God is with us in the darkness. He is near to the brokenhearted.
“Our hearts are sifted” when we encounter suffering, and Gerard and Jeannie Long understand that well.
“In 2004 I remember saying to Jeannie, ‘Does it get any better than this? In love with Jesus, a beautiful home, a wonderful church…’ but shortly after I felt God saying ‘You’re going to enter a season of brokenness.’ We got to the bottom of the valley in 2005 when our precious youngest son Alex took a drug with a boy at school and became delusional.” A few days later Alex took his life.
Gerard and Jeannie were rocked and devastated. Jeannie went through a season of rejecting God. She describes the moment the family learned of Alex’s death.
“It was a moment I don’t think anybody should ever have to live through. I ran away from God; the God that I had loved and worshiped all these years I couldn’t find anymore. I couldn’t reconcile this. It seemed more freeing to believe [that God wasn’t there].”
Gerard shares the reality of living between the first garden, Eden, and the coming city, Jerusalem. “We’re in this intermediate phase” where there is mourning and grief and brokenness. But we can share “messages of love and suffering, of reconciliation – so many things. With the comfort we’ve received, we now want to comfort others.”
In the aftermath of grief, Gerard and Jeannie started up a ministry – Awakening to God Ministries.
Gerard shares their vision. “The mission of the ministry is to proclaim Jesus Christ. We want to give people a bigger picture of God and His glory – Jesus came on a rescue mission. Jesus placed us here as His ambassadors to bring broken people into the arms of a loving God.”