By Ronnie Garrett
Whenever you enter a new industry or a new job, you experience a lot of firsts. First day. First meetings. First completed projects. I expected more of the same when I left supply chain to work in the RV industry.
But there have been some firsts I didn’t predict. It’s safe to say that the RV industry has been full of some pleasant surprises.
It is the first time I’ve worked for Christian employers, who open every meeting with prayer. We pray at meals, we pray that our work glorifies God and we pray for each other. This, for me, has been a true blessing. For the first time ever, I feel comfortable bringing my faith to work every day.
It is also the first time I’ve experienced Christianity across an industry. There are RV-industry companies that publicly state their faith-based missions. And, there are those where it’s subtle; where it presents itself in a spirit of gratitude and thankfulness, and in emails that close with scripture or simply the words, “God bless.” This too is a blessing as it fills my work day with positives.
Today, I attended my first industry prayer breakfast. It was, and is, an amazing way to begin a long day working a trade show. It fueled my soul and readied me for the day ahead.
Those in attendance at today’s RVI Leadership Prayer Breakfast, held from 7-8:30 a.m. in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, heard from Davey Blackburn, who told attendees that nothing is wasted. God brings triumph even in our tragedies.
Blackburn made national headlines on Nov. 10, 2015, when he came home to discover that his wife, Amanda, had been shot in the head during a home invasion while the couple’s 15-month-old son slept in his crib upstairs. She passed away 24 hours later. Since that time, Blackburn has been walking on a road he would have never have chosen but one that has brought the founding pastor of Resonate Church closer to his faith.
“This was a moment in which your whole world gets shattered,” he told attendees. But in the moment when he lost Amanda, he says he drew upon the “rich legacy of faith” inside of him to get through.
He pointed out scripture promises that in this world we will have trials, but Jesus also tells us in John 16:33 to “take heart I have overcome the world.”
“You can hurt with hope, and out of tragedy there can be triumph,” Blackburn said. In the midst of his own tragedy, Blackburn asked himself if he was going to worry in this moment or worship. He chose to worship.
He noted, that’s not to say he didn’t wrestle with the Lord—he did. He went through times of great peace and times where he was angry and didn’t want to live, and asked God where he was. But he said, “God is not intimidated by our questions. He welcomes them.”
Those questions, he noted, bring you deeper into your faith. Blackburn found his peace in the Psalms, particularly Psalm 23. One of the most popular Psalms, but one that gave Blackburn the most peace in his journey.
Here’s what he learned as he turned to Psalm 23 for healing.
- “When we make Jesus the lord of our life, we will lack for nothing.”
- “Though there are seasons in life where everything is right” and we are busy, we still need rest.
- “When Jesus is your savior, He’s going to change you; from the inside out. And, he becomes the one who saves us.”
- “Jesus is with you always, and He will lead you to righteousness.”
- “Faith is a muscle. Your faith cannot grow without trials. But you don’t grow on a mountaintop, you grow in the valley.”
- “God wants to do something in you, so that you can do something through Him.”
- “The Earth is not the be all to end all; we need to live for eternity.”
- On the other side of tragedy, on the other side of this growth, we can become “weapons to be yielded against the kingdom of darkness. Don’t let the enemy steal your joy.”
- “What Jesus empties, he always refills. He always restores. He always brings back.”
- And, when that cup overflows, remember that it will “spill onto others. It is through your brokenness that you can help others.”
Blackburn reminded attendees of Ecclesiastes 3:11. “God,” he said, “makes all things beautiful in his time. When you look for God in your trials, he will show himself to you.”
He added, “Trust me on this one. He turned my story into something beautiful. And, he will for you as well.”
Blackburn then told the audience he just got engaged. The story of how he met his fiancé is a God-sized story, and one best told by Blackburn himself, so I’ve included a link to his blog about it http://daveyblackburn.com/blog/she-said-yes.
As Blackburn shared his own God-sized story, he asked everyone to look at theirs. “You have a God-sized story too. If you look for it, God is weaving a story of redemption in your life.”
Ron Shepard noted at the breakfast that it was the highest attendance yet for the annual breakfast, but he added “without our sponsors, it would not pay for itself.” If you would like to support the RVI Leadership Prayer Breakfast in 2018, call (574) 215-7173 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.