As I look back on this last deer season, it seems that bad news could be the theme. I hunted hard since I was not able to very much last year, but my effort only produced minimal results. If I had to compare the hours in the stand to my harvest ledger, I would definitely be in the red. What makes it even worse is I knew I was in a place where some big bucks lived. In fact, I missed my opportunity at one of those bucks because I couldn't get my crossbow up before said buck left. Another bummer was when I arrowed a ten-pointer but was never able to find him. I actually think he's still alive. At least I hope he is. When I think about it however, I can't remember a year that was marked by more successes than failures. The truth is bad news is a lot more normal than good news, and it's easier to find. It's certainly that way in most areas of life.
One of my favorite evangelists of times past was a black man by the name of E.V. Hill. The way he preached could make me confess sins I'd never committed. He tells a story about a woman in his church who always sat on the front row. Her nickname was Eighteen Hundred. It was given to her because she was so old that everyone thought she must have been born in the 1800's. Everyone loved Eighteen Hundred. Author, Shane Claiborne, tells how E.V Hill shared the story with him. Every Sunday old Eighteen Hundred would sit in her usual spot in the front row. As Pastor Hill started preaching, she would start muttering, "Get to the good news, Pastor: get to the good news". And her commentary would get louder and louder as the sermon progressed. The longer he talked, the louder she got. He would be talking about how Jesus died on Friday, and she'd yell back, "Don't leave him there. Get to the empty tomb on Sunday." He'd be talking about how hatred, sin, and racism are still alive today. And she'd shout back, "Move on Pastor. Get to the good news!" Eventually he would get to the good news, and she would shout "Amen!" at the top of her lungs.
I think about all that Eighteen Hundred went through in her life. Racism, slavery, poverty, and the likes. If anyone ought to wallow in the bad news it ought to be her. But Eighteen Hundred had not only found a story of bad news that ended in good news, she wanted to make sure it always ended the right way. It was this good news that overcame all the bad news she had endured in her life. Friend, I know the world is full of bad news. But it always has been. The gospel, however, is good news, and it is good news for everyone who hears it. So, don't forget, it's alright to recognize all the bad things that may be going on, but don't end the story on Friday.