David Platt’s book, Follow Me, is a Reformed, missional catechesis with the goal of moving consumer “Christians” into full discipleship. The problem Platt sets out to address is the masses of “unconverted believers” that attend, worship, and serve in church every Sunday. His diagnosis is stark: “Multitudes of men and women at this moment think that they are saved from their sins when they are not.” (7) American Churches are full of people who claim to be Christians, believe that they are Christians, and may even be told by their pastors that they are Christians, but they are not, in fact, Christians at all. “Only those who are obedient to the words of Christ will enter the Kingdom of Christ. If our lives do not reflect the fruit of following Jesus, then we are foolish to think that we are actually followers of Jesus in the first place.” (16) Put simply, “People who claim to be Christians while their lives look no different from the rest of the world are clearly not Christians.” (18)

Platt puts his finger squarely on the biggest problem facing the American Church today–Consumer Christianity. Not only is there little distinction, morally, between the lives of self-identified Christians and self-identified nonChristians, there is also little difference between the way churchgoers approach Church and the way they approach grocery shopping. Consumerism, not discipleship, has become the world-defining belief of American Christianity. For Platt, this is most evident in the self-centeredness with which many Christians understand salvation.

373287_1_ftcDavid Platt begins his catechesis with a study of total depravity, particularly in the light of conversion to Christ. Many Christians will talk about their salvation moment like this: “I invited Jesus into my heart…,” or, “I found Jesus at….” This, Platt argues, is backwards at best. We do not invite or find Jesus; rather, he argues, Jesus invites and finds us. “The reality of the gospel is that we do not become God’s children ultimately because of initiative in us, and he does not provide salvation primarily because of an invitation from us. Instead, before we were ever born, God was working to adopt us.” (29) God initiates and enacts salvation because, left to our own devices, we would never choose God. We are totally depraved, i.e., sinful through and through with no desire for God in our hearts. We are, as Ephesians says, “dead in [our] transgressions and sins.” As Platt aptly puts it: “Inviting Jesus to come into your heart is impossible when you’re dead in sin.” (34)

From his discussion of depravity and salvation, Platt moves to the distinction of Christianity among the world’s religions. Christianity’s distinction, he argues, lies in it’s adherence, not to a list of rules, but to a person–Jesus Christ. “We are not called to simply believe certain points or observe certain practices, but ultimately to cling to the person of Christ as life itself.” (54) Because Christianity is a relationship with the Creator God, it is fundamentally transformative, or as Platt puts it, “supernaturally regenerative” as opposed to “superficially religious.”

Superficial religion involves a counterfeit “Christian” life that consists of nothing more than truths to believe and things to do, and it misses the essence of what it means to follow Jesus. Supernatural regeneration, on the other hand, involves an authentic Christian life that has been awakened by the Spirit, truth, love, passion, power, and purpose of Jesus. (66)

If I were to sum up the core of Platt’s book, I would say it like this: Follow Jesus into his mission to save lost souls. As we saw in his best-seller Radical, David Platt’s heart is directed toward taking the Gospel to all nations. The antidote to Consumer Christianity is Missional Discipleship, i.e., participating in the fulfillment of the Great Commission. This, in my opinion, is where the book excels because it is the way in which it most clearly reflects the calling of its author. David Platt has an apostolic heart, and the Church would do well to heed his call to move from lazy, superficial religion to missional, supernatural regeneration by proclaiming the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

My Criticism

If you love and adore David Platt and are thoroughly Reformed in your theology with no possibility of ever changing your mind, I encourage you to stop reading this post now, for I would like to address the content of the second chapter, which I have already touched on briefly. In this chapter, Platt makes a thorough, if accessible, presentation of the doctrine of total depravity. He cites many Scriptures, and uses several illustrations, the most moving of which is the story of the adoption of his son. In short, he makes a compelling case that:

  • God is solely responsible for the initiation of salvation.
  • Human beings are completely sinful, so much so that we are characterized as being “dead” in our sins.
  • God hates, even abhors, sinners.

