Tuesday, September 16, 2008


When I was a small boy, I was for a time afraid of the dark, probably because I had such an active imagination. Now and then at night my Dad would tell me to go turn off the pump or check on the chickens or some such thing, and since it was already dark I'd have to walk 100-200 feet across a dark and forboding farm yard. We had a yard light on a fairly high pole, but it cast big shadows all over. And who knew what dangers lurked in those shadows?

One particular moonless summer night I was headed out to the barn to retrieve something and paused when I stepped into the big shadow behind our granery. I knew Dad had parked some machinery near there and didn't want to run into it and break a leg. Then I realized something was there in the shadows and I couldn't see! I waited a moment for my eyes to adjust and just at that moment something cold and slimy touched my hand...

A monster! Yikes! My heart pumped about a gallon of adrenalin and I jerked my hand away and ran like the wind, letting out a pitiful holler. I ran that 40 yard dash back to the house in record time, but not before our old dog Zeke got there ahead of me. You see, it was his wet nose I'd felt and I'm sure I scared him more than he scared me. Our old dog was a monster, and he didn't even know it! The next morning, of course, Zeke was by the front door wagging his tail, and the yard was sunny and there was no monster, and I felt a little foolish at being so frightened. It was a new day and everything was okay.

Right now some of us are feeling something cold and slimy touch us in the dark. It's a disease we have, or it's a bad relationship, or it's the ugliness of politics, or it's a shakey economy. Part of the problem is real, but part is imagined because we can't see into the shadows.

God is with us in both the night and day. Now is the time to stop and realize life is not as bad as we think it is. God, who is with us in the sunny daylight is also with us in the dark shadows of night. Same good Lord, same Friend Jesus, same caring God with His same heart of love and mercy. He who brings us through the day will also get us through the night.

We just need to trust Him and not be afraid.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


The many recent storms and hurricanes in the Caribbean Sea have made me think of how we all need a strong anchor. Ships need them to keep from drifting, buildings need a sure foundation, and trees need a deep root system if they are going to stand when the storms come. In each case, their very survival in the storm depends on being attached to that which cannot be moved.

We all know that life has its share of stormy times, times of impending destruction. But are we attached to the immovable, the unchanging power of God? Despite our preparations, anchors can give way, roots can pull up and foundations can crumble. But God provides us a faith that can endure. It is faith in Jesus Christ that holds us fast in life's stormy times. God the Holy Spirit provides us this faith. Jesus reassures us, saying, "Lo, I am with you always." (Matthew 28:20) It is His strength that surrounds and protects us in the buffeting of life's torrents and calamities.

"Built on the Rock, the Church shall stand," we sing. So shall we stand, if our lives are built on the Rock. If we are personally attached to Christ the Rock of our salvation, we can rest assured that we may stumble, but we will not fall. We may be badly hurt, but we will not suffer destruction. 

God loves us with an everlasting love that does not fade. Knowing and trusting His love, we can have a faith that will withstand the storms of life, no matter how hard they hit, or where they come from.

"Jesus is the Rock of my salvation, and His banner over me is love..."

Saturday, September 6, 2008


A man bought a home which he felt would suit his needs. It was a fine house in a good neighborhood, the soil was rich and there was even a small area in back which he was sure would be good for a garden. But when he began spading his garden, he struck rock! He soon discovered his entire garden area had a rock layer just a few inches under the surface, so the soil could grow little.

And because the man had always wanted a garden, he was very disappointed. “Why me?” he wondered. Yes, the house was nice and the lawn mostly green, but he was sad. Even when he hauled in more soil, his garden grew hardly a thing. Then he discovered it was because that surface rock was a vein of coal on which little could grow. He would have no garden, and so he was very sad.

When bad things come our way, our first response usually is, “Why me?” And yet, when good things come our way we hardly ever ask, “Why me?” It's because we believe good things should be the norm and bad things should be the exception. Most people expect life should be mostly always good, and rarely bad.

We humans are very adept at labeling events either “good” or “bad.” But are those labels correct? For instance, we call business success “good,” but don't consider that it can lead to excessively long work hours, or separated families, or exhausted bodies, or the temptation to love money. And we call disease or trouble “bad,” but forget that such events can also teach us perseverance, or a source of inner strength, or cause us to seek God, or even draw families closer together.

We need to try viewing “good” and “bad” through God's eyes. He has a longer view of our life than we do. God has promised to make all things work together for good for those who love Him. He can make "good" come out of our "bad." Disease, disappointment, troubles, even death can and will touch each of us. But when we havea faith and trust in our Lord Jesus, God can make it turn out for our good.

I suppose I could finish the story by saying the man made a fortune from his vein of coal, but that would miss the point. In the midst of our pain and trouble we need to realize that God can smooth the rough edges of our life and even make a diamond out of our lump of coal.

What “bad” things in your life can God make “good” for you?