Meet Rev. Dr. Victor K. Long
Rev. Victor K. Long is the pastor at First United Methodist Church of Mount Vernon. He is an Elder of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference and previously served an appointment in Marion, IL where we worked together at First United Methodist Church.
He received a Bachelor of Business Administration from McKendree University, a Master of Divinity from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, and Doctor of Ministry from Graduate Theological Foundation.
Victor is married to Jennifer, and together they have four children: Ashley, Autumn, Lauren, and Carson.
Victor is a close personal friend and one of the important mentors of my life and ministry. I hope you will welcome him to my blog today!
My dad died from a brain tumor at age 55 in 1996 … just six days before my daughter [our first child and my parents’ first grandchild] was born.
The afternoon after my father died, I was listening to the radio, reflecting upon the tragedy that was overwhelming my family, and a contemporary Christian song came on the radio, the chorus of which said, “Life is hard, God is good.” In that moment, I felt God’s presence and the assurance that I/we would make it through this dark and difficult episode.
A few days later, the birth of my daughter, Autumn, provided a much-need burst of joy in the midst of our grieving for my father. Our joy, however, was quickly displaced by anxiety and fear when we learned that our newborn child had a life-threatening infection, requiring major surgery at three weeks of age.
On the Sunday following her surgery, I sat in her hospital room, rocking her and watching a televised worship service. That morning, the guest vocalist sang a song which had quickly become familiar to me … “Life is hard, God is good.”
Church historian Diana Butler Bass tells of overhearing an exchange between a bishop whom she describes as an “octogenarian liberal lion” and a parishioner who was interrogating his beliefs.
“Bishop,” the person asked, “Do you believe in the resurrection?” Listening in, Butler Bass says, “Frankly, I could not wait to hear the answer — like most of his generation, there was no way that Bishop Corrigan believed in a literal resurrection.”
The old bishop looked at the questioner and said firmly, without pause, “Yes. I believe in the resurrection. I’ve seen it too many times not to.”
I have to agree. I’ve witnessed resurrection too many times not to believe in it. I’ve seen dead souls awakened to new life through the touch of God’s love. I’ve seen grief transformed into hope, tragedy turned into victory, despair changed into joy.
When “life is hard,” I remember that the God we encounter in Jesus Christ is a great and gracious God whose love is stronger than death, whose goodness overwhelms hatred, whose forgiveness is greater than sin or guilt — a God who can ultimately make “all things work together for good” [Romans 8:28].
Resurrection … I’ve seen it too many times not to believe in it!
– Victor Long
Title image found at: http://josephpatterson.wordpress.com/2011/04/26/the-resurrection-of-christ-our-god-and-the-laws-of-physics/