These wonderful nuggets inspire me with glimpses into life deeply felt and experienced. Tapestry is my personal favorite, it so captures my sense of self, and reading it reminds me who I truly am becoming.
One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry. He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door. Instead of a meal he asked for a drink of water.
She thought he looked hungry so brought him a large glass of milk. He drank it slowly, and then asked, "How much do I owe you?"
"You don't owe me anything," she replied. "Mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness." He said..... "Then I thank you from my heart." As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was strong also. He had been ready to give up and quit.
Year's later that young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled. They finally sent her to the big city, where they called in specialists to study her rare disease. Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation. When he heard the name of the town she came from, a strange light filled his eyes. Immediately he rose and went down the hall of the hospital to her room.
Dressed in his doctor's gown he went in to see her. He recognized her at once. He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day he gave special attention to the case.
After a long struggle, the battle was won. Dr. Kelly requested the business office to pass the final bill to him for approval.
He looked at it, then wrote something on the edge and the bill was sent to her room. She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all. Finally she looked, and something caught her attention on the side of the bill.
She read these words.....
"Paid in full with one glass of milk"
Dr. Howard Kelly.
After 21 years of marriage, I discovered a new way of keeping alive the spark of love. A little while ago I had started to go out with another woman. It was really my wife's idea. "I know that you love her," she said one day, taking me by surprise.
"But I love YOU," I protested.
"I know, but you also love her."
The other woman that my wife wanted me to visit was my mother, who has been a widow for 19 years, but the demands of my work and my three children had made it possible to visit her only occasionally.
That night I called to invite her to go out for dinner and a movie. "What's wrong, are you well," she asked? My mother is the type of woman who suspects that a late night call or a surprise invitation is a sign of bad news.
"I thought that it would be pleasant to pass some time with you," I responded.
"Just the two of us." She thought about it for a moment then said "I would like that very much."
That Friday after work, as I drove over to pick her up I was a bit nervous. When I arrived at her house, I noticed that she, too, seemed to be nervous about our date. She waited in the door with her coat on. She had curled her hair and was wearing the dress that she had worn to celebrate her last wedding anniversary. She smiled from a face that was as radiant as an angel's.
"I told my friends that I was going to go out with my son, and they were impressed," she said, as she got into the car. "They can't wait to hear about our meeting."
We went to a restaurant that, although not elegant, was very nice and cozy. My mother took my arm as if she were the First Lady. After we sat down, I had to read the menu. Her eyes could only read large print. Half way through the entrée, I lifted my eyes and saw Mom sitting there staring at me. A nostalgic smile was on her lips. "It was I who used to have to read the menu when you were small," she said.
"Then it's time that you relax and let me return the favor," I respond. During the dinner we had an agreeable conversation - nothing extraordinary - but catching up on recent events of each others life.
We talked so much that we missed the movie. As we arrived at her house later, she said "I'll go out with you again, but only if you let me invite you".
"How was your dinner date?" asked my wife when I got home.
"Very nice. Much more so than I could have imagined," I answered.
A few days later my mother died of a massive heart attack. It happened so suddenly that I didn't have a chance to do anything for her. Some time later I received an envelope with a copy of a restaurant receipt from the same place mother and I had dined. An attached note said: "I paid this bill in advance. I was almost sure that I couldn't be there but, never-the-less, I paid for two plates - one for you and the other for your lovely wife. You will never know what that night meant for me. I love you."
At that moment I understood the importance of saying, in time: "I LOVE YOU" and to give our loved ones the time that they deserve. Nothing in life is more important than God and your family. Give them the time they deserve, because these things cannot be put off to "some other time".
There was a little boy visiting his grandparents on their farm. He was given a slingshot to play with out in the woods. He practiced in the woods, but he could never hit the target. Getting a little discouraged, he headed back to dinner.
As he was walking back, he saw Grandma's pet duck. Just out of impulse, he let the slingshot fly, hit the duck square in the head, and killed it. He was shocked and grieved. In a panic, he hid the dead duck in the wood pile, only to see his sister watching. Sally had seen it all, but she said nothing.
After lunch the next day Grandma said, "Sally, let's wash the dishes." But Sally said, "Grandma, Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen." Then she whispered to him, "Remember the duck?" So Johnny did the dishes.
Later that day, Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing and Grandma said, "I'm sorry but I need Sally to help make supper." Sally just smiled and said, "Well that's all right because Johnny told me he wanted to help." She whispered again, "remember the duck?" So
Sally went fishing and Johnny stayed to help.