In principle, I agree with the first statement. God is solely responsible for the initiation of salvation, though I would say that happened on the cross and in the empty tomb of Jesus. Only God could do that! From there, God has charged his followers with the proclamation of this news, this Gospel, to everybody else on the face of the earth. In other words, God has placed the message of salvation into human hands. While God did everything to make salvation possible, he has commissioned us to make that salvation available.

Furthermore, Jesus tells parables in the Gospels that seem to give another side to the story. For example, in Matthew 13:44, Jesus says this, “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” The active agent in this story is not God or his kingdom, but the human being who found salvation, then gave up everything he had to gain it.

This leads me to the second point of disagreement, which is about the idea of being “dead” in our sins. Here is what Platt says:

Our problem is not simply that we have made some bad decisions. Our problem is not just that we’ve messed up. Our problem is that we are–at the very core of our being–rebels against God, and we are utterly unable to turn to him. This is what the Bible means when it says we are dead in sin. When Paul wrote to the Ephesian Christians and said, “You were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live,” he meant that they were completely dead. Not partially dead. Not almost dead. Not halfway dead. Not kind of dead. Completely dead. (34)

It’s important to point out that they were not, in fact, completely dead, for if they were, it would have been too late for them, and they would not have been alive to hear the proclamation of the Gospel or respond to it in faith. I’m not trying to be a smart aleck, I just want to point out that Paul’s use of “dead” is metaphorical, not literal. Nor was Paul saying that the Ephesians were “spiritually dead.” Paul would not have separated the spiritual life from the physical life, saying that one could be dead while the other was alive; this was an invention of the Gnostics.

The view of humanity painted here by Platt, and elsewhere by other Reformed writers, is simply inaccurate. It assumes that the truest thing about humans is Genesis 3. Platt sums up this view well with this statement: “As we have already seen all the way back in Genesis, our sin is not something that exists outside of us. Sin is ingrained into the core of our being. We don’t just sin; we exist as sinners.” (42-3) The trouble with this statement is that Platt doesn’t go back far enough into Genesis. Before there was a Genesis 3, there was a Genesis 1 and 2, in which humanity is called, by God, good. To be sure, Genesis 3 is all-too-true now–we are sinful creatures–but there will come a day when that will not be true no longer. Genesis 3 is temporary. Genesis 1 and 2 are eternal. The creative act of God is more powerful and more enduring than the destructive acts of Satan and human beings.

In order to understand humanity, we must seek to grasp the tension of the present situation–not simply that Genesis 1, 2, and 3 are all true right now, but also that the Gospels, and particularly the Gospel, are also true right now. We were made by God in the image of God. We were not created sinful. That came through our choice to worship ourselves and disobey God. So we became broken. Then God did the impossible–without becoming sinful, he, too, became broken so that we might be put back together again. Why did he do this? Because he loves us.

Which brings me to my final, and most vehement point of disagreement with Platt: God does not hate sinners. Everything about Jesus should drive this thought away from our hearts and minds. If Jesus is the perfect image of the invisible God, if Jesus is the logos of God, if Jesus does only what he sees his Father doing, then there should be no doubt in our minds, even if we only consider the cross, that God does not hate us, but that he loves so lavishly that he would withhold nothing from us! If you need biblical proof that God does not hate sinners, this is it: Jesus!

Imagine this fictitious scenario: Mark Driscoll walks to the stage this Sunday morning, looks straight into the camera as he lets out a wry smile. “This whole Jesus thing is nothing but a bunch of *bleep*. You pansies that believe this stuff are ignorant fools, more equipped to knit your grandma a pair of socks than do anything useful to society.” He goes on for 45 minutes mocking Christians, berating Scripture, and blaspheming God. For the rest of his life he writes books and gives lectures for the sole purpose of destroying Christianity.

