Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Table of Contents



A Gentle God
Waiting For Sunrise
Mother's Day
All You Need Is Love - 5/11/2016
What is Truth?
Newborns
Serenity
Tornado Remembered
Opening Day
Urethane Stains
Unselfish Christianity
Now!
The Missouri River
He's Alive - 3/23/2016
Second Death
My Little Rambler
Theology in the Raw
Kermit the Snake
The Blustery Day - 3/02/16
Atticus Finch - 2/24/16
Was Jonah Right?
Algebra Concepts - 2/17/16
Grandkids - 2/10/16
George the Sea Lion - 2/03/16
I'm Sorry - 1/27/16
Open My Eyes - 1/20/16
Tornado Warnings - 1/13/16
Love = God
One Little Candle - 1/07/16
Do You Know?
Confess, Ask, Believe, Receive
A Time For Rest
Lessons From Little League
Pharisees
Don't Be Dissapointed
Born Again
Little Children
I'm Sorry
Rejoice With Me
He's Alive
I Think I Can
You Did It To Me
You Did It To Me - Part 2
The Golden Rule
Nicolas N. Scott Eulogy
Grace Happens all Around Us
Overflowing Grace
Passion
Bears
Stranded
A Picture of God
Plato's Soul
Unforgivable
How Much Are You Worth?
Failure To Thrive
Voyage to Tarshish
Tolerance
Jump
Liberty
Power
Memorial
Criticize or Encourage
The First Lie
Reunion
Reflections On Our Flooding
Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
My Jewels
Marching To Zion
Deep Water
The Seventh- Day Adventist Church
Your GPS
Back Roads
Road Of Death
What Did Jesus Do?
Who Do You Think You Are
Let Them Eat Cake
Belief Or Trust
Speeding Tickets
Dirty Hands
Even Our Adversaries
Love And Hate 
The Roman Road
All You Need Is Love
Shepherds
Thanksgiving Proclamations
I Can't Get No Satisfaction
For Want of a Nail
Walking With Papa
Identity Theft
Christmas Gifts
Thank God for Grace
The Verdict
Higher and Higher
Let Me Count the Ways
Body Armor
Orphans
Your Kindness
The Bridegroom
Unforgiven
Character Assasination
Like a Child
God's Will
Walking a Tightrope
Lasik
The List
Jesus Wept
Mowing
What a Friend
Spice
Are You Experienced?
Comfort Zone
Old Friends
My Resolution
Imagination
The Wisdom of Teeth
Taste and See
The Legend of the Candy Cane
Doom and Gloom
Any Road
Five Kernels of Corn
A Little Thanksgiving History
Justice Mercy Grace
The Hammered Dulcimer
Halloween Grace
Moses
Stop to Think
The Best Gift
Sludge
Rebekah's First Steps
Why?
What Matters Most

Barn Find

An Arkie's Faith column from the February 22, 2017, issue of The Mena Star.



My Daddy is a long-time collector and seller of classic and collector cars. In the business of classic cars, barn finds are the holy grail. Anyone with a healthy bank account and a computer can find the car of their dreams, but barn finds are a special kind of magic. Barn finds are cars that are intact and have been untouched and out of sight for years. Finding a special car, left untouched for years or even decades is a rare thing. In the collector car world, barn finds come in all shapes and sizes. But one thing remains constant; a great barn finds make all the effort worthwhile.

In 2014 a remarkable barn find of rare automobiles was made on a farm in the West of France. After the owner had died, the children inherited the estate, which included a collection of old cars that had been untouched for many years. Wanting to determine the value of the cars, they called France's leading antiques auctioneer.

When the appraisers entered the property, they could see many makeshift shelters covered with tin. As they walked around the farm, they found more and more cars under the makeshift structures, and almost all of them were extremely rare. They found significant models from many of the legendary brands in European automotive history: Bugatti, Hispano-Suiza, Talbot-Lago, Panhard-Levassor, Maserati, Ferrari, Delahaye, Delage. The cars had been untouched for at least 50 years. The appraisers valued the cars at between 18 and 20 million dollars. The find was so significant that it was even reported in the U.S. press.

My Daddy recently sold his MG replica. Someone will be able to tell a “barn find” story about the car. In the late 70’s and early 80’s building kit cars on a VW chassis was very popular. In 1981 Daddy purchased a complete MG replica kit from MIGI. He spent many hours building the car. At about the same time he was building the MG, he built an addition to the side of his shop. When he completed the addition, the first thing that he stored in the new building was the recently completed MG replica. The little MG has never moved from that spot until just a couple of weeks ago.

