The Fourth Watch

By Pastor Dwight K. Nelson

Jan
15
January 15, 2020

Ten-year-old Athena Nastasia has to pinch herself to make sure it’s true. The young resident of Phoenix, Arizona, learned at school this last fall about a national contest NASA is sponsoring to name the new Mars rover. 

Contestants must write an essay, defending the name they are suggesting: “‘It was such an ambitious journey just to take this rover, and this rover will be transported to this amazing planet, and it will find things that could depend on future life or figure out past life on Mars,’ said Athena” (www.azfamily.com).

So, if you were a school kid, what name would you submit? Twenty-eight thousand children took the challenge. And just a few days ago NASA whittled the 28,000 down to 155—and Athena is ecstatically one of them!

Talking about a shot at making space history. When she got the word, “‘I was crying, and my eyes were full of tears like happy tears, and I was in the car when it happened, and I was just so amazed,’” the ten-year-old told a reporter (ibid). 

And her mom? “I’m beyond the moon excited!” Come February 18, Athena and Mom will learn if the name she submitted will be emblazoned on the side of this high-tech other-world wonder.

Athena’s suggested name? “Ambition.” I like that.

Because let’s face it, ambition certainly drove the creation of this out-of-the-world invention—and ambition will be the intangible fuel that rockets the rover in its 193 million mile voyage to Mars.

Ambition. Come to think of it, that’s what fuels Love on the Move, too. Not a lofty ambition to make a name, but rather the ambition to live out the love of the One whose steps we follow. Not just Pioneer’s new vision/mission theme, Love on the Move is, in fact, the single phrase that captures the life of Jesus and every man, woman, and child who chooses to follow Him.

Love on the Move. In the steps of Jesus: “But we need not go to Nazareth, to Capernaum, or to Bethany, in order to walk in the steps of Jesus. We shall find His footprints beside the sickbed, in the hovels of poverty, in the crowded alleys of the great city, and in every place where there are human hearts in need of consolation. In doing as Jesus did when on earth, we shall walk in His steps” (Desire of Ages 640).

It’s called Love on the Move. Because when you walk in His steps, better yet by His side, you become Love on the Move to everyone you seek to love for Him. And what could possibly be a higher ambition than that?

 

Jan
8
January 8, 2020

Drones and missiles—intended precision, intended misses?—what just happened? Perhaps the simplest explanation is it’s the New Year. Again. And nothing’s changed really.

Not that the world was expecting much of a change. Life goes on, pretty much paying back in the cyclical currency we’re all used to—night and day, hot and cold, wet and dry, happy and sad, up and down, peace and war, strong and weak, love and hate, fear and calm, winners and losers, haves and have-nots, and on and on. Human, planetary cycles—we get it, we live with their ebb and flow.

So when sudden change strikes—anywhere, anytime—our status quo is shattered, because the familiar cycle is broken. And suddenly—personally or collectively—we’re on red alert—just like this New Year’s beginning.

What’s so fascinating is both Jesus and Paul zero in on that sudden unexpectedness. In fact, both of them identify sudden, unexpected violence as the critical marker for the earth’s endgame.

Jesus somberly reminds us of two ancient events—the antediluvian flood and the incineration of Sodom and Gomorrah, both classic reminders of sudden, unexpected violence. “‘As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man”—sudden, unexpected violence (Matthew 24:37). “‘It was the same in the days of Lot. . . . It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed’”—sudden, unexpected violence (Luke 17:28, 20).

Then Paul shapes Jesus’ twin warnings into his own prophetic caution: “For you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape”—sudden, unexpected violence (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3).

The point is not about living in fear—humanity already has a nervous twitch. Truth is the friends of Jesus have nothing to fear—nail-scarred hands securely hold all our lives. The point rather is Now is the perfect time for Love to be on the move, really on the move. What a force for good in the midst of endemic uncertainty! Imagine it—the incarnated love of Jesus crisscrossing this campus, this community, this country, this civilization through the humble, compassionate likes of you and me. Would it be a game-changer? Are you kidding! “If we would humble ourselves before God, and be kind and courteous and tenderhearted and pitiful [full of pity], there would be one hundred conversions to the truth where now there is only one” (Welfare Ministry 86).

