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From Fragile to Dangerous

I’m almost through my second full day here in South Africa as a “bionic man.”  After my CTscan today, I  don’t have any infections or abscesses, but I know I’ll be held on this continent for about two more weeks at least because of air in my brain after my recent skull fracture repair surgery.


As I sit here, I can see more clearly the goodness of the Lord in people.  More people than I can count have reached out to and/or prayed for me and my family…many of whom I’d never met prior. Because of that, I’m honored and equally humbled.    

I’m blessed to be alive.  I have been since I first had life, but some events give you a more accurate appraisal of that blessing. 

I told a small child the other day, “You don’t have to be afraid, but you can always choose to.”

A fact that gives power to the choice of fear is that life is fragile.  That’s been inherent in all of our existences.  But a life can also be as powerful and dangerous as it is fragile, not to other people, but to darkness…and for the Kingdom. 

Nearly a week ago, I was ambushed with a machete as 3 people, dressed as men and trapped in a prison of their own self worship, thought it a good idea to rob the white people.  Three were hurt, but I’m not wholly convinced that we were the biggest victims that night.  We got away with our lives, they walked away still slaves to their whims, still wondering when they’d be caught, still with no hope beyond the next petty heist. 

Life can do that to you.  If you let it, it will own you while you cling to it with the illusion of control all the way to your death bed.  But the truly dangerous and powerful release their lives as their “own” and in doing so are free to spend their remaining breaths in far more meaningful ways. 

Some might think I should be angry, frightened, or traumatized, questioning “Why did God let this happen?”  But I’m not. 

Am I glad I got robbed, along with my friends, that I have an IV in my arm, or that I’ve got lots of medical bills to sort out?  Not particularly. 

But in a far more real way, I’ve gained so much.  I see yet again how very, very, close I was to death many times in a one week period, and in a very tangible way!  If that machete goes an inch or two to the front on the first strike or 3 inches lower, it busts open my temple or slices my neck.  If an inch or so lower on the second strike, it severs my spinal cord from my head, and… game over. I didn’t earn that good fortune, but I received it among many others.  Praise Jesus!


As a result, I’m given the opportunity to be even more dangerous to darkness than before, because I’ve once again been given a fresh reminder the borrowed time I’ve been living on my entire life. 

So, (Lord Willin), I’ll return back to the States soon with, and to, loving family and friends that I also did not earn, and leaving behind newly found friends in South Africa.  But I’ll return knowing that I cannot stay forever.  I must go boldly and continue to unleash others to go boldly into the darkness both at home and abroad, for it is the only way I can spend this life so that people like my attackers will possibly be freed from their prison of self-worship, and to stop “bustin folks upside the head” for some paper and paranoia.

I think it’s important to consider that as children these guys probably didn’t dream of wasting their lives with near murder and petty theft, but a lack of vision and one choice after another brought them to that place. 

Are we not susceptible to the same fate?  Maybe not in the sense that, we rob and attack, but a wasted life is still a wasted life no matter what we dress it up as. 

Are you going waste your fragile life trying to avoid the reality of it’s fragility with cheap distractions? 


Are you going to embrace the fragility, giving it for others before it’s pried from your cold dead hands, with a reckless abandon to leverage it for something that won’t die with you? 

Because THAT is the kind of powerful and dangerous life, that fragile lives everywhere are desperate to encounter!



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  1. Praise Jesus for His all consuming love for you and your attackers! You are such a warrior! Thankful for your heart! And praising Jesus for your safety and recovery!

  2. An incredible testimony to the power of God working in a willing servant! You have touched so many lives, just through this blog. My prayer for you is one of thanksgiving for your life and your commitment to Christ and one of supplication that you be healed and continue to live fully with courage and conviction. Your light definitely shines in the darkness.

  3. I’m blessed to have read this. Great job expressing the truth behind this whole thing. God bless you brother!

  4. Powerful testimony. I knew you were dangerous and a threat to the kingdom of darkness when I first met you and watched you praying fervently in the background at training camp.

