I literally got arrested coming back from my honeymoon…
Kathleen and I got married on January 7th. The wedding was incredible. The honeymoon in Punta Cana was even better... until we got back into the US and had to go through customs. Kathleen and I were flagged and put in a room with less than 10 other people (not a good sign). The room eventually cleared, and it was just us (really not a good sign).
After over an hour of waiting, we were already going to miss our flight. The customs officer made me aware that I had an arrest warrant from 2010 that was "still active” (my arrest record before meeting Jesus is not something my mom would put on her refrigerator--my heroin-addict background brought along with it a couple legal situations… all of which I thought had been taken care of years ago). After another hour or so, I was handcuffed, searched, and taken into custody (they even took my shoe strings).
After 4 hours, they transported me to jail. When we arrived at the jail, the workers at the jail made the arresting officer aware that, after looking at the case records more closely, the arrest warrant had been taken care of years ago. They “unarrested” me and took me to the hotel where Kathleen was (I felt like I was in that scene in the Shawshank Redemption where Andy escapes prison… OK--maybe that’s a little much). What a way to start off married life in the States! I did get to share my salvation story with nearly a dozen officers, and it’s a pretty funny story in hindsight.
In addition to nearly getting thrown in jail, the honeymoon was incredible and brought with it a couple of things I felt would be valuable to share.
#1- God is a Good Father who gives good gifts to His kids.
"If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:11 ESV
In the past 6 years, God has taken me from a heroin junkie with no friends, no purpose, and no hope, and made me into a brand new creation. He’s healed my drug addiction; He’s healed my stutter; He’s given me real JOY; He’s given me real purpose; He’s surrounded me with incredible mentors and friends; and now He’s given me a beautiful, godly wife. I am not the health, wealth, and prosperity guy by any means, but God has shown me yet again that He really is a Good Father who gives good gifts to His kids. Just like the rest of the gifts He’s given me, it’s not always going to be rainbows and lily-pads, but I’m really grateful for the gift of marriage.
#2- Rest refreshes the soul and reignites fresh passion.
Like most people in ministry, I struggle with rest. Because there is a hurting, dying world headed for destruction, we work hard to reach as many people as possible with the gospel. But, Scripture is clear that God commands us to rest. I’ve learned over the past few years that rest shows that our reliance is on God rather than ourselves, and that rest will enable us finish the race and persevere until the end. This past week, I’ve realized that rest does even more than that--it refreshes the soul and reignites fresh passion to do what God has called you to do. The rest I’m talking about is not just physical rest but spiritual rest (phone off, not striving after the next initiative, spending time in the Word and prayer).
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 MSG
When was the last time you took a real rest?
#3- Nothing in this world can satisfy the soul.
The resort we stayed at was one of those all-inclusive places right on the beach. Endless food, endless drinks, endless Cuban cigars, etc. The rooms were giant with California King beds and a giant tub in the room. It was literally everything that you could ask for.
The one thing I learned more than anything during our honeymoon is that these delights may give us a taste of pleasure, but nothing in this world can ultimately satisfy the human soul. The experience was great, but at the bottom of my soul, there was always something longing for more of God. The most beautiful things in all creation and the most satisfying earthly delights still fall well short of the heavenly ecstasy that we crave. God is where our souls find their home. He is the only One who can satisfy our souls.
Where are you looking for satisfaction? Earthly delights? Ease and comfort? Marriage or sex? Ministry and preaching? These are all good gifts, but only God is the sufficient source of soul satisfaction… everything else falls short.
“For my people have done two evil things: They have abandoned me the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!” Jeremiah 2:13 NLT
Here’s my plea to you: Trust that God is a Good Father who is going to give you good gifts. Enjoy God while enjoying those gifts! Cultivate a lifestyle of rest as you pour your life out to advance the gospel. And most importantly, look to Jesus as your source of joy, pleasure, and satisfaction. Position your life to get as much of Him as possible. And try to not get arrested ;)