There have been some contrasting stories over recent days. The impeachment hearings are moving along with efforts by many in Washington to grab the attention of the cameras and those determining the content for news feeds. A highly politicized and rancorous conversation with carnal elements on all sides, I'm wondering what God must think as he sees and knows all, even the hidden motives of people's hearts?
In Cleveland, with only seconds left in a football game already clearly decided, there was a huge conflict on the football field played out in front of a stadium full of people and national TV, and later seen on screens by millions around the world. Disdain and destructive deeds were on display. What are God's thoughts about so many worshiping sports instead of him, and then seeing this sad demonstration of brokenness by professional athletes?
In an old farmhouse in Noblesville, Indiana, another story was playing out. A man took his last struggling breath and then slipped quietly away. Compared to President Trump, Speaker Pelosi, Garrett, Pouncey, and Rudolph, whose names are now known by so many, this man's name is known by only a few. Some in Pakistan where he poured out his life for Christ and others, some in Indiana, a few prayer and financial supporters here and there, but relatively speaking, this man was little known on this earth. Compared to all the persons known through the impeachment and NFL conflicts, Russ Irwin stands out as truly worthy of emulation.
So is his dear wife of over 60 years, Phyllis, who as a missionary physician used her medical skills to demonstrate the compassion of Jesus to thousands upon thousands of Pakistanis. Russ and Phyllis have given their lives for what really matters, making disciples, bringing healing and hope, and training leaders for Christ in a difficult place where the resistance was often intimidating and overwhelming. Russ was a missionary, a theologian, a Bible teacher, and a trainer to many. With Phyllis at his side, he died a few days ago with praise to God on his lips and in his heart.
What a privilege for Esther and me to be with Russ and Phyllis just days before Russ left this world. What does God think of people like Russ and Phyllis Irwin? From Scripture, we know: "Blessed is the man (or woman) who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He (or she) will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit" (Jeremiah 17:7-8). May we all be challenged by Russ and Phyllis’ example of loving and serving Christ and others.
By OMS Global President, Bob Fetherlin