This, of course, if it actually happened, would raise all kinds of issues for people who know and love Mark, but one of the most important ones is this: What is Mark’s eternal destiny? In the face of such a fall, it would be difficult to say that Mark will still enjoy eternity with God. He has, after all, abandoned Jesus. If, then, his eternity will be spent apart from God, in hell, what are we to make of his fruitful years of ministry–years in which he prayed, worshipped, preached, and evangelized? What are we to make of his faith during this time? Was it genuine? Or was it a farce? In other words, can someone move from genuine, saving faith in Jesus to genuine, damning rejection of Jesus?

A Long FaithfulnessThis is, essentially, the question Scot McKnight poses in his new ebook A Long Faithfulness, where he exegetes the five warning passages of Hebrews. The book of Hebrews sternly warns its readers about falling away: “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallenaway, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.” (6:4-6) This is just part of one of five major passages that warn about the dire consequences of leaving the faith.

One of the core tenets of Reformed theology, what McKnight calls “resurgent Calvinism,” is “meticulous sovereignty,” which means that God determines everything, whether good or evil. The recent tornado that destroyed Moore, OK, for instance, was, in this view, sent from God. He even determined which elementary school would be destroyed, which children would perish, and which would be spared. In terms of salvation, meticulous sovereignty logically leads to a doctrine called double predestination, which means that God determines, beforehand, which people will receive salvation and which will receive damnation.

If God determines all things, including salvation, then it is impossible for any human to choose or un-choose God. If meticulous sovereignty is true, then nobody has any say in their eternal destiny–each one is subject to the choosing (or not) of God. If God determines all things, then it is impossible for someone to move from genuine, saving faith to genuine, damning unbelief because God either chooses you or he doesn’t. You do not choose God. You do not choose to believe or disbelieve. There is no room for the human to switch positions.

The question then arises: Is this view consistent with biblical teaching? This is an important question to explore and answer. Does the Bible teach that God is the sole determiner of all things? Through his exegesis of the five warning passages of the book of Hebrews, Scot McKnight sees that God is not the sole determiner of all things, but that he has sovereignly given human beings the freedom to choose, and to un-choose, him. The author of Hebrews, McKnight observes, is addressing true Christians with genuine faith who face the very real threat of becoming apostate–that is, of walking away from Jesus and forfeiting their salvation.

The text calls the audience believers, and it warns them that they must obey or they will not enter the rest. It does not say, as so many have claimed, that if they don’t obey it proves they did not have faith. Instead, it calls those who have believed to continue in obedience or they will not enter the rest. If the argument works like this, the case is all but finished. The author thinks believers can disobey in such a way that they do not enter the rest.

Going back to our fictitious example of a potentially-apostate Mark Driscoll (the sad reality is that many pastors have followed the path laid out above), it would be intellectually lazy and biblically unsound to say that, because he renounced Christ, that he never in his entire life actually believed in Jesus. To say that those who fall away never truly believed conflicts with the testimony of the author of Hebrews. Those to whom the unknown author wrote were baptized believers, full-participants in the local churches. They were operating in the gifts of the Spirit. They were living the full Christian life.

If [the original audience of Hebrews] are not Christians, then no one is. If they are Christians, then the nerve of meticulous sovereignty has been severed, for the author conceives of the audience as Christians who not only can, but, in some instances apparently have, apostatized from the faith. That means they are damned. They have un-chosen God.

Scot’s exegesis is sound, and his conclusion is devastating to the doctrine of meticulous sovereignty. According to the book of Hebrews, human beings have the freedom to choose or un-choose God. If a couple gets divorced, does that then mean that they never loved each other? Of course not. In the same way, the act of apostasy does not mean that the apostate was never a true believer. We are free creatures. We have been granted this freedom because God loves us, and desires an agape-love-based relationship with us. Agape love is only possible where there is freedom.

This is an important essay, and a relatively quick and easy read. If you have questions about eternal security, human freedom, and God’s sovereignty, I highly recommend you download this ebook (it’s only available electronically) and give it a careful read.