One hundred people coming to Christ and experiencing the joy, peace, and security of His friendship—one hundred children, teens, young adults, and the not so young—where before there was just one! How come? Because people are that hungry to be loved. America has never been more needy and open to unselfish compassion than right now.

So I say let’s go—you and me—and be the Love on the Move Jesus needs us to be this New Year. A hundred to one—talking about sudden and unexpected—but then that’s Jesus for you—fully engaged with His friends in Love’s sudden, unexpected endgame harvest.

Dec
31
December 31, 2019

I suppose you already know the much-ballyhooed statistics for New Year’s resolutions—60% of us make them, and only about 8% of us achieve them. Peter Economy (his real name), who writes for Inc. magazine and website, touts these familiar numbers. But surprise—he then (very much in advance) declares what will be the top ten resolutions made for 2020. How does he know?

“Polly” told him so: “Polly is artificial intelligence patented by market research firm Advanced Symbolics Inc. that uses publicly available online information to create representative samples of any population or target audience. Polly looked at what 274,779 Americans said their New Year's Resolutions were for the past four years to project what the 10 top New Year's resolutions would be for 2020” (www.inc.com/peter-economy/10-top-new-years-resolutions-for-success-happiness-in-2020.html). 

Want to know what Polly says? Here are “her”/our top ten resolutions for the New Year just ahead:

1. Actually doing my New Year's resolution
2. Trying something new
3. Eat more of my favorite foods
4. Lose weight/diet
5. Go to the gym
6. Be happier/better mental health
7. Be more healthy
8. Be a better person
9. Upgrade my technology
10. Staying motivated

Who’s going to argue with these ten determinations to live a healthier, happier life in 2020? Those of us who make resolutions probably find at least one of them in this Top Ten list.

But there’s a missing resolution that hands down will one day be shown to be the most vital resolution any human being could possibly have made. Jesus minces no words: “‘But seek first [God’s] kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well’” (Matthew 6:33).

Talking about a one-resolution-fits-all proposition: “Make Me first—and I will take care of every dimension of your life and living.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing reflects: “Jesus does not release us from the necessity of effort, but He teaches that we are to make Him first and last and best in everything. We are to engage in no business, follow no pursuit, seek no pleasure, that would hinder the outworking of His righteousness [right-doing] in our character and life” (99 emphases supplied). Not because God is a bit grumpy on New Year’s Eve—but because we were created to thrive and flourish on the high octane of a Jesus-first kind of life. 

“First and last and best in everything”—that’s the Jesus who eagerly waits to turn this New Year into the best year we’ve ever had. But who’s surprised? After all with Jesus—the best is yet to come. 

Always.

Dec
18
December 18, 2019

The young mother, frazzled and spent from hanging on to her two children and all their Christmas shopping bags, stepped into the crowded elevator. The holiday mania had taken its toll. As the doors closed, she blurted out, “Whoever started this whole Christmas thing should be found, strung up and shot.” From the back of the car, a voice responded, “Don’t worry, we’ve already crucified him.” They said the rest of the way down you could have heard a pin drop.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 KJV).

We know the story—“found, strung up and shot”—from the manger to the cross. But with four frenetic days left until Christmas God help us to remember why.

Dec
4
December 4, 2019

We’re way too sophisticated for that childhood myth about a rotund gentleman with a white beard and rosy cheeks picking up the tab for our Christmas bills. But boy, are those bills going up! Take the latest post-Thanksgiving holiday shopping numbers (how could we ignore them) released over the last few hours.

