Pulpit Reflections

Pulpit Reflections By Rev. Robert Grossman Sometimes God does something that tells us so loudly to get real with Him, that we cannot help but stop and listen. We human beings really have very little control over what happens in this world, and yet we are constantly blaming things on human activity or taking credit for things we haven�t done. One such event happened recently in Vermillion.

A few weeks ago, on Monday, June 20, a crew of volunteers from Reformed Churches in Menno, Sioux Falls and Vermillion began stripping the shingles from the Heidelberg Reformed Seminary building just across Highway 50 from Polaris, in preparation for installing new shingles. That evening a South Dakota thunderstorm rumbled past Vermillion�s south side.

The shinglers rolled out and tacked down the plastic sheeting they had for just this possibility, but when the thunderstorm got east of Vermillion, it intensified, reversed course, and attacked our fair city from the east. The 73 MPH winds quickly blew away the plastic sheeting, and four inches of rain poured down on sub-roofing made the old fashioned way, out of one-inch boards with fair-sized cracks between them.

The crew quickly stacked the boxes containing 6000 books on table tops laid on the floor with their legs folded and covered the stack with plastic as water began pouring down inside the building. When the ceiling sheetrock also began raining down, they had to abandon ship for safer places.

So now, what do we make of something quite devastating, over which we have had no control? Something which ruined a whole lot of work getting the building ready for occupancy this fall (our first classes actually were held there this past April).

Well, we could say with a lot of other so-called educated folks today, �These things happen by chance, just like everything else.� But God�s answer is blunt and devastating to that wish; �The fool has said in his heart that there is no God.�

The fact is that God, the real God who created heaven and earth, controls everything that comes to pass. If He does not, if everything really is by chance, then morality is also by chance, and Adolph Hitler is just as good as Mother Teresa.

Ideals do have consequences. �But,� someone will say, �if God controls everything, why do bad things happen?� Again, the Bible has a very clear answer; bad things happen because of human sin.

The human race is a race that has fallen into sin. We all sin, some more some less, but as the apostle Paul says, �We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God.�

Bad things happen because God is our judge as well as our creator, and has declared right from the beginning that the wages of sin is death.

BUT we also need to know that bad things are often good. We even have a saying about it, �Every cloud has a silver lining.� This is true of what happened to Heidelberg Seminary�s building. It is going to be a lot of work to set things right, but we can now do them better than we had planned, and will be able to make improvements to the building that we could not have made otherwise.

So our cloud really has had a silver lining. Again, this is only what the Bible says. �All things work together for good to those who love the Lord, who are the called according to His purpose� (Rom. 8:28).

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