One of my seminary professors, a systematic theologian named Dr. Richard Lints, told me that all good theology begins in Genesis 1. If this is true, which I believe that it is, then we must think about Genesis 1 correctly if we are going to think appropriately about God. This first chapter of Scripture lays the foundation for the way in which we understand God. It’s no wonder, then, that this is one of the most contentious and hotly-debated texts in all of Scripture. Coupled with the trajectory of modern science since the publication of Darwin’s Origin of the Species, the interpretation of Genesis 1 has served for many as a litmus test for true belief. Yet even within evangelicalism, there is a vast spectrum of belief on this text, ranging from Biologos to Answers in Genesis, and many in between.

There are many different ways to interpret Genesis 1, just as there are many different ways to interpret, for example, the book of Revelation, or Daniel, or the Psalms. It is worth noting, though it should go without saying, that people who love Jesus very much can come into sharp disagreement over the interpretation of biblical passages–especially Genesis 1. The litmus test for true belief, however, is not what one believes about Genesis 1, but whether or not one believes the Gospel–that Jesus died for our sins and rose again. With that said, I’d like to lay out what I take to be the meaning of Genesis 1.

What God Wanted to Say

The first and most important question we must ask with any biblical text is this: What did God intend to communicate through the original author to the text’s intended audience? We ask this question because the meaning of a text cannot change. As Fee & Stuart have written in their excellent work, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, “The Bible cannot mean what it never meant.” While personal and communal applications of a text may change across time and culture, the meaning of a text does not change.

So when it comes to Genesis 1, we must ask the question: What did God intend to communicate through Moses (or Abraham, or Ezra, or whoever actually wrote the passage) to the Hebrew people in the hymn that is Genesis 1? Approaching the question this way, one thing should come immediately to mind: Moses did not write Genesis 1 as a polemic against Darwinian evolution. Darwin’s book was published roughly 3,000 years after Genesis 1, so to assume that this text is about evolution/creation is to commit an historical anachronism of the first order. It’s simply not possible. 


The litmus test for true belief is not what one believes about Genesis 1, but whether or not one believes the Gospel–that Jesus died for our sins and rose again.

When we step into the culture of the Ancient Near East (which you can’t physically do, but two books, The Lost World of Genesis One and The Bible Among the Myths, can help you understand a great deal more about it) we see that Genesis 1 is not a polemic against Darwinian Evolutionary Theory or naturalistic materialism; it is, however, a polemic against pagan pantheism. The real problem that Genesis 1 sets out to address is not the mechanism by which God created the universe, but rather which god is the true creator.

In fact, the unique genius of Genesis 1 is that it presents a monotheistic theology of creation that holds humanity in high esteem. Typically, the creation myths of Israel’s neighbors presented a pantheistic (many gods) view of creation with the heavens and the earth being the byproduct of some cosmic war. In this pagan scenario, humanity is an unwelcome addition to this world of chaos, thereby establishing their bottom-rung value in the universe, useful for little more than serving the needs of the gods.

But in Genesis 1 we get something radically different. We see a singular God speaking the heavens and the earth into being by himself and on purpose. What is more, in this story humanity is the pinnacle of creation, bearing the very image of this all-powerful, speaking Creator God, who called humans “very good.” Even more radical than this, the text declares that God created humanity male and female, meaning that women have as much inherent, created dignity, worth, and purpose as men. You might say that Genesis 1 erases and rewrites everything–EVERYTHING–that Hebrews, inundated by Ancient Near Eastern cultural values, knew about creation, divinity, and themselves. It may just be the most powerful, worldview-deconstructing and -reconstructing text ever written.

Imagine that you are a Hittite, or an Egyptian, or a Babylonian living around 1400 BC. You believe in many gods, and they are all powerful, vengeful, angry, and often possess little or no moral character. They are strong, but they are not good. You also believe that humanity exists to be, in essence, the slaves of the gods, and are completely subject to the whims of the members of the divine pantheon. Furthermore, whatever dignity exists within humanity is entirely invested in males, especially firstborn males. Women are good for child bearing and little else. This is your worldview. These beliefs, more than anything else, form the way you look at the world. And then you find the text of Genesis 1. What happens to you? No one has ever even conceived of these things before! You have no category for what you read here. Creation comes into being, not through divine warfare, but through divine proclamation. All creation is called “good.” Human beings, both men and women, are called “very good.” This changes everything.