  5. Matt,

    So encouraged by your heart and ability to see the brokenness those individuals are encountering. Praying and thinking of you in the hospital. As I’m currently in the hospital awaiting news of a friend in brain surgery; I can imagine the hope you’re holding onto. Be blessed. Praying those hospital rooms are filled with hope, peace and some bits of laughter

  6. It’s so incredible and I’m so thankful that we are allowed by God to live dangerously for Him. I’m so glad that you still have that freedom and blessed by your ability to see and speak this message despite the trauma you’ve just been through. Praying complete healing and recovery over you brother.

  7. Such good perspective and good reminder for us all. Continue your healing! Praising Him for His provision.

  8. Wow- what a good word! Thank you for sharing that, and I’m so glad you’re ok! Been praying for you! Return home safely brother.

  9. MATT! This is an incredible blog. I’m so thankful you’re alive, living your powerful life for the Kingdom. Love you, bro!

  10. Love this blog. Glad you’re still with us and that the Lord is bringing so much good fruit from this. Come home soon!

  11. Hey Matt,

    Wow. Thank you for trusting the Lord to give you a holy perspective through all of this. And thank you for sharing it with us all. This whole story is reminiscent of the quote from the Chronicles of Narnia…”He’s not safe, but He’s good.” His goodness is evident in that you are alive and well, making a full recovery. Your story and your perspective are convicting, and I pray that it loosens the chains of comfort in my life and in the lives of others.

    We have been and will continue to be praying for you from Guatemala. Rest up and enjoy the temporary bald patch!


  12. Dang bro. Good blog and crazy testimony. Glad you’re doing better, was def praying for you when I found out.

  13. So proud of you Matt. God gets the glory but I know you well enough to know that you chose how to handle every situation. You are positive, encouraging and always thinking of others. We need you around, the world needs you around.

  14. Live it, brother! You point it out that many of us are already in our prisons, thinking that somehow we will avoid the danger of truly being free. Come on! Makes me ashamed of my complacency. Love you, Matt!

  15. Drea notified her Facebook WR support group of your situation. It is absolutely astonishing the lengths those will go to for petty thefts and in response your positivity! So glad everyone’s prayers have been heard and hope for a full recovery.


  16. A wonderful reflection, Matt. I am glad your family has been able to be with you and you’re on the mend! Praying for healing and safe transport home!

  17. Matt, you are so brave. You have maintained your humor and joy through such a fearful situation. Truly, you exemplify your faith in God! So grateful to know you are recovering well. We are holding you in our prayers!

  18. Great word! So glad you are doing better, you can’t keep a good man down. You are making a mark to be on the enemies hit list!

  19. So glad you see the truth through the circumstances. That is the only way to offer hope to others. Sending prayers and thought of healing, life and love to you…

  20. Matt, thank you for sharing your heart with us, brother. Thank you for sharing the power and glory and wisdom that our Lord Jesus is speaking to you in the midst of this battle. Thank you for being faithful to the mission our Daddy sent you on, and for choosing not to be fooled by what’s on the outside, the temporal. You have chosen that good portion, you have sought God’s heart for His children and answered the call on your life. You are blessed and highly favored, friend. I’m so sorry this happened to you, but I rejoice with you in the mighty, mighty works Jesus is doing this situation even now. You are a bold warrior for the Kingdom, Matt. Keep on keepin on and know that you are never alone. So proud of you. Sending you hugs and prayers!

  21. Matt,

    Great perspectives Matt. Thanks for being who you are in good times and when there are struggles. Glad to call you friend.


  22. Wow, Matt. Such amazing and inspiring words. Your perspective and how you’ve allowed the Lord to continually be at the center is phenomenal. So grateful you are alive and that you are who you are.

  23. Such a great testimony in the midst of a bad situation. God has answered our prayers for your health, He will continue to answer our prayers for your ministry. Stay dangerous bro!