Daddy has never owned a car that wasn’t for sale. He has had many people interested in the little MG kit car over the years. But the value of kit cars dropped dramatically after he finished the MG. They fell out of favor, and the market was flooded with them. He had paid a lot of money for the full kit that included the gel-coat fiberglass body, complete interior, convertible top, and all new chrome bumpers and grill. No one was willing to pay the price he was asking for the beautiful little MG, and it just sat in the corner of the new addition.

After a few years, the little car was covered in plastic sheeting to keep the dust and dirt from damaging the finish. As the years went by, more and more parts were stored around the little MG until it was barely visible. When a deal was made for the MG a few weeks ago, it took several days to uncover the little car and get it out of the building. When we moved it outside, it saw the light of day for the first time in almost 35 years.

Under the dust and dirt that had accumulated in those 35 years, was essentially a brand new car. When the new owner of the little MG properly cleans and details it, the car will be beautiful once again. It will once again be a treasure.

In the Bible, there is a “barn find” story; well not exactly a barn find, more of a field find. We read about it in Matthew 13:44 (NIV). “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”

Jesus was telling a story about the value of kingdom of heaven. A man found a treasure in a field. He stumbled across a “barn find.” He puts together a plan. He is so excited about his find that he sold everything he had and scraped all of his money together to buy the piece of land with the treasure on it. He knew that the treasure was very valuable and there was no question that he had to buy the field.

Can you imagine what his friends and family thought? I bet they thought he was crazy. Why would he sell everything to buy that piece of land? The didn’t know that by selling everything he owned, he was gaining a priceless treasure, worth far more. What is this treasure that is so important? Colossians 2:3 (GW) tells us that, “God has hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge in Christ.”

Gentle Reader, are you willing to sacrifice everything you own to gain the treasures of wisdom and knowledge in Christ? When Jesus was asked which is the great commandment in the law, he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment.” Matthew 22:37,38 (NKJV) This is what it takes to gain the treasure. It is the ultimate “barn find.”

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Liberty


When I was in school, I learned that the Pilgrims came to America aboard the Mayflower in search of religious freedom in 1620. The Puritans soon followed, for the same reason. Ever since the Pilgrims arrived millions from around the world have done the same, coming to an America where they found a welcome melting pot in which everyone was free to practice his or her faith.

Unfortunately, this isn’t true.  The arrival of the Pilgrims and Puritans in New England in the early 1600s was indeed a response to persecution that these religious dissenters had experienced in England. But the Puritan fathers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony did not tolerate opposing religious views. Their colony was a dictatorship that allowed no dissent, religious or political.

The most famous dissidents within the Puritan community, Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson, were banished following disagreements over theology and policy. From Puritan Boston’s earliest days, Catholics were banned from the colonies, along with other non-Puritans. Four Quakers were hanged in Boston between 1659 and 1661 for standing up for their beliefs.

We remember from school that the Pilgrims came here to escape persecution and practice their beliefs freely. But just because they came here to practice their beliefs, doesn’t mean that they believed others had the same right.

Ministers like John Cotton preached that it was wrong to practice any religion other than Puritanism. Those who did would be helping the devil. They believed they followed the only true religion so everyone should be forced to worship as they did.

It was the desire for liberty of conscience that inspired the Pilgrims to brave the perils of the long journey across the sea, to endure the hardships and dangers of the wilderness, and with God's blessing to lay, on the shores of America, the foundation of a mighty nation.

Honest and God-fearing as they were, the Pilgrims did not comprehend the great principle of religious liberty. The freedom which they sacrificed so much to secure for themselves, they were not equally ready to grant to others.

True religious freedom in America started with the vision of one man, Roger Williams.  He was a trained minister in England and took holy orders in the Church of England.  Because of his Puritan sympathies, he had no chance of a job in the Anglican Church.  After graduating from Cambridge, Williams became the chaplain to a wealthy Puritan family.  In 1631 he traveled to the New World to be with other Puritans.  In Massachusetts, he was at odds with the authorities because of his beliefs that people should be free to follow their convictions in religious matters.  

In October 1635 he was tried by the General Court and convicted of sedition and heresy. He was then ordered to be banished. When the sheriff came to pick him up, he discovered that Williams had slipped away three days before during a blizzard. He walked through the deep snow of a hard winter the 105 miles from Salem to the head of Narragansett Bay where the local Indians offered him shelter and took him to the winter camp of their chief sachem, Massasoit, where he resided for 3 and a half months.

