It's relatively easy to preach about joy in suffering when things are going well.
A theology of suffering is simple when the suffering is "out there," outside the walls of the church. It is a little harder when it is in the pew in front of you, but still not as hard as when the suffering is in your house or in your own head.
My friend and fellow PhD student at SEBTS, Kenny Hilliard, was recently diagnosed with a tumor on his brain stem that is likely malignant. He is six years my junior with a wife and two children.
He is also the Pastor of New Horizon Baptist Fellowship of Marion, NC.
He's on the brink of the trials ahead. Today the uncertainty is a greater part of the suffering than the physical and emotional tests that lie ahead for the Hilliard family.
In light of the trials ahead, Kenny preached a sermon on 2 Corinthians 6:1-13. The sermon is on the hope of the Gospel. It's about finding joy amidst suffering through hope in the redemption that is to come.
It's too early to make Kenny a hero, but I have hope that the end of the story will be as good as this beginning. In the meanwhile, we can pray that Kenny will suffer well. We can pray that his family will be sustained and encouraged through this time. We can pray that he will make a full recovery soon.
In light of the trial that is to come, this sermon may gain in significance, but it will not diminish.
Regardless of what comes next, listen to the sermon below (it's just audio over a still picture) in light of Kenny's diagnosis. Listen and be blessed by the powerful trust in the goodness of God, even in light of his present sufferings.
Kenny and his family are facing significant medical expenses in the near future. If you'd care to contribute toward those, you may do so through this link to a third party crowdfunding site.