Many will remember the fall sea- son of 2008 as the beginning of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of 1929. In the months to follow, many lost their jobs, homes, and investments. In a BBC interview a year later, Alan Greenspan, former head of the US Federal Reserve, indicated that the average person doesn’t believe it will happen again. He said, “That is the unquenchable capability of human beings when confronted with long periods of prosperity to presume that it will continue.”
As I was talking with a gentleman whose wife had died, he shared with me that a friend said to him, “I’m sorry you lost your wife.” His reply? “Oh, I haven’t lost her; I know exactly where she is!”
The ancient Israelites gathered at Gilgal for the coronation of Saul as their first king (1 Sam. 11:15). The Lord was not pleased that His people had asked for a king, yet on this occasion Samuel uttered these words: “The Lord will not forsake His people, for His great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you His people” (12:22).
It was a simple task, but I was in over my head. One of the items on the grocery list was soy. Problem was, I didn’t know what kind of soy my wife, Sue, had in mind when she made the list. After searching the aisles and asking the advice of a worker who was stacking soup cans, I grabbed a bottle of soy sauce, placed it in the cart, and went on my way.
Edwin van der Sar, goalkeeper for the Manchester United soccer team, had a “safe” pair of hands. He kept the ball from entering his team’s goal for 1,302 minutes, a world record in one season! That means that for almost 15 games of 90 minutes each, no one was able to score even one goal against his team while he was guarding the goalposts. But one goal by an opposing team in March 2009 ended his record.
Christian faith ought to make a difference in how we live from day to day. But the final test of our trust in the gospel is how we react in the face of death. When we attend a memorial service for a departed friend who loved the Lord Jesus, we gather to honor a believer whose stalwart trust has richly blessed the lives of those who knew him. The words spoken are more an expression of praise to God than a tribute to an admired fellow pilgrim. The service is a God-glorifying testimony to our Savior’s victory over death and the grave (1 Cor. 15:54-57).
David McCullough’s biography of John Adams, one of America’s founding fathers and early presidents, describes him as “both a devout Christian and an independent thinker, and he saw no conflict in that.” I am struck by that statement, for it carries a note of surprise, suggesting that Christians are somehow naïve or unenlightened, and that the idea of a “thinking Christian” is a contradiction.
Mallory doesn’t feel loved by God. She received Jesus as her Savior several years ago and is confident that she is forgiven and will spend eternity with Him. She believes what God says in His Word, but she would also like to feel loved.
It was a wild night for our family. At 11:30 p.m., I got a call from my son Steve. “Dad, I’m going to Iraq.” “Right now?” I asked in disbelief. “Yes, I’m ready to go.” Earlier that day, our Navy corpsman (medic) son had told me he thought it would be several months before he would go.