Monthly Archives: January 2018

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

The funny quote about opera, “It ain’t over until the fat lady sings” came to my mind as we were sitting in a hospital room in Seattle where my brother-in-law was fighting leukemia. His red cell count kept dropping. After numerous infusions of red cells, he still remained unable to produce his own. We went back and forth between the waiting room and his hospital room. Praying and hoping. Trying to encourage him and each other.

Another thought unexpectedly sprang into my mind… “It’s not over until God speaks. We’ve heard what the doctor says, but we are waiting to hear what God says!”

My father-in-law put it another way. “It’s never too late for a miracle.” It occurred to me that what we’ve been waiting for is The Bright Shadow of God. When things seem to be the darkest is when God’s Bright Shadow can bring the greatest illumination.

We sat around that hospital bed, telling stories, laughing about our childhood, sharing love. It was stormy and raining outside, but the heaviness of cancer seemed to float away and a sweet light filled the room. Faith and hope replaced the fear and doubt. God met us in our darkness and transformed it into His great light.

As we chatted the nurse pointed out the window. The most vivid double rainbow I had ever seen appeared in the sky through the raindrops. The dark clouds behind it made it appear even brighter. Everyone in the room was mesmerized by the beautiful sight. Even the nurse wanted to take a picture of it. God’s promise shone brightly against the dark sky.

Although he was not out of the woods, within a short period of time, my brother-in-law’s condition began to improve. His numbers began to stabilize. It is still a day by day, sometimes hour by hour situation, but my faith is stronger, my hope is greater. Not because of the circumstance, but because I have a God who is greater than the current situation.

Even when circumstances seem to be dire, I can still find hope in God. He will never disappoint. I don’t find my hope in circumstance. I have to believe in God’s love and know that He has a better answer… a greater hope… an eternal plan.

“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.” – Psalm 43:5

My faith is tested in these dark times. This is where the rubber meets the road. This is where God meets me and I encounter His Bright Shadow.

I must remind myself of this simple truth, “It ain’t over until God speaks… It’s never too late for a miracle.” I will always expect His Bright Shadow to illuminate the dark places. I will never lose hope.

“The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it.” John 1:5

Enjoying the Journey

I ride a commuter train to work each morning. It takes about an hour, giving me plenty of time for observation and contemplation. I watch all of the other passengers. With very few exceptions, they all have cell phones or other electronic devices. They are reading books on their Kindle, playing games on their iPhone, or listening to music. What they are not doing is paying attention to the scenery or talking to each other.

One day, I was looking out the window of the train, counting all of the hawks I saw on my daily commute. I was a little alarmed when the older lady sitting next to me began talking to me.

“I so rarely see people smiling on the train” she said.

I didn’t realize I was smiling. Looking out the window at the scenery had put me at peace. I was content.

I replied, “I didn’t realize I was smiling.”

“You look so happy” she replied.

“I was just enjoying nature” I chuckled a little.

This began a conversation that lasted until my stop downtown. We talked about many things during that 45 minutes. What intrigued me was one of her observations. “I’m guessing you are a spiritual person.”

I smiled again, “yes, I am a Christian” I replied.

She paused for a moment and then said, “Well, most ‘Christians’ I encounter don’t seem very happy… what’s your secret?” she asked.

I had to think a bit. “Well, I have my moments, but for the most part I’m pretty happy” I replied. I continued, “I don’t claim to know everything. I am a learner and a sojourner. After I finished my Master’s Degree I thought I was really smart. But I’ve learned one important thing about life and spirituality. When I think I’ve got everything nailed down and there’s nothing more to learn, God teaches me something new. I suddenly realize that I’m not so smart after all. That’s what keeps me learning and keeps my faith fresh. It’s very humbling. It keeps me anticipating what’s coming next! This gives me great joy.”

Her face brightened, “I’m a sojourner, too!”

As our conversation continued she shared her spiritual journey with me. She had been involved in the Haight-Ashbury counter culture movement in the 60’s. She had dabbled in Buddhist literature and in Hindu teachings. She moved to a Northwest commune and spent time exploring a variety of spiritualism. After moving away from the commune, her hunger for spiritual truth brought her to a Christian community where she experienced the Bright Shadow of God. It transformed her life. She was so excited to meet another sojourner along the way.

That chance encounter on a commuter train was another lesson for me. I never know when the Bright Shadow of God will come and transform a moment, a conversation, a life!

This is what keeps me enjoying the journey. The hope of God’s Bright Shadow continues to fall on my life in unexpected ways.

I trust that others can experience this in their lives. Allow God’s word to guide you. Allow God to shine over you, in you, and from you to illuminate the darkness.

Keep learning, keep growing, and most of all, keep shining!

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