In the spring of 1636, Williams and some his followers from Salem began a settlement.  He called it "Providence" because he felt that God's Providence had brought him there.  He said that his settlement was to be a haven for those "distressed of conscience," and it soon attracted quite a collection of dissenters and otherwise-minded individuals.

Roger Williams believed that any effort by the state to dictate religion or promote any particular religious idea or practice was forced worship. He colorfully declared that "Forced worship stinks in the nostrils of God." He would write that he saw no warrant in the New Testament to use the sword to promote religious belief.  He believed that the moral principles in the Scriptures ought to inform the civil magistrates, but he observed that well-ordered, just, and civil governments existed where Christianity was not present. All governments had to maintain civil order and justice, but none had a warrant to promote any religion.

Most of Williams's contemporaries and critics regarded his ideas as a prescription for chaos and anarchy. The vast majority believed that each nation must have its national church, and that dissenters must be made to conform. Rhode Island was so threatening to its neighbors that they tried for the next hundred years to extinguish the "lively experiment" in religious freedom that began in 1636.

Are our feelings on Religious Liberty like those of Roger Williams, or are they more like the Puritans?  

Liberty of conscience is central to the gospel of Jesus Christ. God is love. John writes in 1 John 4:8-11, “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. Here is how God showed his love among us. He sent his one and only Son into the world. He sent him so we could receive life through him. Here is what love is. It is not that we loved God. It is that he loved us and sent his Son to give his life to pay for our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us this much, we should also love one another.

The Bible teaches that we are called to liberty.  Along with this call for liberty, the Bible stresses loving others.  Romans 5:8 says,  “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  God loved us while we were still sinners, and he asks us to love our neighbors as ourselves.  He doesn’t ask us what our neighbors believe. 

In Luke 6:27 Jesus takes it even further. “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.”  

We are to love one another. We are to love our neighbors. We are to love our enemies. Who else is left?   If God loved us so much that he gave us liberty, we should love others – even our enemies – enough to give them liberty. 

I think that it is important to realize that allowing someone the liberty to think and live as they want is not the same as condoning their actions.  Whether or not I agree with their point of view has nothing to do with my willingness to grant them the right to have that point of view.

I want to revisit the question; Are our feelings on religious liberty like those of Roger Williams, or are they more like the Puritans? The Puritans believed in religious liberty.  They just didn’t believe in it for others. If you haven’t thought much about religious liberty – and we seldom do if our liberties aren’t being taken from us – spend some time today thinking about it.  

Do I believe in religious liberty for people even if I disagree with them? What about other Christian denominations with different practices? What about the Muslim, the Buddhist, the Hindu or the Wiccan. What about the agnostic or the atheist. Do I believe in Religious Liberty for them? 

If we believe in religious liberty for all, we will not make disparaging or hateful remarks about anyone. John Wesley said, “Condemn no man for not thinking as you think. Let everyone enjoy the full and free liberty of thinking for himself. Let every man use his own judgment since every man must give an account of himself to God.” 



Wednesday, February 15, 2017

First Love

An Arkie's Faith column from the February 15, 2017, issue of The Mena Star.

A Senior in High School

When I was in high school, I was too shy to talk to girls. I was almost too shy to talk to boys. When I first went to high school, it was at a private school that only went to the tenth grade. When I transferred to another school at the beginning of my junior year, the only people that I would talk to were those whom I knew from my previous school.

Although I was too shy to talk to girls, that didn’t mean that I wasn’t interested. At the beginning of my senior year, there was a girl who stole my heart the first time she walked into Mr. Brost's history class. Because I was so shy, it was almost a year before she had any idea that I was interested. I think that God knew that I needed all of the help I could get, so he made it so that our paths crossed in several ways that year. Mr. Brost selected five students to work together each week producing learning packets for history class. The special girl and I were both in the group. We both worked at the local furniture factory.  I worked on the dresser jig, and she made drawers. I would spend my breaks back with the drawer makers, but she still didn't catch on.

Just before graduation, I lost my job at the furniture factory. I was accused of doing something that I hadn’t done, and the punishment was a two-week suspension. I told management that I was innocent, and if they persisted with the suspension, I would never be back. My sense of justice caused me to lose a good paying summer job. News of my trouble with management quickly made its way around the factory. When I picked up my personal items from the jig that I worked at, there was a soda can with a flower in it. It was from that girl back in the drawer making section. As angry as I was with the situation, I felt warm and tingly inside because it became obvious to me that the girl who had stolen my heart at the beginning of the year cared about me.

