One of the finest
compliments I ever received was from a woman in my church. She said, “You
remind me of Father Tim.” That was years ago, before she got to know me.
Father Timothy Kavanagh is a
retired Episcopal priest who lives with his wife Cynthia in the North Carolina
town of Mitford. He’s retired now, in his 70’s, and when he served as a pastor,
he didn't have a big church and he wasn't a well-known speaker or writer. But
still, he’s one of my heroes, and it would always be a compliment to be
compared to him.
Years ago some church planting friends
asked my wife to be on their prayer team. They recruited thirty-one people who
promised to fast and pray one day a week for the new church. Dionne’s day was
the 11th of the month.
As she prayed on one of her designated
days, she suddenly felt that the Holy Spirit was warning her about a demonic
plot to sneak a deceptive and disruptive person into the baby church - someone
who could do great damage.
When I was a young Christian
a friend of mine named Pat was brutally beaten in a gang fight. He ended up in
a coma and was not expected to live. Pat's family knew I was a Christian and they
asked me to pray.
It was overwhelming that people were counting on my prayers to help my
friend. My faith, what there was of it, seemed so small and weak.
Maynard is a 29-year-old wife with terminal cancer. Her story has been all over
the internet, including her own first-person account on the CNN website here. Brittany has a form of brain cancer that is
particularly aggressive, and those who have it usually die within 6 months.
her husband moved from California to Oregon, a so-called “right to
die” state, because she wants to end her life on her own terms. She plans to do so on November 1, and is spending her last days as an advocate for
the right of all people to commit suicide when and how they wish.
Here’s one quote from the CNN article: "When my suffering becomes too great, I can say to all those I love, 'I love you; come be by my side, and come say goodbye as I pass into whatever's next.'"
Sometimes you forget who your Savior is, or at least
I do. I guess it’s a little like having a friend who just happens
to be the President or the King. You’re used to being around him, having access
to him, and you don’t always remember he’s also the most powerful person in the
I remember seeing President George W. Bush’s
daughter Jenna on a talk show while her dad was still in office. The talk show
host said something like, “So you could just call him up right now?” And the
daughter took out her cell phone, punched a number, and started talking to the
President of the United States. Pretty amazing.
We all have weeks when it feels like everything that could
go wrong does. You begin to think God has taken a break from watching over your
life, and you’re on your own, spinning slow-motion like a hydroplaning car on a
mountain road, heading for the cliff.
Maybe that’s overly dramatic, but you probably know what I
Christ hasn't gone anywhere, of course, and what you have to
do is ride it out. Keep praying, and ignore the sense of vertigo you feel when
it seems like your circumstances are spiraling out of control. And, of course, continue
to read your Bible.
You never know when a very familiar, or seemingly dull,
portion of holy Scripture may be just the encouragement you need. This week,
for example, the Lord helped me through a genealogy. Usually you think of long
lists of names – So-and-So begat Such-and-Such – as the boring verses you skip
to get to the action parts of the Bible.