After several days of Johnny doing both his chores and Sally's, he finally couldn't stand it any longer. He came to Grandma and confessed that he had killed the duck. Grandma knelt down, gave him a hug, and said, "Sweetheart, I know. You see, I was standing at the window and I saw the whole thing. But because I love you, I forgave you. I was just wondering how long you would let Sally make a slave of you."
Thought for the day and everyday there after:
Whatever is in your past, whatever you have done that the devil keeps throwing it up in your face (lying, debt, fear, hatred, anger, unforgiveness, bitterness, etc.), whatever it is, you need to know that Jesus Christ was standing at the window and He saw the whole thing, He has seen your whole life. He wants you to know that He loves you and that you are forgiven. He's just wondering how long you will let the devil make a slave of you? The great thing about God is that when you ask for forgiveness, He not only forgives you, but He forgets.
Remember, Jesus is at the window
My alarm went off -- it was Sunday again;
I was tired -- it was my one day to sleep in.
But the guilt I'd have felt the rest of the day
Would have been too much, so I'd go; I'd pray.
I showered and shaved, adjusted suit and tie,
Got there and swung into a pew just in time.
Bowing my head in humble prayer
Before I closed my eyes,
I saw that the shoe of the man next to me
Was touching my own and I sighed.
With plenty of room on either side,
I thought, "why do our soles have to touch?"
It bothered me so; he was glued to my shoe,
But it didn't seem to bother him much.
Then the prayer began: "Heavenly Father," someone said- -
But I thought, "Does this man with the shoes have no pride?"
They were dusty, worn, scratched end to end.
What's worse, there were holes on the side!
"Thank You for blessings," the prayer went on.
The shoe man said a quiet "amen."
I tried to focus on the prayer,
But my thoughts were on his shoes again.
Aren't we supposed to look our best
When walking through that door?
"Well, this certainly isn't it," I thought,
Glancing toward the floor.
Then the prayer ended and songs of praise began.
The shoe man was loud, sounding proud as he sang.
He lifted the rafters; his hands raised high;
The Lord surely heard his voice from the sky.
Then the offering was passed; what I threw in was steep.
The shoe man reached into his pockets, so deep,
And I tried to see what he pulled out to put in,
Then I heard a soft "clink," as when silver hits tin.
The sermon bored me to tears--
And no lie--
It was the same for the shoe man,
For tears fell from his eyes.
At the end of the service, as is custom here,
We must greet the visitors and show them good cheer.
But I was moved inside to want to meet this man,
So after the closing, I shook his hand.
He was old, his skin dark, his hair a mess.
thanked him for coming, for being our guest,
He said, "My name's Charlie, glad to meet you, my friend,"
And there were tears in his eyes--but he had a wide grin.
"Let me explain," he said, wiping his eyes.
"I've been coming for months, and you're the first to say, "Hi."
I know I don't look like all the rest,
But I always try to look my best."
"I polish my shoes before my long walk,
But by the time I get here they're as dirty as chalk."
My heart fell to my knees, but I held back my tears,
He continued, "And I must apologize for sitting so near."
"But I know when I get here, I must look a sight.
And I thought . . . if I touched you, our souls might unite."
I was silent for a moment knowing anything I said
Would pale in comparison, so I spoke from my heart not my head.
"Oh, you've touched me," I said. "And taught me, in part,
That the best of a man is what's in his heart."
The rest, I thought, this man will never know. . .
How thankful I am that he touched my soul!
Sally jumped up as soon as she saw the Surgeon come out of the
operating room. She said: "How is my little boy? Is he going to be O.K.?
When can I see him?" The Surgeon said, "I'm sorry, we did all we could."
Sally said, "Why do little children get cancer, doesn't GOD care any
more? GOD, where were you when my son needed you?" The Surgeon said, "One of the nurses will be out in a few minutes to let you spend time with your son's remains before it's transported to the university".
Sally asked that the nurse stay with her while she said Good-bye to
her son.Sally ran her fingers through his thick red curly hair. The
nurse said, "Would you like a lock of his hair?" Sally nodded yes.The
nurse cut a lock of his hair and put it in a plastic bag and handed it to Sally.
Sally said, "It was Jimmy's idea to give his body to the university
for study. He said it might help somebody else," and that is what he
wanted. I said, No at first, but Jimmy said, "Mom I won't be using it
after I die, maybe it will help some other little boy to be able to spend one
more day with his mother". Sally said, "My Jimmy had a heart of Gold,
always thinking of someone else and always wanting to help others if he
Sally walked out of the Children's Hospital for the last time now
after spending most of the last 6 months there. She sat the bag with
Jimmy's things in it on the seat beside of her in the car. The drive home
was hard and it was even harder to go into an empty house. She took the
bag to Jimmy's room and started placing the model cars and things back in
his room exactly where he always kept them.
