You don’t know me, but you came to speak at a college retreat I attended here in the Northwest a few years ago. I just want to thank you. I am still so glad that I was able to hear you speak. It has forever changed my faith.
When I entered college, other events happened in my life which caused me to lose faith in pastoral authority and the Church. My faith in Christ suffered because I was torn between the Christian need for leadership and fellowship and my own personal distaste for it. I’d heard it said that you can’t love God if you don’t love his people, and I really wasn’t loving his people. Out of weariness and hurt, I gave up loving God, though I wished I could love God without loving people.
I was in a minor crisis of faith. I knew that I wanted to be a Christian, and that I wanted to love God (or at least I wanted to want to). I wanted to move on, but I couldn’t get past my feelings of abandonment, loneliness, disappointment, and anger.
Your presence at the retreat inspired me to start believing in the goodness of God and his people again. It planted a seed in me that I should not give up. Though I remained frustrated with my feelings and failings, though I doubted the validity of faith, I did not forget the impact your words and your person had on me. It inspired me to think that people like you existed. Your passion, humility, intelligence, and genuine caring for other people made an impression on me.
In the past few years, I have felt friendless and unknown. I have felt uncomfortable in church. I have felt uncomfortable in my own skin. But I have been comfortable trusting that your sermons, which I listen to online, will be a reflection of Truth. For some reason, I trust you, even though I don’t trust any other pastors right now.
My small group is studying your book Seeing is Believing, and it has blown us away. We are excited about reconnecting with Jesus and developing intimate relationships with him. We agree that we are in a time in our lives when we feel pressured to do so many things, so it is a welcome change to know that we can find solace in being. I want to reconnect with Jesus, and I believe that your book will help me do that. I look forward to reading your other books in the future as well.
So again, thank you for your ministry and being willing to travel with your message to talk to some college students. It has made a difference for me. I hope I can see you again sometime in the future. You are truly a blessing.