  24. Matt,

    Thank you for sharing openly with us. It is so easy to get caught up in self worship, wrapped up in our own momentary cares in this world. Thank you for sharing Kingdom perspective on this! You are an incredible guy, a warrior for the Lord and a Kingdom builder. Thank you for being you: one of the most generous, chivalrous, humble and funny guys I know!

  25. You have no idea how many people have been praying for you. My continued prayer is that God will continue to heal you and that you will be able to return home soon to recuperate. Praise God that your parents arrived and that the surgery went well.

    May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

  26. I thank God for your hard head. I love how you’ve realized that the real victims are the lost souls that attacked you. While we continue to pray for you, we should also pray that the attackers find Jesus, and stop their current ways.

    I pray for you and the others, a speedy recovery and peace for you and your families. As you’ve figured out, the Lord has plans for you.

  27. Come on! This is so good. I’ve been following your story and praying for you friend! You finding the good in this situation will be a testament to people you don’t even know.

  28. Thanks so much Tim. You’re not so bad yourself. I hope your healing is coming along well and that your pain has eased from your fall!

  29. Thank you for sharing! So thankful you are ok! Praying for continued healing and for the attackers!

  30. Matt
    This is a powerful word! You nailed it when you said, these men didn’t plan to become theives and attackers, but through different choices they have become slaves to evil.
    I am grateful for your ability to love and forgive as Jesus teaches. Light will always overcome darkness, keep being the light!
    2 Corinthians 4:16-17
    Blessings and prayers,

  31. Matt,
    I’m a friend of Audrey Harned’s. So glad you are ok. So proud of you and your attitude toward this experience and what you are taking away from it. May God bless you and your ministry. Praying that you heal quickly and completely. Thanking God for your committment to Him.

  32. So impressed with your faith! Reminds me of Paul. Praise God for your faithful and obedient service to increasing the kingdom of God…inspiring service and faith!!!??????

  33. Matt ~ So glad you see people with God Eyes. Prayers for you and your friends and complete supernatural healing. My prayer is that you will always walk, live, breathe, pray, and serve for Him who loves you like crazy. Blessings ! Deborah

  34. As I prepare for launch myself in January this is a real reminder of our mission as Christians. Thank you for your humbling perspective and your drive to bring Heaven to Earth. I’ll be praying for your recovery and healing process. God bless.

  35. What a terrifying experience. I have never come anywhere near the edge of life like that, I have no idea how I would respond. At the risk of seeming callous, I am going to ask two things that will not be in harmony with the rest of the comments. But I am genuinely curious and I wonder if you’ve asked yourself this.
    1. Do you think it’s possible that you are projecting the west on this experience? In the U.S. The narrative is usually that of gangs or thugs just trying to knock people around so they can score doe. Have you considered the completely different paradigm in which people in third world countries exist?
    2. Why do you think God saved your life when on that same day, 1500 children died of malaria? Why did he not save them?
    I understand the response to praise God after near death experiences, but I don’t understand how you square that with the fact that you r a privileged white male in a poverty stricken country and you think God favors you over the black thugs that were born and raised there.

  36. Thanks be to God for sustaining you. That was a scary night. But you’re right, you are a dangerous man, a force to be reckoned with.

    Look forward to seeing you back home!

  37. Matt. We have been praying for you. Thanks for this post. I’m glad you are leveraging your life to see that others encounter the Savior!

  38. Hi Amy,

    I don’t know Matt personally, but in answer to your first question, I am wondering if you are projecting a narrative from the West on him?? Particularly since this guy has travelled to numerous impoverished nations and is indeed probably fairly aware of the different paradigms of people in developing world countries.

    On your second question, you appear to be throwing out a red herring. Matt simply thanked God for his life being spared. And he implied that if it had not been spared, he would not have considered himself less favored. He just acknowledged that he was grateful for having more life to live on this side of heaven, but he made clear that his life was not his own anyways and he knows he is on borrowed time here on earth, so if he had died, I don’t think he would have considered himself any less favored.

