by Joe O’Brien
In October 2001 Brian called 3ABN’s Pastoral Ministries Department to complain about God. As I listened, Brian shared with me why he thought God was a very poor and unfair manager of human affairs. He had lost a relationship with a lady friend; he had lost his brother to an untimely death; and now a young lady he admired for her talent had met an untimely death in an airplane accident. In fact, his subsequent phone calls seemed to be his way of filing complaints against God.
For a number of years he’d called several other ministry prayer lines, as well as ours, and unfortunately, the guidance he received from some of the other prayer warriors only added to the confusion. On one occasion, someone at another ministry prayed that an individual who angered Brian would die!
As Brian pointed out the error in their beliefs, these ministry workers became disenchanted with him and blocked his phone number, refusing his calls. This resulted in him calling us even more often, using excessive time, and honestly forcing us to consider blocking his calls, as well.
Eventually he was restricted to speaking only with me, and I was glad I was picked, because Brian’s anger with God was usually expressed in the form of a question. Why does God allow this or that? Why doesn’t God do what I would do?
Questions allow for answers, and answers produce understanding. Understanding produces transformation, and transformation is just what God wants! “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2. Brian was walking the very path God was calling him to walk.
As Brian would ask his often-brilliant questions, we would go to God’s Word for the answers. Why do evil people get away with doing evil? Why do good people suffer and die young? Why has God allowed Satan to run rampant for thousands of years? On and on it went, but God’s Word gave Brian the answers he needed.
Never Give Up
This continued for nine years! Nine years of transformation by the Word of God. That’s where Brian found wisdom. That’s also where he found power—power to rise above anger by forgiving his enemies. It also provided him with the peace that God promises in Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Brian found that he can trust God and His Word, and that’s where he met his best friend, Jesus.
By our tenth year of conversation, the man who had started out as what seemed like a sparring partner in 2001, had become my friend and brother in Christ by 2011. Brian dedicated his life to our Lord on March 23, and was baptized on July 9, 2011, by Pastor William Webb.
I congratulate and welcome my new brother, Brian Hofacker, one of the newest members of the New Port Richey Seventh-day Adventist Church in Florida! To God be the glory!