and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, July 09, 2011


      He stood at the front of the church and spoke into the microphone held out to him.  At eighteen he had been in a severe accident.  The hospital called his parents but told them not to rush over as he would be dead before they got there.  Mom called the pastor to pray and get others to pray.  Dad put the pedal to the metal as they did an hour’s travel in 20 min.  When they arrived, their son was in surgery; they were told he wouldn’t make it, but on the slim chance he did, he would be in a vegetative state due to severe brain injury.

      Lying in a bed in a coma after the surgery, he remembers his Mom yelling at him to squeeze her hand.  Of course, no one disobeyed Momma!  He drifted in and out of consciousness for several days.  It took some months and many surgeries, but eventually he left the hospital for good.  After some time he married his girlfriend, and they had four beautiful children together.  That was a couple decades ago.

The doctor said he would be dead.
      He is very much alive.

The doctor said his brain could not recover.
      He has all his brain functions in use.

The doctor said he would never drive.
      He has driven thousands of miles since then.

The doctor said he would never be strong again.
      He takes part in a weight lifting group.

The doctor said he could never complete any schooling.
      He achieved an engineering degree.

The doctor said a lot of other things were not possible.
      God said differently.

With God, all things are possible. (Mat. 19:26)

Friday, July 08, 2011

The Dream

      The sunny warmth made my weary eyes close as I lay relaxing on the deck by the pool.  Just a few moments later, they opened and I found myself sitting in a room so full of people that they could not be counted.  At first glance, it seemed they were every shape and size, every age and colour.  People were sitting in lines of chairs placed behind platforms at the front.  The platforms had large opaque window like structures attached to them.

      As I looked around I was a little jealous of the hundred or so people in front of me.  It was obviously going to be quite a wait for me.  Finally, after many minutes, or even hours- of which I am not quite sure- the first person in each of the lines walked up onto the platform and stood on the opposite side of the opaque windows.  Suddenly, a dazzling light, brighter than any I had ever seen in my life shone in front of them and as we watched, their lives were revealed on the screens we sat in front of.  Each of us could see as clearly as if we were within a few feet of the screen.

      We briefly saw the great and wonderful things he had done during his life.  Then the scenes changed and we saw some of them again, this time with his thoughts displayed on the screen for all to see.  Moments of time: when he walked by people needing help but didn’t think them worth it, ignoring his child’s plea for his time because he’d rather golf, times he said he’d pray but didn’t, and hidden times when he sat looking at indecent material on the internet.  Seeing what he was thinking during each act was the scariest part.  Finally the first people got off the platform and went to sit near the back.

      Dozens of people went up in my line, and as the dazzling light shone on them, it showed how we normally saw them, and then those things they kept hidden from society were displayed.  Hatred, stealing, lying, envy, adultery, greed, pride, doing good only for gain of wealth, prestige or power and on and on.  Each time we saw their motives through their thoughts.

      About twenty people ahead of me I saw my friend from church step up.  She had always been so kind to me even when others misunderstood.  That’s what I thought until I saw that she was motivated in doing so- and in other good works- to catch the eye of the pastor and win his praise.  The next up was the scary lady at the back of the church who stared at people as they walked by creeping them out.  Who knew that she was praying for us all as we walked past ignoring her.  We saw times of deep depression and despair as she dealt with grievous loss in her life.

      The fifth person ahead of me was old pastor Joe who retired after 50 years.  Surely there would be little wrong we would see.  What I saw was unexpected and disappointing.  Was there no one who was exempt from the shameful moments displayed?  Abruptly a horrifying thought came to my mind: I would be up shortly.  Next was the mayor, then the store clerk.  Panic set in.  People would soon see who I really was…

       Finally the man just ahead of me went up and I really, really wished I was the last person in line and everyone else would be gone, but I knew that would not be the case.  I broke out in a cold sweat.  As I watched the man’s life I pondered my many shameful thoughts and motives.  As he stepped down my body moved forward and my heart felt like it had fallen through the floor.  Oh God, what have I done!  My body proceeded in front of the screen and I came face to face with the dazzling light…

      My eyes opened and the sun was high in the sky as I lay in the lounger by the pool.  I was very grateful to realize the last few timeframes of my life had been a dream.  I turned over and opened my Bible hoping to find peace:

First attempt:
      This illustrates the fact that someday everything [in men’s hearts] shall be brought to light and made plain to all. (Luke TLB)

Second attempt:
      So be careful not to jump to conclusions before the Lord returns as to whether someone is a good servant or not.  When the Lord comes, he will turn on the light so that everyone can see exactly what each one of us is really like, deep down in our hearts. Then everyone will know why... (1 Cor. 4:5 TLB)

Third attempt:
      But those doing right come gladly to the Light to let everyone see that they are doing what God wants them to. (John TLB)

I closed my Bible and wept.

