INTRODUCTION: Bob and Jeanette Lauer lead a large Sunday morning class, which has been suspended during the current pandemic. This is the last of their weekly letters to the group as they prepare for the September launch of their video teaching series.
Dr Bryan Stamper
We still can’t get together in person, but we will have a virtual class that begins on Sept. 13. We’ll e-mail you in a week or two with more information about how to access it and what to study. Since the class begins soon, this will be the last in our series of weekly messages. We are very grateful for the many responses you have sent us. This final one is titled, appropriately, “the last word.”
In baseball, it’s the umpire who has the last word. In the nation, it’s the Supreme Court that has the last word in legal matters. In a marriage…well, let’s not go there. Let’s just say that if one partner says to the other “you always have to have the last word,” it’s not a sign of a healthy relationship. For good or evil, then, the “last word” is of crucial importance.
Who, or what, has the last word in human history? Certainly not the pandemic, nor any human leader or nation. Rather, it is God who has the last word. As Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17: “..the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God”.., and the dead shall rise and we shall be with the Lord forever.
We’d like to share with you a true story that is a parable of God having the last word. In the 1870s, the citizens of a small, coastal town, Swan Quarter, North Carolina, looked for a piece of property for a new Methodist church building. They chose an elevated piece of land in the center of the town where the church would be protected from coastal flooding and would be prominently seen. Unfortunately, the landowner refused to sell the property to them.
So the church was built on another site and dedicated on September 16, 1876. It was only a matter of days after the dedication that a powerful hurricane swept through, savaging the community. The brand-new Swan Quarter United Methodist Church was torn from its pilings. It remained intact, but it floated away on the raging flood waters. The flood waters carried it along a street in the town. Then, inexplicably, it took a right turn down a different road. It finally settled on a vacant lot, with its front facing the road. And the lot where it settled was the very one the church members had tried to buy in the first place! The landowner now agreed to sell the property. The Swan Quarter United Methodist Church still stands on that spot today. It stands as a testimony to the fact that storms and destruction of various kinds may afflict us, but that’s not the end of the story. The last word belongs to God.
“..”neither death nor life, neither angels, nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).