Two Years Ago
April 9, 2017
Two Years Ago
April 9, 2017
He was sitting with his back to me, earbuds in his ear, scrolling down his phone.
He had texted yesterday, saying, “I have a couple of questions for you. Can you meet me at Starbucks?”
Smiling barista, moving quickly , (they always move so fast) “What can I get for you?”
“Grande Pike Place. No milk.”
“Hey,” I tap him on the back as I walk up.
“Hey.” He pulls one bud from his ear.
I smile. “If you want to ask me questions , you might as well take out the other one.”
He pulls the other one, clicks his phone off. “What do you think about prayer?”
I know him well enough to know I don’t have enough info to answer what he is asking. “Why are you asking? What’s your take?”
“I think prayer is pretty much something that people do to make themselves feel better. Kinda like a mental exercise. It really doesn’t do any good. Except, maybe making ‘em feel better for a while.”
I know him well enough to know where this is coming from. I have to tread lightly. “Well, I think you may have a point, in a sense. I know a lot of people that have prayed for things and solutions, all kinds of stuff. They seemed to have a sort of peace after praying, but, a lot of times, what they prayed for didn’t happen.”
He was slouched back in his chair, his legs extended, his feet shaking in time to the music playing in the background.
I asked, “So, have you prayed something that didn’t work for you?” I knew what he would say.
“Yeah?! All this!” He made a gesture with both hands, sweeping them from his head to his feet.
I knew what he was talking about. He had been born with a disease that limited him in some ways, making it difficult to make and keep friends, to do normal things.
He continued. “I have prayed and prayed for God to heal me. Nothing! I figure, either God can’t, God won’t, or there is no God.”
“What would you get, if you had your way? What do you want above everything else?”
“I JUST WANT TO BE NORMAL!” A little bit loud. A couple at a nearby table turned toward our table, then looked away, whispering.
“Okay,” I said, “First question. What do I think about prayer? I used to think of prayer as a kind of grocery list for God. ‘While you’re here, could you pick up a couple of things for me? That would be great!’ But, honestly, I wasn’t very good at praying. I’m not real sure I understood, or took it very seriously. But, now, I look at it as a way to find out what He wants me to do. I say, ‘Okay, new day. Where are we going today? I want to go with you, all day, to be able to help you do some of the things You do.’ It’s kind of like volunteering for a mission, then going to the officer to find out what the mission is.”
He was losing interest. This wasn’t the question he was interested in.
“About being normal. I get it. You want to fit in, to do the things that your friends do, hanging out, driving, being one of the group.”
“Yeah, that is exactly what I want. And I can’t see that ever happening. Why doesn’t God care? If he even exists at all.”
“Listen,” I tell him, “I have been normal. Had all the normal things, good job, wife, kid, two cars, house, good reputation. Life was good, right?….Except, it wasn’t. Normal is way over rated. Depression still takes over. Meaning to life, like a vapor. Why am I so sad? What is the point to all this? These questions don’t stop just because you have the life that you thought you wanted.”
I looked at him. He was listening, doubtfully, probably thinking I had no idea what he feels. “Let me ask you a question. If you could ask God, assuming He exists, for the perfect life for you, what would it look like? Better yet, would it require you to be healed, first?”
“And, you don’t see that happening?”
“Okay, there is one thing you haven’t figured. What if God had some purpose in all this?” I did my hands like he did before over his body. “What if He told you, ‘If you will carry this weakness for me, and move into your life trusting me, I will show you a power that you never knew before. You know, My strength is made perfect in your weakness.’ That is one thing you haven’t tried.”
“I have tried believing in God. It doesn’t work.”
“Believing in God is different from trusting God. The demons believe in God. Trusting God cannot be tried, like sticking your toe into the pool to see if the water is cold or warm. You have got to dive in, full trust, stay in, give yourself to Him. No matter what. You have no idea of the life you could have, if you stopped wishing for normal, and started looking for LIFE.”
The story ends here, because this is a conversation I would like to have with my friend. We have touched on stuff. His eyes have not been opened to the infinite possibilities of his life.
But, haven’t we all been there?
We just want it to be a little easier. A little more normal.
“God, please just do this one thing. Really, that’s all I need just this one thing. It can’t be that big a deal for You.”
And, in a tiny whisper, “Do you really just want that one small thing?
Is “normal” really all you want?
I didn’t create you to be normal.
When I thought of you, I had a job that I made you to do.
But, to do it, we have to do it together.
You will not regret it.”
BEHIND THE CURTAINS
I wanted to see the movie. Especially since the whole media world was trying to keep people from knowing about it.
You see, I have been opposed to the idea of abortion for a long time.
Not forever…there was a time it almost became part of our story.
But, it didn’t.
I figured I would agree with the movie, but I didn’t expect the reaction I had.
I had finished my day’s work and met Wendy in Tyler to see the 4:30 showing of “Unplanned”.
In the very first scene, tears were already pooling in my eyes.
Then came the flashbacks, and the story unfolded of Abby Johnson’s introduction to Planned Parenthood, and her life with them as she became a clinic director.
