CALL WEEKEND FOR SENIOR PASTOR CANDIDATE DR. ROBERT STEPHENS - DECEMBER 10 & 11

From My Heart

By Pastor Kim Eskridge

Dear friends, as I write to you on this morning after Easter Sunday, my heart is full.

In many ways to someone less familiar with our First Baptist family, yesterday may have looked like many other Easters over the years. The lovely, flowered cross stood tall outside as a testimony to the new life that we can have because of what Jesus did on the ugly, cruel cross of Golgotha. Families lined up to have their photos taken in front of it, and there was joy in those moments.

Scores of volunteers and staff members served in various seen and unseen ways such as caring for children, greeting, cross construction/flowering, and running our audio-visual equipment. Of course, the most visible were the choir and orchestra, who led us in a soul-stirring time of worship and celebration of our risen Savior and the victory of what He accomplished through His death on the cross and glorious resurrection. There was a coming together of our church family in love and unity. There was joy and celebration in our worship even though we knew that someone was missing.

Our dear Roger, Pastor for Music and Worship, who has led us in worship at FBCA and ministered to us and magnified our Lord for more than 26 years, lays in a hospital ICU bed. For more than a week now, we have urgently prayed, beseeching our Lord to raise Roger up and to restore him to us, and we continue to do so waiting for an answer. As we wait, our hearts are heavy. We cling to the promises of Scripture that all things are possible with God and that anything that we ask in the name of Jesus, He will do:

And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask Me for anything in my name, and I will do it. – John 14:13 – 14

We continue to pray and know that God is able, but the latest updates do not sound optimistic.

“Why, God, why? Wouldn’t raising Roger bring you such glory?! Don’t take him from us, not now, Lord. He has so much more to do for You and for our church, and we love him so.” These are some of the prayers that I have been lifting to God.

Yesterday, as I was greeting families in line for their photo at the cross, one of the children asked me what had happened to Pastor Roger. I told her about his accident, and then we talked about the way that God answers our prayers. Sometimes God says, “Yes.” Sometimes He says, “No.” Sometimes He tells us to wait. We are in a waiting time now. But no matter what His final answer is, He is a good and faithful God.

Just like parents who do not give their children everything that they ask for, because the parent has a larger view and knows what is best for their children, our God may not give us this desire of our hearts. And just like a loving parent, He also understands our grief and grieves with us. He can handle our tears, our questions, and even our anger. In all that He does and allows, He is working for our good and for the good of His kingdom, to which we belong. He is trustworthy no matter what happens.

And hasn’t Roger modeled faith in the midst of struggle for us, perhaps for such a time as this? We watched Roger walk through grieving for his beloved wife, Suzanne. With tears in his eyes, he led us to glorify and worship our Lord no matter what.  

As we wait together for news, let us remain in prayer for Roger, for his family, and for those who are caring for him. And let’s continue to draw together in love and unity, praising and worshipping our Lord, just as Roger would want us to.

Praise be to the LORD,
    for He has heard my cry for mercy.
The LORD is my strength and my shield;
    my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
    and with my song I praise Him
. – Psalm 28:6-7

3 Comments


Mark Kern - April 19th, 2022 at 2:04pm

Well said, Pastor Kim. Thank you. We as a congregation are joining you in prayer and pleading with God to heal Pastor Roger. Yet, not my will, but Your's be done Dear Lord. Roger would sing the loudest when he sang In Christ Alone. I looked at the lyrics again today. It ends with "Till He returns or calls me home - Here in the power of Christ, I'll stand." Roger is standing tall right now in the power of Christ.

Mary Beth Rutledge - April 19th, 2022 at 4:21pm

Thank you Kim for these words! So very true and comforting! Heartbroken but rejoicing and continuing to pray ! ❤️

Beth Spivey - April 19th, 2022 at 4:49pm

Perfect words during this most difficult time. Praying for his family, but also all of you who served daily with him.

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