Tag Archive: Christians

Cyndy and I went out in the backyard the other day and discovered that one of the guinea hens from next door had overshot the top of the fence and found herself in our yard. She did not seem interested in exploring our back yard. She seemed intent on finding a way back to her yard, but clueless as to how to do so. She would strut in small circles, moaning with soft clucking sounds between the rose bushes and the fence.

Suddenly, the guinea hen would run for about ten feet along the fence. She would look startled and confused before racing back to where she began. Then she would begin the whole routine over again. As she ran down the fence, she appeared to be looking intently at the fence as if a hole  might open up at any time for her to escape through.

We did not let our dog, Misty, into the backyard for fear she would scare the guinea hen to death – literally. We were not exactly sure what Misty would do. So the hen spent several hours going through the same routine over and over again. Then our middle son, Cameron, let Misty out and she headed for the guinea hen, who flew back over the fence.

Which made me wonder why she did not fly back over in the first place. The obvious answer would be fear and panic. But that’s what made her finally fly back over. Did she continually go through the routine because she secretly enjoying the change, but was worried because she smelled Misty?

As Christians, we find ourselves in difficult situations we have placed ourselves in. When we overshoot a fence we should not be crossing in the first place. We find ourselves pacing back and forth, wasting energy, wondering where God is and why he doesn’t answer our prayers. We look expectantly, as if we will see a “hole in the fence” magically open up so we can walk into a parallel universe in which our problem is solved. But there is no parallel universe – only the one God created.

When God does not answer our prayers in the manner in which we would prefer they be answered, we begin to fear God. We begin to think that if he is not answering our prayers he has an agenda that may well be detrimental to our own, insignificant, agenda. Or even worse, that he is not thinking of us at all. So we keep pacing back and forth by the fence, calling out to any mortal who can hear us.

The fear begins to consume us. Finally, in desperation, we bypass the thought  processes and give ourselves to God’s grace and mercy. The fear pushes us beyond the limits of thought and instinct (understood here as faith) takes over. Surrendering to God’s will, we flutter over the fence and back into familiarity and home, where God put us in the first  place. God gave humans intelligence, but free will keeps us in doubt. We should work on dispelling the doubt and keeping the faith.

Peace be with you.

As I mentioned in my previous post, my Aunt Juanita’s funeral was last week. I wrote about my uncle, Jack,  in a post when he died the first week in April.  Our son, Cameron, took this picture of Aunt Juanita at Jack’s funeral with the flag from his casket. After he took the picture, I told her I would come to see her soon. But I never got the chance.

A couple of days later, she stumbled and fell. No bones were broken, but we think she had at least one mini stroke. She became bed-ridden shortly after that. She was coherent some of the time, but she had to be fed and helped by a nurse. It was not long before she could no longer walk to the bathroom by herself. I wanted to go see her, but I was not sure if she would recognize me or be able to have a conversation.

It has been hard on Dad, watching his oldest sister deteriorate. He did not want her to linger if she no longer had her faculties. A couple of weeks after Jack’s funeral, Dad called her to talk about getting things in order pertaining to Jack’s will. At the end of the conversation, Juanita said she wanted to ask Dad something.

“Where’s Jack? Is Jack dead?”

Unfortunately, she did linger after that. From what my parents have told me, they never knew if Juanita would know who they were when they visited on Wednesdays. Sometimes she was coherent and other times she seemed to not have a clue. Which was doubly hard on Dad. He and I talked about praying for her and not knowing what to pray for. We simply prayed that God’s will be done.

Two weekends ago we got the call from Mom that Juanita had passed away. Well, not so much passed away as simply went to be with Jack. They were married for 68 years. When Jack  died, the thought was in the back of all our minds that she might not be able to live without him. Though she said before Jack died that she wanted to try to live alone if he died first.

Naturally, I’ve been recalling memories of Jack and Juanita. They were a natural pair – deeply in love, and devoutly Christian. I think she was re-living their marriage the whole time and her body just had not given up yet. On some level she wanted to keep going, but the urge to be with Jack was just too strong.

There is something sweet and precious about a love that is so strong that the couple cannot be separated for very long. But, at the same time, there is something rather tragic about it.

Peace be with you.

There are a number of boxes, gadgets, and doohickies in our shed, closets, and drawers that we have kept because they “might be useful some day.” They just sit there waiting – hoping that someday they fulfill their purpose – useless until useful. I walked out into the backyard this morning and discovered that Cyndy found a use for a box I decided to hang on to a few days ago. The box had acquired a secondary purpose. Like the doohickey – or thing-of-a-jig – that becomes the perfect “tool” to complete an odd job around the house.

Once a “might be useful someday” object serves a purpose it is no longer possibly useful. It is indispensable. It can collect dust for years, but it will not be thrown away. On the premise that because it has been useful once – or twice as the case may be – it will inevitably be useful again. Even though that might not be the case.

I have found that for some people, and some Christians, the Bible is simply one of those things to have around because it might be useful some day. They take it to church on Sunday if they remember it. “After all, they have one in the pew.” Then they never actual open it. Why bother when the lay reader is reading it to them. And the preacher will remind them if their thoughts happen to drift.

But – sure enough – a time comes when their Bible becomes useful. Tragedy strikes family or friends. A job is lost, a relationship ends, or any one of any number of life-changing events occur. Then their Bible again has purpose. It eases their mind, softens their heart, soothes their soul, or simply provides comfort. Their Bible has become indispensable.

Unfortunately, there are too many Christians to whom the Bible is something waiting to be useful. They have not discovered the life-changing story of the Israelite’s history, the life and death on the cross of Jesus, or the forgiving grace of God. They have not felt their “heart strangely warmed” as John Wesley did. They have not had their souls cleansed with God’s grace.

With persecuted Christians around the world clamoring for Bibles and materials to continue their spiritual journey with Christ, it is sad that many Christians in our part of the world have a Bible that they never use. I have had a Bible – and have been a Christian – for as long as I can remember. Beginning with the pocket-size New Testament I received when I began attending Sunday school. I have always had a Bible at hand. Unfortunately though, there were times when I felt I was keeping it around “in case it was useful.”

When I finally felt the Lord’s nudging and again opened my Bible for study and prayer, I ceased to think of the Bible as being “potential useful.” It is a part of my day, my life, my profession, and our family life. I feel uncomfortable when too much time has passed since our last visit. The Bible, once thought of as potentially useful, has become indispensable.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1 NRSV.

Peace be with you.

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