The Pattern in the Days

I had been reading Genesis 1 for a long, long time before someone pointed out to me the pattern in the days. Have you ever noticed it before? The first three days line up with the second three days. In other words, day 1 is associated with day 4, day 2 with day 5, and day 3 with day 6. Check out the tabbed table below for more info on the days.

[tabs] [tab title=”Day 1″] On the first day of Creation God made light, separating it from the darkness. He called the light “day” and the darkness “night.” Notice that he hasn’t yet created any celestial bodies to shine or reflect any light, much less anything for the light to shine upon. No light-producers–no sun, moon, or stars. He has simply created light. It’s as though light exists as an empty field or canvas, unpopulated and unmarked. [/tab] [tab title=”Day 4″] Three days later, God created the celestial bodies–the sun, moon, and stars–to govern the passage of days. In other words, God filled or populated the empty field called “light” he made on the first day. Now, light does not simply exist, but serves the function of the passage of time. [/tab] [tab title=”Day 2″] The second day is really interesting because it is the separation of the waters. This concept comes from Ancient Near Eastern cosmology, in which it was understood that there was water behind an “expanse” or “vault” in the sky. This was how they understood the process of rainfall, which, given the scientific understanding of the time, is perfectly reasonable. What happened on this day, though, was that God separated two realms–the sea and the sky. Like on the first day, there are not yet any inhabitants of these realms. They are empty. [/tab] [tab title=”Day 5″] On the fifth day, God created the fish and the birds–the inhabitants of the sea and the sky! He painted an empty canvas on the second day, and then, just as with day four, he filled it up, though this time with beautiful, powerful, awe-inspiring creatures. [/tab] [tab title=”Day 3″] The third day was when God pulled back the waters of the sea and created dry ground. An interesting note about this day is that, unlike with days 1 and 2, the land produced something on day 3–vegetation! This points to the Hebrew understanding that vegetation and land are one and the same, and that the land exists to produce vegetation for… [/tab] [tab title=”Day 6″] Animals and humans! Day 6 is connected with day 3 just like the other two pairs in that God first created an empty field, and then filled that field with his creatures. God created spaces, and then he filled those spaces with creatures. [/tab] [/tabs]

There is an unmistakeable, and, I believe, a God-breathed pattern in the first six days of Creation. God creates a space, and then God fills that space with creatures who give it purpose and life. The order of the Creation text is no accident, and is, in fact, meant to lead us to an understanding of the order of Creation itself. But it leaves us with a question, doesn’t it? What about that seventh day? Why no pair for that day? What does it mean?

Divine Enthronement

The design of Genesis 1 is meant to point us to a profound cosmic reality, one that gets lost in the modern debate over the age of the earth and the origins of the universe. The three pairs of days are meant to point our attention toward the final, unpaired day, and make us ask the question, “What is so special about this day?”

Of course we all know that the seventh day is the Sabbath, the day that God rested. We imagine that this is the day God kicked up his feet, drank some lemonade, and maybe read a good book. Or took a nap. Whatever he did, we think of it as God taking a break from work. But there’s a crucial question that we haven’t been trained to ask, and that is this: “What did it mean, in the Ancient Near East (the culture in which Genesis 1 was written), for a god to take his rest?” In his excellent book The Lost World of Genesis One, John Walton writes that an ancient god always takes his rest in his temple.

So what happens on the seventh day is not so much a prolonged divine lunch break as it is a moving day. God takes his rest in his creation. Creation is God’s temple. God moves into creation. God is present within, while at the same time distinct from, the cosmos he has just created. All creation is God’s holy place. The creation myths of Israel’s neighbors begin, so to speak, with a world already thrust into chaos, sin, and death. But the Hebrew creation story begins with a good creation inhabited by a good and beautiful God–a holy world functioning in perfect harmony because of the presence of its Creator.

