If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. Proverbs 24:10
Yesterday you turned 40 years old. That must feel strange to think you’re half way to eighty! Life seems to go by so fast. As they say, “The days are long but the years are short.” And they just seem to be getting shorter all the time.
When I was thinking about what I would share tonight there were many things that came to my mind. Your amazing gifting as a Pastor, the Christ-like love with which you treat everyone, your laugh that fills a room, the way in which you reach out to anyone in need no matter what that need may be. I have watched you hold crying children in your arms, nurse drug addicts back to health, stop to give a ride to people stranded on the side of the road with a broken down vehicle, spend countless hours counseling hurting people, bring a smile to the face of a patient recovering in the hospital, and spend hours, weeks, days, and years studying God’s Word so that you might preach the truth with clarity, understanding, and faithfulness. These are just a few of the things that come to mind. You have truly surrendered your life to the service of God our King.
These are all amazing things about you, but what I love most is your desire to have the heart of your children. For as long as I can remember you have told me that I could talk to you about anything and everything. You always told me to not be afraid because you loved me and wanted to protect me. You have proven this again and again with hugs, telling me that I’m beautiful, kissing me on the cheek, holding my hand, late night talks, and making me laugh when I need it.
Thank you. As we got older you started to chat with Anna and I about what character qualities we appreciated in the young boys around us. I laugh to think about how you endured those bouts of crying, while trying to explain that we weren’t in trouble and that you weren’t asking if we liked anyone. You simply wanted to teach us from an early age, what a godly character looked like.
You have cultivated and cared for us as we grew. Seeking to meet each of our needs. My heart has never had to search for love and protection because it has always been right there with you and mom. You still have my heart and I will love you until my dying breath.
Being the eldest of your children I know you are not perfect and I have watched you struggle at different seasons to find a balance between ministry time and family time. But you always pull through. No matter what storms came our way you always fought to keep the hearts of your children.
Ministry isn’t easy and the sacrifice is great, but I am so thankful that with your calling, you strove for balance. You didn’t shut us out of the work and yet you protected us and insulated us from the things we didn’t need to know.
I believe that you have cultivated a love for God and a love for people in each and every one of us.
So thank you for all that you’ve done and all that you are! I love you daddy and Happy birthday.
My life of reading was unfortunately late in bloom, for which I am now seeking to make up for lost time. Though I was introduced to the Chronicles of Narnia through a play at a young age, my first reading of C.S. Lewis has only been in the past few years and my reading list not very long, though his impact has been decisive.
Having to choose only one work of Lewis, is difficult, as I would be prone to want to pick both a fiction and non-fiction work. Since I can’t do that, I will, by choosing The Screwtape Letters, that reveal very real truth regarding the work of the devil and temptation in our life, through the use of fictional letters between uncle Screwtape and his nephew Wormwood on the devilish work of being a devil.
The Screwtape Letters impacted me profoundly, both personally and pastorally in seeing the way in which Satan frequently sets up both the lost and saved for failure. Lewis writes with a personal knowledge and insight into the intricate ways in which the enemy works. Scripture says that Satan comes as an Angel of light, which I think is often forgotten, instead we are frequently expecting some kind of outward ‘devilish character’.
Lewis warns, “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.” We must however remember that they are at work in the World and that the way in which they seek to impact man, is far more common than expected. The truth is satan frequently works through something as simple as a distraction from that which would grow you closer to Christ or the novelty of a passing fashion, to fuel avarice in the heart.
I highly recommend reading the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, to be challenged to think about how the enemy seeks to distract, deceive and destroy both those who are inquiring about the Christian faith and the Christian who is seeking to live a victorious for Christ.
Watch out, the devil may have already told you this devil stuff is a bunch of hooey, he is cleaver that way.
Read the book!
*Short essay for Wordsmithy Seminar on the impact of Lewis.