Posted on : Wednesday December 3, 2008

By David Lee, BCMD Executive Director

David Lee, BCMD Executive Director

David Lee, BCMD Executive Director

The Apostle Paul was the master of the summary statement. In Romans, for example, Paul delivers an extensive discourse on God’s plan of justification despite his right to condemn all of us because of our sin. And then he masterfully summarizes that whole section in one powerful statement in 6:23. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.” That says it, doesn’t it?

Then in the middle of the letter Paul describes in depth God’s grace and how He works within us to transform us and sustain us day by day and summarizes that concept in 8:28 with one of my favorite verses, “For we know that God can work all things together for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose.” What would we do without Romans 8:28?

In 1 Corinthians, Paul seeks to help a troubled church address its conflict issues through the power of God and shows them a better way to handle what they face in the well known love chapter. He then closes that part of the discussion with a great summary statement in 13:13. I like the way the KJV starts the verse and the way the modern translations end the verse. “And now abideth faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love.” Hold that thought.

Having spent considerable time on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, I have learned a healthy respect for hurricanes. When the local officials recommended that we evacuate, I evacuated . . . no questions asked….

Upon returning there were always stories told by those who remained behind. Most were scary and reinforced my wisdom in leaving. I must confess to you that there is one experience I wish I could say that I had had. I would like to have experienced what it is like to be in the eye of a hurricane. Now understand, I doubt I ever will, because you have to face many frightening things on the front and back end of a storm to get to experience the eye.

Along that eye wall are winds that can gust beyond 150 miles per hour, bands of wind and rain, and unstable air that can spawn tornadoes. But in the eye itself the winds are minimal. The skies are relatively clear. There are those who have even witnessed seeing stars in the midst of the eye. In the eye of the storm, people have been known to go outside to investigate the damage or tighten up some things that may have come loose in the first wave of the storm. But seasoned veterans know that that time is short-lived for soon the storm will resume its fury. And this time the winds will come from the opposite direction due to the circular nature of the storm.

The Corinthian believers were in the eye of a storm. They had already been pounded by the winds of division and conflict and immaturity and sin. Paul was trying to get them to make the necessary adjustments because he knew that the backside of the storm was about to hit. This time their internal fury would be joined by a strong and powerful persecution from without.

I believe we as Maryland/Delaware Baptists are in the eye of a storm. The first wave has felt mostly economic and cultural in nature. We have been investigating the damage. Unfortunately, we are learning that some of the damage has occurred because the man-made infrastructure we have built was shallow and without foundation and has collapsed under the pressure.

I fear, however, that the storm is not over. There is the backside of the storm yet to be experienced, and it may be a fiercer storm by far. However, we have some time to strengthen our cords and deepen our stakes. We have some time to adjust and prepare. Paul has given to the Corinthians and to us directions on how to prepare while we are in the eye of the storm.

• We must strengthen our faith.

• We need to tell the story of hope.

• Finally, we need to figure out this love thing.

We still have a little time before the next wave of the storm hits. Dare we ignore the counsel of the Apostle Paul?

Now abideth faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love.

(David Lee’s message in its entirety is available at