    In fact, I imagine Matt would point people to Romans 14:8 “If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”

    I live in one of the worst malaria zones in the world, and I have contracted it numerous times. I have friends, old and young, who have died from it. I grieve the loss of children whom I know by name who have died from it. But when Matt thanked God for not being murdered, not once did I think God thought him any more special than the children I know who died of malaria.

    Your comparison is as odd to me as telling someone who likes chocolate that it isn’t right to do so because some people have allergies to chocolate. You can like chocolate and still have compassion for those who don’t get to experience what you perceive to be chocolate’s gastronomical exquisiteness. And you can thank God for the gift of your life, while still grieving the loss of children’s lives who are cut short by malaria. While we live on this side of heaven, there is a battle between good and evil, and Hebrews 11 reminds us that some of the ‘favored’ escape death for a while, while some of the ‘favored’ don’t, but each are ‘favored.’

    “And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning;e they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.

    These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”

  39. So glad you are recovering from this attack Matt! I will continue to pray for you as you prepare to return to the states to continue your healing.

  40. What a tragic event. The Lord will see you through. May He grant strength and wisdom to love and see that which is right.

  41. Thank you for offering some discussion points. I think your initial premise is flawed when you seemed to assume I was making accusations that required a defense. It’s nevertheless, interesting to hear your apologetics. I’m always curious how people hold to a God who thinks they are precious to him, while he seemingly allows death and suffering all around them. So thank you for trying to speak to that. I think your explanation falls, short of actually addressing the underlying problem of evil.
    I will just end with this. A question seeks the truth, while statements operate under the assumption one has the truth all sorted out. I was only imploring Matt to consider these two questions, never was my intent to attack his experience or his interpretation of that experience. While I find your remarks interesting, I am afraid they are internal apologetics you have acquired to maintain your faith. I was asking a larger question that would require one to think past of the typical go to responses.

  42. Hi Amy,

    You have some very well articulated questions about problems I’ve struggled with myself.

    I live in Malawi, Africa and I’ve seen some pretty horrific things. Just last week I met a lady whose suffered from leprosy for 40 years (I made a video about that if you’re interested:

    There have been times when I’ve been grateful for a deliverance from near-death experiences. And other times when I’ve been angry with God because that wasn’t the outcome.

    At some point I had to make a decision. Either I could continue to live in anger and confusion because I didn’t understand God’s ways. Or, I could decide to stop putting God on trial and trust that He really does have a plan better than what I can imagine or comprehend.

    I decided that I’m a human and I’m never going to understand a being like God. But I do believe that God is a good God and the horrific things I see almost daily don’t change that about Him.

    I’m not making any assumptions about you. Instead, I’m just offering how I’ve dealt with some similar issues. It’s a struggle that reappears often and I sympathize with anyone who finds dissatisfaction in the lack of answers we’re provided with.

    If I had to give one recommendation, I would say this: don’t remain in a state where you’re perpetually wrestling with the same difficult question. Seek answers.

  43. Amy, I bless you. I love you. You are an amazing creation. You are seeking truth, and I ask God that you find yourself in Truth and in Him. I ask God that you would be able to see that the very breath you breathe came from your loving generous creator. I pray that you can make sense of the ways you have been hurt and abused. I ask that our Father who is our God would show you where He was in those moments, not causing that abuse and those hurts to come about, but redeeming, and loving you and hurting all in the midst of those moments.

    Something to think about… Have you limited truth to your capacity of reason? Experience shapes individual capacity to reason. You see this from nation to nation, culture to culture, individual to individual who have come from many and different experiences. Each person, nation and culture have a different capacity to reason. Therefore, when we limit truth to our capacity to reason, we are limiting our ability to see truth based off of our context. This would be terrible news if truth is only about reason (which this belief comes from a western-enlightenment worldview). The good news is truth is a person and His name is Jesus. Jesus said “I am the way the truth and the life.” the Gospel of John opens up with, “The word (greek word Logos which has a historical definition in greek philosophical context that is similar to our post-enlightenment definition of truth) became flesh and dwelt among us.” In other words, truth is a person and that person is Jesus, our creator.

