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I met Ronnie Stevens when he served First Evangelical Church in Memphis, and I was at Germantown Baptist. Our common love of C. S. Lewis, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and Charles Spurgeon provided a beginning place for friendship.

Ronnie is now a pastor in Hungary. I have my doubts about his being an active pastor, since he lives in one of the most interesting and beautiful cities in the world, and the scene below is not far from where he lives.

Actually, Ronnie is a world-changer. To my delight, he has begun to blog. When I visited his blog, I found the following:

God will not prove His love for us by preventing the suffering or death of someone we love. I did not say He would not protect those we love. Is there anyone we care about still alive and prospering? It is because God protects them. We believe in Providence. I said God will not prove His love to us by Providence.

I did not say we cannot ask God to protect those we love. We believe in prayer. I said that God will not prove His love for us by answered prayer.

I make these emphatic declarations for the simple reason that God proves His love in a way quite different. He proves His love by refusing to protect the One He loves.

“He who did not spare His own Son but delivered Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32

To doubt God’s love when those we care about are taken is to deem the crucifixion of God’s only Son an insufficient demonstration of favor. Of course we don’t mean to. But sorrow is a suffocating thing.

Probably the greatest thing, the hardest thing, we trust God with is who dies first and who dies next. The best man in the world once cried out,

“O my son, Absalom, my son, my son, Absalom! Would God that I had died instead of thee…” 2 Samuel 18:33

We want to insist that heaven be adorned exclusively with the aged. We want to, but we can’t.

If I knew what God knows, and I do not, and if I were good, and I am not, I would do what God does. I would allow what God allows.

2009 is gone.

So shall our lives be.

It is therefore all the more urgent that we secure a life which cannot be forfeited.

A life purchased by the Dread Ransom of the Blood Royal.

We draw One Year Closer.

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