According to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette: “A record 189.6 million consumers shopped over the long Thanksgiving weekend, up 14% from last year, the National Retail Federation said Tuesday. And for the first time, Black Friday topped Cyber Monday as the busiest day for e-commerce, though it also remained the busiest day for in-store shopping.” (www.arkansasonline.com/news/2019/dec/04/holiday-weekend-spending-up-16-20191204/).

Must be the elderly driving this spending bill higher? Not hardly: "Spending rose 16%, as shoppers spent $361.90 on average over the five-day span from Thursday to Monday.” But keep reading: “Younger consumers were the biggest spenders, with 25- to 34-year-olds each shelling out an average of $440.46, followed by 35- to 44-year-olds at $439.72” (ibid emphasis supplied).

So how much did America spend on Black Friday? (By the way, Black Friday is now global—we were in the Czech Republic and Slovakia for ASI meetings over the Thanksgiving weekend—“Black Friday” was posted everywhere.) CNBC is reporting Black Friday shoppers in the U.S. spent $7.4 billion online alone (retail figures are not clear), making it “the biggest sales day ever for Black Friday and [trailing] only last year’s Cyber Monday’s $7.9 billion for the number 1 spot of all-time in online revenue, according to Adobe’s data” (www.cnbc.com/2019/11/30/black-friday-shoppers-spend-record-7point4-billion.html).

At this point, the numbers get a bit numbing when you add to that $7.4 billion the whopping Cyber Monday sales ($9.4 billion—a new record) and Thanksgiving Day online sales ($4.2 billion) plus the weekend in between. 

Bottom line? Over the last few days, Americans have spent more than $21 billion on Christmas. And we’re still three weeks out!

So who pays for Christmas? This summer the Wall Street Journal reported: “The American middle class is falling deeper into debt to maintain a middle-class lifestyle. . . . Consumer debt, not counting mortgages, has climbed to $4 trillion—higher than it has ever been even after adjusting for inflation” (August 2, 2019—front page). Moreover, “student loan debt totaled about $1.5 trillion last year, exceeding all other forms of consumer debt except mortgages” (ibid). That’s a total of $5.5 trillion of debt (not counting mortgages)! And yet our Christmas spending is higher than it has ever been before. What’s wrong with that picture?

What about this picture? “While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them” (Luke 2:6-7).

Who picked up the tab for the “first “Christmas?” No Santa Clauses or online shoppers or Black Fridays or Blue Christmases there. Just the Newborn—swaddled in cloth strips and placed in a box of cow feed inside that dank stable cave—the Gift of the ages, from the Father’s heart to the fallen race. The cost of his Gift—when measured in the currency of Heaven? “In [Christ] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us” (Ephesians 1:7-8). Did you catch that? Those lavished “riches of God’s grace” have canceled the most staggering debt of all—our moral bankruptcy!

“Having collected the riches of the universe, and laid open the resources of infinite power, [the Father] gives them all into the hands of Christ, and says, All these are for man. Use these gifts to convince him that there is no love greater than Mine in earth or heaven. His greatest happiness will be found in loving Me” (Desire of Ages 57).

Who pays for Christmas? A wooden manger and cross are answer enough. 

Nov
20
November 20, 2019

Nobody knows the day in 1621 for that first Thanksgiving on these shores. “. . . it was probably in late September or early October, soon after [the Pilgrim’s] crop of corn, squash, beans, barley, and peas had been harvested” (Nathaniel Philbrick Mayflower 117). The decimated band of immigrant refugees to the New World had by a breath barely survived that treacherous winter before.

The numbers speak volumes: “ . . . 45 of the original 102 colonists died during the first winter. There were 17 fatalities in February alone.  Many succumbed to the elements, malnutrition, and diseases such as scurvy. Frequently two or three died on the same day. Four entire families perished and there was only one family that didn’t lose at least one member. Of the 18 married women, 13 died. Only three of 13 children perished, probably because mothers were giving their share of food to the children” (www.weatherconcierge.com/the-pilgrims-barely-survived-a-harsh-first-winter-at-plymouth/).

