I wouldn’t have known it but nearly nineteen years ago God met me here in |Ibiza. I wouldn’t have known it because I was too busy living a life without Him. After knowing Him as a twelve year old I had walked away from God at the age of sixteen - HELLbent (like literally) on living for myself. Driven by the lusts of the flesh. The lusts of the eyes and the pride of life. And so here I was as a twenty four year old, enslaved to hedonism and heartache. I was empty on the inside; striving in vain to fill the gaping bit hole in my inners. Trying to satisfy the pursuit of inner satisfaction with my man, with getting high and with trying to be like the world around me.
Yet in hindsight, I am now convinced that God’s Spirit was brooding here in San Antonio Bay over me, even in my debauched wilderness - and as I would people-watch, sitting slightly uncomfortably on the rocky beaches of this island, wondering why my pill wasn’t kicking in yet…I would search my soul and question what this hedonistic living was really about. All around me I would see depravity. Though I failed in that moment to recognise it in myself, yet I could clearly see the emptiness in the lifestyle we were all pursuing. I could see that it just couldn’t satisfy. That beneath the surface of all the good time vibes, the defected soundtrack, the glamour, the drugs, the dancing and the so called freedom…there was deep emptiness.
Not too long after I had been on this trip in Ibiza, my world began to spin out of control. After a series of rock bottoms I knew I had to make a change. Crawling and often dragging myself to the altar with several failed attempts at surrendering my life to the God of my youth, I asked God to help me start again. The road to redemption that ensued, wasn’t easy and many a time over the next few years I made decisions that would enslave me all over again. With each decision to return to my previous life of darkness the entrapment would become more destructive than before, rendering me totally imprisoned.
Yet when freedom finally came I never looked back. It was oh so powerful. Over the next fifteen years God so beautifully transformed my life. He rescued and set me free from the reckless lifestyle I had been living and totally freed me from relying on sex, drugs and alcohol to fulfil me. He changed the way that I think about myself, my worth and my body and beautified my life so that I began to walk in dignity, honour and love. He completely renewed my entire outlook on life and instead of being driven by lust, the more I began to understand and receive God’s unconditional love. the more I began to be driven by true love. My whole world started to be about giving instead of taking. I no longer lived for myself but for God.
I experienced the sweetest liberation and found myself living a life of true freedom where who I was created to be, began to come alive and I found myself excitedly and purposefullly living a life of true significance. Finding myself so transformed, so whole, so healed and so filled with love that I can’t help but tell people about this glorious God who rescued me and flip turned my world upside down. Who threw me a lifeline and not only redeemed me from death but gave me a life of euphoria, of joy, of peace and hope, of adventure and excitement and of love and compassion - beyond my wildest dreams.
And so here I am back in Ibiza as part of Ibiza 24-7. And as I watched their videos on YouTube just before I came out here, I came across footage of their work out here from way back when they first started. They started about a year after I visited Ibiza that first time. As I watched each video and pondered the incredible fact that as I would have spent a week out here, high as a kite, partying and going wild nineteen years ago, someone must have been praying for me. Someone from Ibiza 24-7 must have prayer-walked the very streets I walked in my drunken stupor. Someone must have stood in the gap so that I could encounter God while I was here. And though I wouldn’t have known it at the time - but God was brooding over me and wooing me towards Him - in response to someone praying and sowing into the ground of my life. As I watched these video and considered this incredible possibility, I wept.
And today as I pray and weep over the partygoers of Ibiza I build a memorial stone here in San Antonia Bay to mark not just how God has met me a million times in my relationship with Him but how He also met me when I was here and I didn't even know Him. I build a memorial stone of worship, eternal gratitude and utter wonder at His mercy and kindness towards me. I build an altar right here on this party island convinced that this very altar will be a living stone, a memorial for generations far beyond my own life that will commemorate not just the encounters that I had with God as an individual but the future encounters of all those that will also come to know the fiery, unrelenting, patient and faithful love of God…the God who is faithfully and fiercely brooding over this island patiently and lovingly drawing humanity to Himself…
As I get ready to go out on the streets and share the love of God here in Ibiza, I am just so expectant that the same way that God had people praying for me while I was out here, standing in the gap for me, calling me into my true identity and place in God…so too am I being used my God to do this for the precious clubbers and workers out here. And the same way God flip turned my world upside down and then began to transform my life over a period of almost two decades…similarly He will patiently sow seeds into the hearts of the people here and over time, however long or short that may be they too will encounter God’s love the way that I did. And they too will build altars of praise and worship, as living memorials because God encountered them just like He encountered me and those before me and those before them and on and on it goes.
Our God, the same yesterday, today and forever - encountering humanity with His incredible love - generation upon generation - revealing His goodness to mankind, even in the most depraved, sinful, worldly settings…wooing the lost back into His love.
Hello Ibiza. Welcome to another glorious encounter with your God. x