When it came time for our high school graduation, I still had never gotten up the nerve to ask her out. Finally, I mustered up every ounce of courage I could find and asked her if she would march with me when we graduated. She told me that she would like to, but she had already told another boy that she would march with him. She said that if I talked to the other boy, she would march with me. Once again summoning up every bit of courage I had I talked to him. He was very gracious and bowed out. I was on cloud nine.

On our very first date away from school, we went to an amusement park. I don’t handle motion well, and easily get carsick and seasick. As we were riding one of the rides, I kept feeling sicker and sicker. This was our first real date, and I felt terrible. I didn’t want her to know that I was too wimpy to ride amusement park rides. I said nothing and hoped that my nausea would pass. It didn’t. I threw up on the ride, all over both of us. She took me to her house and got some of her Dad’s clothes for me to change into while she washed mine. After my clothes had been washed and dried, we went back to the amusement park but didn’t ride anything but the train.

The rest is history. I knew that if our horrific first date didn’t end our relationship; she was as awesome as I had always thought. After a year-long relationship, with five hundred miles separating us, we were finally in the same place at the same time. I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this girl. On June 15, 1975, we married.

I know that usually high school romances do not last forever and that when kids get married in their teens, the marriages aren't supposed to last, but we have proven those things wrong. It is still awesome to go through each day with my first love! I can't wait to see where this journey leads.

Many relationships don’t last. According to the National Vital Statistics System, In the United States, there is one divorce approximately every 36 seconds. For many people, it seems that it isn’t possible to maintain that first love. Many Christians also seem to have a problem maintaining their relationship with God.

Maybe your relationship with God isn’t what it once was. Do you remember when you first gave your life to Jesus? It was exciting to know that your sins had been forgiven. But have things changed? You still pray, sometimes. You still read the Bible, occasionally. You are willing to talk about Jesus, but only if someone asks about your beliefs.

What has happened? Probably the same thing that happened to the church of Ephesus. In Revelation 2:4 (NASB) Jesus told the church at Ephesus, “but I have this against you, that you have left your first love.”

Gentle Reader, are you are beginning to leave your first love? Was there a time when you were closer to God than you are today? God is calling you back to your first love. He wants you to find your happiness in Him. He wants you to experience that first love.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Saving Moses

An Arkie's Faith column from the February 8, 2017, issue of The Mena Star.


Some years ago I came home from work one day and my wife met me at the door. "Do you hear that," my wife asked. “Yes,” I answered, “it sounds like a kitten.” Meow, Meooooow, Meooooooooow. “You better go check it out,” my wife said, “it sounds like a kitten is in trouble.”

We walked down the hill to the creek behind our house. The pitiful cries grew louder and louder. They were coming from a small gray kitten. He was caught in a tangle of roots on the creek bank. The kitten was on the far side of the creek. This meant that I had to walk down the creek to a place narrow enough to cross. I found a place where I could wade across the creek; then I fought my way through a mass of bushes and briars. When I finally reached the drenched kitten, he frantically held on to the roots. I had to pull with all my strength to get him out.

I was afraid that the kitten would fight like a little tiger because of how fiercely he had struggled; however, when I held him close, he melted into my chest. Almost immediately I heard a soft, gentle purring. “Hello, Moses,” I said, “your name will have to be Moses because I drew you out of the water.”

What were we going to do with a kitten? Our family had never owned a cat. We had always been dog people. Our dogs have always been pampered pets. Some people have even said that our dogs were the masters of the house. Now we had a tiny helpless kitten. What should we do with it? I guess it was ours.

We carried Moses to our back porch. My wife brought towels and an old pet taxi. We dried him off and made him a soft bed in the pet taxi. I put Moses down, and he immediately climbed my leg, perched on my shoulder, and purred in my ear.

Our back porch became the kitten’s home. He was firmly attached to it. The world beyond the back porch was a strange and scary place and he would not venture into that world. He refused to leave the back porch. If I carried him into the front yard, he would begin desperately clawing, fighting, and freaking out. He wanted down so that he could run back to the safety of the back porch.

When I remember how Moses came into our lives, it reminds me of how my relationship with God developed. I remember being in the creek. In Psalms 69:1-3 (NLT) David wrote about his experience in the creek. " Save me, O God, for the floodwaters are up to my neck. Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire; I can’t find a foothold. I am in deep water, and the floods overwhelm me. I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched. My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me.”

