About 10 years ago, a retired pastor, Jack Dean, was hired at our Christian high school and quickly became a much-loved Bible teacher. The age difference was never a problem, because the students knew that he truly cared about them. During his five-year tenure, Pastor Dean’s constant theme to his students was “God is real.” He told me, earnestly, many times, “I just want them to realize that God is not a distant being, off in the distance, but that God is their personal God, who loves them, wants to know them and cares deeply about every aspect of their lives.”
After unexpected medical difficulties on Sunday, Pastor Dean passed away on Wednesday of this week. He is now experiencing fully what he preached and taught for so long. And, in this final Faith and Values column, I would like to address that same message:
To the young single mother who is struggling, financially and emotionally, to rear a child alone;
To the man who has spent his entire life working only for financial gain, detached from all else, and now is wondering if all that effort was worth the cost;
To the lonely person who is turning to alcohol to drown out troubles and sorrows;
To the older person who realizes that life is short, and that he ought to be thinking about what will happen after death, but it is easier just not to face that topic right now;
To the person who has picked up this paper at a fast-food restaurant, who is facing a huge difficulty and isn’t sure how to proceed;
To the person who has said his or her entire life, “Of course I am a Christian,” but down deep knows that he isn’t really sure what that means;
To the person using this paper to line a box, who happens to read it as she contemplates a big problem in her life;
To the homeless person who may be using this paper as a blanket under a bridge, and whose eyes happen to alight on this column;
To the unnamed person with the unnamed need:
To all of the above, and to anyone else, here is the message: God is real. He has revealed Himself in the pages of his word, the Bible, and if you will open it up, and study the miracle of how the Bible came to be, and how God sent His son for our redemption from sin, you will find hope. God is eager to fill the need in the heart of the person who is truly searching for him. Come to him in humility and ready to accept his gift of salvation and true spiritual growth. If he could speak to you in person, Mr. Dean would say the same thing.
Writing this column during the past year has been a privilege, one that I regret to see end. Thank you very much to Kylie, Charmaine, and the editorial staff of the Independent Mail, and also to those of you who have faithfully read these columns. May God bless you, the reader, as you seek to find the true God of the universe, the God who is real.