Friday, July 4, 2008

I Will Explain Later

God marks across some of our days, "Will explain later." ~Vance Havner~

But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect . . . ~The apostle Peter~

In our earliest days of ministry (even though we never personally met him) Sandy and I thought of Vance Havner as a spiritual grandfather. We had many of his messages, and we read all of his books (which were collections of his sermons). Havner was an old fashioned orator with a pithy and gentle writing voice. A bit eccentric, he didn't get a driver's license until he was 60, and he didn't get married until he was 65. "I'm not one to rush into decisions," He explained. Death ushered him into life at 88 years of age. Sandy and I wept at the news. During that time we were planting a church from our home, and we could barely put food on the table. Try as I may, I could not get enough money together to fly to Chicago for his funeral.

By now you have probably figured out that I could go on and on about this remarkable man, but I will cease my digression, and get to his quote at the top of the post.

God is under no obligation to explain His actions, and for the most part we don't feel a need to get explanations, because we enjoy the spiritual rhythm of being in step with the Spirit. We have a pretty good sense of what God is up to in our life. We even help a fellow sojourner unpack and unravel rough spots in the adventure.

But then . . . our spiritual walk becomes a staggering stupor. Our rhythmic flow breaks off into a hundred branches. And our orderly life becomes a jig-saw puzzle. We don't plunge into atheism, but we do ask, "God, where are you . . . what are you doing?"

There is no pat answer for such dilemmas, but there is a defense. The apostle Peter and Vance Havner concur -- at the very minimum -- God promises, "I will explain later."

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