{Best of 2014} Mitch’s story.

Written by: Mitch Horner

Though this house may burn, I will stand firm. This statement when taken in its literal form bears to question my sanity. But when taken in the context of my life, brings purpose and meaning.

Context is everything; it can change how we view our landscape and situations. My life, as does yours, requires context to fully understand and appreciate each subtle word, and each simple step.

I’ve always said that life is a journey, even though we don’t always understand the path. My life is a journey, and I’ve spent far too much time trying to understand the path. But I trust the One that directs my steps.

Proverbs 16:9 “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”

Proverbs 20:24 “The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?”

Let me first establish this, God is a good Father, it’s who He is. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

I’ve always struggled with my identity. And like many, my identity has changed and evolved in many ways. Evolve: to develop gradually. I use the word evolve because it’s fitting. Each stage, each progression in my life helped me to evolve towards the man I am, and am becoming.

Culture pushes us to want to become something, but like many, my path led where my eyes couldn’t see.

At the age of 10 I felt the call to pastoral ministry on my life. At the time I didn’t fully understand what that meant, but as the path led on, I would one day discover the significance of this calling.

Life went on and the call on my life remained, but I tried to hide from it. As life continued to progress I started to give serious thought to becoming a history teacher. In High School I was offered a Rugby scholarship and had dreams about pursing Rugby at a higher level. I thought that I finally understood the path that I was on. A scholarship would greatly aid in my scholarly endeavors and I would actually be encouraged to hit people.

I thought that I finally understood the path that I was on… then it happened. In the final minute of a meaningless game I blew out my right knee trying to make a play for my football team.

Reality didn’t set in for a few weeks, that’s when all the reports came back saying that I’d be “lucky” to walk normally, let alone play sports.

Six surgeries later, and many more pending, I’ve learned to stop trying to understand the path, and just trust that God is good.

Satan tries to defame God, and tries to get us to believe that God isn’t who He says He is. And truthfully, for a while I believed those lies.

Everyone has different circumstances and trials. I know that the biggest trials in my life are likely still ahead of me. But I believe that I can use previous and current circumstances to determine my outlook and results.

I can’t see into the future, but I have a God that knows my future, and so I put my hope and trust in Him.

When I was in and out of physical rehabs and recovery, it was very easy for me to focus on the problems, and loose sight of the reality all around me. But I quickly learned that God has purpose for everything we go through. I started to go to physiotherapy at an inner city practice where I was able to become a light in a dark place.

Through relationship and prayer I was able to lead many of the workers to Christ. I’m not saying that God blew out my knee to cause a few people to follow Him. But when I allowed God to work in my circumstances, suddenly I found peace and hope in the midst of trials and adversity. I found purpose.

Now I’m married and pastoring at an amazing church. Though I struggle in the physical, my soul rejoices like never before. I have numerous opportunities each week to impact the lives of many. I’m blessed and privileged.

You may be going through way more than I’ve gone through. But it’s important to keep things in context. Though this house may burn, I will stand firm. Though trials and circumstances may come my way, nothing is going to sway my faith.

Psalms 23 “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”

I will stand firm.

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Mitch Horner is a student ministries and worship pastor in Chatham Ontario. He is married to his lively wife, Amanda. Together they have a cat and rooms waiting to be filled by children. Mitch isn’t a walk along the beach kind of guy, he prefers long walks in the bush to one of his hunting locations. An avid sportsmen and servant to Christ sums him up pretty well.

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