Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Pressure Of My Circumstance

Isaiah said that the Lord spake to him “with a strong hand.” Isaiah 8:11. Oswald Chambers calls this ‘the pressure of our circumstance.’

I have a new friend whose life, a number of years ago, was indeed impacted by ‘the pressure of her circumstance.’ She was a farmer’s wife in a small Ontario town, the mother of three little boys, her life pretty much ordered by the daily demands of her situation. One morning her husband went to the barn to do the morning chores. When he returned to the house he found his wife blind. Their circumstances immediately changed, their faith and attitude toward God did not. They saw this situation as a message from God that would change their lives, though they knew not how.

I don’t know the detail of how they moved from this small Ontario town to a tribal area of Senegal in Africa.. I only know from the story that her husband told that they lived there for 39 years, that they never asked for a dime of support from anyone in all those years, that without medical training he did what he could to help the area sick and without flight training he flew supplies in to the impoverished people that they lived among. He ended his story by telling us that “the Lord gave me my wonderful wife for 49 years but now He has asked for her back”. He was telling us that his wife now had Alzheimer’s and was a resident in the Long Term Care Centre where I visit weekly.

I have come to love this woman dearly. I often find her with a huge laundry basket of cloths - brown cloths, green cloths, gold cloths. She is carefully folding them, stacking them, unfolding them and folding them again and restacking them. All this is done with a quiet concentration and joyful smile. You see, the children will be along soon and will need dry clothes. Do I feel sorry for this woman? Not a bit! Sometimes I have to stretch my imagination to it’s limit to join her in her world but it is always a world full of peace, of generosity, of gratitude for God’s gifts. She is always glad that she was home when I came down her road, that there is a pie on the oven almost done and wi will be able to share a cup of tea and a piece of pie in just a minute or so. There are clean sheets on the bed and if I would like I can spend the night. She has been praying for my boys (how did she know I had boys) and Jim has gone to help some folks but he will be home any minute. I hold her hand and stroke her arm and wander through her world with her, a world so different from many - a world free of discontent, of criticism, of complaint. When I go to leave and give her a hug, she always takes my face in her hands and tells me she will pray for me - often she tells me I am an angel sent from God and she hopes that she is home the next time I come down her road..

Circumstances! Do we see God’s hand in them moving us to places where He wants us to be, to attitudes He wants us to have? Or are they just happenings in our lives to us? This lady’s muddled mind has done more to change my attitude toward what my life is than probably anything over the 70 plus years of my journey. I am so thankful that He saw fit for me to know her............................Wilma Lansdell

P.S. Don’t ask me when or how, but somewhere along her journey her sight was restored.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Goc Versus Paul Newman

The story is told of a woman out shopping on a hot summer’s day. When she passed an ice cream shoppe she decided to treat herself to an ice cream cone in an effort to cool off. She went into the store and ordered her cone. As the clerk was preparing it she became aware of someone standing beside her. She turned and found herself looking into the big blue eyes of Paul Newman. Immediately her neck felt hot and her knees felt weak. About that time, the clerk returned with her cone, set it in the holder on the counter and asked for $1.75. In her befuddled state, trying to pay for her cone, she spilled things from her purse, had trouble finding the right change and became ever more flustered. Finally, she got it all together and left the store. She was only a short way down the street when she realized she had forgotten her cone. She returned to the store only to find Paul Newman standing in the doorway. He said, “Did you forget your cone?” to which she replied, “Yes, I did.” Paul Newman then said, “Well, lady, it is in you purse.”

Recently, I heard a minister begin his sermon with this story. He wasn’t using up his time just to tell a funny story but to try and compare the awe that we sometimes feel for our heroes of any stripe - acting stars, musical stars, sports stars etc. - in comparison to the awe we feel for God. He went so far as to ask, “Whan was the last time an encounter that you had with God cause your knees to feel week?” Thought provoking!

Robert Capon has said the church “is a community of astonished hearts that God has saved them.” One dictionary meaning of astonished is ‘struck dumb with wonder’

Marvin P. Dalton said, “ Oh, what a Savior! Oh, hallelujah! His heart was broken on Calvary; His hands were nail-scarred, His side was riven, He gave His lifeblood for even me.”

Jack Hayford said, “ Majesty, worship His majesty. Unto Jesus be all glory power and praise.”

The writer of Hebrews said, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word.”

May we all, as we enter this new year, exalt the God of the universe in our lives and see the icons of this world for what they are - people with a talent different than ours but with no power to bring us lasting joy or peace. We will have a far better 2010 if we do!