Ecclesiastes 3:1…4 — There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens… a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…
Today’s readings are taken from a book of brief meditations entitled Joke Devotions(2012) by Chris Brekke. Chris is a pastor and has been a friend of mine for many years. The book may be ordered from Chris at: Cjbrekke51@gmail.com
Farmer Ole didn’t get out much. For his own son Obert’s 13th birthday, Ole and Lena took Obert to the city. In one big store, father and son watched in amazement as an elderly lady in a wheelchair approached two large silver doors that opened. She went in, and several lights lit up above the door.
In a minute the sliding silver doors opened and a beautiful young woman stepped out. Ole quickly turned and said, “Son, go get your mother.”
Now that’s a machine Ole could get excited about. To have a silver chamber where one can transform from old to young sounds even better than the ‘fountain of youth.’ We so enjoy health and energy and beauty and strength. We work hard in American to try to preserve those things. It is a multi-billion dollar business, with medicines, creams, health clubs, salons, plastic surgery, and more. We sure try to stay young.
But there is no stopping the tick of time. The body ages and declines. Although we should take good care of ourselves with diet and exercise and healthy habits, we should not pretend that we are here to stay.
We get our opportunity to enjoy God’s gift of earthly life, and by the victory of His Son over death, we shall emerge beyond the grave better than the apparent magic of the silver chamber. (page 55)
II Corinthians 5:1 — For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.
I Timothy 4:8 — For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
Ole had been slipping in and out of a coma for several months. Yet, Lena had stayed by his bedside every single day. One day, when he came to, he motioned for her to come nearer.
As she sat by him, he whispered, eyes full of tears, “Lena, you have been with me all through the bad times. When I got fired, you were there to support me. When my business failed, you were there. When we got robbed, you were by my side. When we lost the house, you stayed right here. When my health started failing, you were still by my side… You know what, Lena?”
“What dear?” she gently asked, smiling as her heart began to fill with warmth.
Ole said, “I’m beginning to think you’re bad luck.”
“Bad luck?!” How about “loyal and steadfast?” Ole sure was looking at things crooked.
In this wounded world, we will be dealt some hard blows. Whether it is loss of house or health, spouse or wealth, life on earth includes tribulation. And apart from the love of God himself, is there any finer gift on earth to see us through than the love of our family? When you were sick or when you failed, the loving presence of your mom or dad was the balm for your woe. When you’ve been a chump or have gotten on the wrong track or had to deal with sorrow and setback, a caring husband or wife by your side is a true God-send. (page 85)
Blessed are those who have a mate “for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health.” Such a one is a gift of God, not bad luck. Ole should have known these verses:
Proverbs 18:22 — He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.
Galatians 6:2 — Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
An old one, but still good:
A flood is coming. The town is in trouble. Sam will not leave. The water gets up to his porch, and a canoe comes by to rescue Sam. He declares: “I’m not leaving; I’m trusting in the Lord.”
The water keeps rising, and next day he’s in a second floor window as a motorboat comes by to pick him up. Sam is resolute: “I’m not leaving; I’m trusting in the Lord.”
The water gets higher. The next day Sam is on the roof. A helicopter drops him a rescue line. “Nope,” he says. “I’m staying; I’m trusting in the Lord.”
The water soon carries Sam away. At the pearly gates, he laments, “I trusted you, Lord. Why didn’t you save me?”
The Lord replies, “What do you mean? I sent you two boats and a helicopter!”
Indeed, Sam had it in mind that God would act in a certain way, a more miraculous way. Sam found out too late that the Lord was using human agencies to accomplish his rescue.
Now, of course, the Almighty can do miracles and wonders. All nature is His. And yes, at the end beyond death, nothing less than an outright miracle will raise our cold corpse. But in the normal flow of life, God usually gets his great feats carried out more subtly– by people or circumstances that the naked eye does not see as Divine intervention. Although it is God’s work through human hands, the eyes of faith can praise God for being at work. (page 54)
James 1:17a — Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights.
Write your name, O Lord, upon my heart, there to remain so indelibly engraved, that no prosperity and no adversity shall ever move me from your love. Be to me a strong tower of defense, a comforter in tribulation, a deliverer in distress, a very present help in trouble, and a guide to heaven through the many temptations and dangers of this life. Amen.
–Thomas a Kempis (1380-1471)