The combination of mist and wind made for a chilly friday afternoon when Glowing Heart arrived at Cornerstone. It didn’t warm up much for the rest of the weekend. We quickly unloaded our equipment and finished set-up with haste. Once everything on my part was done, I went to my bible. I was planning a last-minute sermon. Because of some confusion, neither Bobby nor I had a sermon ready to preach for saturday night. On the short van ride to Cornerstone, we decided that I would preach, so I naturally went to where my soul and mind was at the moment: Psalm 42.
Psalm 42 is a beautiful chapter of the bible that clearly deals with a follower of God struggling with depression. It’s ultimately a song of hope in the midst of hopelessness, and is a Psalm close to my heart. I broke the chapter down into sections, followed its structure, and found inside the sermon I was going to preach. I knew it was going to be my most personal sermon yet, which challenged and frightened me. I discussed the sermon outline with my friend, Cameron, to make sure it flowed and made sense.
About the time I finished, we met with the brand new youth pastor and the long-time youth workers for our briefing. At one point during the briefing, the youth worker brought up how there were some in the group dealing with depression, and that they needed to see and hear about Christ our Joy. That was God confirming with me the topic and text of my sermon.
I worked on the sermon as much as I could. I prayed over it, sang over it, and cried over it. I rewrote it twice in one afternoon, and then I knew it was ready. I was ready, God was ready, and the youth group was ready.
Theology is not meant for dry textbooks and sharp minds. It is meant to be a steady anchor for the restless soul, a bed of grace for the weary traveller. Martyn Lloyd-Jones called preaching “theology on fire.” That is what God delivered to me, and hopefully that’s what God delivered through me on that saturday night. The book of Psalms is where the rubber meets the road, and I said as much in the sermon. The Holy Spirit warmed souls and brought them near, and two students accepted Christ and their Lord, Savior, and Joy. God had a plan all along, even though we didn’t.