But the one who was missed most deeply this time was Dr. Fred Craddock. For many decades he had been our sage, our preacher. In times of confusion, we expected a word of wisdom from Fred, wrapped in a great story. Pastor Vickie and I had a chance to spend a whole afternoon with Dr. Craddock in the 1980s. He had been chosen to speak at a gathering at Chapman University. So the University dispatched Vickie and I to pick him up from the airport. We were so excited! We got to have Fred Craddock to ourselves! What would he be like in person? To our delight, he proved to be a humble and caring man who was genuinely interested in us, and our hopes for our own future ministries. We were blessed to have known him.
Today, in honor of Dr. Craddock, and because my own well of inspiration is bone dry, I would like to share one of his stories.
Some of you have heard me describe in detail a nine poind sparrow walking down the street in front of my house. I asked the sparrow, "Aren't you a little heavy?"
The sparrow said, "Yeah. That's why I am out walking, trying to get some of this weight off."
And I said, "Why don't you fly?"
The sparrow looked at me like I was stupid and said, "Fly? I've never flown. I could get hurt."
I said, "What's your name?"
And he said, "Church."
"But those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."