And yet crippled though they were by those losses, this band of fifty-two English survivors turned a subsequent bountiful summer crop into a three-day harvest feast for the fledgling band of Pilgrims and their benefactor guests, Chief Massasoit, and his ninety Indian men.

While not referring to it as “thanksgiving,” William Bradford, their elected governor, declared it a time to “[gather] the fruit of our labors” and “rejoice together . . . after a more special manner” (Philbrick 117). Artists’ portrayals notwithstanding, it was not the traditional dinner associated with Thanksgivings since. No forks available, all ate with fingers and knives a repast of vegetables, duck, deer, fish—but (let it be noted) with nary a crumb of pumpkin pie or a spoonful of cranberry sauce (much later delectable additions to the traditional Thanksgiving fare).

Years after that first “thanksgiving,” the aged Bradford looked back to testify: “What could now sustain them [those survivors] but the spirit of God and His grace? May not and ought not the children of these fathers rightly say: ‘Our fathers were Englishmen which came over this great ocean, and were ready to perish in the wilderness; but they cried unto the Lord, and He heard their voice and looked on their adversity [see Deuteronomy 26:7]’” (Philbrick 46).

And “may not and ought not” the children of America today—all of us who come from every land to inhabit this same land—join that ancient chorus: “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. . . . Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations” (Psalm 100).

And may this be a fresh new day of thanksgiving for us all—at the nail-scarred feet of Him whose faithful love has never failed us. A blessed Thanksgiving to all.

Nov
6
November 6, 2019

Chihuahua, Mexico—how else is Heaven supposed to respond to the tragic mayhem of life on this planet today? Look—if Jesus wept over the grave of Lazarus and subsequently wept over the city of Jerusalem—if tears choked his desperate cry on the cross that Friday afternoon—wouldn’t He be weeping now?

Weeping for the greedy, revenge-driven drug cartel members who in a turf battle hail of bullets cut down that band of Mormons on their way to a wedding earlier this week? Weeping for the three brave mothers and six children who perished in that withering onslaught, one slain mother able to first save her infant by throwing her to the floor of the SUV? Weeping for the courageous surviving children who hid in tall roadside grass until one of the older boys could walk thirteen miles for help?

The muffled sound of a heartbroken God weeping—our calloused hearts forget too easily, too quickly the sobbings of our Sovereign, don’t they? How could any human mind remain sane if we like He lived with every crushing headline, every devastating death, every split second of every day and night on this terrestrial home?

Jesus once taught us about our Father: “‘I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. . . . Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. . . . Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. . . . You are worth more than many sparrows’” (Matthew 10:16, 28-31).

If not a single sparrow falls to the ground without the Father of all life personally noting that tiny death, how much more does His eternal heart grieve the deaths of His earth children?

“Not a sigh is breathed, not a pain felt, not a grief pierces the soul, but the throb vibrates to the Father’s heart. . . . God is bending from His throne to hear the cry of the oppressed. . . . Satan’s hatred against God leads him to hate every object of the Saviour’s care. He seeks to mar the handiwork of God, and he delights in destroying even the dumb creatures. It is only through God’s protecting care that the birds are preserved to gladden us with their songs of joy. But He does not forget even the sparrows. ‘Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows’” (Desire of Ages 356).

So live on we must, in spite of headlines like this week. Yes, we pray for the bereaved and bereft: “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” (Matthew 20:30). And for the evil perpetrators, we pray the prayer of the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

But let us also pray in response to His plea for someone, anyone to go to the rest of His children with the hope of Jesus: “Here am I. Send me” (Isaiah 6:8).

Otherwise, Heaven weeps alone. And that would be the saddest story of all.

Oct
30
October 30, 2019

California and Vietnam—two very disparate regions of earth, to be sure—but in the news this week. And both of them—if you can believe the news—are muted challenges to the notion of gradualism (uniformitarianism or incrementalism)—the idea that life on this planet pretty much ambles along at its snail-pace predictability, gradually.

