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  • Writer's pictureKatie Comiskey

Mercy Incorruptible

My world was rocked when I first heard the news about Mike Bickle’s sexual and spiritual abuse: I felt sick to my stomach and disoriented. 

 

I was surprised by how much this news upended me. Nearly 20 years had elapsed since my internship at IHOPKC’s Fire in the Night in 2006; I’ve changed a lot since then. (Heck, I became Catholic almost a decade ago!)

 

IHOPKC did upend my life for the good. I moved to Kansas City less than 24 hours after I graduated high school because of DSM’s (my parents, etc.) partnership with IHOPKC. Just six months later, I started my internship there as an 18-year-old hoping to catch some of the fire. 


This internship changed my life. I like to say I was converted to Jesus there: though a Christian already, my faith became real, my own, as I fell in love with Jesus praying night after night in the prayer room.  I apprehended something deep and true about His love for me; He shook and shored up my foundations. I began cultivating the fruit of spending this life in prayer and worship before His throne.

 

Then the dissonance: my good experience and the wickedness still being revealed. How could such mercy also be that toxic? A corrupt tree cannot produce good fruit. 

 

Particularly grievous to me was the complicity of Bickle’s cronies, those in positions of leadership who turned blind eyes to a host of abuses, including Mike’s.   

 

Leader of the FITN internship—Stuart Greaves—broke me. I knew and loved him best. When the news broke about Mike, I was assured that Stuart knew nothing. I had only experienced Stuart as a man of integrity, worthy of trust, who shepherded us beautifully. 

 

To read about Stuart’s mishandling of sexual impropriety broke my heart. Him too? I don’t claim to know the extent of what Stuart knew and did, including his intentions, but I do know he was in over his head and was part of the problem. He refused to deal with some abuses, which perpetuated them.  

 

When the IHOP scandal first broke, DSM was amid a 40-day prayer and fast (the irony wasn’t lost on any of us). We mourned and prayed daily for IHOPKC. That kept my heart fresh in mercy: still bewildered by the news, I prayed in earnest for Mike Bickle and IHOPKC. I too am a duplicitous sinner, capable of evil. Who am I to not extend the same mercy I received?

 

But as allegations multiplied, each one worse than the next, disgust displaced mercy. ‘The whole thing is corrupt! Let the fire on the altar burn it all down!’  

 

Calmer now. Upon reflection, my IHOPKC experience wasn’t perfect, just really good. The humble, ragtag bunch that I prayed with night after night, interns and leaders alike, exemplified a passionate pursuit of Jesus. They loved Him and helped me to love Him better.

 

I remember with gratitude the amazingly gifted worship and prayer leaders who led us deep into the night in humble and authentic devotion. They ushered me into the throne room; I learned to prostrate myself in adoration before the Lamb that was slain. I want that till I see Him face-to-face.  

 

Such good fruit smells like mercy, not decay: a fragrant inheritance borne of prayerful ones who poured generously into me and the whole body of Christ.

 

Revisionist history isn’t helpful. To deny the good I received from the prayer room rips something essential out of my history; it also blunts the grief we bear with Christ over the infidelity of His people.

 

Yet my good experience doesn’t ameliorate the bad.  It remains a tension, one I cannot reconcile, but one I can offer to Jesus. I don’t want to grow bitter or cynical towards the Bride.

 

IHOPKC upended me for good and bad; Christ roots me back in His mercy. I offer the muck—the mixture of my inheritance—to Jesus. He filters it through His nailed-pierced hands. He will return to me the good, His mercy incorruptible.   


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1 Comment


Darrell Wentworth
Darrell Wentworth
May 06

I have a couple of friends and international leaders who were devastated by Mike Bickle’s fall. I drew solace from the teaching of Matthew Kelly: “Evil exists, but it’s not out there. It splits the human person down the middle. It’s in all of us!” That’s why Jesus taught us to pray “deliver us from evil.” We all sin and fall short of the glory of God. But we all have eyes that need to see and minds that need to discern and souls that are connected to the Spirit of Grace giving us courage to protect! I pray that everyone learns how be bold witnesses to the gospel, especially to leaders.

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