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PASTORING WITH HURTS AT HOME

When your family has desperate needs, how can you still serve others?

When my son asked if I could meet him for lunch at our favorite Chinese restaurant, I didn't ask why. Wesley was 19, good looking, an idealistic dreamer, and engaged to an attractive 23-year-old woman he'd met at Bible college.

My wife, Barb, and I thought Wesley was too young for marriage and had said so repeatedly. "Give yourself and your relationship more time to mature," we had said. But when you're 19, the future spreads out before you.

Perhaps he wants to talk it through, I thought. Maybe he finally heard our feelings.

"Dad," he said, "we're going to have a baby."

I sat stunned.

"I'm sorry to hurt you like this. We're going to go ahead and get married right away."

All I could do was pick at my food and grasp for some response. Finally, I excused myself to make a phone call. For a long moment I stared at the pay phone. Then I dialed the church office and spoke in controlled tones to the familiar voice of our secretary at the other end.

"Kill the announcement of my new sermon series, will ...

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