I first heard these words, which originate from an old Rabbi, in in a sermon by the Reverend Dr. John Claypool as he preached through the death of his 10 year old daughter, Laura Lue.
John Claypool reached out from his own hurting soul, to his congregation, and ultimately to the world, after this tragedy struck his life. He wrote a series of sermons that have helped thousands upon thousands deal with their own grief. His infamous book, Tracks of a Fellow Struggler: Living and growing through Grief, provided a platform for many preachers, including myself... to join him in this urgently important task of preaching.
Claypool, who died the weekend of Hurricane Ivan, pointed us to the words of that Rabbi. I need to tell you there is only one unforgivable sin and that is despair. Despair about anything! To say that a situation is hopeless, to say that there is nothing redemptive that can possibly be done: that is simply not a position that we can consider tenable. Humanly speaking, despair is presumptuous. We have no right to say that because we should never discount the mind and heart of God to bring about peace... where peace appears to our own lives.
Therefore, despair is presumptuous!
John Claypool could have gone and sat in a corner and quit! Instead he realized there were many who dealt with broken hearts over so much...about dreams that did not pan out... and about hopes that had been dashed over time.
On his journey back he discovered an opposite truth---Life is Gift! To be born at all into this world and experience love and faith and peace at the hands of Jesus Christ is to win the most incredible sweepstakes of all time.
Join us this Sunday in worship for the story of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath.