together and get over it. For I too am broken.
Rather, let us all turn to Jesus and allow His light and power to shine through our brokenness. In His love and care will we find the healing balm our aching hearts so desperately need.

So here’s to a generation of believers who are open about their brokenness, are approachable and point all glory and honor back to their Savior, testifying it is His strength that is propelling us onward in the midst of our pain!

Part 2 -
Can't Stop the Light