Joshua Swanson: Welcome to The Walk; a devotionals podcast for worshipers. In this episode, Lecrae, who’s known for using hip-hop to challenge the church to live up to its fullest potential, joins us to share a story about taking for granted the life that God gave him.
Here we go.
Lacrae: Hey, what’s going on everybody? This is Lacrae. Uh, extremely excited to be here with you. And, um, just to be able to share my walk, um, and my journey and what God has, uh, done in my life and what he continues to do in my life. Um, you know, a lot of times we struggle with taking God at his Word, and I know I have, and so it’s been interesting to see that my circumstances in life have resulted in me having to really sit down and look at God and taking him at his word.
You know, I didn’t grow up in a Christian family. Um, I didn’t really have this, this strong faith background and so I was pretty much a free-thinking individual and, um, as I navigated life and just the journeys that life brought my way, I kind of wrestled with, you know, why and what was the purpose of everything that was happening in and around me?
What was the purpose of my dad not being in my life? What was the purpose of me, uh, growing up when in a kind of a dysfunctional family and, you know, coming to know God as a 19-year-old was really the first time I really felt as if I now had this family. I had this community of people who loved me for me, and I really thought I was safe, you know, and, and I really thought that this was it, and that there would be, you know, no dark times ahead because I’d found what I’d longed for for so long.
But the reality of it is, is that after a few years, I began to go on tour and I started to see things that weren’t consistent. I started to see lifestyles that didn’t really line up with what I had learned, uh, God had called us to, I started to see people that were kind of taken for granted the life that God had given them and the opportunities that God had given them.
And, it disoriented me. It, it made me feel as if, you know, maybe I, I didn’t quite understand what was going on and I got jaded in my time period to being jaded I found myself not really reading my Bible anymore, not really taking God at his word and not really just believing that he was who he said he was.
And then it got darker because later on in, in life, a lot of things started happening in our society, A lot of areas of social unrest and racial unrest took place And I found myself, you know, speaking out and having an opinion about it in the very community that I thought was this new family of mine, you know, had already kind of let me down, uh, with the way that they were living on tour, but now I was being ridiculed and I was being shamed for having an alternative perspective as they did.
And that, that really disenchanted me. And so at this point in time, I felt as if, man, if these are God’s people, then I’m not interested. I’m not interested in being a part of this anymore. You know, I, I already came from a broken family and I didn’t need to be a part of another one. And so I found myself in a dark, dark place, you know, and I, found myself in what I would call a desert, and a lot of times, you know, we’re all surviving some kind of deserts. Um, life is, you know, full of crisis and suffering and brokenness and really hard times does not care who we are. It’s gonna come at us, you know, and, uh, a storm is a storm regardless of who’s under that cloud. The storm is coming and so life brings you deserts and storms.
I think there’s three kinds of storms that we usually face. We face the kind of storm that we bring on ourselves. We face the kind of storm that, uh, others bring on us. And then just the storms of life from living in a broken and fallen world. And I found myself in a storm where I didn’t know what was up and what was down and why it was so dark all around me.
And I really no longer wanted to take God at his word. I didn’t want to trust God in this particular circumstance in my life. You know, sin is always rooted in our refusing to believe that God is more dedicated to our good than we are. You know, God is way more aware of what’s best for us than we are. And so I started to believe the enemies lie, that if I gave God complete control, that life would be miserable.
That if I let God do it his way, it wasn’t gonna work out. And I started coping, you know, I started coping, not with prayer and with trusting God, but coping with drugs and coping with alcohol and bad relationships. And, you know, it was a crisis that I found myself in and oftentimes, you know, you’re chasing happiness, but you don’t know that God is the best way to achieve the happiness you’re looking for.
And so, I was trying to end my suffering by sinning, but I only ended up sinning my way into more suffering.
And I was believing that God was holding something back from me. I was believing this lie that God did not have the best in mind for me and that I couldn’t take him at his word. And so I was low and depressed and anxious, and I started just spiral downward, and it took a moment in time where God just had to put me in a place where there was nowhere else to go.
I think of the Israelites when they were in Egypt. You know, they were supposed to go to this promised land and they ended up in Egypt for over 400 years and if they would’ve left Egypt seven years after God had told ’em they needed to be there, they was only supposed to be there seven years. If they would’ve left and went to Egypt, they would’ve been fine. But they stayed and they got caught up and God had to put. In some dark circumstances in order to get them to get up out of there. And for me, I think I had to be put in some dark circumstances, some chaos, in order to be reminded that I needed to leave and trust in God.
I was in a desert and I was running from God, but God was not running from me. And um, it was at this time that I remember looking at Psalm 23 and there’s a verse where it says, “His goodness and, will pursue me all the days of my life.” And I researched that and I just dug into it and I realized that the word pursue was like to hunt.
And I realized that God’s goodness and mercy was hunting me down. It was chasing me like a lion with chase’s prey. And I found out that I was running from God, but God was not running from me. He was running toward. He was chasing me down with his goodness and his mercy, and it broke me. It put me in a place where I realized I was wrong and that I was running from the very person that wanted to restore me, that God is a restorer, that that’s what he does.
