Ray Ortlund|3:54 PM CT

Empty and powerless

Today would have been my dad’s eighty-ninth birthday.  I am missing him today.  I miss him every day.  I miss him more than I can say.

After he died, my mom kindly sent me some of his books.  Included was a Bible dad bought as a college student in 1944.  One day I noticed something he had scribbled in the margin next to Isaiah 45:2-3.  You can just see it there.  Here is what he wrote:

“The Lord gave this on 5/31/53 after a hard day of preaching — feeling empty and powerless.”

I can picture my dad sitting up in bed that Sunday night, feeling depleted, needing a word from God.  So he pulled open his Bible and came across Isaiah 45:2-3.  I am aware of the exegesis of those verses — Cyrus, etc.  But God used these verses as a personal promise to my dad, a promise of illumination and insight to a young preacher who had given his all that day and still needed more.

Far beyond any other preacher I have ever heard, my dad had a capacity for insight into the ways of God, according to Scripture, that helped people.  God made my dad a promise that night so long ago, and he kept it – many times.

“Empty and powerless.”  Perfect.

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