Friday, November 2, 2012

Through the Fog

Ed Dobson has done a lot in his life. He was Jerry Falwell's right hand man during the building of the Lynchburg University empire and the Moral Majority days. Later he renounced his political activity and called Evangelicals back to their main ministry - evangelism and missions - in a book written with columnist Cal Thomas. Then, he became pastor of a large church in Grand Rapids. After 18 years there he got ALS. He found out in 2000, stayed on at the church for a few years and then resigned. The doctors gave him 2 to 5 years. He has lived almost 12 but most of his muscle functions have now succombed to the crippling disease. This book, Through the Fog, was written on a voice activated computer. Over the past ten years he has been able to be pretty active. He wrote a book a few years back called The Year of Living Like Jesus which I read and blogged about. In 2008 he endorsed Obama for president because of his study of the gospels. He stated simply that Obama was the most like Jesus of the candidates. It cost him many Evangelical supporters. In this new book which he says will be his last he talks about dying honestly and practically. He talks about what he has discovered about prayer, healing (or not), worry, forgiveness, and gratitude. He talks about what Christians have done and said that have been helpful and other things that have not been helpful. Like I said it is a very honest book. It is clear from the book that Dobson's faith and family are very important to him. He loves life and is not ready to die. He is not afraid to die but he has been afraid of the process of dying. And he grieves what he will be leaving behind. He wants to stick around as long as he can. There have been several bestselling Christian books in recent years about someone dying and going to heaven and then returning to tell us what it was like. It was great, of course. There was even one by a child that became a bestseller. His father wrote down what his son told him heaven was like. But there are no Christian bestsellers that talk about the suffering that comes while we wait to die. And how God is part of that process. It is not hard to see what God has been up to in Ed Dobson's life during the past decade in which he has been dying of ALS. Ed has graciously shared his struggles with us and we are able to see God's strength in Ed's weakness.