Tuesday, August 7, 2018

London Bridge is Falling Down: How can we be sure that what we trust in is safe?

Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.
—Deuteronomy 31:8

I cringe (and pray!) every time I have to drive through the arch created when a March wind storm blew one tree over to rest in the limbs of another. But sometimes I make light of the situation, saying the trees are playing London Bridge.

Are you familiar with the children’s singing game? Two children join hands high to form an arch while others march through, each holding onto the waist of the one in front of them. Either the bridge makers or all the children sing:

London Bridge is falling down,
Falling down, falling down,
London Bridge is falling down,
My fair lady.

At the last word, the children forming the bridge quickly lower their arms to capture a prisoner. The song continues with more stanzas like “Get the key and lock her up.”

I have fond memories of playing the game with my siblings and cousins, laughing when I was part of the fallen bridge that captured a prisoner. Now when I approach the foreboding tree arch, I shudder at the thought of being captured. I breathe a quick prayer and accelerate my way through.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Cast All Your Care

Cast all your care upon Him, because He cares for you.

One unseasonably warm day in February when my daughter Emma and son-in-law Ricky, along with their two children, were visiting, we all went for a walk on the farm. True to our habit, we stopped at the pond for four-year-old Layla to throw in a few stones. Ricky joined her and challenged himself to throw a stone as far as he could. I watched the concentration on his face as he intently cocked his arm. Then with all the finesse of a Major League Baseball pitcher, he hurled the rock, shooting it higher and farther than I had ever seen. It smacked the water hard, then sunk below the surface, its entrance marked only by ripples that quickly disappeared, returning the pond to its placid state.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

White Roses: Can we really be thankful in all circumstances?

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

It was time to throw out the sad bouquet of pink and white roses, its yellowing leaves falling off and petals turning brown around the edges. I moved the vase to the counter next to the sink and began to lift out the flowers. With a closer look, I noticed that the entire bouquet was not bad. Carefully, I pulled out the good roses, which happened to be white, and placed them in individual vases that I set in various places around my home.

I thought about how sometimes our life situation is like a sad bouquet. Maybe our marriage is falling apart, our health failing, or we’ve experienced the loss of a job or loved one. We wish we could throw out the whole matter. But it is beyond our control. And we wonder, Where is God in all this? Why is He allowing these things to happen when He has the power to stop it?

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Rise and Shine

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
Isaiah 60:1 (NRSV)

A flash of color on my stone path caught my eye. I stooped to get a closer view. A pansy, dressed in the color of kings, met me face to face. I gasped.

“How did you get here?” I asked, but all the while I knew.

In the fall, the wind picked up a seed from my plants on the deck and tossed it down below to the crack in the path. The seed found a bed in the dark earth and slept there all winter.

Spring came and switched on the light, like my mother used to do to wake me for school.

“Rise and shine!” she would say, as she threw back my cover. And I would long to switch off that light, cover my head and go back to sleep.

When we live in sin, we are like that. We want to stay in the dark and away from the light that exposes our sin. But when we admit our failing and allow God’s Light to penetrate our heart of stone (see Ezekiel 36:26), He will forgive our sin (see 1 John 1:9) and give us new life, like the sun gives to the pansy seed.

He will fill our heart with joy, and we will spring forth to bring joy to those along our path.

Lord, let the light of Your face shine on us (Psalm 4:6b).