Once upon a time

When the boys were small, we had a bedtime ritual. Before prayers, we had story time. Sometimes it came from a favorite book; sometimes the boys demanded a creative rendering from their father – I had to make something up. The ridiculous quotient of the story was often measured by how many eye-rolls I got from my lovely wife.

Everybody loves stories. Almost all of us love stories with happy endings. We want the bad guy to lose and the good guy to win. We want justice served and rewards earned.

Life doesn’t always have happy endings. Some stories end abruptly. Some fade into oblivion. Sometimes the bad guy defeats the good guy. Sometimes the good guy turns into the bad guy.

If you are familiar with Romans 8:28, you probably have struggled with the implications of Paul’s words. Do all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose? Paul didn’t say that all things are good; he did say that the story comes out for the good in the end.

I believe that. I need to believe that. I believe, as a person of faith, that the story does have a happy ending. I may not understand the twists and turns. I may wish we could be spared some of the pain and suffering. I admit I can’t see the end of the journey and don’t really want to know what lies in wait around the next bend.

I try to live with two things holding me up – hope and trust. I refuse to believe that evil will win the day. I refuse to accept that life has no purpose or meaning. In this day of cynicism and skepticism, I cling to the promise that the story will come out right. History is His story.

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About Mark Wilbanks

Dr. Wilbanks became Wieuca’s fifth senior pastor in February of 2012. Mark’s father, Oliver Wilbanks, served as Associate Pastor here from 1966 to 1982. Wieuca had a tremendous influence in shaping Mark’s call to ministry during his teenage and young adult years. A graduate of both Southern and New Orleans Baptist Theological seminaries, Mark has served churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia. He pastored Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida for 17 years and Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida for ten years. He and his wife, Kim, were married in 1979 and have two sons, Andy and Jordan. Andy is married to Lindsay and they have a son, Cade, a daughter, Ruthie, and welcomed their third child, Samuel, in October.

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