The call of the Catch is to be ruthlessly honest — to face into the pain — to be vulnerable with our lives under the assumption that the struggle is normal. The normal Christian life is not a bridge over the problems and troubles of life, but a hand to hold and a candle to light the way through the darkness. Or, as the saying goes, the call of the Catch, in life, is to either “light a candle or curse the darkness” — our recent experience with our son, Chandler, being a perfect case in point. We feel like the entire Catch community has come alongside us with prayer, love, empathy and monetary support. I wrote in a song for Chandler shortly after he was born: “And his smile will light a candle that will burn in your heart.” That’s the candle that is burning again thanks to so many of you. It had been so long since we had seen that candle that we were beginning to fear it might have gone out. But it’s back; and even though it is just a candle in the dark, it’s still a candle — a smile that brings hope, and a reminder that the Spirit of God will never leave or forsake us.
But that’s just one of our stories we will be living for some time. There are hundreds of your stories, too. There are the marriages in limbo — two that I can think of right now — where the candle has all but gone out, and yet we are there, walking alongside. There’s the teenager who is cutting and Marti is coming alongside her on a regular basis, saying, “You hurt yourself; you are hurting me.” There are a number of alcoholics who let us know when they blow it, and Marti makes them promise to call their sponsors and get to an A.A. meeting. And then checks up on them to make sure they do. I am burning a candle for a few men with same-sex attraction who are trying to stay faithful to their families. One is an elder in his church. Who else could he tell? And I’m thinking of one very brave gentleman who would love to be in Caitlyn Jenner’s shoes (and clothes) right now, but is choosing to forgo his own personal happiness for the sake of his family and his commitments as a husband, a father, and a leading influence in his church and community. Brave people, indeed, who are undoubtedly cursing the darkness at times — if not, at least kicking at it — but not letting the candle go out.
And then there are our dear Catch friends who are fighting that ugly enemy called cancer. Lots of coming alongside by many in our community who have been there or lost close friends and loved ones to this hideous infiltrator. We try to make sure no one walks alone.
Two of our Catch friends are away from home right now near a hospital where they await an organ donor. Our prayer warriors are praying for the right one. It will be worth the wait. And speaking of prayer warriors: Who is out there every day at the threat of danger to life and limb due to the realities of spiritual warfare and an enemy who would stop them cold if he could? Our prayer warriors. That’s why we call them warriors, and that’s why we do not choose them — they choose themselves so that they understand and take personal responsibility for the risk.
Are these all tragedies that will end up being grand success stories of miraculous healing and victorious testimony? Who knows? But is that the point? Or is the point that we are together, walking side by side; feeling, in spite of it all, that it is good to be a human being?
And the candle does not go out.