John 12:46- Jesus states, "I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me may not abide in the darkness." KJV

Thursday, July 07, 2011

The Lord is Close Beside Us

      The voice on the other end of the phone was frantic for answers and disenchanted with God.  Pain and suffering marked her words.  Her body is shutting down and the medical community seems unable to help and so her pain and suffering is prolonged.  Where is God?  I don’t feel Him anymore, she laments.

      There have been many times I have had the same questions when in the midst of a trial so painful to endure.  Jesus said, “…Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.” (John TLB)  My assurances that God had not left her fell on deaf ears because the pain in her body was so terrible.  All I could do is pray…

      Even when walking through the dark valley of death I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me, guarding, guiding all the way. (Ps. 23:4 TLB)

      We are assured in the darkest, most terrible times that our Lord, our Shepherd will be close beside us.  Notice it doesn’t say we will feel Him there.  Whether or not we feel Him, He is surely there beside us wanting to guard us from what we cannot bear, and guide us all the way through the difficult times. “…for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Heb. 13:5 KJV)

      Yes, God could choose to provide a miracle and instantly our trial would no longer exist.  Of course the Creator of the entire universe is capable of doing such thing, but for reasons only He may know, He often chooses not to respond with the miraculous.  Imagine how weak of character we would be if we never had to struggle through anything.  Struggles provide character building (Rom. 5:3-5) which we all need.  On a personal note, I’m hoping I’ve had enough character building for the rest of my earthly life- but somehow I don’t think that will be the case.

      So we have the assurance of the Lord being with us in our times of trouble, but it doesn’t end there: because He comforted us in tough times, we are supposed to help others the way He helped us.  “Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” (2 Cor. 1:4 KJV)  God didn’t intend on us going through our trials alone.  He is with us.  He also provided the comfort of others who have struggled themselves. 

      Doesn’t it seem like in today’s culture that maybe we don’t have the time or patience to walk alongside someone who is struggling.  We want them to hurry up and get through the suffering at a pace we feel is acceptable.  (The only thing I’ll say about that is:  I’m really glad the Lord wasn’t that impatient with me or surely He’d have abandoned me long ago!)  Perhaps in the midst of our trials, the purpose of the people walking beside us is to remind us, verbally and by their presence, that the Lord is close beside us.

The Lord is always close beside us.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Better News

      The news was retched that night.  Father killed his five kids, his wife and then shot himself.  Two children died in a car crash. A house fire took several lives.  Convenience store robbery ended in the clerk being killed.  This was broadcast in less than five minutes.  I had to turn off the t.v.  As long as I can remember I have been very sensitive to pain, suffering and tragedy in the world, and news like that could send me into dark places that I shouldn’t be.

      The unfortunate part of this news is it is similar to news around the world where more and more tragedy is heaped on: wars, hunger, genocide, disasters, and so on night after night.  Sometimes it seems like there is never an end to the wretchedness of man.  How sad, a life that was meant to abound in the Father’s love, liberty, peace and joy be instead, due to sin, demoralizing to our spirits.

But we are looking forward to God’s promise of new heavens and a new earth afterwards, where there will be only goodness.  TLB (lit. in which righteousness dwells)  2 Pet.

      I am grateful that the Lord put this scripture into the Bible to give me hope of what is to come.  When we are in our final home, the earth will be new- no longer destroyed by environment disasters and negligence due to man; no longer cursed by man’s sin. All the grief in the world will one day end.  Suffering will stop.  Physical pain will cease.  Tragedy will no longer occur.*  These in and of themselves are great enough, but I like that the Lord added another part.

      The Lord says righteousness will dwell in our new heavens and earth.  Some synonyms of righteousness are:  virtue, morality, decency, justice, blamelessness, uprightness, honourable, honest.  Nothing without these characteristics will be allowed in our final dwelling place.  So finally we won’t hear news of murder, crime, disaster, or accidental death.  Greed will no longer oppress our fellow man.  Hatred of differences will not culminate in genocide.  Covetousness will not lead to starvation.  War will not exist.  It might be difficult to imagine a world like this, but we are promised it WILL happen.