    My challenge for you is to ask God to show Himself to you in your hurts and pains. In other words, in the moments of pain that you have allowed to define your theology, ask God to show Himself to you in those areas. From what you told me, there is no risk involved here for you because if God doesn’t exist, there is no hurt in talking to someone who doesn’t exist right?

    What do you think of that Amy?

  44. Hey Amy, I like your comment. haha! Just because you refuse to go along with everyone else in comforting poor Matt. I agree it sounds a little pretentious (sorry Matt, love you bro) to claim that he is blessed. What does that even mean? Some people are blessed and some aren’t? Why? IDK. I think he just meant that life is a blessing in general, for anyone who happens to be alive. I didn’t used to believe that. I used to think life was a curse, at least for some people. People like myself. But (and sorry to Jesus-juke you here) Jesus. Before I really sought after Jesus and Church and trying to ask what it really means to “love God” or “be loved by God” I believed my life was a curse and I really didn’t believe that it was better to be alive than to never have been born at all. Now though I look back at that and laugh. Because, obviously (to me now), life IS a blessing! How cool that we get to experience life! Deep down I suppose everyone who is currently alive believes that, because they keep on seeking to live, if they didn’t believe that then I guess they would seek death; and for those that commit suicide maybe they got to the point where it really wasn’t a blessing anymore, IDK. Even my past self (though I was convinced philosophically) didn’t truly believe deep down that life was a curse, or my actions would have revealed that. So what am I trying to say here? Well, I guess that Matt really is blessed to be alive. Because life is a blessing. I think the more abundant your life, the more you are able to see that, and abundant life comes from Jesus. Hopefully that made sense to you. Interested to see what Matt says himself, if he even bothered to read all these comments. ha!

  45. Hi Amy. Glad you appreciated the discussion points. And it’s okay you assumed about me, but no, I didn’t assume you were making accusations that required a defense. I was simply responding to the questions you raised. I suppose if they don’t jive with your understanding you could cast them as defensive as they would then be in opposition to your perspective. But I actually love genuine seekers of truth (my motto since a young age has been “Truth is my pursuit”). I replied to your question because after almost a day no one had responded and I wanted to honor you and your questions by acknowledging they deserved discussion. I am sorry if that came across to you as ‘defense.’ And I regret that you interpret my response as a ‘typical go to response.’ What you call a ‘larger’ question is actually not at all ‘larger’ than I interpreted. I engage with this ‘larger’ question often as I have friends (and strangers) who have pretty much asked the exact same question you put out there. With one of those friends, I’ve been having a ten year discussion.

    The ‘problem of evil’ is pretty much something I interact with every day. I’ve wrestled with it since a young age. And one of my responses is to live in locations that put me smack dab in the middle of suffering and evil. I suppose this might be a too simplistic example for your tastes, but in CS Lewis’ ‘Perelandra’, when Ransom cries out, “God, why don’t you do something?”, the answer is, “Ransom, you are what I ‘m doing!”

    So, because I spend time in the midst of war zones, in places where starvation and diseases stalk more than 50% of the population, and I see extreme evil up close and personal more than I would wish anyone to ever experience, I ‘engage’ with the question of evil not in merely a theoretical sense, but also in a personal way. I would imagine your concern is not merely theoretical as well, but emerges from individual engagement. This is why I hope that just because the ‘problem of evil’ cannot be understood in some neatly-packed pre-digested formula, that you don’t choose to reject God’s love. I make no assumption here regarding whether you have or not, I just offer my hope that you embrace Him even as you question Him. The Psalms reveal that He has no problem with those who don’t understand all His ways and still question Him. In fact, some amazing men and women wrestled with the evil they saw that they thought God needed to answer to them about. My prayer for you is found in Psalm 27: 13, 14 “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.”

