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Courage and a Handrail

Dan and I were given tickets to a Wisconsin Badger football game. We got to our seats and were settling when I noticed a father and son walking up the steps toward us. Now we were in the top tier of seats at Camp Randall and about half way up so we were quit high. The son, who has downs syndrome, was holding onto the shoulder of his father, who was climbing in front of him. He was not looking around, and there was much activity all around. He was only looking at the next step and his father’s shoulders.

I did not think much about this scene until the end of the game when I watched the two descend. The son once again had his hands on his father’s shoulders and was looking nowhere but to the next step and his father’s shoulders. Then came a place where there was a handrail and the father went on a head and left the son on his own. The boy grabbed hold of the rail with both hands. He stopped to look around and then back to the steps. It was then that I noticed his whole body was shaking. He slowed and struggled to get a hold that was firm enough for his liking, but he kept going. One step at a time. He made it to where his father was waiting for him and I wanted to stand up and cheer.

That boy might have been afraid on the way up and he certainly was on the way down. He could have not come to the game at all. He could have stopped half way up or down, frozen by terror, but he did not.

I thought about the courage of the boy. Jill Briscoe has said, “Courage is doing it scared.” This boy did it scared. How many times are we frozen with terror and loose out on the joys of life? I also thought of the perfect picture of a walk with God. Eyes only on the next step and the shoulder of the Father. The disciple, Peter, only got into trouble when he took his eyes off of the Lord. Even when the boy had to go it alone the father was at the bottom watching his every move. The father only moved ahead when he knew the boy could make it on his own. This boy made a great impact on me today with a little courage and a handrail.

the card

I received a lesson in life yesterday about God or maybe God’s faithfulness, a point I have struggled with often. I have often asked the question, “Where was God?”

I am going to turn the ripe old age of 45 on Sunday, a point which does not bother me as much as watching my kids turn 20. To mark the auspicious occasion I received a birthday card, one of many I will
receive, I am sure, from a friend I had not heard from in a while. I had wondered what had happened. I had written a few times. I was sure I had done something to offend, though I did not know how. I assumed the friendship had gone the way of all friendships, it was over. I was no longer needed or wanted and that is just what happens to friendships. I was trying to move on with life.

There was a niggle in the back of my mind that said, “That is not how she is. She would not just drop a friendship.” Her past dealings with me did not match the present circumstance, but what was happening? Where was she? What I knew did not match what I felt. So, I was in a predicament, act upon what a knew or act upon present circumstances that clearly pointed to a friendship over.

I received a birthday card from my friend. Which amazed me. Maybe she remembered I was alive. Maybe she is just toying with my emotions. Again that did not match with what a knew, but…. I gave her a call on a whim. We talked for quite a while. A few times
in the conversation she said, “This or such happened, and I thought of you.” I wanted to mock and say, “I bet you did.” My heart cried at the thought that she thought of me. I was humbled. My faith was restored. In my life I have questioned mightily God’s presence in my life. Was He there? Did He care? Was I just left to muddle through on my own? The birthday card was an “in your face lesson” that even when it seemed that God was not around. That God wanted to be done with this relationship. That God did not care. God was there. God did care. God was thinking of me. Always has always will.

I know things about God. He is faithful. He is ever watching. He loves me. God not being in my life does not match up with the character I know of God. He was there all the time…..thinking of…..me.

the cell phone

I am now the owner of a cell phone. I have fought against having one for many years. I did not want to be that available. What would cause me to purchase a cell phone after being so adamantly against the idea? Sarah, my oldest daughter, left for college
yesterday. I want her to be able to call any time she wants. I want to be able to call any time I want. I have carried that thing with me every minute since she left. I want
to be ready to talk. I want to be able to rejoice with her. I want to be able to console her. I want to be able to laugh with her. I don’t want her to get voice mail. I am anxious for her to call.I revel in the fact that she can be at school and I at home and we can have immediate access to one another.

Then my heart was pricked. I know God sits high on His throne and waits for us to “call”. Do I use the access that I have to God? I can at any time talk with God. He is ready to talk. He is ready to console. He is ready to laugh. Our cell phones would not be much good if Sarah or I did not use them. If we just carried them around in our pockets and were content that we could talk they would be worthless. Access to God is worthless unless we take advantage of that access.

It would be very much like me to say, “I don’t want to be a bother.” Again, what good is a cell phone if it is not used. I do not believe Sarah will be bothered to have me call. And I know God is never bothered to have us “call”. The question is: Will we take advantage of the access we have?

by lin

The Mosquito

So, I was driving home last night from a meeting and somehow one mosquito had gotten into the car. Every once in a while I actually saw him, maybe it was a her, I do not know how to tell the gender of a mosquito.

Well, he bite me once and I swatted at him and I missed. It is hard to hit a mosquito in the dark. The little bugger bite me again and I swatted at him and missed, though I will probably have a bruise on my arm. This went on not once, not twice, not three, but four times. So I am not only mosquito bitten but also bruised by my failed attempts to swat a mosquito in the dark.

Grampa used to say, “A man bit by the same dog twice ain’t good for much else.” Where does that leave me? Please don’t answer that.

Enough was enough. I turned on the interior lights of the car, which seems like a simple task, but I had never driven this particular car. I had the radio blaring, the wipers going and the horn honking all at the same time. I did get the lights turned on and lay in wait for the enemy. Sure enough, he tried to bite me again, but this time the whole situation was in the light and I swatted at him and hit him hard (and me). That little mosquito, my friend, is quite dead. I may have lost a few battles, but I won the war.

I have been in a few wars with lies and my own imaginations. I have swatted at them in the dark and bruised myself and others in the process. The only way to defeat the lies is to turn the light on them so they can be faced head on. It is hard to hit something you can’t see. Shed God’s light on the lie and the little bugger will be a goner.

Quilts

I am sitting today at our fireworks stand. I have brought many projects to do in the down time. One of these projects in cutting squares for quilts. As I cut I make two piles; one of squares and the other of scrap. Many times I look at the scrap and think, “What a waste.” If only I could think of a good way to use the scrap. I am reminded how God prunes and cuts away the scrap so we can be used for a project. Sometimes we may think that a particular scrap is useful or I especially like the pattern of the material. In God’s great patchwork quilt some pieces just won’t fit. They are scrap, to be cut away. So a beautiful quilt can be made. Let us not hold on to that which God is so carefully cutting away.

Oh, and keep your fingers away from the blade. It is sharp. Is seems there could be another lesson there. I will let you draw the application.

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