Matrix Moments

by Karl Ihfe

Have you had a “Matrix” moment recently? Based on the 1999 sci-fi movie, it’s that moment when facing a decision you realize that no matter the choice you make, things will never be the same. Red pill, blue pill. I’ve faced several of these moments in 44 years. The first happened my sophomore year of high school — who is going to lead my life, me or Christ? The next quickly followed as I had to clarify what my new commitment to Jesus would look like.

Over the next several years the Matrix moments continued: where will I go to college? What am I going to do with my life? What do I do if this beautiful brunette says yes to spending our lives together? Looking back I can say with great confidence that some of my decisions have turned out better than I could have ever imagined — August 13th we celebrated our 7th year at Broadway, 19 years in ministry so far. This November Kaley and I celebrate 21 years of marriage. Other decisions, well, didn’t quite go according to plan. I didn’t realize a sermon might cost me a friendship, or that Gabe’s birth would start with an 11 day NICU experience.

I’ve discovered that no matter how any one Matrix moment has gone, that hasn’t stopped the flow of them into my life, they just keep coming. They don’t seem to care much about my life plan or weekly schedule, they simply arrive demanding a response.

As a younger man I didn’t understand that Matrix moments are really gifts of grace. They’re invitations. I missed that. Instead I put pressure on myself to make the right choice so I wouldn’t embarrass myself or my family.

More recently, I’ve reframed them as opportunities to learn, explore, and discover more about the “with God life” I’m aiming toward. Watching the disciples in the gospels has taught me that following Jesus has less to do with making every right decision and more to do with trusting in the One who works out all decisions for the good. I’m striving to become the kind of person who instinctively trusts that God can make up for my lack, no matter what decision I make. The prophet Isaiah said God is the one who “Straightens the curves and smooths out the rough places.” Knowing that, it takes the pressure off of me to get it right, and instead invites me to get involved.

Broadway has faced many Matrix moments in her history, and her courage to step out in faith and not be paralyzed by fear is a legacy I’m proud to sustain. This issue of By the Way magazine examines some new Matrix moments were facing at Broadway, particularly in our Campus Ministry. We invite you to explore these opportunities and take your place alongside us as together we trust God and step out in faith on our next great adventure!

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