An essential piece of my pastoral repertoire are Kleenex tissues. When I took a pastoral care and counseling class in seminary, I was told that I would need a Bible, a robe, and a pulpit, but behind closed doors people would need tissues to wipe away the tears. Sometimes folks will feel the need to apologize and say something like, “Oh, I didn’t realize I was going to do this.” I, on the other hand, could have guessed it. And so, I will just reach over and say, “Here you go” and sometimes even get one for myself.
By far the greatest challenge to the Christian faith is the problem of pain, — physical pain, emotional pain, marital pain, mental pain, family pain, you name it. With so much darkness and horror in this world, the question on so many people’s minds is, “Where is God when it hurts?” We have seen horrible suffering around the world, and have even experienced it ourselves. A young person with a bright future driving one day, looks down for a pair of sunglasses, and then dies suddenly and senselessly in a car accident. A loved one wastes away with the ravages of cancer. An tsunami snuffs out the lives of thousands of already suffering poor people in the developing world. And so, we have people crying out to God beneath what seems like a silent heaven. That happened one day to a woman that Jesus met one day in Matthew 15:21-28. It is what we are going to be talking about as I continue my sermon series, “The Gospel in Seven Words.” Our title this Sunday is, “Jesus Christ Leads us out of the Fog.”
Friends, Jesus is with us and for us, and he will make things right again. C.S. Lewis once said that the most frequently spoken word in heaven is going to be, “Oh!” “Oh,” as in “Now I understand! Now I get it! Now it all makes sense!” In the meantime we walk around saying, “Huh?” “Huh?” and nothing seems to make sense. But, the Bible promises that someday God himself will wipe every tear from every eye and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain. Please, keep the faith!
Quote of the Week
“You don’t really know Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have.” Tim Keller
Timothy J. Keller is an American pastor, theologian, and Christian apologist. He is the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, New York, and the author of The New York Times bestselling books The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God, and The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. The prequel for the latter is Making Sense of GOD: An Invitation to the Skeptical.