My son Bryan was invited to share his story at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. He was one of two featured speakers on a night when almost every participant in the room shared some kind of disability. Disabilities included Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS), asthma, depression, cancer, arthritis, etc. Each person was asked to write a poem about their challenges and to highlight what was bad as well as what was good. Then, throughout the evening, volunteers could come to the front of the room and share what they wrote.
They said they would do it, the task well defined
But then they turned left, then right, then behind.
They scorned those in power subverting their will
When sudden calamity finished their thrills.
So don’t hitch your wagon with those who rebel
Unless you would like your pain to excel.
Proverbs 24:21,22—My son, fear the LORD, as well as the king, and don’t associate with rebels, for destruction from them will come suddenly; who knows what distress these two can bring?
Mark 10:47,48—When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out, “Son of David, Jesus, have mercy on me!” Many people told him to keep quiet, but he was crying out all the more, “Have mercy on me, Son of David!”
I am motivated by this story for many reasons. First, Bartimaeus, the blind beggar mentioned above, was a man of faith. He had heard about Jesus and, when he realized the Son of God was close, he took action and cried out for mercy. Just because someone struggles or is disabled does not mean that person is necessarily deficient in faith.
Philippians 2:14,15—Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world.
Harry is a phenomenal Command Sergeant Major. His dedication and his uncompromising zeal are inspiring. When I think of him I am reminded of Paul’s challenge to the Philippians in the passage above.
I spent an hour and a half trying to travel two miles after an ice-storm struck Portland and stranded Christmas shoppers. Storms have an amazing ability to put things into perspective. What fragile creatures we truly are! In a power outage, people quit arguing over the appropriateness of “Happy Holidays” versus “Merry Christmas” and start thinking about staying warm. Buying presents takes a back seat to getting home without skidding off the road. Lights of every color some blinking some just brilliant, trees gaily decorated with trinkets and memorabilia, they are all nice. But they won’t keep me alive. Then it hit me, the real meaning of Christmas is LIFE! In the gathering storm, can we see that our survival is what God is after and not our need to enjoy His Son in diapers? Can we recognize that our happiness came at a horrific cost—a holy ransom!
1 Kings 17:14—For this is what the Lord God of Israel says, ‘The flour jar will not become empty and the oil jug will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the surface of the land.”
Philippians 1:29-2:4—For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for Him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have. If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. (NIV)
Philippians 2:6-8--Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross.
I rise up from my bed today with thoughts beyond attire,
To serve with every breath I take to please my Lord and Sire,
I know that obstacles may come, temptations from the liar,
But they cannot put out the Flame, my everlasting fire!
Jonah 3:1,2--Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach the message that I tell you.”
At 2:47 a.m. the house shuddered. I looked over at my sleeping wife and asked if she had noticed anything. Since the dogs were not barking and I felt no sense of urgency, I drifted back to sleep. About a half an hour later, the doorbell rang and our two canines erupted. I opened the door to two policemen, bright flashing lights and the reality that an abandoned car sat atop the berm in front of our home.
The Killing Song
A young girl clings with tear-stained eyes
Amidst a sea of friends
They hug, and weep in disbelief
With nowhere left to run.
The brutal boys are silent now
Just mocking echoes ring . . .
Across the halls and through the rooms
The face of evil grins.
Proverbs 16:2--All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the Lord evaluates the motives.
Haughty hears Wisdom reveal what’s at stake
but he scorns being told what path he should take.
“Turn right,” says the Son, but left the man goes.
“I like it my way, the way that I chose!”
Off the edge he plunges with a cry of dismay
For left without Wisdom there is no right way.
Acts 4:18-20--So they called for them and ordered them not to preach or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it’s right in the sight of God for us to listen to you rather than to God, you decide; for we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.
Romans 14:8-- If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
Luke 23:44-46--It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three, because the sun’s light failed. The curtain of the sanctuary was split down the middle. And Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into Your hands I entrust My spirit.” Saying this, He breathed His last.