Just over six weeks have passed since the time my wife Brandi and I flew out to Nashville on behalf of XXXChurch to begin For Today's Fight The Silence Tour. Part of me feels like a lifetime has passed since then, and part of me feels like we never left. It is always strange coming home from the road, because the road changes daily, and home seems never to change at all. I hope that, throughout the course of this tour, my updates have sufficiently described the ebb and flow of the changing, emotional roller coaster that I sometimes like to call: life.
I'm struggling with what to say now, though, that the tour is at its end. How do I sum it up? Shall I call it bittersweet? There were certainly bittersweet days. Shall I call it battle? There were certainly wars fought in unseen realms. Shall I call it joyful? Heartbreaking? Destitute? Bountiful? It was all of these things.
I shall call it purposeful.
There were a couple of day, if I am to be entirely honest, especially in the beginning, where you could have asked me what I thought of our presence on Fight The Silence, and out of the anxious fear of my heart, I would have responded: pointless. Merch isn't selling (because obviously sales equal success). Confessions aren't happening (because obviously everyone wants to get in a booth and talk about their sexual sin which, by the way, will be posted on one of the most-trafficked pornography-prevention websites in the world). No one's listening (because obviously it is normal for a hyper-anxious twenty-something to start screaming about masturbation in the middle of two bands that people would rather listen to). The bands aren't supportive (because obviously everyone is supposed to support me, me, me and us, us, us and agree with me, me, me and us, us, us especially when they don't even attest to the same faith as I do even though most proclaiming evangelicals don't agree with me, me, me or us, us, us either).
Lies in the form of run-on sentences.
There was a time that I thought, "What a silly tour for a bunch of ministries to be on. The majority of the kids are vehemently opposed to the gospel, let alone purity as it relates to XXXChurch. Golly, if only people were more respectful and liked my ministry more."
Golly, if only Jesus levitated around earth on fluffy clouds while all the Pharisees played harps for him.
Golly, if only Jesus didn't say, "When the world loves you with affectionate kisses and valentine candy, remember that they did so to me first."
Golly, if only Jesus was just always about making me really happy.
May I propose that God told the truth in saying his strength is made perfect in our weakness? May I propose that where you have failed to end addiction on your own is exactly where we awe at a God in whom all things are possible?
What a perfect tour for a bunch of ministries to be on! Ministries that experienced a bit of what it was to be hated for Christ's namesake. Ministries that experienced minor repercussions of proclaiming Christ unashamedly outside of their bubbles (or, apparently, outside of my bubble).
Ministries made aware of their weaknesses. Ministries made aware of Christ's strength.
Of course, I can only speak for myself. I suppose though, at the end of this tour, I find myself humbled and in awe. In awe of God's ability to transform the antagonistic hearts of hostile Jesus-haters and draw them to repentant salvation by the end of the night. In awe of God's ability to take lips that would mock him and his people and make them lips that sing his praise before curfew. In awe of God's fulfilled promise to remain faithful to people like me, irregardless of our/my faithlessness.
I shall call it purposeful.
Specific to the vision of XXXChurch, I believe that our presence was providential. The abhorrent amount of sexual sin which paraded about Fight The Silence in one way or another had, at times, left me furious, nauseous, helpless, depressed. I know that more than agents and managers organized for us to be present during the last six weeks. I don't believe that I have ever been on a tour that left me more emotionally drained than this one did. There were nights that I cried over the brokenness threatening to destroy the people Brandi and I prayed for and, more heartbreakingly, unrecognized and unchecked brokenness that would continue cracking until it accomplishes its goal: a chasm that leads to death.
You will get the opportunity to hear some of those stories from kids courageous enough to share them in our Confessions Booth (and, by the grace of God, their redemptive end).
I will end this blog the way that I ended many a conversation with men on the tour hopeful at their renewed or newfound desire for purity in all of life, and specifically, sexually:
Jesus is your savior. Accountability software is great, but it is not your savior. Filtration software is great, but it is not your savior. XXXChurch is great, but it is not your savior. My poetry might mean a lot to someone, but it is not their savior, and neither am I. Jesus is your savior, and it is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance. Jesus said that he came so that we might have life, and life more abundantly. Jesus is our sympathetic high-priest, one who has been tempted in every way, as we have, and yet without sin, so that we can go boldly into the throne room of God for grace and mercy when we need it the most. We need a lot of grace and help and mercy in the midst of pornographic lust and temptation, and we don't have the strength to resist, but with God, all things are possible, and his strength is made perfect in our weakness.
My friends, and those of you that have been following these updates: Jesus loves you with an unfathomable love, and it is out of the overflow of his love that you will see behavioral change happen. Jesus desires you with an unfathomable desire, and it is out of your growing desire for him that you will begin to notice temptation fading - that you will desire to do something to combat it more effectively. My prayer for you is not that you would check a bunch of sober days off on your calendar for the month of May but that, when June begins, you think back and realize that you have forgotten about your addiction altogether in light of the all-fulfilling satisfaction that is Jesus Christ, your savior.
To everyone at Fight The Silence and beyond, thank you so much for allowing XXXChurch to serve you as a means of practically applying your newfound desire to walk in biblical obedience and purity. It is a joy of ours, generally, and this tour was a joy to Brandi and I - a genuine, eye-opening, humbling, exciting, awe-inspiring joy - and we thank you for allowing us to be a part of it. We are continually praying that you would pursue a fullness of joy in Christ, and that you would delight in him, as he delights in you.
For the honor and the glory of the one for whom and by whom all things exist,
Levi & Brandi Macallister
Originally posted here at XXXChurch.com.