It is vital, I believe, for us to understand the world, and ourselves, primarily in the light of God’s original creation. Too many Christians functionally believe that Genesis and 1 and 2 are nothing more than happy myths, faerie tales, and that the Bible doesn’t really start telling the truth of creation until Genesis 3, the fall. Too many Christians think of themselves, the world, and even God, as though Genesis 3 were more true than Genesis 1. But Genesis 1 describes reality as it was and will be again, while Genesis 3 describes reality as it is now but will someday no longer be.

The Living God

Genesis 1 isn’t about geology or biology; it’s about a good Creator creating a good world, a home suitable for creatures that are more like he is than the angels are. On that sixth day, God made human beings, and he made them in his image. This is significant.

In the Ancient Near East, every god’s temple had to have an image–a statue, an inscription–to signify whose temple this was. For example, Dagon’s temple would have an image of Dagon in it. Baal’s would have an image of Baal, and so forth. So what did God choose to put as his image in his temple? Us. Humans. We are the inscriptions, the living statues on earth that testify to every living creature to whom this temple belongs, what sort of God he is, and how we might know him.


Genesis 1 tells us that God is alive because you are alive.

If you understand human beings from a Genesis 3 perspective, you would naturally conclude that the God in whose image they were created is a foul, nasty, cowardly, shallow deity bent on sex, food, and power. But if you understand human beings from a Genesis 1 perspective, you would see the Creator God as a good, wise, benevolent deity who sought the best for his creatures. (It’s important to note that Jesus was a Genesis 1 kind of human.) But here’s the most important part: all the images of all the other gods were made of wood, stone, or metal. In other words, they were dead. The breath of life was not in them. But the image of the Hebrew God is made of flesh and blood. It breathes. It moves. It is alive. And if God’s image is alive, how much more alive is that God? Genesis 1 tells us that God is alive because you are alive. You are a living apologetic to the existence of God.

God is not like the other gods. He does not need anyone to make him a house or a temple. He made his own temple and came to dwell within it, setting up his own living images to govern and care for it. His intention was and is for his living images to spread over the earth, subduing it, caring for it, ruling over it in the same way he rules over the cosmos–with wisdom, strength, and mercy. These living images, however, were not merely his minions, created solely to do his bidding. They were and are individual lives, minds, and personalities, meant to know and be known by one another and, most importantly, by God himself. God’s intention has been, from the very beginning, to dwell with humanity within his creation–within the beauty and holiness of his temple. This is the way it was, and to the praise of his glory and grace, the way it will be again.

Ezekiel, my three year old son who suffers from persistent epilepsy, slept between me and Breena last night. That afternoon he was laying on my lap when he had a major seizure. While he typically has a near-constant barrage of micro seizures (usually lasting about 2 seconds, occurring every 10 to 20 seconds), he hasn’t had a major seizure in several months, and to our knowledge, never while sleeping. But as he lay sleeping on my lap, his whole body began to jerk in a semi-rhythmic pattern. This was unlike anything I had ever seen him do before.

I called for Breena, and she came running downstairs. His eyes were open, but they were straining upward and to the left. A major seizure. We gave him a medicine called Diastat, which is essentially valium, and is designed to significantly slow the brain down, ending all seizure activity. Though he did seem to come out of his seizure, something else seemed to be going on, as well.

He rested his head on Breena’s knee, staring into the corner of the room. I moved my head into his line of sight, and it looked like he recognized me–like he was looking right at me. But as I moved my head away, his eyes did not follow. In fact, they didn’t move at all. Nor blink. What I saw terrified me unlike anything in all my life. I saw death in his eyes. For what felt like an eternity, they didn’t move or close. He just lay there, empty.

Breena screamed his name as I scrambled for the phone to dial 911. While I was fidgeting with the password, looking down, he came out of it. He blinked, looked around, and came slowly back to consciousness. Or whatever. From wherever. His right arm lay useless at his side, exhausted from seizing. But he seemed cheerful enough, at least for a kid who has just seized like crazy and been loaded up with valium. Breena took him to the ER where he eventually regained movement in his arm, and received the necessary drug treatment. Then they came home, and we continued on with our life, now with the burden of the knowledge that he can have a major seizure while sleeping.

