Loved By God

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For the month of June, the Love Our City campaign will highlight different Watermark ministry partners in the impact area of homeless care and prevention. This week, you can read about how Watermark member Jad Dagher came to know and trust the Lord, as well as his work and service with OurCalling. As you read his story, consider ways you can love our city!

"My parents were Christian missionaries when I was born, and our family eventually moved back to Lebanon, where my dad became a pastor. I grew up in the church, and I knew the simple truth that when you pray, God answers. You just have to ask!

"When I was seven years old, my father got a viral infection that hit his spinal cord. I thought, 'We got this! We'll pray, and God will answer.' As soon as he was in the hospital, we all started praying. Churches around the world were also praying for my father to be healed.

“Not even a week later, I woke up to a very different reality. My father had passed away. I don't think I fully understood the weight of the situation, but I felt like something didn't make sense. My prayer-answer-equation didn't add up.

“Life continued, and I watched as my family was heartbroken and forever changed. It wasn't until my teenage years that grief hit me in a new way - I recognized Father's Day, birthdays, and family trips were a lot different than everyone else around me.

“I blamed everything on God. I asked Him, ‘What were you thinking? Do you even love me?’ I believed God still existed, but I now believed He was cruel.

“Out of my hatred, I started to choose to hurt the Lord. I was so angry. I started lying to my mom about where I was and what I was doing. I was still the good ‘church guy’ to most people, but behind everyone’s backs, I was living my own secret life. If it hurt God’s heart, I wanted to do it.

“One night, I was home alone and noticed a picture of me as a kid with my dad. Immediately, I felt a weight and deep anger. I began to wrestle with God – crying, yelling, and cursing at Him. Everything had boiled up to this point.

“Through all of it, I felt the Lord remind me that I’m safe and that He loved me. But I started to yell back, ‘You don’t love me. I am hurting you, so you’re not supposed to love me.’

“Without ceasing, I could feel Him telling me, ‘I love you despite it all.’ In a quick flash of memories, I could see the ways the Lord had been providing for me and my family throughout the years. I realized that if this is the God that my father loved and believed in, then He would know I am tired, angry, exhausted, and desperate for peace.

“That night was the most peaceful night I’ve ever had to this day! From then on, the Lord has given me peace and no fear of death. Just a calm, quiet peace. The next morning, I got on my knees and surrendered everything to Him. I told God, ‘Wherever you want me to go and whatever you want me to do, I’ll do it. You’re real. You’re alive. You love me.’

“And since then, that’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve served around the Middle East in different places, and eventually, the Lord brought me to Dallas Theological Seminary. The Lord was so good to me, giving me good friends and community, and eventually, the woman who would become my wife, Elisabeth.

“Now, the Lord is allowing me to work and serve with OurCalling, where I get to remind people experiencing homelessness the same thing I needed to be reminded of when I was at my lowest: God still loves you. He’s still here. He’s still waiting.

“We aim to be a consistent place where, when people are ready, they can get food, a shower, clean laundry, and a sense of community. We rely on the Lord to guide us at every step. Our hope is that as God leads us in any direction, it would be to increase the amount of people who trust in Jesus first and then provide a way to get them off the streets.

“There are over 10,000 people on the streets of Dallas who are scared and worried about their lives and safety. When they come into our doors, we want to help them feel safe. We get to remind people that they’re not alone, and they don’t have to be. We’re going to help. We’re able to meet them where they are, and that is what matters.

“I invite the Watermark church body to join us in serving at OurCalling. There are so many ways to care for the people of our city – whether it’s behind the scenes, with our search and rescue team, or serving meals in just one-hour shifts. The Lord is using OurCalling to help those experiencing homelessness in Dallas, and you can help us make an impact for Christ!”

Learn more about OurCalling, their app resource, and ways you can get involved with Love Our City this summer.