When Moses the kitten cried out someone came to rescue him. God has made a promise to us. "Call to Me, and I will answer you." Jeremiah 33:3 (NKJV)  When God answers our call, he will bring us to a place of safety.

Moses found a place of peace and safety on the back porch. He knew that as long as he was on the back porch, nothing bad was going to happen to him. God has provided a place of peace and safety for us. "Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble." Psalms 119:165 (NKJV) We need to look at God's law the way that Moses looked at the back porch. He realized that the back porch was his place of peace and safety and he wanted to be there. When he was anyplace else, it made him very uncomfortable.

Many times we look at God's law as a jail. We feel that it creates uncomfortable restrictions. We need to ask God to give us a love for his commandments, to instill in us a desire for the peace and safety of His law. No one forced Moses to stay on our back porch; he stayed because he loved the feeling of security. That is how we should view God's law. "Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome.” 1 John 5:3 (NLT)

Just like Moses the kitty found that the front yard was a scary place, many people find the world frightening. It seems like the foundations of our society are crumbling beneath our feet because we are no longer a society that distinguishes right from wrong. God’s commandments are no longer the determination of what is right and wrong. “Christian morality is being ushered out of American social structures and off the cultural main stage, leaving a vacuum in its place — and the broader culture is attempting to fill the void,” reads a recent report by the Barna Group.

Gentle Reader, God’s commandments are like an umbrella. When you stay under the umbrella of God’s commandments, it protects you from many consequences. If you step out from under its protective cover, you suffer the consequences. Be like Moses the kitty and stay in the safety of God’s law. If you do, God promises in Leviticus 25:18 (NIV), “follow my decrees and be careful to obey my laws, and you will live safely in the land.”

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Finishing the Job

An Arkie's Faith column from the February 1, 2017, issue of The Mena Star.


A couple of years ago I received a phone call from a customer in Alexandria, Louisiana. He had a 1965 Chevrolet pickup, and he wanted to get it painted. I gave him a price for painting a pickup and didn’t think much more about it. Why would someone from Alexandria have a vehicle painted in Mena?  A few weeks later he called back and said that he was planning to drive the pickup to Mena to drop it off to be painted.

The day that he was supposed to drop off the vehicle, he called and said that he was running late. He had been having some mechanical problems. After several calls with updates on his problems he let me know that he would be in town around 10:00 p.m. We made arrangements to meet at my shop. It was a dark rainy night, but even in those conditions I could see that the pickup was in very rough shape. I considered telling my customer that the condition of his truck was so bad that I didn’t want the job, but he had just driven all day and had so many problems that I couldn’t tell him no. I did tell him that the pickup was in much worse shape than he had described it and that I would take the job with the understanding that I would only work on it when I had no other better-paying jobs in my shop.

The next morning when I inspected the truck in the daylight, my heart sank. It was much worse than I had thought it was the night before. It seemed like every square inch of the body was damaged. Every panel had major dents, and there were large rusted out areas on both doors and both bedsides. This was going to be a very time-consuming project. I contacted the customer and told him all of the problems that I had found but that I would keep my word and paint his truck for the agreed upon price. Because of the terrible condition of the vehicle, I said that I could make no promises about how long it would take. He understood that it would be a fill in project and that I would only work on when I had absolutely nothing else to do.

That was two years ago, and the project still isn’t completed, although I am now close to finishing it. Over the past two years, I have done anything possible to avoid working on this vehicle. My distaste for working on the 65 Chevy has become a standing joke to friends and regular customers who have been watching my “progress” on the project.

I have a job to do, and I have not been diligent about getting it done. I have gone out of my way to do anything else besides working on it. Finishing the job hasn’t been a priority for me.

Jesus has given us a job to do. In Mark 16:15 (NET) Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Our job is to preach the gospel. We need to take our job seriously. Jesus knew what his job was. In Luke 4:42,43 (NET) we read, “the next morning Jesus departed and went to a deserted place. Yet the crowds were seeking him, and they came to him and tried to keep him from leaving them. But Jesus said to them, ‘I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns too, for that is what I was sent to do.’”

Jesus knew that his job was to proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God and He has passed the job on to those who follow Him. I’m afraid that too often I treat the job Jesus has given me just like I treat the job I have to paint the 1965 Chevrolet Pickup. I have done anything to avoid working on the pickup, and I avoid doing the job Jesus has given me.

