Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Perseverance of the Saints

On Monday afternoon I made a pastoral visit to Ms. Mary Smith. She's an 87 year old lady who is a total pillar of the body of Christ as it's found at 3077 Hillsboro Road. She's the woman at Harpeth who lovingly prepares the communion elements the first Sunday of every month. Unfortunately, on Saturday night, she took a spill and dislocated her shoulder, so she was unable to make it to church to prepare the elements this month. Then, on Sunday afternoon, she found out that her sister, who had recently moved to hospice card, had died. Thus the pastoral visit on Monday afternoon. When I asked her how she was doing, she recounted her fall and told me that The Lord must have been with her on Saturday night, because it could have been so much worse. As the conversation shifted to the loss of her sister, she expressed sorrow in losing her sister, but also expressed great joy in knowing that she was in the loving arms of God. So much that isn't about theological assertions or formulas or that simply trusts in God to be good, because, "Alan, God has always been so good to me." In the previous two days, she has fallen, dislocated her shoulder, hit her face on the way down, and lost her sister, and she sits there and genuinely professes "God has always been so good to me." Amazing...absolutely amazing. I pray that I might have that kind of that simply trusts in the goodness of God and proclaims it, even in the midst of hardship and adversity. Thanks be to God for Ms. Mary Smith.


Ashley said...

Oh for such faith! I drop food on the floor and want to give it all up! Well, that's slight exaggeration, but you get the gist. We miss you and hope you are well!

Craig said...

That's good stuff. I often worry about being a pastor and playing the role of the one who is supposed to give satisfactory answer to the question: if God is good and loves me, why did I break my arm, get in a wreck, not get that job? Rather than make some apology for God, it seems better to just say "I don't know why." It seems that faith is not built or destroyed on any one, or any collection of circumstances or events. The lady you met with displays what i think is the true gift of faith - a deep knowledge that God is good that is not contingent upon circumstantial evidence. And yet, there is plenty of evidence that God is good - all those 'blessings' that we experience and that should be labeled as gifts and duly given thanks for.

Maybe the evidence that God is good is so basic that it is something like our ability to even ask questions about why things happen... That we have experienced such joy that we are outraged at adversity... If we look I think we will find things that faith rests upon, deep things, deeper than any bad thing that can happen. Some thoughts.

back to hebrew!