In The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom writes of 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “Give God thanks in all things.” Corrie struggled to thank God; she lived in a concentration camp in a flea-infested barracks. She and her sister, as Christians, were arrested for hiding Jews. How could Corrie possibly thank God for the fleas? In the end, she realized that it was the flea-infestation that kept the guards out, let them have Bible study, and enabled her witness of Christ and his power as she served her fellow prisoners.
Is there anything in the midst of Covid-19, political protests, and the myriad other issues facing us today for which we can thank God?
My daughters usually go to a summer camp with our Church’s denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America; this year it was cancelled because of Covid. Bryan College decided to launch a Summer Institute. Lynn, my wife, signed them up knowing how desperately they needed contact with people their own age. I wondered if that was really a good idea.
When we dropped off the girls, Nic Pac, Jessica Vest, Faith Simmons, and Jack Saunders, among others, were God’s means of grace to them, and they came home different people. They recited to me Paul Boling’s apologetics, Sam Youngs’ persuasive arguments and the magic of Daniel Gleason’s poetry. They would have missed all these things were it not for Covid-19.
Sunday morning was rainy at my house, and I thought about skipping Church; after all, would it really work to sit open-air in a parking lot in the rain?
I am so glad that I went.
I never realized how many young children are in our Church. I imagined them as the leaders of the next generation. As they climbed over the chairs, I realized that right there were future deacons, godly wives, Christian businessmen, lawyers, elders, doctors and youth workers. I usually don’t see all those kids because they are in the nursery.
We had a guest preacher, Jonathan Johnson, a young, African-American Youth pastor in Chattanooga at Church of the Firstborn.
Jonathan preached a sermon on “The Real Jesus” where he contrasted Biblical Christianity with the great harm of the Prosperity Gospel and its false Christ. It was amazing. I have no idea what denomination Church of the Firstborn is; it doesn’t matter, because the truth of the Scripture is what joined us together.
To hear a passionate black man powerfully preach the Gospel fills my heart with hope.
I spent some of the rest of the day thinking about the things in my life that I don’t look at as gifts from God, but gifts they are, and I thank God for them.