We have an obligation to let people know that the kingdom of God is near. “Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming, it is near.” Joel 2:1 (RSV)

From my experience, it seems that the majority of us are not blowing the trumpet. We aren’t doing our job. Why do you think that is? We are to make the message plain. We are to blow the trumpet clear. 1 Corinthians 14:7,8 (NKJV) tells us that, “Even things without life, whether flute or harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how will it be known what is piped or played?  For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle?”

I think that a big part of it is that we don’t know what sound the trumpet is to make. And when we do blow the trumpet, it is the trumpet of politics – or social change – or lifestyle, but not the gospel. We blow a trumpet with an uncertain sound.

Gentle Reader, let’s finish the job that we have been given to do; proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. Our job isn’t to straighten out the political beliefs of others. Our job isn’t to point out the faults of others. Our job isn’t to prove other religions false. And our job isn't to hate those we disagree with. Our job is to give people the good news found in John 3:16 (NKJV) “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Don’t get sidetracked, let’s focus on finishing the job.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

In the Fog

An Arkie's Faith column from the January 25, 2017, issue of The Mena Star.




This winter there have been quite a few foggy days. I like a little bit of fog. I like the ethereal, otherworldly way the countryside looks in the fog. Too much fog is another story. One morning on my way to work the fog was so thick that I couldn’t see things that were right beside the road. That wasn’t fun. It can be unnerving to drive in that kind of fog.

One foggy drive that I made was quite memorable. Back in 2000, my wife and I made a trip to Nova Scotia to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. We flew into Boston where we met my son-in-law’s uncle who took us on a whirlwind tour of the area including the Old North Church, the USS Constitution, and Buckman Tavern in Lexington. He had recently traveled to Nova Scotia and told us that we needed to be sure and visit Cape Breton Island. He told us that he had enjoyed driving the Cabot Trail and visiting the Fortress of Louisbourg. He told us to make sure that the day we drove the Cabot Trail wasn’t a foggy day.

In spite of his instructions, the day that we scheduled to drive the Cabot Trail turned out to be an extremely foggy day. I had seen pictures of the Cabot Trail, and it’s incredible views. It is one of the most scenic drives on the planet. I was looking forward to this amazing drive. We saw none of the spectacular scenery; we saw only dense fog. When we arrived at Louisbourg, we attended the Louisbourg Playhouse. In a bit if irony one of the songs they played was “In The Fog.”

I enjoy a bit of fog; it turns the world into a surreal landscape. But driving in a heavy fog can be frightening. It makes you slow down and be very alert. Faith is similar to driving in the fog. As we go through life, we don’t always see what’s right in front of us. Like a drive on a foggy day, life is revealed to us little by little. We can’t see into the future. God wants us to slow down and to make each action carefully and deliberately. He doesn’t want us to get in a hurry. That’s when accidents happen. We have to trust that we will get to where God wants us when His timing is right.

“Faith assures us of things we expect and convinces us of the existence of things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1 (NOG) When you have to drive in a heavy fog at night, it is so thick that your headlights can only light a few feet in front of the car. It creates tension and fear. What if there’s something I can’t see? What if the road turns and I miss it? High beams that help you to see far when it’s clear, only make the situation worse. You have to drive slow to feel safe. You have to take your time in getting to your destination. True faith is finding certainty in uncertain times. It is learning to trust God in the patches of fog that happen in everyone’s life.

Faith is believing that God is with you, whatever your circumstances are. Whether life is going smoothly, or you are experiencing the foggiest night of your life. When the foggy night comes, we are not alone. In Psalms 32:8  (NIRV) God makes this promise to you; “I will guide you and teach you the way you should go. I will give you good advice and watch over you with love.”

But why does God allow the fog in our lives? My daughter and her family are planning a trip to California this summer. On of the places they want to visit while they are there is Sequoia National Park. The park is famous for its giant sequoia trees. The Giant Forest in the park contains five out of the ten largest trees in the world.

These trees require fog to survive. The area has very little rain but often has dense fog. When fog hits, water drips off the tree needles, which point down to the ground. The fog is necessary for them to survive.

Gentle Reader, In our lives we need to stay constantly connected to God to survive. If we put our faith in God, we will be okay. The confusion of a foggy night may come, but we can trust that God will guide us through. Don’t panic because you can’t see into the future. Don’t let fear of the unknown unnerve you. God knows your future. He sees through the fog and has promised to guide you. “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) Trust God to guide you through the foggy moments to get you where you’re going right on time. “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path.” Psalms 119:105 (NAB)