Good morning! I hope this day finds you and your family well, and I want you to know that you are in my prayers daily during this difficult time.
I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below — as well as on the theology woven into “It is well with my soul.”
Special thanks to Peggy Graff and her guests for providing this uplifting and inspiring addition to us in her Hymn-a-Day May series. I pray that these paired daily selections will uplift your spirits and feed your soul as much as it does mine.
12 So then, brothers and sisters,[ we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— 13 for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 it is that very Spirit bearing witness[c] with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
This passage from Romans reminds me of a story from the life of Ben Walker Hooper, who was Governor of Tennessee from 1911-1915. Born in Gatlinburg to an unwed mother, Ben knew the pain of never knowing his father. Even worse, Ben endured the ridicule of his peers who constantly asked him, “Who is your daddy?” The pain was so devastating that Ben spent most of his time alone. Then one day a new preacher came to town. That Sunday, Ben, now 12 years old, went to church. He tried to slip out without having to meet the preacher, but he got caught in the line. He felt the preacher’s hand on his shoulder and he looked up just in time to hear the preacher ask the dreaded question: “Son, who is your daddy?”
Ben’s face turned red. The crowd grew quiet. Intuitively sensing the pain of the moment, the pastor looked at him and smiled and said, “Wait a minute, I know who you are. You are a child of God. You are the Lord’s boy. You have a great inheritance. Go out and claim it.” That day changed Ben’s life because he discovered what Paul described in today’s reading: he was a child of God, and if a child, then an heir and a joint heir with Christ.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster