Saturday, February 25, 2017
Building People of Substance for Works of Power
Let’s weep with them that weep, Amigos.
I had been a Christian only a few weeks when I visited a rather large church in Oklahoma City. The worship pastor there had only recently passed away. He was a man in his forties with young children at home. The tone was very sad, but with the standard Christian veneer, that is, “he is in Heaven and happy now.” In addition, of course, there were the feeble efforts at attributing motive to God in “taking him.” My favorite was, “God needed his talents in Heaven to lead worship.” Really? I was very new and very unsophisticated, but that just didn’t make sense. The God that saved me, delivered me from addiction, and restored me to favor with employers and family is killing nice people? In particular, He is killing men who have served Him faithfully and who have small children and a wife to care for? Please!
For me, this has been a week of listening to stories of people who love God, who believe in healing, yet have been faced with terrible loss and disappointment when healing didn’t come. My belief in the will of God to heal is unshakeable. I have been healed of so many things I lose count. I have prayed for folks who experienced documented healings. Most importantly, I
see it in the Bible. Yet, as a pastor, my most difficult moments are in trying to comfort those who have lost a loved one. They feel many understandable emotions: guilt, anger, despair, etc. How could God allow this? Did I do something wrong? What else could I have done? Is God really who I thought He was? Can I believe Him in the next battle? You get the point. I know a few things for sure:
· God didn’t do it. John 10:10
· We live in a cursed world because of Adam. Romans 5:12
· We don’t know everything. 1 Corinthians 13:12
· Life without an eternal perspective is hopeless. Ecclesiastes, the whole book.
· We live on what we do know and trust the rest to God. Deuteronomy 29:29
Somebody Said: Can I see another’s woe, and not be in sorrow too? Can I see another’s grief, and not seek for kind relief? William Blake
Scripture Reading: Some things are hidden. They belong to the LORD our God. But the things that have been revealed in these teachings belong to us and to our children forever. We must obey every word of these teachings. (Deuteronomy 29:29 GW)
“Gee, some things we just don’t know,” is cold comfort to those in the throes of grief. In those times the best we can do is pray earnestly for them, make ourselves available to them, and try to avoid giving them our best theological interpretation of their tragedy. Save your preaching, give your compassion. That being said, in the next few installments of Out of the Abundance, I will be addressing a few things we need to know about faith, failure, and feelings in this wonderful and challengeing life of faith.
Pastor Virgil L. Stokes
Faith Christian Fellowship of Tucson
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