if i'm going to be completely honest with all of you, then you should know that this past week God radically rocked my world. and He rocked my classmates' worlds as well. this weekend i found out that one of my brothers isn't coming back to the Institute. since December 27th, no one has been able to contact him. his mom told us he was sick with the flu. i believed it, but only partially. i knew in my heart there was more to it, but i wanted to believe the best. monday we got more information and found out that the flu wasn't what was keeping him from coming back to us. Willie walked back into some old habits and and was arrested for charges of armed robbery last wednesday. right now he's awaiting a preliminary trial next friday, so we don't know how long his prison sentence will be. but the harsh reality is, Willie isn't coming back.
i'm not disappointed in Willie and i haven't lost any respect for him. he is still the same Willie i saw every day in class. he is still a man of strength and integrity who is sold out for the cause of Christ. he's an all or nothing kind of guy. and i strive to emulate that. who am i to condemn Willie or judge him for the sins he committed? i'm just as guilty. my sins just happen to be less public. this has been a harsh reminder that no one is exempt from Satan's attacks. and just when you start to think you're immune to a particular sin, watch your step. Satan is lurking. and he's on the prowl (1 Peter 5:8-9..."your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour").
so what now? well, i'm on my knees praising God that he is full of grace and gives us second and third chances. God is not done with Willie White, nor is He done with you and me. i just pray that God surrounds him with godly men who will continue to speak truth into his life. i want him to be reconciled unto God and to be physically, emotionally and spiritually healthy again. because Willie White has a mission inside those walls. and no man or woman who comes in contact with him will ever be the same. i'm living proof.
God has a greater purpose behind all of this than i can possibly imagine, and while it's extremely difficult to grapple with these emotions, i trust that my God is bigger than anything Willie White can ever face. pray that he is able to forgive himself and discard the lies Satan feeds him. pray that his hunger for God's truth is restored. just pray for my brother. he's in a very dark and lonely place and Satan would love to keep him there. but i will fight for him. every day. on my knees. crying out to my Savior on his behalf. please, pray with me.
talking with Willie's roommate has been very encouraging and a welcomed blessing this past week. Chris and i think a lot alike and process emotions the same way...we stuff them all in and deal with them later when we absolutely have to. not healthy, but we're working on it. one of the things Chris told me that stuck was in regards to a conversation he had with Willie right before we left for Christmas break. Willie expressed a fear that he would go home and walk back into old sin patterns. So Chris, being blunt and a straight-shooter like Willie looked Willie in the eyes and said this: "Fear can serve two purposes: (1) it can give you enough motivation to not let the thing you fear be an option and you will never return to that lifestyle, or (2) it can keep the past alive just enough for you to return to it." Convicting. Pointed. Ouch. Yet so true. and i can take comfort in knowing that God's perfect love drives out fear (1 John 4:18..."there is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear"). i pray that this is true for Willie, that God will drive the fear out of him so that he can learn what God wants to teach him through all of this.
my love and respect for Willie will not change. and God's love for us will never change. He has so much to teach Willie, me, and my classmates through all of this. and we never have to walk alone. i cling to that promise on Willie's behalf. He is not alone (Joshua 1:5b..."I will never leave you nor forsake you").
so the world may know,
live for Jesus. laugh uncontrollably. love unconditionally.