Unknown Mercies

Unknown Mercies

The BTK serial killer, Dennis Rader, who fed his perverted sexual appetite, for three decades, with the lives of other human beings, was considered by others that surrounded him to be just a normal guy. This “normal guy,” however, was able, over a thirty year time period, to keep hidden the heinous monster who dwelt within that placid exterior.

A forensic psychiatrist remarked concerning such men as Rader that a serial killer does not just wake up one morningĀ and decides that killing someone would be a good idea but sometimes a 10 to 20-year preface of fantasying in the mind takes place before it moves into reality.

We, as preachers, know well that backsliding does not occur overnight. Long before grievous transgressions become a reality there is the incubation of certain thoughts and then those thoughts migrate into plans and plans transform ultimately into actions.

Many times we are like the biblical shepherd that is able only to recover a few yet undigested parts from the lion’s mouth because we often are able to only deal with the aftermath of destruction–a destruction that began long before the crushing jaws of reality had snapped shut on its prey.

Like others, we often deem recovery after the fact as not only as the mercy of God but also as miraculous, as indeed it should be thusly deemed. But I wonder how often we fail to realize how merciful and miraculous God is to be able to not only penetrate into the preface of a stumbling and strike the needed chords of the human heart and mind and deter or eradicate the seed of destruction before it is birthed?

Someone once wrote, “The saddest words of man or pen are simply these ‘it might have been.'” Please allow me to say that it could also be said that the most merciful words of man or pen are simply these, “It might have been.”

Brethren, we must never underestimate the power of preaching that not only can deal with the aftermath of sin but also its far greater power to deal with the seminal forces of sin. While the former case is evident by sight the latter is known only by the Spirit and sometimes, thanks be to God, never known to any man.