    I will end with this. Though I ask questions all the time (in fact, in school, I drove my teachers crazy as they were always imploring me to “Stop asking so many questions”), the ability to ask questions does not preclude one from the ability to make statements as well. In fact, most discussions involve a combination of both. But statements, of course, by no means imply one has truth all sorted out. I just shared some thoughts on what you had asked a question about. Never did I claim they were the last word on the subject…they were simply my offering. Please do not minimize them by casting them as ‘internal apologetics to maintain your faith.’ I understand you do not know me, but that assumption is far from reality. My faith is not static. I encourage people (including myself) to not just ask hard questions, but to genuinely engage with responses that may challenge ones assumptions.

  46. Matt, I completely challenged reading every word from you’re testimony. But now i am happy to know you personally. I thank God for the divine appointment he gives in lives of people, so that we can be encouraged and challenged on a daily basis. Our prayers are with you. See you soon in action Brother.

  47. Holy shnikees bro!
    That is some powerful stuff to say the least.
    And a good kick-in-the-pants reminder seize every God-given opportunity we have here in this indeedly fragile, blessing of a life.

    Glad you are alright.
    Shoot, sounds like you’re more than alright.

    Thanks for posting.

  48. It’s so crazy that this happened to you. You’re an incredible person, Matt. I feel lucky to know you. Please let us know if there ever a GoFundMe or anything like that set up to help with medical expenses. Praying for you, brother!

  49. Hi Melinda,

    I was making many assumptions, i admit that. That is not the way to come to any conclusions, so forgive me. I think you were making assumptions, too. That is the natural thing to do. I think we could both do better in this discussion to set aside the assumptions. So, I will do my best.

    I am not sure how to respond other than to say that I am asking hard questions. They are so hard, that any answer seems like a bandaid. I was hopeful that through Matt’s experience, he would have a new answer that I haven’t yet found myself. I was also imploring Matt to just think a bit deeper, as he processed this event. It may seem inappropriate to challenge someone as they are recovering from such a traumatic event, but since he has a blog and put it out there, I did operate on the assumption that he would welcome challenging ideas as well as encouragement.

    I do not claim to have any answers whatsoever. None. That is why you will not find me making any positive claims about God saving or not saving anyone. When someone else does give God glory for something, I am curious why. Why did God do this? Why did he do this and not that? Maybe its because God has a greater good in mind. Maybe its sheer chance. I would imagine that if God exists, there would be no way for me to know his ways. So then I am back to square one, not knowing anything. So if we can’t know God’s ways, how can we speak of knowing when he does or doesn’t do something? These really are just questions that I am content to answer with “I don’t know”. I am comfortable not knowing either way.

    On a more personal note, I think that its amazing that you are serving people in the way that you have explained. I have alot of respect for the work you do. I don’t want to let that go unsaid! Loving people is the most important thing, not the questions or the answers that humans will continue to ask forever. At some point, you have to just do something. So I really respect that 🙂


  50. Hi Gret,

    Thanks for the response. I think its amazing what you are doing in Malawi to help people, I have so much respect for your work.

    I will likely never stop asking questions, not until I receive a satisfactory answer. I imagine if a god exists who wants a personal relationship with me, he will know what that answer would be for me. Until then, I am ok with not knowing and still inquiring.

    Thanks for the discussion,


  51. Brant,

    I’m beginning to hope he doesn’t read the comments, lol! Thanks for the feedback. I like that, “Jesus-juke”, that’s funny. I would agree with Matt (and you), in saying life is a “blessing”. I might use a different word, but the meaning would essentially be the same. It is rare and precious and we only get one chance at it. We should go after it, like all of you are clearly doing, which is great! I think one thing that I would hate, if I were chasing life, is to find myself in an echo-chamber where everyone around me all agreed with me about everything. So if nothing else, hopefully my questions remedied Matt from finding himself in that place. Thanks for engaging.


