Sermon Illustrations

Unfortunately, there are some people who have no hope at all. They live in a kind of existential pessimism and despair. Bertrand Russell was a brilliant thinker, but because he made no room for God in his thoughts, he could not figure out the mystery of life. He once said, “When I die, I believe that I shall rot, and that that is the end.” He went on to say, “All the labors of the ages — the inspiration, the noonday brightness of human genius — are destined to extinction. The whole temple of man’s achievement must inevitably be buried in the debris of a universe in ruins.” Now there’s something to cheer your day. But when you exclude God from your life and thinking there is no other way to think.

By way of contrast, I think of Joni Eareckson Tada who is a woman in a wheelchair. Many of you know her story. In her youth she was an athletic teenager, but in 1967 she broke her neck in a tragic diving accident in Chesapeake Bay. She has written several books, including one on her life story. Because of her paralysis, she cannot feed or bathe herself, or care for her most basic needs. She is a deeply committed Christian, and even as a quadriplegic she sings, and she paints with a paint brush in her mouth. We often get Christmas cards with her artwork on them. She often talks of heaven and what it will mean for her. She says, “I have hope in the future. The Bible speaks about bodies being glorified. I know the meaning of that now. It’s the time after my death here when I, the quadriplegic, will be on my feet dancing.”