All Christians have a chance at a "comeback story," and Pastor Louie Giglio of the Passion Movement discusses his own redemption story from a pit of "dread, doom and darkness" in a sermon at Willow Creek Community Church.
In his recent sermon at one of the largest evangelical churches in America, Giglio detailed how the story of Jesus' crucifixion mirrors his own struggle with depression and anxiety, and how he eventually sought help and voiced his "utter desperation in God."
All Christians are "either in a storm, we've just come through a storm, or we're heading into a storm," and it's never too late for us to change our story and have a comeback with God, Giglio, pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta, Georgia, told the congregation.
This inspiring message is outlined in Luke 23, when one of the two criminals being crucified next to Jesus asks Him to remember him when he enters the kingdom of heaven, so he will be saved.
Jesus replies to the criminal: "[…] today you will be with me in paradise" [John 23:43 NIV].
Giglio says that this passage proves that God can get you out of your struggle no matter how deep in it you feel.
"I don't know what you're in the midst of today, but I do believe God is in the middle of it," the pastor says. "[God] still has the power to work a beautiful, redemptive, restorative narrative in the middle of whatever you're walking through right now."
Giglio then says that this passage is especially very personal to him, as he made his own "humble, desperate plea" to God during a recent dark time in his life, when he had serious medical symptoms including facial numbness, arm numbness, and leg pain and was rushed to the emergency room by his wife, Shelley.
It was at the hospital that he was diagnosed with "depression-triggered anxiety," the journey of which "was a pit that felt like it was bottomless."
Following his diagnosis, Giglio lived in a cloud of "dread [...] doom, and darkness" where he hardly left the house, feeling "so broken, so done."
He finally experienced his comeback to Jesus when he was laying in bed one night, riddled with insomnia, and sang a small song to himself: "Be still my soul, there is a healer, his love is deeper than the sea, his mercy is unfailing, his arms a fortress for the weak."
"I believe it was that little song of praise that ultimately pierced the darkness and started leading me into the light again," Giglio told the audience. "When I say today that you can have a comeback, I know you can have a comeback, because I'm preaching in my comeback right now."
The well-known pastor, who founded the massive, arena-sized annual Passion Conferences for university students, concludes his sermon by encouraging all Christians to connect with Jesus today so they may experience their own personal comeback story.
No matter your struggle, whether it be cancer, abuse, abandonment, or something else, it does not have the last word over your life, Giglio says.
Rather, God has the final word, and the sooner you have your comeback story, the sooner you allow Him to walk with you and change the narrative.