In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord… (Isaiah 6:1, NIV)
In today’s devotional from Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald asks the reader to recall the time when someone — who exemplified Christ to you — died. He wants you to ask yourself the question:
When the person died who represented for me all that God was, did I give up on everything in life?
I had to think about that for awhile.
The only time I can recall that happening (for a short time) was when CFC’s first youth pastor, Stephen Willis, left CFC to become the senior pastor at the Nazarene church in Lynchburg. Stephen didn’t die, mind you. It just felt like that at the time. I was crushed. So were many others. Stephen had a rare quality, and I’m not sure if I’ve ever put a finger on what it was (is).
When you were with Stephen, you knew he cared about you and whatever was going on in your life. He had (has) a zeal for the Lord that you could feel in his preaching and in talking with him. In another Oswald Chambers’ devotional it says something like, “The most attractive thing in the eyes of a hurting world is a holy life.” That would describe Stephen Willis.
When Stephen left, a part of me died. But as I thought about today’s devotional, the question still hung there: Did I give up on everything in life? No, of course not. It’s not Stephen I worship, although I want to be following his example as he follows Christ’s. No, I worship a sovereign God who sits on the throne and doesn’t miss a single detail of our lives.
God will bring purpose to everything that happens in life. Whether it be the death of one of our spiritual heroes, or just that person moving on… whether it be the death of one of our dreams in life… whether it be a tragedy… He doesn’t cause everything to happen, but He can make it all purposeful: growing us and shaping us… all into His image.
When those “deaths” happen what do you see: the deaths themselves or, as the prophet Isaiah, the LORD?