  52. Jordan,

    Thank you for your sweet words. I love you, too. And I love the work you guys are doing. You guys are full of compassion and that is awesome!

    I have led a very privileged life in the United States. I have often wanted to scoop my kids up and cross the ocean and live side by side with the less fortunate and do something to ease their suffering. One day, I will. Until then, there is a lot to be done here in the states.

    I think I have endured really mild pain due to the life I was born into. I obviously did nothing to deserve it, nor did those born into the shambles of India. Unlike me, they believe they have done something to deserve it because of the religion and ideaology they were born into. Most of them will die believing this. Most people will be born into a set of ideas and die with that same set of ideas. They can’t all be correct, but they can all be wrong. I will not believe anything supernatural or disavow the supernatural based on emotions or pain or relief from pain. The truth does not care how palliative it is to those who find it. It just is. Maybe christianity holds the truth, but i haven’t found sufficient evidence to believe it. My feeling yearn for it to be true, but my feelings don’t count as evidence…especially according to the bible. The heart is deceiving. So, I will keep an open mind until I find answers that satisfy my hungry questions. Thanks again for your kind words.


  53. Hey thanks Amy! I totally agree with you about the echo-chamber. Usually if there’s nobody willing to challenge beliefs then I just take that role myself haha

  54. Wow, this really sparked some interesting conversation. It reminds me of a debate that started over something I posted years ago. It’s always surprising how what seems like a simple blog when you write it can evoke such strong responses and varied perspectives.

    Reading Matt’s blog from a Christian worldview I did not at all get then impressions that seemed to be behind your questions. I was actually perplexed by your questions until I went back and reread the post with your questions in mind. I think we so often get used to speaking a certain “language” that is relevant within our common circles, but can leave a much different impression outside of those circles. That is what I perceive is happening here across the board.

    Your question about projecting a western experience on the situation is both crucial and at the same time irrelevant in the sense that it is impossible not to impose a western perspective. I’m not saying this in a critical way at all. Only that I have come to realize in myself that even when I become aware of another person’s circumstances, such as the child soldiers I’ve read about or the inmates I used to work with, I can never fully comprehend their experience. I have been to many of those same places Matt has traveled to and have seen people eating dirt just to have something to chew on. Even though seeing that and having compassion for their situation has changed me and my perspective, I still cannot escape fully from a western experience. It will at best only ever be a mingling of the two perspectives. So yes, I would say there is definitely some western perspective in Matt’s blog because it would be impossible for him to completely divorce himself from it.

    I am curious though what aspects you are specifically referring to. What I saw when I reread the article was that his language describing people in darkness, which we use to mean not having a revelation of God’s love, could easily be taken as more of a cultural slam or comparison between white Americans verses black Africans. I do no think that was his intention at all, but rather meaning that someone who’s hope is whatever means he can acquire for himself verses somebody who believes that God is the source or his needs. I’m not sure if that still makes sense of what I think he was implying. Coming from a place of not experiencing the grace and provision of God, I’m not sure it is a concept I could actually explain. This is coming from the assumption that you do not accept the idea of God and therefore are unlikely to have experienced his supernatural provision.

    As for why God saves some and not others, that is a hard question. There is no doubt about that. To some degree I would say that if God is who He says He is, than He really doesn’t have to answer to any of us on that matter. By virtue of His divine nature, He could do as He pleases whether we approve of it or not. Thankfully, I do think that God has provided some insight into that question that reconciles his sovereignty with his goodness in this area.

