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Max Lucado on Faith and the Challenge of Our Times

The pastor and bestselling author offers practical, prayerful help for all we are facing.

Max Lucado on faith in challenging times
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I had a recent chat with pastor and bestselling author Max Lucado about what we’re facing right now, from the pandemic to global protests against racism. His upcoming book You Are Never Alone is full of biblical help, and as he proved in our talk, he is full of practical help for the challenge of our times.

Max: This is a time of upheaval unlike any I have ever seen, unlike anything the world has ever seen. It’s global. It’s physical. The Covid-19 can attack my body. It’s emotional. I’m isolated from the people I love. It’s financial. The severe setbacks people are facing.

Rick: What is the answer?  

Max: In seasons of immense change, what’s important is to look for what has not changed. For the person of faith that means the existence of God, the sovereignty of God, the plan of God. Turn to those and believe. We serve an unchanging God

Rick: In your early ministry, you served in Brazil. Were there things you learned about being in a different culture?

Max: I came to understand there are certain things that are trans-cultural. They supersede culture: the need to know who God is. The promise of forgiveness. The promise of eternal life. No matter where you are, no matter what language you speak, those are human longings.

Rick: In a recent video you tell a story about an incident on a plane, when you were so critical in your thoughts about the flight attendant…

Max: I was thinking things I’d be ashamed anybody ever heard. Being critical, so proud of myself. But she noticed my name and walked over to me and said, ‘Are you the man who writes those Christian books?’ Then she poured out how difficult her day had been. She’d been served divorce papers. I prayed for her…but I also prayed for myself.

Rick: It’s a situation a lot of us can be in.

Max: We elevate ourselves. We position ourselves higher than others. That’s such a struggle. I hear that in the conversations about race, equality, acceptance. There is a strain of superiority. We’ve had a wake-up call, after 400 years of positioning one race over another.

Rick: What do you to do to change that?

Max: There’s a question that helps me in a conversation. I ask myself, “What is it like to be you?” What is it like to be a black male today? What is it like to be a female in a world marked by gray flannel suits?

Rick: How do you become a better listener?

Max: To really listen, don’t allow yourself to be formulating a response. A couple with marriage issues was talking with me recently and as the husband said, “I act like I’m listening but most of the time I’m reloading.” Let’s just listen. Hear the whole story. Really respect what it’s like to be you. What’s your world like? Show respect.

Rick: What kind of response do you find?

Max: People are so happy to talk about their situation. Earlier today, I was on another Zoom call and a new person was on it. “Tell us your story,” I said. I love that phrase. He did for four or five minutes. I didn’t try to direct it. People will share who they really are.

Rick: Is there a prayer you find yourself saying these days?

Max: Lord, I ask, what are You doing? By permitting this pandemic, by showing us these racial issues?

Rick: Have you heard an answer?

Max: One morning I prayed, and I heard the word, “calling.” I understood that to mean that God is calling people back to Himself. Calling us to walk more closely with Him. Calling to those who don’t know Him, getting their attention. We are being reminded of how frail we are. People are as unhappy as they have been for the last 50 years. 

Rick: Is there a Bible verse or story you turn to?

Max: Yes. Jesus walking on the water. The whole idea of it. Coming to His disciples in the middle of the storm. He could have kept that storm from ever coming, but He let it. He let the storm come, then He showed up. Jesus will show up in the midst of this storm.

Rick: Thanks, Max. You’re such a good teacher and preacher. This is so helpful. For me and for all of us. God bless.

Max: God bless.

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