Where is God when it hurts

pyanceyThis morning Christianity Today released the text of Philip Yancey’s sermon delivered two weeks after the shootings on the Virginia Tech campus. This is a must read. If you were asked to give a message of hope in the midst of such tragedy, what would you say? Some of Yancey’s
first words were these:

“In considering how to begin today, I found myself following two different threads. The first thread is what I would like to say, the words I wish I could say. The second thread is the truth.” Click here to read the rest of this incredible message.

Yancey is one of those writers who also is naturally gifted as a speaker. In his books and In this incredible message delivered in the face of unspeakable grief, he demonstrates two key characteristics of an affective communicator.

  • He starts from the perspective of the listener. To the doubter he begins with their objections and obstacles to faith. To the grieving he deals with the questions and anger and reality right up front.
  • He never short changes the truth. In those three opening sentences and throughout the text of his sermon, Philip shows genuine compassion and insight into what his audience is feeling. then he delivers the truth. This truth might not be easy to hear, but it is made easier to hear because of where he started.

Had Philip started without identifying with the wounded souls that sat before him, and addressing the questions that harassed their thoughts, the truth might have fallen on many deaf ears. Hmmmm! Someone else demonstrated these characteristics about 2000 years ago. Not a bad example to follow.

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