When was the last time you heard the Bible taught and it penetrated to the core of your being? What about having this experience after thinking, “I could care less about this topic!”? Then, much to your surprise, the Spirit used the Bible rightly-interpreted and rightly-applied to cut through your lack of interest and the absence of a felt need. You stumbled out of the room enthralled with the God who speaks so clearly and powerfully through His Word. You left passionately asking the Lord of the Bible how you could align your life with this amazing truth that you cared nothing about the hour before ...
My 83-year-old mother has dementia. To help me work through the pain of this living death, I recently gave her a gift she was not able to receive: a letter commemorating her 10th anniversary in the nursing home.
1 Thessalonians 5:22:
“Abstain from all appearances of evil” (KJV)
“Abstain from every form of evil” (ESV)
I confess that whenever I encounter this verse, I picture old, withered saints shaking their bony fingers in younger believers’ faces and exhorting them about some questionable behavior. In this recurring scenario, the godly, mature Christians find it necessary to exhort the younger saints, not because they have done something that is evil, but simply because they behaved in a manner that could have the appearance of being evil.
It was that nightmarish moment that all parents dread deep within their souls. I am staring into the open grave of one of our children. The setting is the cemetery of our family’s hometown in Bolivar, Missouri, where we have just completed the graveside service of our son Christopher. It is an unspeakably painful moment in my life. If I could muster any more tears, I would be uncontrollably weeping as I watch four men struggle to lower a steel vault lid to cover the grave vault holding Christopher’s little white casket. I will see his little smiling face no more. I won’t run my fingers through his beautiful blond hair again. We’ll never snuggle together or touch one another. This is the end. And as I stand there looking into what feels like the abyss, I realize that this could be the most despairing, skeptical, and faithless moment of my life. I feel like I could curse God for emotionally gutting me for the rest of my days. It is as if I am standing beside the deep, dark, bottomless pit of hell.