My name is Dave Peredo. If that name doesn’t sound familiar, that’s probably because we’ve never met. My wife Jamie, our three daughters (Leah, Hannah, and Sarah), and I started attending Lighthouse during the fall of 2020. Yep, we decided to make it confusing and add another David and Jamie to Lighthouse.
Despite the seemingly endless loop of Groundhog Day quarantine life, 2020 was a season of rest for our family. We, by God’s grace, had the trials of health and work pass over us. Even more so, as I transitioned to remote work I was able to spend more time with my family.
While things were peaceful inside our little bubble, my heart was growing heavy with disappointment and frustration with what was happening on the outside. The world had no lack of troubles for the year. But it wasn’t these things in themselves that weighed heavily on my heart, but the trials put onto the Church universal. The widening chasm that divided our country over social and political issues was spreading throughout the Church. Prominent Christian figures passionately disagreed on important issues, churches raised their banners in support or against, well… all the things. In one particular low moment for me, two Christian brothers who I deeply respect got in a heated vitriolic argument, one going so far as to question the faith of those who disagreed with him.
How could this be so? How could the Bride of Christ be so seemingly divided? We who have one body, one faith, one Lord. We who are supposed to strive side by side for the faith of the Gospel. I didn’t understand what God was doing, and well.. I still don’t. But when my heart was heavy I found comfort in God’s Word.
Habakkuk, seeing the injustice around him and subsequently God’s judgement of Judah, cries out to the Lord, why? How can these things be? God’s response is seemingly puzzling. Rather than a playbook of God’s plan, the response is an assurance of God’s justice and sovereignty. I don’t know if Habakkuk was able to make sense of the events surrounding him, but God’s reminder of his character was able to give him such comfort that he pens these famous words,
“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines… yet I will rejoice in the Lord. I will take joy in the God of my salvation.”
Remembering these words, along with the immutable promises I have in Christ, have been a balm to my soul.
Since then we’ve been exceedingly blessed by coming to Lighthouse. We’ve found a church that, though not unaffected by the turmoil around us, has strived for unity and a focus on the Gospel. Pastor Kim’s messages on striving for unity were timely for my own soul. And the exposition through John has continually reset my eyes to look upon Christ.
As I reflect on this past year, I am in awe of God’s sovereignty and grace in a season of uncertainty. In the summer of 2020, our hearts were weary as the world was in chaos and there was sharp division even among believers. I struggled with fear of man, fellowship hindered as I held back on sharing openly with those I disagreed with because I felt judged. It was humbling to confront this sin in me that I was unaware of.
We longed to worship without distraction and desired shepherding from the pulpit on unity in the church. I was blessed to follow Dave as I saw him prayerfully consider a new church home for our family. The Lord led us to Lighthouse and I was refreshed by the focus on Christ during Sunday’s sermons. I appreciated the humility and biblical mindset of the elders in decision making. I could submit joyfully to their leadership. Regarding Covid, I was challenged by Pastor Kim’s exhortation to be patient in waiting, slow to judge, faithful in prayer, and to hope in the Lord above all. With politics, I was convicted to see others as people to love and to believe that my judgmentalism is a greater sin than political judgments. I never realized how much Scripture addresses fighting for unity. It is so vital that Jesus prays for us to have unity in John 17.
To pursue unity, I needed to fight my fear of man. I recalled Proverbs 29:25 “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.” I considered the “holy women who hoped in God” as encouragement to “not fear anything that is frightening” in 1 Peter 3. I can only combat my fear of man, fear of present troubles, fear of future unknowns by strengthening my faith in the Lord who promises to be faithful to us. Hoping in Him does not disappoint. I prayed that He would change my heart to grow in love for others for the sake of unity. God’s grace produced genuine affection so that I even looked forward to opportunities to talk to sisters I once feared.
I embraced the possibility that building new relationships in a new church would be hard in this season. I knew I needed to be intentional and was encouraged by others who also reached out. I felt so welcomed by a sister who wanted to get to know me that she drove out of her way to meet socially distanced in our uncomfortable backyard. Wearing masks in over 100 degree weather, we had to yell to hear each other over the noise from a loud lawn mower. Yet it was such a sweet time of fellowship. A family in our small group initiated Zoom playdates and lunches after church. Another sister invited me to Zoom nights with other moms from church. Small groups have been refreshing and consistent avenues of fellowship. Not once did I feel like the church was on pause.
Lighthouse Kids was also an answer to prayer for our children to be ministered to. I was overwhelmed with thankfulness as I watched our girls engage in the Bible lessons and joyfully make their crafts. Leah, our oldest daughter, had been asking for Sunday school for months and the Lord provided! Lighthouse Kids became the highlight of her week. Fall Festival not only blessed our girls but 11 other kids we gave supply bags to. Those families expressed gratitude for this ministry and some began streaming Lighthouse Kids regularly.
Our quarantine life has allowed for more gospel conversations with our kids. Not only have I seen Leah’s love for God’s Word grow but also an urgency in evangelism, sharing Christ boldly and often with her grandparents. She even had them watch the gospel presentation from Fall Festival. This pandemic has provided opportunities to minister to our families practically and reach them with the gospel more than ever before.
God was faithfully working in ways we wouldn’t have planned for ourselves this past year, even leading us to a new church, to sanctify our faith. In this season of uncertainty, I cling to God’s sovereignty in Psalm 103:19 “The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all.” I find hope in knowing that nothing—“things present nor things to come”—can separate us from the love of God in Christ (Romans 8:38-39).