"Easter Experience"

Revelation 21:4 says, “He (God) will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” A few days ago I took my college yearbook out to recall a time that was filled with late night study sessions and research papers due in seemingly every class. Some of the teachers and classmates I had forgotten over the years and with a quick turn of a page a memory came to my mind about a class or a conversation with a particular person. However, some thoughts and people never left my memory regardless of space or time. My favorite professor was Dr. John Rast. He taught religion, Baptist history, and preaching. I was invited to his house one night to discuss a meeting for a missions group that we were both involved in on campus. Dr. Rast had two small children that just crawled all over him as we planned for our meeting. I thought to myself that I would not like to have children of my own that crawled everywhere. Yep, I was wrong on that one, because after having four children, and eight grandchildren of my own I can honestly say that they (the grandkids!) can jump on me anytime they want to wrestle, and sometimes all of them jump on me at once.

Dr. Rast was a very special man. He displayed Jesus Christ to his friends and students in way that encouraged me in my Christian walk. His life made a big impression upon mine. Early one morning in 1983, I heard a knock at my college dorm room. It was a friend from my hall with some bad news. He told me and my roommate that the college was not going to have any classes that day because of a car accident that had taken the lives of three of our professors; Dr. Michael Harrelson, Dr. James Henson, and Dr. John Rast. Was this a bad dream? Did he have the correct names? Was this a bad joke? It was not a dream, the names were correct, and it was not a bad joke. In a fatal car accident five people lost their lives. The college professors were teaching a night class in Hickory, and on their way home to Boiling Springs they were involved in a car accident that took the lives of all the people involved. I felt like my breath had been knocked right out of me. No, it was worse. It felt like my faith had been knocked out of me. Why did this happen? I could see Dr. Rast playing with his children in my mind, and how those children loved their dad, and how he loved them. Why would God let this terrible thing happen? I have never been given the answer to my questions. However, hardly a day goes by that I don’t think about all the people who lost their lives that night on the highway between Hickory and Boiling Springs.

I want you to know that I believe in Jesus Christ as the Resurrected Savior of mankind, and I believe in His Word. I realize that I cannot change the past, or stop bad things from happening to good people. However, I know that Jesus Christ is in control, and nothing happens without Him knowing about it. I also look forward to the time that the Scripture in Revelation 21: 4 is fulfilled, with God wiping away all our tears and being with His people forever! It is my prayer that you can claim this same promise for yourself. Easter is a time of looking back at the cross and the empty tomb to see how Christ gives our lives fulfillment and our eternity joy and fellowship.

Remember, Don’t Give In To Sin. Think About It!

Dr. Vincent Hefner

First Baptist Church

of Cherryville