I thought I had watched my son die. My wife and I are both convinced that, had he been in his bed napping instead of with me, he would have died. These thoughts weigh heavily on us.

But we are also lifted–lifted by the prayers of saints both here in our town, across the country, and all over the world. We feel that. We really do. And it gives us courage. The prayers of the saints and the support we receive from family and friends allows us to persevere through the hell of Ezekiel’s epilepsy. We have seen, and been the beneficiaries of, the kingdom of God on earth.

We continue to pray, of course, that God would heal Ezekiel, and we know that many around the world are praying this with us. God is good, and we trust him, so we’re asking him for the best possible outcome. And why not? The Scriptures tell us to approach God’s throne with freedom and confidence. Jesus said to pray with audacity.

So we do. And we wait. Some days we struggle. Others we thrive. Some days the disease wins. Others it doesn’t. Through all of it I’m reminded of the certainty of the hope we have in Jesus–the hope that we will one day, like Jesus, rise again from the dead to everlasting, full, whole, renewed life.

Life that will never be tainted by death or disease.

Life where Ezekiel is my brother, and where we can talk for long hours about the goodness of God and the beauty of life.

Life where we can sing praises to our God in beautiful harmony. (Something we could never do in this life, though not because he can’t talk or sing, if you know what I mean.)

Life where he can ponder the mysteries of creation, and where his steady hands can build a home, tall and strong.

Life where I will look into his eternal eyes and see…Life.

That’s my hope. And I have it because of Jesus. Come, Lord Jesus.

Those who know my wife and I personally know that we have a son with special needs. Our three year old boy has epilepsy, and it is ravaging his brain. He has a seizure every 15 seconds–all day, every day. He falls all the time. He can’t speak, so his only form of communication is grunting, yelling, screaming, or crying. Sometimes he can’t walk, and has to push himself around on his knees. My wife had to take him to the ER tonight because he cracked his head multiple times today, opening up an old wound on the back of his head. We think that he’s in constant pain, or at least frustration at his brain’s and body’s inability to cooperate.

Many of you are praying for him, and for that my wife and I are exceptionally grateful. Though it is difficult, at times, to cling to God in the midst of this chaos and hell, we know that we would be utterly lost without him. Your prayers give us strength and courage. I wrote a prayer for Ezekiel tonight, and I thought I would share it here.

Jesus, Living One, Hope Anchor
Be blessed for dying for our sins
Be blessed for rising again
Jesus, Death Killer, Life Giver
You whisper the words that revive my soul
You stretch your arms wide to embrace me, to die, to bear the burdens of we who have grown sick, to rise again, to rule, to invite the prayers of your people

You are a son
Like my son
I am a father
Like your father
But I need his son to heal my son
My boy is hurting
He seizes, he shudders, he falls, he bleeds
He groans, he aches, he shouts, he cannot speak
Chaos advances upon him every minute, every moment
Hell comes in the night, seizing him
Clutching, shaking, gripping
It doesn’t let go
Iran claws lay siege to his brain, his body
Relentless, violent, bloodthirsty
The mouth of hell opens wide to swallow him

Shut its mouth, Jesus!
Break its fangs, Warrior King
Deal death a deathblow; throw chaos into chaos; send the demons running
Break loose the iron grip upon his brain; break its hands with a word
Speak, Jesus, speak to your Father because my son can’t speak to me
Give him voice, not that he might speak, but that he might sing, sing the praises of the One who set him free

Bless him, Blessed One
Bless him with a song to sing, the Gospel to proclaim
Still his mind
Silence hell
Order chaos
Arise, Risen One
Arise, Victorious One
Arise, Lord of strength and life and love
Be the strong God of my son
Be the saving God of my boy
May he walk without shuddering
May he sing without stuttering
May he proclaim the goodness of God in the land where the living dwell

Arise, my Father’s Son to heal my son
Heal my boy in your resurrection glory
Stretch out your arms
Embrace him
Release him
Revive him
Resurrect him
Arise, Jesus, arise
You are my hope
There is no other