Quotes from “Surviving COVID: An Interview with Stuart and Kellee Hall” from North Point Community Church
Stuart Hall: I read this week, and I think this parallels with what you’re saying–the writer posed this question: “Have you placed your trust in your theology or the God of your theology?” And that’s really easy for us to get confused. And the way that Kellee and our children have inspired me is exactly what you’re saying. The writer of Hebrews says that we can approach the throne of God with confidence and he’ll give us grace and mercy. But those are not the outcomes we really desire. What we want to do is go, “Well, no, we want him to live and we want him to be completely healthy.” And the writer of Hebrews goes, “You can have confidence that he’s going to give you grace to go through whatever it is that you are going to go through, and he’s going to be merciful to you in that process.” And it does, it pushes against this–if we get really honest I think all of us, we tend to live…our faith ends up being a churched up version of the American dream with just enough Jesus to make it seem legitimate. And what’s happened to us is that that’s been knocked out from under us, and now you go, “Okay, are we going to…are we going to trust Jesus? Are we going to lean the full weight of our life on him? Or are we going to trust what we think about him or what we believe about him? And those are two different things.
Andy Stanley: So, Stuart, I want to wrap up with maybe the hardest question or the biggest question. One of the mysteries of our faith is the providence of God. Who’s in charge? The sovereignty of God. You know, what role do we have? And you touched on this earlier. Did God cause this to happen? Do you just respond to what happened? Just life, random. How has this event changed your view of the sovereignty of God or God’s activity in the world? I mean, how…the whole issue of certainty. Talk a little bit about that.
Stuart Hall: Well, Kellee and I had already been wrestling with that a little bit. We did have a window of time as empty nesters where she would travel with me when I would go and speak different places. The more we’ve been around the country, the more we’ve talked to people, the more I started feeling really antsy about this reality: That–and this sounds really harsh, Andy–but I feel like we’ve made an idol out of certainty. Like we…And an idol isn’t an idol because it has a particular property to it. And idol is an idol because of the value you place on it. And so much of our existence revolves around security and certainty. And I think what has happened in our life as a result of this is this unveiling of the fact that you’ve got your value on the wrong things. The only thing you can trust–you know, the write of Hebrews says Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He doesn’t say your circumstances are. He doesn’t say your marriage will be. He doesn’t say your health will be. He doesn’t say your children will be. He doesn’t say your country will be. He doesn’t say the economy will be. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So the question becomes then, why would I lean my life on anything but him? Do I think that God made this happen? It’s such an interesting tension because to believe in an all-knowing God is to believe that God knows everything. I don’t know if God made it happen. I do know he wants to make it matter. And because he wants to make it matter, I think that she and I feel this, almost like this burden, that we’ve got a join him in whatever it is he’s trying to do because of the story. Because of what it is that he has done in our life. And what we don’t want to do…it’s interesting when uncertainty happens I think we all have this propensity wherever there’s a contradiction we’ll set up an opposition to it. If something contradicts our certainty–like with COVID, for example–it’s a contradiction in our certainty so when go, “Well, it’s a conspiracy theory.” Or, “It’s a political agenda.”
Andy Stanley: If you were sitting over a coffee table with our audience–either single men and women, married men and women, seniors, high school students, college students, and you had your, you know, your elevator pitch…the final moment–what do you say?
Stuart Hall: I would probably say that I think we have the wrong job description for love. As humans we are always trying to avoid pain. As parents we are always trying to protect our children from pain. As friends we are always trying to fix each other’s pain. And no wonder we always feel like failures because life is, it’s the human drama. It’s pleasure and pain. And the question I would have you wrestle with is just simply this: What are you going to trust in when that pain happens? When your certainty is made uncertain? Are you going to lean your life on your own understanding? Your own ability to reason? Your own ability to wrap this up and put a bow on it? Or will you trust your life to the only one that doesn’t change, that doesn’t move, and can actually heal you of your pain, can heal you in your hurt? The last thing I would say is that your love for Jesus doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be true. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be true. So I implore you–if you’re not a Jesus person, you don’t follow him–would you consider what you’re leaning your life up against? And if you are a Jesus person, you are…you do follow in the way of Jesus, how much are you trusting him? Are you trusting what you know about him, or are you really trusting him? That’s my prayer for people, that they will lean their life, the full weight of their existence on him.
Dear God, I should probably spend the next few days and separate out these three different sets of quotes from Stuart Hall.
I was riding my bike the other day and listening to this interview/podcast/sermon from North Point Community Church, and I’m so grateful for it. When I came across these three specific quotes, I looked at the phone and noted the time stamp so I could go back and find them. I loved them.
I guess, from a macro level, it was just so nice to hear from a couple that has been through trials, but their faith was solid throughout because their faith was in the right thing. They had the right perspective on you.
I haven’t always had that kind of faith. Sure, sometimes I have. Probably the high point of my faith was 25 years ago next month when my wife miscarried our first child, Sandra. I was 25 years old and kneeling beside her hospital bed and my prayer to you was that you knew my heat and you knew what I wanted, but I trusted you and I had faith in you. You were my God, and I put it all in your hands. Yeah, I look back on that and am grateful for the perspective that 25-year-old had.
But I haven’t always been that way since then. There were times when I was unemployed that I got really angry with you. There were times when things weren’t going the way I wanted them to with raising my children, and I was really disappointed in you. I could go on and on.
No, my life isn’t only failures. You have taught me through those times of lost faith. You used them to strengthen me. You used them to grow my faith. You made them count.
So now, father, before I spend the next couple of days thinking about these quotes individually, I want to say that I am grateful for the struggles. I am grateful for the humblings (is that a word?) you have given to me. There’s an old Amy Grant song called, “In a Little While.” Part of the chorus says, “We’re just here to learn to love Him.” I wish I didn’t need so much instruction, but I submit myself to the lessons you have for me. My utmost for your highest, oh, Lord!
In Jesus’s name I pray,