Max Lucado's War Against Despair
You've spoken publicly about immigration reform. Has hearing the turbulent stories of immigrants in Texas influenced your view of this issue? Or have your convictions come more from reading the immigrant stories of biblical figures like Joseph?
Joseph, yes, is an immigrant, and I have thought of him—and not just Joseph, but all the Bible characters that God took across borders in order to do his work.
Living in San Antonio, in our church the immigration issue is very relevant. It can also be a very personal issue. I'm thinking of one lady in particular who was brought across the border by her parents as a baby and has grown up undocumented here in San Antonio, and then graduated as valedictorian from her class and went on to college. It shows how ignorant I was—when I first met her, I asked, "How is that possible?" She got pulled over for speeding, and, for a time there, we thought she was going to be deported. Even though she had grown up here and was living such a wonderful life.
A story like that is one reason I've been sympathetic with the struggles of undocumented immigrants. I don't really get down in the weeds, in the policy—there are people far smarter than I on that. But whenever I have a chance, I say, "Can we not find a solution that both honors the law and respects the dignity of these people?" Maybe we will.
You're known as "America's pastor." Through your writings you've touched literally millions of lives. What would be the single most important thing you'd say to those who are suffering?
I keep coming back to the same thing: Don't despair. There's a purpose in this suffering somewhere.
Here's the problem. When we suffer, our sufferings become worse when we think there is no end to them, and no purpose for them. As long as we have this mindset, those tough times are going to defeat us. But once you believe that God is sovereign, and that God doesn't create evil—but that he can use evil for your good and for his larger purposes—that transforms your view of suffering.