She laid down across his bed and cried herself to sleep holding his
pillow. Sally woke up about midnight and laying beside of her on the
bed, was a letter folded up. She opened the letter, it said:
Dear Mom, I know your going to miss me, but don't think that I will
ever forget you or stop loving you because I'm not around to say I LOVE
YOU. I'll think of you every day mom and I'll love you even more each day.
Some day we will see each other again. If you want to adopt a little
boy so you won't be so lonely, he can have my room and my old stuff to play with. If you decide to get a girl instead, she probably wouldn't like the
same things as us boys do, so you will have to buy her dolls and stuff girls
Don't be sad when you think about me, this is really a great place.
Grandma and Grandpa met me as soon as I got here and showed me around some, but it will take a long time to see everything here. The angels are
so friendly, I love to watch them fly. Jesus doesn't look like any of the pictures I saw of Him, but I knew it was Him as soon as I saw Him. Jesus took me to see GOD! And guess what mom?
I got to sit on GOD'S knee and talk to Him like I was somebody important. I told GOD that I wanted to write you a letter and tell you Good-bye and everything, but I knew that wasn't allowed. God handed me some paper and His own personal pen to write you this letter with. I think Gabriel is the name of the angel that is going to drop this letter off to you. God said for me to give you the answer to one of the questions you asked Him about. Where was He when I needed him? God said, "The same place He was when Jesus was on the cross. He was right there, as He always is with all
His children. Oh, by the way Mom, nobody else can see what is
written on this paper but you. To everyone else, it looks like a blank piece of paper. I have to give God His pen back now, he has some more names to write in the Book Of Life. Tonight I get to sit at the table with Jesus for
Supper. I'm sure the food will be great.
I almost forgot to let you know - Now I don't hurt anymore, the cancer is
all gone. I'm glad because I couldn't stand that pain anymore and God
couldn't stand to see me suffer the pain either, so He sent The Angel of Mercy to get me. The Angel said I was Special Delivery!
Signed with love from,
God & Jesus & Me.
Nobody is a whole chain. Each one is a link. But take away one link and the chain is broken. Nobody is a whole team. Each one is a player. But take away one player and the game is forfeited. Nobody is a whole orchestra. Each one is a musician. But take way one musician and the symphony
You guessed it. We need each other. You need someone and someone needs you. Isolated islands we're not. To make this thing called life work, we gotta lean and support. And relate and respond. And give and take. And confess and forgive. And reach out and embrace. And release and rely.
Especially in God's family...where working together is Plan A for survival. And since we're so different (thanks to the way God built you), love and acceptance are not optional luxuries. Neither is tolerance. Or understanding. Or patience. You know, all those things you need from others when your
humanity crowds out your divinity.
In other words:
Love each other with brotherly affection and take delight in honoring each other... Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble, and prayerful always. When God's children are in need, you be the one to help them out... Romans 12: 10-13
Why? Because each one of us is worth it. Even when we don't act like it or feel like it or deserve it. In a rare moment of remarkable insight, the
Wall Street Journal dedicated an entire page to this very subject. It's like a modern day application of the Romans 12 passage:
- How Important Are You? More than you think.
- A rooster minus a hen equals no baby chicks.
- Kellogg minus a farmer equals no corn flakes.
- If the nail factory closes what good is the hammer factory?
- Paderewski's genius wouldn't have amounted to much if the piano tuner hadn't shown up.
- A cracker maker will do better if there's a cheese maker.
- The most skillful surgeon needs the ambulance driver who delivers the patient.
- Just as Rodgers needed Hammerstein you need someone and someone needs you.
Since none of us is a whole, independent, self-sufficient, super capable, all-powerful hotshot, let's quit acting like we are. Life's lonely enough without our playing that silly role.
The game's over. Let's link up
We can curse the fate that made us
Or love each living hour
If we do the job God gave us
Be we humble weed or flower
For each of us is needed
And each of us has worth
Or He never would have bothered
To honor us with birth
There is fragrance in the roses
And shade beneath the pine
And softness in the clover
And food upon the vine
And each one serves a different need
Just as you and I
Be we creeping in the valley
Or climbing to the sky.