You need to see the movie, even if you consider yourself pro-choice, because my purpose is not to retell the story.
But, there were three revelations that came out that really caused me to feel a sense of rage.
One was the ultrasound image of the baby in the womb, trying to escape the suction tube, fighting for his/her life.
Another was the faces of the young girls coming into the clinic because they found themselves in a situation that they had no idea how to correct. And they were young. They were scared. They wanted someone to tell them what they could do.
So, someone did. Leaving out all the grisly details of what was about to occur, they told these gullible young girls that this was the best thing for them, because, a burden of a child at this time of their lives was not the right time.
The third was the purpose of the ultrasound; to determine the size of the “fetus” so they would know how much to charge for the “procedure”.
The bigger the baby, the higher the price.
But, the young girls were not allowed to see the ultrasound image.
They might realize that this fetus is not just a clump of cells.
They might decide not to kill this baby, because it looked just like a baby.
The counselors at the clinic gave few options on how to solve the problem gripping the hearts of these young girls.
“We can fix this and get your life back to normal.”
Yet, not one word about what this new normal would be.
Guilt, sorrow, loss, regret, pain.
And, that … well, I think I see more clearly than ever how the enemy of God is moving through our world, spreading his lies, his filth, his destruction, using those who are open to his influence to deceive those who only want someone to help them.
And it makes me wonder how anyone who is not God’s enemy could ever, ever, ever believe that the violent act of abortion…
is a viable form of birth control?
And that is what makes me grieve!
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I come that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
Two Years Ago
PARTING IS SUCH SWEET SORROW….
At least it was cordial.
Oh, come on. I’m not talking about Wendy!
She says she’s invested way too much time just to get me to this point. She’s not about to start over.
“I just called to tell you that I’m going to unfriend you.”
“Okay. It’s nice of you to call, I guess?”
“It’s nothing against you. I’ve just heard all the arguments. And some of your friends are kinda crazy.”
(I think that’s sort of what he said. My a/c in my truck is out, and my windows were open.)
“I’m not gonna come to Jesus.”
“I know. Thanks for calling. I hope everything goes well for you.”
I am sad, though.
I am so going to miss those debates.
I would like to be there when he comes to Jesus.
Journal • Wednesday, Apr 5, 2017, 7:22 PM CDT
Do you ever think about how happy you are to be able to read?
Seriously, if I had to learn how to read, now, I don’t think I could do it.
My mom taught me.
Before first grade.
Mrs. Rose really liked me, since I could already read.
I don’t remember learning how.
I do remember going to Nicholson Memorial Library in downtown Garland, Texas,
( I still love that old book smell you got when you walked in. And the tall shelves.)
and checking out 6-10 books to take home to read.
Apparently, Mom taught me phonics because I could sound out anything. My Sunday School teacher asks me to pronounce all the hard names. I used English phonetics for all those Hebrew names, but Bruce is all right with that.
When I was in my early thirties, Wendy called me at work one day, and, somewhere in the conversation, she used the word “misled.”
M I S L E D
I realized, I had always read that word “my zuld.” (Phonics; long I, accent on the first syllable)
Correct phonetic spelling should have been “missled”.
I told Wendy about this.
All these years, I never knew.
Now, I notice, when I look at a billboard, I focus on the middle of the message, then I jump back a word or two, then I realize, I have no clue what the billboard was about, but it’s too late, I’ve already driven past.
I’m so glad I can read.
Journal • Wednesday, Apr 5, 2017
Who can do the most harm?
The unbeliever who knows the Bible.
The believer who does not.
Journal • Tuesday, Apr 5, 2016
How they are getting the Religious Freedom Bill wrong.
I’m getting angry at being told I hate gays because I don’t want them to be happy. And that I must hate women because I don’t want them to have “reproductive rights”.
As a businessman, I have always given my services to anyone who called me, as long as I was qualified, regardless of the kind of lifestyle they had. But I would not compromise my own values in my business ventures, always with the hope that someone who is not a Christian would see something in me to draw him to Jesus.
I do not believe that there is a possibility that God would approve of homosexual marriage, or abortion, or lying, or adultery, or self-serving sex outside of marriage, or theft, …I could go on. Some of these things I have done. I had the freedom to choose to do what I wanted. We all do. Unfortunately, our choices do have consequences, and I care that you may have to suffer for what you choose.
We are more divided than ever before : Democrat/ Republican, Conservative /Liberal, For abortion / Against abortion, Muslim/Jew, Homosexual / Straight….
There are really only two groups: those that have peace with their creator, and those who do not. This country was founded on the principle that the government could NEVER interfere with the Christian’s right to spread the gospel to the world, to help those without the peace to find the path to that peace.
There should have never been the need for the religious freedom protection act, because the Constitution guarantees that freedom.
You have the right to choose your lifestyle, and your choices help me to judge ( uh-oh, what about the judge not scripture?) whether you have peace with God or not, and how I can help you discover this amazing life of joy. I hope it doesn’t become illegal for me to do this, but if it does, I will still do it. Because I love my God. God loves you. And I love you, too.