Yesterday my wife, Sola, and I had lunch with our dear friends Ted and Gayle Haggard (yes, that Ted and Gayle Haggard). It was a really good time of connecting and catching up even though it’s the second time this year that they’ve visited with us in Orlando. We love what God is doing in and through them. Now I know that they’ve been somewhat pariahs to many people over the last few years and that there are many who think that Ted has no right to be in ministry any longer considering his past sin, but I’m so grateful that God makes those calls and not men. What I find most amazing is that people fail to recognize that Ted is better equipped to serve the Body of Christ now more than he ever was before his sin was publicly exposed.
Some would have preferred that he give up ministry, hide in a hole somewhere and continue to sell insurance for the rest of his life. Now before you begin to vilify me, there’s nothing wrong with selling insurance if that’s what you’re called to. However, if you’re called to something else then you’re underachieving. Our meeting affirmed something in my heart that motivated this blog: God is faithful even when we are not! God sovereignly decides where, when, and how He will use you (or not) and how that will be accomplished. Our conversation amplified the fact that God is speaking to Ted and Gayle and birthing in them ideas for ministry that will impact lives significantly. Because of the ‘pockets’ of grace and love their family received during their ‘wilderness’ season, they are developing an idea that speaks to the very heart of serving and loving people.
My heart leapt in excited anticipation as they shared the formative stages of the big idea with us. Sadly, I cannot share the details as they are still being incubated. In fact, I liked the idea so much, I resolved to ‘steal’ it and implement it, but Ted ‘threatened’ me, and since Gayle is a real hero to Sola and I, and since I’d like to maintain my friendship with the Haggards, I’ve decided to hold off on stealing the idea… for now. But, so that I don’t leave you feeling totally cheated, here are some paraphrases of some great nuggets that Ted shared during the meal.
- The only place where the Gospel cannot be communicated is a place where there is an absence of human conflict and pain.
- Until someone demands that you walk a mile you can’t offer to go two.
- You can’t turn the other cheek until someone strikes you on the first.
I’m truly thankful for God’s immeasurable grace and redemptive purpose in Ted and Gayle’s lives. For those of you that think it’s improper that we even consider that God can use the Haggards even more powerfully in this new season of their lives, well, all I can say is I pray that one day you might be the recipient of the kind of grace that alters your perspective.