The hymn describes a wondrous God and lists all that he’s done, but the “wonder of wonders” is “just to think that God loves me.”

I was thinking about that hymn this morning when I realized we are celebrating the 35th anniversary of Key Life. Lots of people respond to the question of “How are you doing?” with “A lot better than I deserve.” In the case of Key Life that’s true in spades...and certainly true of me. Now that I think about it, that’s the point and central focus of Key Life and our mission of “Getting you and those you love home with radical freedom, infectious joy, and surprising faithfulness as your crowning achievement.” The operative word is “surprising.”

It started out with a few cassette tapes and even fewer radio stations. I remember when our first director, David Horner, came into my office and said, “They’re writing to us as if Key Life is a gigantic ministry, and it’s only you and me.” Actually, it wasn’t just us. It was Jesus and that’s always been apparent. Not only apparent, it was also amazing. Several times I thought God was shutting this ministry down and each time I was surprised by God’s intervention. So often I thought that we would do better if we knew more, loved deeper, and served a lot. Sometimes I was tempted to talk about Key Life’s faithfulness and how God had honored it. But of course I couldn’t do that because it simply wasn’t true. 

Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world...so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29).  Later he put legs on that by writing, “God’s power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Thirty-five years is a long time. Frankly, I’m tempted to brag a little, to list the achievements of Key Life, and to say to the multitude of critics, “So there! Put that in your pipe and smoke it!”  Then I have an attack of sanity. And I think of the woodpecker pecking on a tree when lightning struck. He brought all of his friends to come and see the shattered tree, and to brag on his pecking prowess.

For 35 years our message has been simple: God isn’t mad at his people! God willing, this will always be our message because all of us at Key Life are committed to the radical freedom of those who have nothing to lose and nothing to protect, the infectious joy and laughter of those who are loved by a God who loves us when we know we don’t deserve it, and the surprising faithfulness that comes when we never expected it.

Thanks for standing with us. That means you’re as weird as we are and you’ve discovered with us the amazing grace of a surprising God!