Talking about “deja vu all over again,” California’s truly “wild” wild fires captivate the headlines. Again. This morning the LA Times reported: “After enduring weeks of destructive fires, widespread blackouts and extreme weather conditions, California faced another test as powerful winds that forecasters described as historic and potentially disastrous moved into the Southland” (www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-10-30/worst-winds-of-season-batter-california-bringing-prospect-of-more-blackouts-fires-and-evacuations).

Those “historic” Santa Ana winds (predicted to be 50-70 mph with gusts up to 80 mph) “will be the strongest to hit the region in recent memory” (ibid).

On the other side of the Pacific, the residents of Vietnam awakened to learn (if they read the New York Times) much of the southern half of their nation could be flooded by 2050: “. . . the bottom part of the country will be underwater at high tide”—which means “more than 20 million people in Vietnam, almost one-quarter of the population, live on land that will be inundated” (www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/10/29/climate/coastal-cities-underwater.html). Click on to the link for two Vietnam maps contrasting old projections with these radically revised new ones. “Much of Ho Chi Minh City, the nation’s economic center, would disappear with it, according to the research, which was produced by Climate Central, a science organization based in New Jersey, and published in the journal Nature Communications. The projections don’t account for future population growth or land lost to coastal erosion” (ibid).

Speaking of the end of the world, Peter predicts: “Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, ‘Where is this “coming” he [Jesus] promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation [gradualism]’” (2 Peter 3:3-4).

If you’re one of 200,000 people in California under mandatory wild fire evacuation orders to flee your home now, the likelihood is strong at least for you (and at least for this moment) nature’s sudden catastrophic reversal effectively tosses incrementalism out that smoke-choked window.

That’s Peter’s point. Gradualism has never been able to explain the sudden catastrophic reversal from Noah’s flood: “[The last day scoffers] deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed” (vv 5-6). Who saw that cataclysm coming? Not very many—eight, to be exact.

The point? We underestimate the element of surprise to our loss. Peter calls it  “the day of judgment” (v 7)—when in a cataclysmic instant all the old timetables are discarded and gradualism is no more—as it turned out for the antediluvians, Sodom, Pompeii, the Titanic, 9-11-2001, et al.

The even larger point? Intensifying times for humanity are the occasion for God to manifest his intensifying love for lost human beings. Peter is clear: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise. . . . Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (v 9).

Vietnam, California, America, the world—God doesn’t want to lose a single one. So let’s abandon our gradualism and embrace his passion to lead that one to him. Now.

Oct
23
October 23, 2019

Some of you have been the recipients of a delightful little email from me asking for your money. And I am so sorry. I hope you immediately recognized that the atrocious spelling and grammar of the note evidences a crook whose short-cut to money-making obviously skipped over high school English or the ESL (English as a Second Language) classes he should have taken first.

And if you didn’t notice the grammar and spelling, I hope you quickly sensed that your pastor would never, ever send you a personal email about women in the hospital who are suffering from cancer. No kidding. Here’s the note one of you received [with my comments in brackets]:

Thanks for the quick response Richard, I’m very glad to hear from you Barbara.. [Notice the differing names—obviously someone was cutting and pasting notes as fast as he/she could and didn’t catch the separate names—also note no commas separating the names and the double periods at the end of the sentence.] I just need to get eBay gift card [grammar is his/hers/theirs] today for some women going through cancer at the hospital [what pastor alive would describe the desperate battle cancer always represents with the words “women going through cancer”!] but I can’t do that right now because of my busy schedule in a conference meeting with only access to email. [So what conference room is it that wouldn’t allow you to slip out of the room and make an important phone call? And whatever conference it is, it must be a boring meeting because I’m soliciting eBay gift cards while sitting through the deliberations.] Can you get it from any store around you possibly now? [What’s the meaning of that garbled sentence?] and I will pay you back later in cash or check. [Cash or check—sounds more like a checkout cashier than a soliciting pastor.] Let me know if you can get the card for these patients. [One card for all of them?]

