Tuesday, July 2, 2013

~ Terrified of God ~

        H. G. Wells was no friend of the church, but sometimes he served us
        well. Years ago in the New Yorker, he told a story about an Episcopalian
        clergyman. (He could have told it about a preacher from any
        denomination.) This Episcopalian bishop was the kind of man who always
        said pious things to people. When troubled folks came to him, he found
        that a particularly helpful thing to say, if said in a right tone of
        voice, was, "Have you prayed about it?" If said in just the right way,
        it seemed to settle things.

        The bishop himself didn't pray much; he had life wrapped up in a neat
        package. But one day life tumbled in on him, and he found himself
        overwhelmed. It occurred to the bishop that maybe he should take some of
        his own advice. So, one Saturday afternoon he entered the cathedral,
        went to the front, and knelt on the crimson rug. Then he folded his
        hands before the altar (he could not help but think how childlike he

        Then he began to pray. He said, "O God--" and suddenly there was a
        voice. It was crisp, businesslike. The voice said, "Well, what is it?"
        Next day when the worshipers came to Sunday services, they found the
        bishop sprawled face down on the crimson carpet. When they turned him
        over, they discovered he was dead. Lines of horror were etched upon his
        face. What H. G. Wells was saying in that story is simply this: there
        are folks who talk a lot about God who would be scared to death if they
        saw him face to face.

        — Haddon Robinson, "Good Guys, Bad Guys, and Us Guys," Preaching Today,
        Tape No. 80.         

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