All glory and honour to the only One who can make this happen.

Jehovah God, we thank You for Your promise.

*Rev. 21:4, 5, 8, 27;  22:3

Monday, July 04, 2011


      There we were driving down the road (I was a passenger) about an hour from home and my stomach started grumbling and I was really hoping no one would notice as then the jokes would start flying.  My problem was that I had eaten very early and had worked constantly from then until we left, and so my body was looking for more sustenance.  As I looked out my window it appeared that a piece of giant cheesecake was floating by followed by a giant piece of chocolate cheesecake!  Boy, did that look good and I had to wonder…

Was I dreaming?
Could I hijack the truck and steal some?

      Well, I knew I was wide awake, and I couldn’t hijack the vehicle- not for some noble reason, but because with my ‘luck’ the truck would likely be full of liver and brussel sprouts… yuck on both accounts!!

      Then I started thinking about how Christians are like cheesecake.  (Yep, my mind works that way! J )  The very word cheesecake evokes a different image for each of us.  Some people see yellow baked richness, others a variety of colours baked to perfection, and still others who imagine a creamy soft, gooey no-bake goodness, which just happens to be my favorite.  Yum!

      True believers are like different kinds of cheesecake, made in different ways with a variety of ingredients.  Life would be pretty boring without variety to provide interest.  Also, the various flavours appeal to different people, so if the Lord is going to use the church to reach the lost, we need a selection of ingredients to reach the diversity of humanity.

      So I’m thinking we should stop disagreeing over whether or not a cheesecake can be a cheesecake without being baked, or arguing over who has the best recipe, ingredients, or ingredient combination.  We should just accept that every cheesecake is distinctive and therefore uniquely capable of serving its purpose.  After all, it is the baker who decides which ingredients are to be added to the recipe.  Our Father gave each of us varying gifts, talents, AND personalities, and He did that to fulfill His purposes.  He even topped each of us off with unique, flavourful toppings.  Isn’t He great!

Perhaps we should just start doing what the Bible says:

 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.  Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.  Php 2:2, 3

Sunday, July 03, 2011

In Love

      He walked into the church, short black hair, blue eyes, with a gentle face and I had to ask the lady next to me who the cute guy was.  To my surprise it was a man who had attended the church longer than I, but whom I hadn’t noticed due to the long hair and bushy beard he usually sported.  It didn’t take many days hanging out with our mutual friend to find out we had a lot in common and soon I was falling ‘in love’.

      I have many great memories of that time:  walking together outside at night while big white snowflakes gently wafted down, being with friends but moving myself closer just to be near him, the hours of conversation and getting to know him, sharing what we thought about life, family, and the Lord, and many more incredible times.  We became the best of friends and I knew that he cared for me despite all my multitude of flaws.  He actually liked me the way I was!!!

      Then one day in August of 1988 he slipped a ring on my finger, and a new life for us began.  Twenty three years later I am still amazed how he’s the only man I want to be with and I love him more today than I did the day we were married.  Who knew that was even possible?  Yes, we have struggles, but we are so worth it.  I hope to be walking by his side until the Lord returns.

      It’s funny how we expect these feelings and experiences to be there when we fall ‘in love’, but what about when we give ourselves wholeheartedly to the Lord and accept His salvation.  Isn’t that like being ‘in love’?  Just because we can’t see Him with us, it doesn’t mean we can’t have the same experiences. 

      For instance, we learn more and more about Him by spending time in His presence and reading His Word.  If we draw near to Him, He draws near to us. (James 4:8)  There is gladness in His presence. (1 Chr. 16:27)  He wants to know us and for us to know Him better. (Jer. 24:7)  He wants to be our friend just like with Abraham. (James 2:23)  And better than just loving us despite our flaws, He actually did something selfless to help us; He suffered the punishment for our sins. (Is. 53:1-5)

      I can’t imagine a love greater than that.  So…  shouldn’t we be finding ways to move ourselves closer to Him?  Shouldn’t we be enjoying time with each other sharing what we both think of life, family, and Him? (Yes, that means we have to listen to Him too)  We should want to spend a lot of time with Him and think about Him often, just like we did when we fell ‘in love’.  For a certainty, we should love Him more each day than the day we first knew Him.  And, if we struggle, He does not abandon us, but He is with us to walk through all our trials side by side. (Ps. 46:7; Ps. 27:9)

      Jehovah God is worthy of our love.