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Newsletter: October, 2021

Yet, I Will Rejoice in the LORD

Yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. Habakkuk 3:17-18

Last month I preached a sermon entitled Even If. The tagline of that sermon was this: “it’s easy to sing when there’s nothing to bring me down”. I am on an airplane heading to Washington DC as I write. This morning, there is a significant something to bring our family down; in the preceding moments, we lost a spiritual giant in the life of our family, a devoted mentor to our eldest children. We lost a friend, a confidant, an influencer, a brother in the LORD. Dr. Gregory Brewton was taken in the LORD’s timing, against our every hope, from the virus we know as COVID. He left it all on the field, his everything, communicating with his students even during the hours as life drew short. I thank this congregation for praying alongside me Sunday. We can be certain His will has been done in bringing Greg home.

As we remember a life well-lived, it is easy to wonder if I could say the same – that I left it all on the field, that I lived a life without regret, that I did my best. Such should be the question before Christians as we sprint through harried lives: are we leaving it all on the field, giving our best for His glory and namesake, to the benefit of those whose lives we intersect, with no promise of tomorrow?

Buried in the ending of Habakkuk is a short statement, “Yet, I will rejoice in the LORD.” As we completed our study of Habakkuk, I caught notice of the words, “I will”, and I have thought about those two short words ever since. I will. Consider those words and the commitment they portray. I will. I find in my life that I can say “I will do such and such” quite easily. I can say those words with less than an enthusiastic attitude, allowing them to slide from my lips, carelessly. I can even say them without a commitment to them; I can say them without meaning to follow through on, I will.

When all is said and done, I imagine Habakkuk and his “I will”. I don’t think he mumbled the words under his breath. I don’t imagine they slid easily from his mouth. I imagine Habakkuk gritting his teeth, pounding his fists, amping his determination beyond what he felt and perhaps even desired. I imagine him convictionally shouting, to himself if not others, despite all the worry and destruction, I WILL rejoice in the LORD. That is I WILL. I can sense the fire in his eyes, with his back against the wall, I WILL. Up against doubt and unspeakable pain, Habakkuk throws down the gauntlet, I WILL rejoice in the LORD. This is not half-hearted worship of God. This is committed and intentional worship of the true and living God.

I would surmise that each of us have something that we are mumbling to God, an uncommitting, I will. Perhaps, like Habakkuk, it is rejoicing in the LORD amid contrary circumstances and the certain trials. Or maybe it is seeking a word with a sister who harbors hurt, or writing a note of encouragement to a brother who is down, or extending forgiveness, or returning to the Word, or studying the Bible with sisters in the upcoming study, or simply making that phone call to a loved one, telling them they are cherished and treasured.

My children tell me that Greg cried often when talking of Heaven, even when reading the Scriptures publicly. We miss the paramount lesson of his life if we believe “well done” came easily to Greg; it didn’t. Those that tear up at the mention and thought of Heaven have surely touched pain. Yet, he lived I will. Living beyond himself was a choice; it can be ours too.

We reflect during times of loss. Dr. Gregory Brewton did it right, a life deserving of “well done, good and faithful servant”. His impact upon our family was immeasurable. I wish you could have known him. One day.

His, only His, grace upon grace,

Pastor Jeff