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Learning to Trust God When It’s Painful

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“I was a baby-faced nineteen-year-old and Patti was barely seventeen when we got married in McCleary (Washington), in the same church where we had met as children, the same church my dad had pastored…,” Kent remembers. “By the time I was twenty-one, Patti and I started evangelizing full-time, traveling from church to church across the United States wherever anyone would invite us.” Kent and Patti settled in Washington state in 1978, where he worked as an associate pastor, and soon had a son, Joshua. They both adored him from the start. Their life together in the coming years was simple and sweet.  

By the mid-80’s, though, Kent began hearing some rumors that Patti was unfaithful. Though she denied it, and Kent didn’t want to believe it, it wasn’t long before others’ suspicions were confirmed. She left Kent twice and returned, then finally did so for good, leaving their son with his dad. “I was devastated,” Kent says. “The temptation to commit suicide loomed largely in my mind.” Kent stayed with some friends, looked for a job, and enrolled eight-year-old Joshua in school.  

About a month later, he went to pick him up from school, and was told he wasn’t there – that his mother had picked him up. Kent was incredulous and, once again, devastated. He wouldn’t see his son again for a year. “At thirty-two years of age, I was broke and had absolutely nothing going for me but my faith in God.” Though utterly broken and soon to be divorced, Kent clung to the belief that God was still faithful and loved him, and received the love of good friends who encouraged him.   


By 1994, Kent had married Candy, started evangelizing again, and they’d had a daughter, Jasmine, and a son, Nicholas. That same year he was invited to appear on The 700 Club to share about Baby Nicholas' premature birth at 27 weeks, and how the Lord spared him. A few months later, Pat Robertson invited Kent to speak at a “tent revival” meeting taking place at CBN. “I looked out into the crowd jammed with people whose faces were filled with excitement and anticipation. Just then, God spoke to me and said, ‘I want you to prophesy, and this is what I want you to say.’ NO!, I thought. I knew that Pat Robertson and Michael Little (CBN’s President at the time) were not big fans of outside prophetic ministries because they had seen the gift of prophecy abused all too frequently. ‘I ain’t doin’ that,’ I protested to God.” He argued with God for a bit, then chose to obey. When it was his time to speak, Pat introduced him. “'Thus saith the Lord,’ I said. I looked right at Pat and said, ‘God says you have left your roots. And you need to come back because there is a revival that needs to hit this place …’” Expecting to be terribly embarrassed and told to sit down, Kent was surprised at how receptive Pat and the audience were. “Pat stood behind the podium and said, ‘We have heard from the Lord. We need to get on our knees and repent. Pat led the way as multitudes of men and women fell to their knees, weeping, repenting, and asking God for cleansing and a fresh touch of His Spirit.”  


After his divorce, Kent saw his son, Josh, for only a few weeks each year, but made it clear that he was welcome to live with him and Candy whenever he wanted. When he was 16, Josh decided to take him up on that offer. About the same time, his parents learned that he had been sexually abused by a family acquaintance ten years earlier. Josh told his family, “At age eleven, my desire for male affirmation turned sexual.” While living with his dad, they finally talked about it all, and Kent asked if he was struggling with homosexuality. Josh admitted he was. Kent arranged for him to spend time with friends who had a deliverance ministry, which seemed to help for a time, but before long, Josh was dabbling again with the lifestyle. He moved out of their home and “came out” as openly gay. “We chose to love him no matter what, even though we did not condone his sin. That wasn’t an easy balance to maintain,” Kent admits. “We prayed for Josh for fourteen years.”

They then asked for the prayers of five couples they knew, who joined them in praying that Joshua would “come to himself,” like the prodigal son in the New Testament book of Luke. Not long after, Kent received a call. It was Josh, who said the Holy Spirit had come upon him and told him He was setting him free from homosexuality because of the prayers of people who love him. Josh received counseling from a pastor friend for quite some time. He met the pastor’s niece, Carrie, and eventually married her.  

In time, Josh and Carrie had two boys, and he became the chef for the homeless ministry of his parents’ church, making meals for hundreds who showed up each week. Life was good for many years, until January of 2022. Josh suffered a brain aneurysm and spent the next twenty-five days in the hospital. It was a harrowing time for the family, as they prayed fervently, expecting the Lord to heal him. On February 6, Josh’s temperature spiked to 108, and his oxygen level dropped to only 20%. “I still believed that at any moment, he was going to open his eyes and snap out of it, and we’d celebrate what God had done,” Kent remembers. “I walked to my son’s bedside and laid my hands on Josh. My hands were still on him when I felt him take his last breath. It was 3:02 in the afternoon. I knew at that moment that he had died.” Josh was only forty-three.  

Though Kent accepted God’s sovereignty, he struggled greatly with this painful providence. “I grappled with what we had experienced: I had believed that God was going to heal Josh … He didn’t. Josh died. What does a preacher who believes in a God who heals do with that? At first, he was angry and told God so. “’I will never pray for another sick person,’ I said. ‘Why should I? It doesn’t work. You said if we ask anything in Your name, believing that we will receive, it will be done. How can You expect me to get back on the platform and pray for others when I no longer believe it works?’” It took time and prayer, but Kent, and all the family came to the place of trusting God’s goodness again. “Do I still have questions about Josh’s death? Absolutely. But I choose to trust God. I know the goodness of God is working for us, not against us” 


In September of 2020, Kent was invited to be one of 90 speakers at a gathering called The Return in Washington, DC. The purpose of the two-day event, held just six months after the COVID outbreak in America, was to focus on God and “return” the nation to its spiritual roots through prayer and repentance. Kent had prayed all day, asking God what He would have him share. With only minutes before he would be introduced, he still had nothing. Then it was time. “I stepped briskly to the podium in front of the enormous crowd that now numbered about 130,000 people on the National Mall, with millions more watching online. I still had nothing prepared to say, but as I leaned into the podium and opened my mouth, completely uncertain of what – if anything – might come out, the Holy Spirit hit me, and I boldly spoke.”  

Kent went on to prophesy about the Church taking dominion over the powers of darkness in the nation, about an unprecedented move of the Holy Ghost and His pulling down strongholds, a release of divine healing, a breaking of the spirit of Jezebel, and about churches filling up throughout the nation. The entire message was just over four minutes. Afterward, life went on as normal until just after Christmas. That Sunday, hundreds of new people showed up at his church. Over a six-week period, they went from 150 to 600 attendees, and now have 1000 members, with more than 10,000 watching online from 100 countries. Clearly, the message he had given at The Return had resonated and given people hope. 

To purchase Kent Christmas' autobiography, Turning Sorrow into Joy, please visit his website: For more information about his church, Regeneration Nashville, please visit:

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About The Author

Julie Blim

Julie produced and assigned a variety of features for The 700 Club since 1996, meeting a host of interesting people across America. Now she produces guest materials, reading a whole lot of inspiring books. A native of Joliet, IL, Julie is grateful for her church, friends, nieces, nephews, dogs, and enjoys tennis, ballroom dancing, and travel.