Dr. Stephen Hawking is regarded by many as one of the smartest people in the world. As a scientist his research is well-respected by many. On Monday I read an article where Hawking called Heaven and the afterlife, “a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” For those who don’t know Hawking suffers from “motor neurone disease.” One of the effects of the disease is that e is unable to speak without the aid of a voice synthesizer, he also suffers from being paralyzed to a great degree. Hawking apparently has admitted according to the article that at least one of the reasons he is taking such a negative view of Heaven and God is the suffering of his own disease. The sad reality is that the Gospel offers hope to all of us who have been impacted by sin. There is coming a day when all believers in Christ will be gloriously be transformed and sin will be done away with along with all its effects. There will be no sickness, no pain, no suffering. We believers will in fact have a glorified body designed to live forever in perfect health so that we can worship and serve God without hindrance for all eternity. I’m thankful that Heaven is no “fairy story for those afraid of the dark.” It’s as real as God, as real as Christ, and as certain as His resurrection. Stephen Hawking has suffered much in this life and I only pray that he will be surrounded by Christians who would be faithful to share the truth while not looking for a fight. When we hear words like Hawking’s coming from someone with much influence in the scientific world it may be easy for one to get in “fight” mode and to say things that are mean-spirited. Even biblical truth can be shared in an un-biblical spirit. Paul taught if one doesn’t teach, preach, share, and minister in love they are simply a clanging symbol. No doubt most of us will never meet Stephen Hawking, but many of us will meet people like Hawking. People who think they have it figured out, people who have been impacted by experiencing or witnessing suffering in this world, and people who scoff at the idea of God and Gospel. In those moments we need to be a people who share the truth in a spirit of love. May Hawking’s life be impacted by many who believe in what he calls a “fairy story.” Let’s pray that God would open his eyes and those like him to truth of the Gospel so that He can know our great God and have no reason to be afraid of eternal darkness.
Today Kristi and I celebrate two years of marriage. The last two years have flown by and they have been a blast. Today I am thankful for the gift of marriage. God said it best in Genesis 2:18, ” Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.'” Marriage truly is a gift from God. I have discovered over the last two years just how gracious God is in giving us the gift of marriage. Kristi is a huge blessing in my life and there is no greater gift of God I have experienced in this life outside of salvation. So tonight we will go to Birmingham and have dinner and this weekend we will take a short trip to Nashville to celebrate God’s gift to us. I can only hope that anyone reading this is as thankful for their spouse as I am for Kristi.
LISTEN TO: PRESENT SUFFERING AND FUTURE GLORY We all know what it is like to be on a journey from one place to another. I have memories as a kid riding in the car with my family to the beach. Never did a drive seem so long as it did when something fantastic like the beach waited at the other end of the journey. I also remember as a child in elementary school making a “Christmas chain.” It was a long chain made of red and green construction paper with what was probably 25 links. It was just enough links to get you from December 1 to December 25. One could hope that ripping off a few extra pieces of paper each day would speed Christmas up, but no, there was always the wait. Every journey has a desired destination and there is always the time in between. As believers we are on a journey. God has saved us in His great mercy and love. Our salvation is secure in Christ. The Bible also teaches that while we “are saved” we are also “being saved.” Theologically speaking we call this justification and sanctification respectively. The Bible also teaches that we will one day “be saved.” This is glorification. So we are on a journey. God has saved us and He is still working on us, transforming us and maturing us, there is coming a great day of coronation when will experience the full deliverance from the presence and power of sin, with this will also come the ending of suffering. Here and now though we suffer. In various ways and at various times in this journey with God from justification to glorification, we experience suffering. It is our present reality many times. We experience suffering through persecution, sickness, natural disasters, pain, and so on. But praise God there is coming a day when suffering will be vanquished and we will experience only glory.
Click on the link below to listen to the sermon I had the privilege of sharing at MeadowBrook Baptist following the tornado disaster that drastically effected our state that Wednesday. The sermon text is Romans 8:17-39.