Friday, June 24, 2011

Mountain tops, deep valleys of despair, and everything in-between, the good news: We have the same Great God with us every step of the way!

Okay. Let's try this one more time. It is Friday, June 24, 2011 and I bid you welcome to this edition of that which passes itself off as a technical essay on this, that, and the other. Seeing all those home folks the other day made me once again realize just how much they all had changed. They had changed? What about you cowboy? One lady said that she thought she could see me behind all that stuff on my face. That's how they talk over there. She probably has some preconceived notions about beards. She may have thought I was a part of a cult or something. Or maybe in hiding. You know what? None of that bothered me one bit. She's not the only one that wonders about me. I often wake up thinking maybe I am in a witness protection program with a different identity. Not really. But, I do often wonder about myself. One lady who was married to a fellow I grew up with told me who her kinfolks were. I well remember one of her cousins. His name was Tommy. He had a huge temper. We children were not always angelic. Maybe we were but it was mostly like the fallen angels. At any rate, I told her how that once I made him so angry he shot me with a BB gun at point blank range. I showed her the tiny white scar on my hand where I had to dig the BB out. We were probably nine or ten years old and I did learn a valuable lesson in that experience. Never make Tommy mad when he is holding a BB gun. I told you that I was capable of learning. See what I mean?

The funeral home people over in Webster, Texas were very kind to us. They are a huge metro operation and it shows. The folks over in Leesville, Louisiana were very much less formal and that was wonderful also because it reflects the speed of life there. My sister JoAnn worked in the funeral business for 25 years. She was able to help me coordinate all the services and because of her long term service, these affiliated funeral homes provided all the services at a nominal cost. This was out of respect for her and for our brother's service to our country. JoAnn had been able to be with Donald around the clock for his last week. No one will likely ever know all the challenges she faced that week with Donald's rapidly declining health coupled to a near mental collapse by his lady friend who was his primary care giver. I can tell you this. My sister is a little bulldog when it comes to family and she went way above and beyond to make it as good as it could be for our brother. Mom and dad and my sister Frances made the trip on Wednesday before he passed away on Saturday morning. God did a remarkable thing on that Wednesday. He gave our brother and our mom and all those there with him a really good day. Is that not just like our great God or what? Donald was able to smile and acknowledge and his last words to our mom that she will take with her into eternity were: "I love you Momma." Now don't go trying to tell me this was a medical this that or the other. It was a God ordained moment. I know it. I have thanked Him for it. And, to me, it is amazing. After all those days and all the intense coordination and planning, our dear sister JoAnn who has many health challenges of her own, was not able to make that long trip from the Dallas area to the memorial service. But she was well represented by her children and she was even more well represented by the extraordinary beauty of the memorial service itself. Thanks Sis, you did good and may God help you to get recovered real soon. Amen.

I see things haven't changed too much while I was preoccupied on family matters. The political mud slinging seems to have a very adequate supply of mud, even with all the drought throughout the land. It's pretty bad when the financial press labels remarks by our coutry's top economic official like this: "It was his I don't know why and when the economy will get better speech." Ouch. Makes us wonder who, if anyone, does know. But that's not how we who have our faith in God see it. We know that He knows and He is at work. He is at work in the day by day living of His very own like that handful on purpose He gave to our mom and sisters last week. He is also at work in the dealings of nations. One of the things we all have to learn is that knowing that He is at work does not mean that you and I will avoid the difficulties and yes, even the pain, that comes with His plan and purpose being unfolded in our lifetime. People of faith who are in the ditch financially because of how our entire system has been turned upside down, are hurting, and struggling. But, there is a dfference when our faith and hope is in our great God. We, with His help, persevere, do our best to help ourselves, while leaning on Him to get us through these challenging days. One of my brother's favorite songs that we used at his memorial is entitled "God on the Mountain." My wife and I used to sing this song. Let these lyrics encourage your heart today: "Life is easy when your up on the mountain And you've got peace of mind like you've never known But things change when your down in the valley Don't lose faith for you're never alone For the GOD on the mountain is still GOD in the valley When things go wrong He'll make them right And the GOD of the good times is still GOD in the bad times The GOD of the day is still GOD in the night You talk of faith when your up on the mountain Talk comes so easy when life's at its best Now its down in the valley of trials and temptations That's when your faith is really put to the test For the GOD on the mountain is still GOD in the valley When things go wrong He'll make them right And the GOD of the good times is still GOD in the bad times The GOD of the day is still GOD in the night The GOD of the day is still GOD in the night." Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and I will see you next week, Lord willing. Amen.            .......More later.

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