God bless

Then he/she/they sign off: Dwight K. Nelson, Pioneer Memorial Church, and our address.

Oh, and the email address the hackers set up to receive your replies? nelson.pmchurch@gmail.com. Pretty clever throwing “pmchurch” (which we all recognize) into the address, hoping we won’t notice the Gmail suffix set up for the scam. Pioneer has never had a Gmail address! But how often do we all hurry through our inboxes not always catching the details of an email address?

Sad really—because as it turns out, the scam is to get you to buy those gift cards, scratch off the silver, take a picture of the exposed numerical code and send that pix to these scam artists who are able to cash in on (or sell) those cards because of the now activated (by your purchase) codes. Preying on our generosity, our compassion, and our desire to reflect the unselfish spirit of Jesus. We are guilty as charged!

That’s Paul’s point in his letter to the young Christians in Corinth: “You show that you are a letter [email] from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God” (2 Corinthians 3:3). I.e., you followers of Jesus are a recommendation email from Christ to the world. People read your email and they think it is from him. How’s that for a switch!

Only you and I are not bogus emails or sham representations to all who read us. As Desire of Ages reminds us: “Christ is sitting for His portrait in every disciple. Every one God has predestinated to be ‘conformed to the image of His Son.’ Romans 8:29. In every one Christ’s long-suffering love, His holiness, meekness, mercy, and truth are to be manifested to the world” (826).

Amazing. People look at you and think of Jesus. Joy of joys—what could be better!

Oct
9
October 9, 2019

One of our viewers from Florida sent me a piece attributed to Mother Teresa. I went online and discovered this attribution to her is actually challenged (www.quoteinvestigator.com/2012/05/18/do-good-anyway/#more-3828). But while “Quote Investigator”’s extensive review suggests multiple sources, this piece is still rich with meaning, and so I share it with you:
 

People are often unreasonable
Illogical, and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may
Accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

 

If you are successful, you will win
Some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

 

If you are honest and frank,
People may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

 

What you spend years building,
Someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

 

If you find serenity and happiness,
They may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

 

The good you do today,
People will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

 

Give the world the best you have,
And it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis,
It is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

 

I admit it does sound a bit like a string of graduation platitudes at first glance. But the thematic undertow speaks volumes inside that little word, “anyway.”

“Anyway”—in this case meaning “in spite of it”—isn’t that the way the follower of Christ often has to live? “In spite of it all”—Paul writes with quiet courage—“we are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).

“Anyway” or “in spite of it all”—Peter counsels—“in all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials” (1 Peter 1:6).

“Anyway” or “in spite of it all”—the Apocalypse begins—“I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus”—and Jesus himself concludes—“Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer—be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown” (Revelation 1:9; 2:10).

Truth is “anyway” or “in spite of it all” is the way third millennial Christ-followers still walk in his steps. And “in spite of it all” their faith, like Jesus, “shines brighter” and “shines purer” against the dark panoply of evil. Anyway.

So what’s the “anyway” you’re having to face down in your life right now? A disease that won’t give up? A state of depression that won’t seem to let go? Are your last dollars gone, leaving your future uncertain at best? What is the “in spite of it all” pathway God has set your feet upon?

Paul, Peter, John, Jesus—who lived out their lives in spite of the most debilitating circumstances imaginable—surely in their “I will put my trust in him” courage we can find solace and fearlessness of our own. Trust anyway. Hope anyway. Love anyway. Live or die anyway.

Why? “When the darkness is deepest, then the light of a noble, Godlike character will shine the brightest. When every other trust fails, then it will be seen who have an abiding trust in God” (Sketches from the Life of Paul 252). Anyway.

You may not be able to see it—but it’s that word “anyway” that radiates your life right now. Your friends and family see it. The world takes notice, too. Because like Jesus you are a spectacle to behold. Anyway.

And so he thanks you.