Mark D. Roberts

Mark D. Roberts

A Deeply Moving Story: Through Pain and Grace Toward Redemption

Today, I read a deeply moving story and I want to commend it to you. It was written by Gordon Atkinson, a former pastor and engaging author who used to blog as the Real Live Preacher. It is a story that will touch your heart and challenge you to think about how you are living your own life. It’s a story about real faith in real life.

Here’s how Gordon’s story begins:

If I was talking to you instead of writing, I’d probably begin this
story with my standard disclaimer, which sounds something like this:

I know a lot of people have it harder than I do, so I’m not saying this is the worst thing that’s ever happened, but…



Even if I tell myself I’m not going to say that, I often do anyway. I
open my mouth to speak and a cloud of shame descends on me. I start
thinking about all the people who have it worse than I do. And then it
seems like Jesus is rolling his eyes while I talk. Somehow I feel that
if I can just squeak out a small apology, I’ll have somehow earned the
right to speak about my own pain.

I’m not sure why I do that, but I suspect it may be a sign that I’ve
never fully accepted the grace that I preached all those years when I
was a pastor. I suspect that down inside I think it’s fine for other
people to fall apart but not me and not my family. That’s a pretty sad
and arrogant way to think and be, but I might as well admit the truth of
it. Because this story is about failure and shame and grace and
redemption. And you can’t really talk about those things unless you
begin by laying your cards on the table.


What was the incident that sparked this story? It began when Gordon received a phone call from his wife: “You need to come home right away. I think Shelby might be pregnant.”

What follows is a gutsy, vulnerable, honest, and faithful account of a family’s movement through pain and grace toward redemption.

Gordon’s story appears on The High Calling website. It is contained in four installments. You can find the first one here and then read through all four. I am thankful to Gordon and to everyone involved in his story for their willingness to open their lives so that others might benefit. It takes courage to tell the truth about ourselves in the context of genuine faith. This is something Gordon has done for years, and continues to do as he writes for The High Calling.

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