Norwich-born author says the wrestle is worth it
When Norwich-born evangelist Luke Brendling lost his first child, it was the beginning of a very real wrestle with God. Here he introduces a book coming out in December, in which he tells the story.
It was a Thursday afternoon, April 23, 2015, when my life changed forever. Lisa (my wife) and I were days away from the expected arrival of our first child. A little girl that we had named Elle. The nursery had been decorated, the baby clothes laid out, even packs of nappies filled the cupboards, we were ready to go. Nine months of talking, dreaming and planning the future. Excitement was at its peak level. We were desperate to meet our new addition. What could go wrong now?
Unfortunately, everything. As Lisa went for her final check-up, no beating heart could be detected. Within seconds, our world was turning upside down. I shot prayers up to heaven quicker than I’ve ever prayed before, but sadly it was over. The journey had come to an end…or was it only just the beginning?
As we sat in this lifeless room, all we could say was, “Why God? Why let this happen? It has to be a mistake.” Pain filled our hearts like we had never experienced before. It was a day that changed our lives, an unwanted starting point of a new journey. It was the beginning of a very real wrestle with God.
We all wrestle with things in life—God, ourselves, circumstances, tragedies, the past, the future. The list can go on and on. No wrestle is easy, but letting go of God and giving up can’t be an option. This is the decision Lisa and I had to make, but it’s not as easy as it sounds.
I gave my heart to Jesus at the age of twenty at a youth night in Norwich, the city of my birth. It was the best decision I’ve ever made. Up until then I had been pursuing a career in professional football but when Jesus came alive in me, he transformed the direction of my life. Eighteen months later I found myself at Hillsong College in Sydney Australia.
After completing Bible College, I returned to Norwich and worked for YMCA Norfolk and served as a youth pastor in my local church. I then went on to work at Hillsong London for over five years as one of the teaching pastors before launching my own itinerant ministry in 2016. Since then I’ve had the privilege of preaching the gospel in a number of different countries including Belgium, France, Germany, Finland, The Netherlands, Canada and multiple states across the USA. As a ministry we’ve seen countless people give their lives to Jesus.
Along the way there have been tremendous highs but also terrible lows. Just because you’re a Christian doesn't mean we’re exempt from life’s challenges. We live in a fallen world in which no one can escape adversity. However, God does promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us. He will be our comfort, guide and help whether we’re in a valley or on the top of the mountain. He will be by our side every step of the way. So could it be that there are hidden treasures in our struggles?
Today you may be in the greatest wrestle of your life. Things feel so outside of your control that you’re questioning where God is and why He is allowing you to be in such a fight. Whatever it is, don’t give up just yet. Pushing through the pain is uncomfortable but necessary if you are to move forward again and experience the reward of what is waiting for you on the other side of your struggle. You may not understand everything you have had to endure, but if you stay in the fight maybe one day you will be able to say, “The wrestle was worth it.”
The Wrestle Is Worth It: Pushing through Pain can be purchased on amazon.co.uk from December 2. You can also find out more about Luke Brendling Ministries at www.lukebrendling.com
Pictured above is Luke Brendling with his family