I met Pastor Craig Houston on September 29th, 2012. Well… I sort of met him, I had sent the general mailbox at his church an email looking for some information on churches in the Seattle area and he wrote me back. I was impressed by the tone of the email. You can tell when someone has genuine intentions by how they write. I didn’t seem to be an annoyance and I’m a chatty sort of fella when it comes to email. I always seem to want to get the last word, even if it’s a “thank you”.
In the past month I’ve continued to communicate with Pastor Craig and we’ve had a dialogue going about churches on the east side that I could recommend to my friends. I have greatly appreciated his willingness to help. I can tell that if we actually sat down together we’d have great conversation because we share a passion for Christ and the gospel. We are like minded in our pursuits.
I had been invited to attend a conference at the end of October and decided my work schedule was too busy to go, but I noticed Pastor Craig was on the speakers list. This week I wanted to send him a note of encouragement.
Philippians 1:3-4 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now.
A group from Grace Fellowship Church was going to be attending and I had hoped I could meet him again through my Brothers and Sisters. It looked to be a great time with a talented list of speakers. In his typical fashion Pastor Craig wrote me back and thanked me for my encouragement and shared with me that he would be unable to attend. It seems God had purposed something else and his daughter Anna had been diagnosed with Leukemia. Anna is 16 years old. In all, the Houston’s have 11 beautiful children.
I asked Pastor Craig how I could pray for him, and here was his response.
Our God is faithful and makes no mistakes. Pray that I will be able to lead my wife and children with steadfastness, compassion and strength during the season ahead – Grace and Peace
Brothers and Sisters we serve an Awesome God and He promises to work everything to the good for those that love Him. We can trust that promise, but He never promised an easy road and He never promised perfect health to those that love Him.
Today I want to ask you a very challenging question.
Can you say, with confidence, God makes no mistakes?
I can when it’s Pastor Craig’s daughter. It’s easy for me to Praise God’s name when it’s someone else. I have to dig deep when I think about it being Grace, Madeline or Lydia. What if God asks you to give Him back your child? Do you only serve Him when your life is going well and your kids are healthy or can you begin to comprehend a trial like this?
In the easy times and the hard times, Believer, you must cling to Him because there really is nothing else that matters. I look forward to hearing the testimonies that will come from Anna’s life and there will be many. I know that the good news will be preached and lives will be changed, and that is a life that glorifies the One that is worthy.
2 Timothy 1:7-10 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
Here is a link to Pastor Craig’s blog and you can read the story of Anna.
Here is Emily Houston’s blog which provides some great information about what is going on.
Please join me in praying for the Houston family and that Pastor Craig can continue to lead his family in steadfastness, compassion and strength. I for one have already benefitted greatly from this and I trust you will as well.