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  • Writer's pictureJake Sims

"Where are You?"

"Where are You?"


My wife and I met in August of 2018 - and cool story - married in January 2019! Crazy, right? Not really. If you’ve met us, you knew instantly she and I were created for each other. We have weird quirks, similar humor, the same goals, and the same love for our kids. Life didn't slow down after our wedding day though. After our honeymoon, we (you guessed it) were PREGNANT! Our family of three, including my daughter Emma, was going to grow by one!


We were nervous, anxious, but so ecstatic! Emma was elated to become a big sister. We were so enthralled to share the news of this baby’s gender. When we had our reveal party, it was HUGE! We had our favorite people celebrating with us. So, what was it going to be?! Lucie Mae? Or Judah Alan? After the big balloon pop, we found out it was a GIRL!! Emma was going to be a big sister to miss Lucie Mae! Baby was growing, things were going smoothly with my job, and our lives were building as a new married couple together. Nothing could tear us down!

Or so we thought…


When Jessie was twelve weeks pregnant with Lucie, she experienced severe hemorrhaging with her pregnancy. The doctors chalked it up as non-life threatening and planned to monitor as we went. Twelve weeks turned into seventeen weeks very quickly. This turned into one of the worst weeks of our lives as my beautiful wife continued hemorrhaging. Long story short, we were given a very slim chance of survival for our sweet Lucie who eventually came six days later. She took the equivalent of two-hour’s worth of breaths until her heart stopped beating.

Our baby girl had entered the presence of Jesus.


Crushed.


Crushed is an understatement of emotions we felt for weeks, months, years, and even now. We placed all our hope in prayer and what we believed was God's plan. Things didn't go the way we planned and hoped for. Our faith was shaken to its core while our prayer life had evaporated. The question we woke up with every day was this: "God, where are You?"


God, where are You?

God, where were You?

God, I cried out to You.

God, I begged You.

God, I pleaded to You.

These questions, or rather statements, are things that run in my mind every day.


After swallowing tears and hiding frustrations for months, we were surprised with the news Jessie was pregnant again! However, this time we were having a boy. Born March 24, 2020, Denver was a pandemic baby! You would think a newborn would be enough focus for Jessie and I being so fresh and new. But, two months later, I went to my wife with a CRAZY idea!


~"We are going to plant a church in Knoxville!"~


You read that right. In May of 2020, God laid on our hearts to plant a church in the city Jessie and I grew up in, Knoxville. I turned in my notice as youth pastor to the church I was serving with and began the process of planting a new church. The key word was BUILDING. While I felt led to plant the church, I knew deep down I was not ready to lead as a lead pastor. So, we reached out, prayed with, and spoke with several couples, families, and individuals to join this journey with us! We had many agree, many join, and many adopt the vision God planted in my heart for a church here in K-Town.


Fast forward to now, March 2022. Recently, I stepped down and away from the church we planted. Currently, my family and I attend a church (that we love) while partaking in a season of rest from serving.


Wait, what happened? Why is this all relevant?


You see, the experience my wife and I (our family) just endured and went through rocked us to our core even more than before. It's almost as if we masked our feelings and emotions of the death of our daughter behind a ministry that God called us into. Our grief was never processed, our sadness never dealt with, and our shaken faith never placed on a firm rock.


While not fully recovered, we found ourselves in a detrimental situation with the church we planted. Spiritual abuse, legalism, suppression of beliefs, and narcissism were a few things we were battling against. The battle behind the scenes rocked our faith even more. The very church we planted, prayed for, cried over, and gave blood, sweat, and tears for was now a place we had to step down and away from.


The questions poured in:

God, where are You?

God, where were You?

God, I cried out to You.

God, I begged You.

God, I pleaded to You.

God, did You place this in my life just to rip it out from under me?...


There is a show by the name "The Chosen." In one of the episodes, Nathanael is sitting under a fig tree holding plans to build a temple for God that were rejected. He’s crying out and searching for God, but God does not answer (so we think). Toward the end of the episode, the cry for help comes full circle with Jesus.

"I saw you under the fig tree" were the words Jesus spoke to Nathanael in conversation, stunning him in awe.

Why do I bring that up? Because it too was my mind set. I have been under a tree looking for God to answer. We did this for Him. We dedicated our lives to this plant for Him. Where is He?


These are the questions I wrestle with as I wake each day. I have realized as I struggle, God can be silent. God can remain asleep in the front of the boat while the storm rages on. He can be a few days late when death is on the line. Motivating, right? Actually, yes. Two weeks after stepping away from the church plant, God led us to our current church. The first sermon we heard was titled, "God has more for you."


Like a semi ran me over, God spoke.


I have more for you.

I'm right here with you.

I was right there with you.

I heard your cries.

I heard your begging.

I heard your pleading.

That's why I removed you from it.

It clicked. Sometimes, the things we want are not the things we need. So, the season I'm in now is a constant reminder: God has more for me. As I wake in the morning still asking, God where are You?... He simply reminds me: I am with you.



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