The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor… comfort the brokenhearted…  proclaim freedom for captives… to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come… to give a crown of beauty for ashes, joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair” (Isa. 61:1-3; Lk. 4:16-21)


Lord Jesus, I love this hope-pregnant passage—this Gospel-promissory of resolved ache, fulfilled longings, and perfect everything. We can’t ponder it too deeply, trust it too fully, or live it too robustly. It compels us to love, worship, and delight it you. For you are the “Yes!” to every promise God has made—no exceptions.

My tender, vulnerable, wobbling heart has needed this refreshed perspective—in response to the recent “Homecoming” of a few respected leaders and good friends. My first instinct has been to think, what will we do without “a Tim Keller?” Earlier in my grief-life, I asked the same about my spiritual dad, Jack Miller. And you responded then, as you are now.

Jesus, thank you for reminding me of these words from Paul: “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. Neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow” (1Cor. 3:6-7). There was a time when your young Bride could not imagine life without “an Apostle Paul.” But Paul imagined it, planned for it, and put the emphasis where it should always be… on you. Jesus, only you make things grow, and only you are making all things new.

You use “foolish, weak, powerless, despised things”—and “things that are not” to accomplish your eternal purposes (1Cor. 1:26-29). Our favorite preachers often “bring it,” as we say, after a powerful message… or at the end of a faithful life. But only you, Jesus, are “really bringing it”—for you are our “righteousness, holiness, and redemption. Our boast and hope are in you” (1Cor.1:30-31). So Very Amen.