1 Corinthians 2:1-5
By: Brodie Cooper, Executive Director, Blast & Cast Men’s Ministries
May 28, 2019
Last week (as of this writing) I received a late-night call from the local police department. I had turned in early in anticipation of a major outreach event the following morning and hearing the phone ring at such an odd hour was both disorienting and alarming. The officer explained to me that a local angler and his wife had found their 19-year-old daughter deceased in her apartment. The family had no church contacts, no local family members, and few close friends. They were distraught, panicked, and alone in the most difficult situation they had ever experienced. Blast & Cast Men’s Ministries had assisted the angler’s family when their home flooded during Hurricane Harvey and he had since attended a few of our outreach events, so the angler gave my contact information to the officer.
I arrived at an emotionally charged and trying scene. The parents were devastated and inconsolable, frequently collapsing in tearful pain, unsure if what they were experiencing was real life or some sort of terrible nightmare. Honestly, I didn’t know what to do. I felt underqualified. I hurt for them in a way that I haven’t hurt in quite some time. I longed to find a way to help ease their pain, but there were no sufficient words or actions that could possibly ease their indescribable pain. All I could do was simply hurt deeply alongside them. We embraced. We cried together a lot. We prayed together a lot. We tried to talk through a few decisions that had to be made that night. I shared the Gospel several times and related spiritual truth as best I could.
As I prayed silently and continually asking God for guidance, He answered that my role was a simple one:
Hurt with them and for them, because the Father was hurting with them and for them and they needed to physically see it. This was the Father’s love and compassion being physically demonstrated in a way that met an immediate need for them.
Share the Gospel faithfully and continually, because there are no other words that can bring meaningful peace and healing in the face of tragedy. The Father understands the pain these parents were experiencing because He willfully experienced it Himself when He sent Jesus to die for us on the cross. Soon (hopefully very soon) pain and suffering will be permanently finished because of that one perfect sacrifice.
As we collectively pray for spiritual awakening throughout the greater Houston area, I am convinced that this couple aptly represents a community that is battling pain, suffering, and death. Our role in reaching the community is far simpler than we think. In 1 Corinthians 2, Paul stresses that he purposefully decided to know nothing amongst the Corinthians except Jesus Christ and him crucified. He existed with them in weakness and fear and trembling, and he brought a message that wasn’t full of lofty speech or words of wisdom because that was not his role. Instead, he simply proclaimed the truth of Jesus and allowed his life and conduct to demonstrate the power of God.
Have we gotten so caught up in titles, training, and self-made plans that we fail to see the pain, suffering, and death within our community? Have we become so fixated on events and programs that we neglect opportunities to meet practical needs with love and compassion? Are we so obsessed with lofty words and clever analogies that we disregard the power and simplicity of the Gospel message? We worry and stress over so many things that just don’t matter! God matters, the people He loves matter, and the Gospel of Jesus matters because it reconnects people with a God that loves them deeply.
A prayer for spiritual awakening in the community is also a prayer for God’s people to open their eyes to see the pain, suffering, and death in their own community, to demonstrate God’s compassion for people in simple yet powerful ways, and to boldly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s a simple role, but it makes a profound impact in our community.
Father, thank You for loving me and sending Jesus to die the death that I deserved so that I could be brought out of pain and suffering and into a relationship with You. Thank You for giving me a role to play within Your kingdom, Father! Lord I ask that You give me eyes to see and ears to hear the pain, suffering, and death around me so that I can pour out Your love and compassion on those that are hurting. I ask that You give me boldness and simplicity of speech that I might proclaim the Gospel of Jesus in all circumstances and not overcomplicate it with lofty words or worldly wisdom. Father I ask that You awaken the community around me and draw them to the life, peace, and hope offered by Jesus. It’s in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.