Living on the Edge of Whatever Happens
To live a "whatever happens" existence is to embrace the superintending hand of God that guides us even in the midst of mystery.
From the editor
One of the great joys in preaching is when you know you have something special to offer. Perhaps it's a particularly well-crafted thesis statement, a stirring insight that unlocks a passage, or an especially creative outline. Smith's sermon has all of that and more. After I first heard "Living on the Edge of Whatever Happens," I could have repeated its major movements to you 24 hours later. More than that, I could have offered specifics: how one ought to "handle a Troas when you wanted Asia Minor and Bithynia;" how a prison can become a pulpit; how life is a dance, choreographed by God; how "life has to be lived forward, but it can only be understood backward;" how best I can carry myself "down here" in light of the hope of glory. This sermon is brilliantly memorable. May we all learn from Smith's example!
To live a "whatever happens" existence is not to resign to cynicism, disillusionment, nihilism, or skepticism; it is to embrace providence, the superintending hand of God that guides us even in the midst of mystery. When we can't figure out the "un-figure-out-able"—when we cannot walk through the maze of confusion and find clarity as we go—we know that the hand of God still leads us. Providence echoes the sentiment of one of our favorite hymns, Great Is Thy Faithfulness:
Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with thee.
Thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not;
As thou hast been thou forever wilt be.
God can make something out of nothing.
All of us start out as zeroes. I know we don't like that. We've come to think we're more than a zero. Now don't get me wrong: I'm not a nihilist. Nihilism speaks of nothingness. I believe that you may start ...
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Robert Smith Jr. is Associate Professor of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama.