Do You Knock at the Gates of the Grave?

There is a sense in which we are less familiar with death than our forebears, more insulated from its horrors. Of course the death rate in the twenty-first century is identical to every century before and every century to come—“it is appointed for [each and every] man to die once, and after that comes judgment.” So perhaps it is better to say we are less familiar with what we consider premature death—the death of infants, children, and young adults. Because …

Our Hearts and Minds Turned Outward

Every coin has a head behind a tail, every die a 6 behind a 1, every stamp a sticker behind a face. And in much the same way, every technology has a virtue behind a vice, a benefit behind a drawback, something beneficial behind something sorely detrimental. The television that supplies important news also promotes vile entertainment, the engine that provides propulsion also produces pollution, the nuclear fission that powers a city also risks destroying that city. Such is life …

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My Favorite Family Memory

The Challies family is not what it used to be. It is not what it used to be because we have experienced some profound changes over the past few years. Most of these changes have been normal and good—children going to college, children getting engaged, children moving out—, while one has been unexpected and grievous—a child going to heaven. Between them, these changes have left life and family very different than it was before. I don’t know what aging parents …

A Message for Young Men

Somewhere out there in the great, wide world, someone is praying for you. He probably doesn’t know you and you probably don’t know him. You may not meet one another for many more years. But he’s praying for you nonetheless and has been for a very long time. He is the father of a daughter. He is the proud father of a daughter who is very precious to him—more precious than anything he owns, more precious than anything he has …

When the Battlefield Goes Quiet

There are a number of childhood vacations that stand out in my mind, but none quite as clearly as our family trip to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. I may have been 10 or 12 at the time and was a young enthusiast of all things military. I knew little of the Civil War, but did know that Gettysburg represented a turning point in the conflict, that the battle fought here had changed the course of the war and the course of American …

You Just Can’t Have It All

Charles Spurgeon said it. Billy Graham said it. And even though it’s not really all that funny anymore, most of us have probably said it as well. It goes something like this: “Don’t bother looking for the perfect church since, the moment you join it, it won’t be perfect anymore.” Zing! There’s truth behind the quote, of course. It would be impractical and, frankly, ridiculous to expect that a bunch of sinful people could join together to create a sinless …

What Does It Mean To Trust God in Our Trials?

What does it mean to have faith? What does it mean to believe in God’s promises? What does it mean to have confidence that God is who he says he is and that God will do what he says he will do? What is the nature of that faith, that belief, that confidence? There are times during this long and wearying pilgrimage when we undergo severe tests of our faith—tests that are often related to our losses and bereavements. Even …

Don’t Be Reckless With What Others Count Precious

There are few blessings richer than having a good name, and few honors greater than having an upright reputation. “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,” says Solomon, and “a good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume.”1 That being the case, it falls to us to tend to names carefully, to respect what others hold most dear. We might justify carelessness with another man’s trifles and trinkets, but most certainly not with his good name. …

All Will Be Well

The young boy had a privileged upbringing and spent his childhood on a fine estate that boasted a large and carefully-tended garden with bright flowers, cobbled paths, high walls, trimmed lawns. He spent hours of every day playing in this garden, exploring it, and delighting in its many wonders. But there was one part where he never ventured to go. At the very end of the garden stood a grove of trees that grew tall and full and cast dark …

The Squiggly Line of God’s Providence

Even in our sorest trials we have the highest confidence: all things work for good. Even in our darkest valleys we have the brightest light: all things work for good. Even in our lowest moments, our hardest days, our most difficult circumstances, this precious promise blesses us, sustains us, gives us hope: all things work for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose. As Christians we know that God’s sovereign hand draws a line …