Saturday, April 19, 2008
The Night Before for the preacher
I've been fussing with the message for tomorrow morning for a while now tonight, and I think I'm calling it a day. This "Big Questions" series has been good for at least one New Hope member - me. Tackling such huge issues has put me on my knees and in the study so much that I wonder if it's not time to pull an all nighter. Just kidding - you wouldn't like me when I'm sleepy.
I've read books this week by C.S. Lewis, Timothy Keller, Jerry Falwell, Chuck Swindoll, and countless articles and blog posts. I've queried some other pastors to see how they've approached the same topic. And I've read lots of Scripture.
The problem of suffering, of pain, of evil isn't anything I'm going to solve tomorrow. And I'm pretty sure Ravi Zacharias won't have to quit his day job. But it is something I've seen up close, something I deal with in my role as a pastor, and something I have to run to Jesus' arms to handle.
I can vividly remember the first tremor it gave my faith. Our nephew Wes was just a little older (or younger, can't recall) than our oldest son Adam. A couple of months difference I think. They played together all the time when we visited my Mother in law's house. One day we got a call that he was sick. Then we heard he was at the hospital. When I called to check on him, his doctor told me "as a matter of fact, he has just expired." Boom.
We were shocked, scared, stunned, numb. How? Why? Why?
There've been others since then. So I'm praying hard tonight that the Holy Spirit will use whatever I do for God's glory to help people see Jesus as the answer to the problems. I'm taking Vance Havner's advice and making a beeline for the cross tomorrow.
"Behold, I make all things new." Yes Lord, Maranatha.