    First I would say that scripture makes it clear that while God has complete authority over all things, He willingly chose to give some of that authority to man along with free will so that man could choose to relate to Him in obedience and love or in rebellion and resentment. In giving man free will, all of us have the ability to choose rebellion and the effects of our choices will inevitably affect other people either positively or negatively. If God intervened every time somebody chose to act badly then it would not really be free will at all. Therefore, we suffer the effects of other people’s rebellion. That is where violence and abandonment and such things come into play. God also clearly lays out the consequences of rebellion in Leviticus 26 but also makes it clear, by offering repeated opportunities to change their minds, that He prefers that you would live under blessing instead of under cursing. The way I see this is that He created everything and therefore knows how the system works. He is simply telling us that this is how I designed it to work. Much like the auto engineer telling you that your car will work best if you use gasoline. If you choose to use diesel, bad things will happen. Part of the “bad things” that happen under rebellion is famine and poverty because God says the land itself became cursed when we chose rebellion. Our choices not only affect us, but the environment we live in. So in effect, the situation the locals find themselves in is also the result of generations of choices that have led to poverty in the land. The difference being that when we receive salvation we receive empowerment by the Spirit of God to overcome those situations.

    Another point is that God says that his hand is moved by prayer. What I believe that means is that when God is petitioned in prayer to intervene, He chooses to step in and override some of those consequences.

    Given Matt and the rest of the team’s situation, I would assume they have many people praying for them. On the other hand, people who are not connected to a church or other believers are less likely to have people petitioning to God on their behalf.

    I know that is not an easy answer either, and leaves on feeling like it is still not fair and they do not deserve to be left abandoned like that. I think on the side of compassion God would love to move on behalf of all people, but as I mentioned earlier, that would remove the gift of free will and make us essentially into puppets.

    I hope some of that makes sense and is helpful in some way. I don’t think we will ever find an answer that leaves us completely satisfied because of the conflict between holiness and grace. This is the best I can offer.

  55. Thank you for sharing Matt and I’m glad to hear you are healing. If you need help with your insurance claim, then please don’t hesitate to contact me and I will see what I can do to help you. Please make sure you get a copy of your medical records and receipts. You can reach me via email at [email protected].

  56. Matt, the Lord has walked (and continues to walk) you through so much here…. thank you so very much for sharing! What powerful words and insight… the Lord keeps giving you HIS heart! I am blessed by your writing.

  57. Courtney,

    I just went back to read over these comments. AND I realize… I dropped the ball.

    It’s a little late, but thank you for your kind words and encouragement in that time. I read it, but I think I ran out of responding steam. I hope you’re doing well!

  58. Alyssa,

    I have not seen you in such a long time, and not sure why I stopped responding to these comments originally. I’m sure I intended to get around to it, but that just took a while haha. That being said, sincerely thank you for praying for and also for being a part of an army of encouragement back in this time.

  59. HELENA! I’m a liiiittle late on this, but thank you for your encouragement in such a crazy time that that was!

  60. Aubree, I’m super late to the responding party here, but thank you for your kind words and support back in the time this all went down. I hope you guys are doing well!

  61. Love this comment. Not sure why I didn’t get around to responding 4 and a half years ago, but it blessed me again tonight to read back over it. I hope you guys are lovin life!

  62. Hey Katie,

    Wow is right. It’s so funny looking back at these comments all these years later. We’d connected so little in life and I’m grateful that you were willing to take some time out of your day to provide such a thoughtful and encouraging response.

    I pray that your heart is rich and full and that the chains of comfort you were hoping to be loosed in your life came off and stay off.

    Also… it took 4 and a half years, but the bald patch looks a little better.

  63. Matt,

    You and I met briefly on your surprise visit to Arden while our squad was in Zambia last year. I definitely can’t say that I know you, but your heart and passions are evident, even in a brief interchange, and in knowing what your friendship means to Arden as well. I have been praying for you, and have had friends and my prayer group at work lifting you up as well. Heaven is being flooded with prayers for your recovery but also prayers for the true victims – for them to be dropped to their knees before God’s redemption, freedom and grace. Thank you for sharing your story, and for keeping your eyes on Jesus! Peace and safety to you as you return!

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