He says it over and over again that he restores. He restores the years the locust have eaten. He restores your soul. And I determined that I couldn’t win this battle in my own strength. I determined that as a child, I need a child of God, I, I needed to talk to God about my crisis. I couldn’t fight on my own, but I needed God to fight my battles for me. And so I made my problem, God’s problem. I trusted in him and trusted his Word, and he really began to restore me bit by bit by bit. Day by day.
It wasn’t an overnight process, it was, it was kind of like planting a seed in a garden, and I would go out and water it each day. I would read, I would pray, I would spend time with friends. I would go to church, and over time that little seed started to sprout. And it kept growing and it kept growing until I became a healthier, better, God-centered person. And the reason why I’m here today is because at the heart of my storm was love, right? Jesus was at the heart of my storm. He took that storm on for me so I wouldn’t drown.
You know, I, I always think about Jonah because Jonah was in this storm, right? It was dark and it was crazy around him. And he, he was running from God and the reason why the storm was there is to get him to stop running and to come to God. And he said, just throw me over the boat. You know, he was desperate and the sea calmed down after they threw him over.
And it’s interesting that, you know, Jonah was asleep in that boat and everyone on there was afraid they were gonna die. And similarly, Jesus was asleep in a boat as well, and all the disciples were afraid they were gonna die, but the sea calmed down. And that’s because God calmed the storm. And so after the sea calms down, everyone is less afraid of what’s going on around them and more in awe of God.
And I think God was looking for an opportunity for me to say, wow, you are real. You calm storms. Jonah was thrown into that water, but even bigger than that, Jesus was thrown on the cross and Jesus was thrown into the ultimate storm. You know, Jonah was in the belly of a whale for three days, but Jesus was in a tomb for three days and he got up and he said, if you trust in me, you’ll be resurrected as well.
And I realized there’s not a storm that can hold down anybody who trusts in Jesus. It was a storm in my life, and maybe there’s a storm in your life, but God is using that storm to strengthen your faith and to remind you that he’s already promised that he’s gonna make a way.
Joshua Swanson: When we come back, Lecrae finishes his story with some scripture from Jonah and a reading from Psalm 23.
We recently opened Song Discovery up for submissions and the response has been really exciting. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Song Discovery, it’s our 25 year old platform created by our founder, Chuck Fromm, with a mission for curating the songs of the local church for the global church. So, if you’re a songwriter in your local church and you feel you have a song that the Holy Spirit could use to encourage or equip the global church, head over to songdiscovery.com and submit your music. We’ll reach out if we’re interested in platforming your song.
Another quick note, we are now on TikTok. Yes, we caved. You can find us at Worship Leader. Okay, back to Lacrae.
Lacrae: In Jonah 2:1 it says, “then Jonah pray to the Lord his God, from the belly of the fish saying, I called out to the Lord out of my distress and he answered me.” And I believe that God will answer you. I believe that if you’re in a dark place, if you’re in a storm, the God will deliver you if you trust him.
And some of us have been dealt a bad hand. We didn’t ask for the storms in my life. We’ve been beaten down or we’ve created our own storms, right? We’re we’re doing a rain dance, we’re asking for trouble, but God will deliver us from either one. Jonah brought it on himself, but God didn’t ignore his sincere desires to come home.
And so God is saying, and look at your life and look at the things that you’ve been through, and look at the things that God has done for you and brought you through, right? He didn’t bring you this far to leave you. He, he’ll meet you in your storm and he’ll shield you from the heat of the desert because he loves you.
He loves you so much. He’ll part the sea for you. And he’ll make water spring out of a rock for you. He did it for me and I certainly believe he’ll do it for you.
Listen, I don’t know where you. I don’t know what your life looks like, but I, I want to leave you with something. I want, I want you to hear Psalm 23.
It says simply, “The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me besides still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his namesake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me. You’re rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil and my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord. Forever.”
His goodness and his mercy will follow you all the days of your life. You can’t outrun God or his goodness, so don’t let your past convince you that you’ve done too much and that God’s goodness has run out. It’s there to follow you all the days of your life.
Let’s pray. Uh, father God, we thank you that we cannot outrun your mercy. We cannot outrun your grace. Uh, we thank you for being a restorer that you walk with us. That even when we don’t know what direction we’re moving in, that you’re by our side. You’re walking with us every step of the. That you never leave us nor forsake us. And God, I just pray for anybody who’s listening in this moment right now, that they will find assurance and comfort that your goodness and mercy is there following them, hunting them down, not letting them get away from all that you have for them. We thank you and we love you in Christ name, amen.
Joshua Swanson: Amen. We can’t outrun God’s mercy. That’s a fantastic message. Thank you Lecrae for adding your story to our podcast. Lecrae released a song with Hulvey about walking with Christ called Walk. So we felt that would be the perfect song to play out this episode with.
As always, special thanks to Matt McCartie for producing and editing today’s episode. Jacob Fairclough produced our theme song. The Walk is brought to you by Worship Leader, which is an Authentic Media brand. You can find out more about us at worshipleader.com. I’m Joshua Swanson. Here’s, Walk.