From the Preacherman….

Crushed. That is how we have felt the last few days. Crushed. Is

there a better word to describe our hearts and souls in the days since

Issac Sterett’s death? Not for me. There are times I feel as if all the air is

being pressed from my lungs as tears flow from my eyes. If I am honest

with God and with you, crushed states most clearly my emotional and

spiritual state since last Friday. Crushed.

What are we to do in such times? You have to take time for the

pain. Stay with it. Feel it all. Now or later, we will have to deal with the

awfulness of this loss. So, feel it all and express it. The temptation right

now is to compensate for our loss with expressions of hope. But Issac’s

presence with God does not yet compensate for his absence from us. A

giant, aching, heartbreaking hole is left in all of our hearts and, for right

now, feeling all of that pain is enough.

Because, astonishingly, God is in the pain. That is the surest and

truest meaning of the cross for me. God is present in the worst things of

life so that we know to look and search and find God in those desolate,

awful places. As a pastor I have come to know the deep truth that God is

in the empty darkness of life as much as in the bright, beautiful joy. Thus,

I don’t have to fear anything, even death, because there is no place where

God is not found. “Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee

from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my

bed in Sheol, you are there.” (Psalm 139:7-8) God is in this world, and it

is enough.

Finally, ask God about it. Directly. Don’t be bashful, just say it in

prayer, say it out loud, say it again and again, in tears and anger. It

always baffles me that people think they can say one thing to God, but

think another. Does not God already know? So, say it, furiously or

quietly, but keep speaking it aloud in the face of crushing loss. The

practice of such faith matters. It keeps me alive to ask questions of faith

with the expectation that God will answer.

Many years ago when I started my life as a pastor I thought my job

was to have all of the answers for people with heartache and great pain.

Over the years I have learned to say less and simply be present, to listen

and weep and stop speaking for God. God can and will say all that is

needed. And it is more than enough.          Peace….Chris