After he died, my mom kindly sent me some of his books. Included was a Bible dad bought as a college student in 1944. One day I noticed something he had scribbled in the margin next to Isaiah 45:2-3. You can just see it there. Here is what he wrote:
“The Lord gave this on 5/31/53 after a hard day of preaching — feeling empty and powerless.”
I can picture my dad sitting up in bed that Sunday night, feeling depleted, needing a word from God. So he pulled open his Bible and came across Isaiah 45:2-3. I am aware of the exegesis of those verses — Cyrus, etc. But God used these verses as a personal promise to my dad, a promise of illumination and insight to a young preacher who had given his all that day and still needed more.
Far beyond any other preacher I have ever heard, my dad had a capacity for insight into the ways of God, according to Scripture, that helped people. God made my dad a promise that night so long ago, and he kept it – many times.
“Empty and powerless.” Perfect.