Today's Word for Pastors...
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
Today's Preaching Insight...
Praying in the Dark
Faced with yet another life-threatening crisis in our small missionary community in Nigeria, I poured out my grief and disillusionment as I wrote in my journal, “What do you do when you have prayed and prayed and it doesn’t seem to make a bit of difference?”
There are times when prayer flows naturally and God seems so close. But on many other occasions prayer seems like a monologue. God feels distant and doesn’t seem to hear. George Buttrick described it as “beating on heaven’s door with bruised knuckles in the dark.” We feel like we are praying in the dark.
What is it Like?
We feel Lonely. We feel we are the only person who has ever known this kind of pain or grief. People try to offer kind words but they really cannot understand our darkness.
We feel Abandoned. God seems to have left us or seems indifferent to what is happening. The Psalmist exclaimed in 10:1 “Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself?” Elsewhere he cried out, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” (13:1).
We feel Overwhelmed by Crisis. Nothing makes any sense. We feel like victims in a cruel cosmic game, discouraged and helpless. We echo the words of Jesus in Gethsemane: “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Matthew 26:38).
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Illustration: Fame, Fleeting Nature Of
Many have labeled Millard Fillmore the most obscure president in American history. Fillmore, our 13th president, succeeded to the presidency after the sudden death of Zachary Taylor. He was not nominated for a second term. There is a small cabin marking his birth in a state park, but the cabin is a reproduction and not on the site of his birth. There is a home he inhabited for four years, but it is not on the site of his property. When people meet for formal events at his grave, it often is to mock his obscurity. His grave is located in his family section of the Albany cemetery. The area is marked by a small obelisk, and there is some mention of him and his family members on the outer perimeter; but what is on the president's grave itself? No listing of his accomplishments, no date of birth or death. His grave does not even bear his name. His grave simply carries the initials of M.F. Here was a man who founded a major university; served as a state legislator and U.S. congressman, vice president and president. How quickly we forget!
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