Tom Elliff
Oklahoma City, OK

After pastoring for forty-two years, Tom Elliff served the International Mission Board, first as Senior Vice President for Spiritual Nurture and Church Relations from 2005-2009, then as President from 2011-2014. Tom served pastorates in Arkansas, Texas, Colorado and Oklahoma and as an IMB missionary in Zimbabwe. Tom also served as president of the SBC Pastor's Conference and two terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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A Doxology for the Broken-Hearted

By on October 29, 2014

The news that our pastor has been diagnosed with stage four cancer has broken our hearts. The church, of course will pull together, providing a blanket of love, encouragement and support. But our pastor’s wife, children and extended family have now set out with him on a journey of faith. Our church family will not merely “look on;” we will join with them on the journey…wherever it takes us. After all, we serve an all-powerful God who is quite able in every arena.

It seems that there is so much around us that breaks our hearts these days. And of course, we are only living in our small part of the world. But as often said, broken-heartedness knows no bounds. There is no arena this side of heaven where it does not enter the ring at some time or the other.

So how do we handle broken-heartedness? Brother Paul (a man who was no stranger to all manner of afflictions) noted that, somewhere amidst the tears, we should pause to sing a doxology, words of praise, to our ever-faithful Lord. I don’t know the tune of his doxology, but I do have the lyrics. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Cor 1:3-4).

Since we are each under affliction (the pressure of hard circumstances) at one time or another Paul urges us to reflect on 1) Who God Is (The “God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort”), 2) What He does (He “comforts us in all our afflictions”), and 3) Why He does it (“So that we will be able to comfort other also”).

God not only meets us in our afflictions, He actually uses them to expand the utility of our lives. Instead of thinking of affliction as the end, we must see that God turns it to the beginning of our life’s greatest usefulness. Only our God can do something like that for His children!

Brothers and sisters! Lets not lose our song! But then lets be sure to choose the right song! In fact, I think I need to sing my favorite verse right now. Its from Francis Havergal’s “Like a River Glorious.” Every joy or trial falleth from above, Traced upon our dial by the Son of Love. We may trust Him fully all for us to do. Those who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true!

So…Rejoice evermore!

Tom Elliff

2 Tim 1:12

 

 

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  • LyndelLittleton

    Stayed upon Jehovah, Hearts are fully blessed; Finding as He promised, Perfect peace and rest.