I was parked in front of the mall wiping off my car. I had just come from the car wash and was waiting for my wife to get out of work. Coming my way from across the parking lot was what society would consider a bum. From the looks of him, he had no car, no home, no clean clothes, and no money.
There are times when you feel generous but there are other times that you just don't want to be bothered. This was one of those "don't want to be bothered times."
"I hope he doesn't ask me for any money," I thought.
He didn't. He came and sat on the curb in front of the bus stop but he didn't look like he could have enough money to even ride the bus.
After a few minutes he spoke.
That's a very pretty car," he said. He was ragged but he had an air of dignity around him. His scraggly blond beard kept more than his face warm.
I said, "thanks," and continued wiping off my car.
He sat there quietly as I worked. The expected plea for money never came.
As the silence between us widened, something inside said, "Ask him if he needs any help." I was sure that he would say "yes" but I held true to the inner voice.
"Do you need any help?" I asked.
He answered in three simple but profound words that I shall never forget. We often look for wisdom in great men and women. We expect it from those of higher learning and accomplishments. I expected nothing but an outstretched grimy hand. He spoke the three words that shook me.
"Don't we all?" he said.
I was feeling high and mighty, successful and important, above a bum in the street, until those three words hit me like a twelve gauge shotgun.
Don't we all?
It takes strength to be certain,
It takes courage to have doubts.
It takes strength to fit in,
It takes courage to stand out.
It takes strength to share a friend's pain,
It takes courage to feel your own pain.
It takes strength to hide your own pain,
It takes courage to show it and deal with it.
It takes strength to stand guard,
It takes courage to let down your guard.
It takes strength to conquer,
It takes courage to surrender.
It takes strength to endure abuses,
It takes courage to stop them.
It takes strength to stand alone,
It takes courage to lean on a friend.
It takes strength to love,
It takes courage to be loved.
It takes strength to survive,
It takes courage to live.
May you find strength and courage
in everything you do,
And may your life be filled with
Friendship and Love!
Sometimes life seems hard to bear,
Full of sorrow, trouble and woe
It's then I have to remember
That it's in the valleys I grow.
If I always stayed on the mountain top
And never experienced pain,
I would never appreciate God's love
And would be living in vain.
I have so much to learn
And my growth is very slow,
Sometimes I need the mountain tops,
But it's in the valleys I grow.
I do not always understand
Why things happen as they do,
But I am very sure of one thing.
My Lord will see me through.
My little valleys are nothing
When I picture Christ on the cross
He went through the valley of death;
His victory was Satan's loss.
Forgive me Lord, for complaining
When I'm feeling so very low.
Just give me a gentle reminder
That it's in the valleys I grow.
Continue to strengthen me, Lord
And use my life each day
To share your love with others
And help them find their way.
Thank you for valleys, Lord
For this one thing I know
The mountain tops are glorious
But it's in the valleys I grow!
"Tomorrow morning," the surgeon began, "I'll open up your heart..."
"You'll find Jesus there," the boy interrupted.
The surgeon looked up, annoyed. "I'll cut your heart open," he
continued, "to see how much damage has been done..."
"But when you open up my heart, you'll find Jesus in there."
The surgeon looked to the parents, who sat quietly.
"When I see how much damage has been done, I'll sew your heart
and chest back up and I'll plan what to do next."
"But you'll find Jesus in my heart. The Bible says He lives there. The
hymns all say He lives there. You'll find Him in my heart."
The surgeon had had enough. "I'll tell you what I'll find in your heart.
I'll find damaged muscle, low blood supply, and weakened vessels. And I'll find out if I can make you well." Said the surgeon.
"You'll find Jesus there too. He lives there." The young boy reassured him. The surgeon left.
The next day, as he sat in his office, recording his notes from the
surgery, "...damaged aorta, damaged pulmonary vein, widespread muscle degeneration.
No hope for transplant, no hope for cure. Therapy: painkillers and bed
rest. Prognosis:, " here he paused, "death within one year." He stopped the recorder, but there was more to be said.
"Why?" he asked aloud. "Why did You do this? You've put him here; You've put him in this pain; and You've cursed him to an early death. Why?"
The Lord answered and said, "The boy, My lamb, was not meant for your
flock for long, for he is a part of My flock, and will forever be. Here, in
My flock, he will feel no pain, and will be comforted as you cannot
imagine. His parents will one day join him here, and they will know peace, and My flock will continue to grow."
The surgeon's tears were hot, but his anger was hotter. "You created
that boy, and You created that heart. He'll be dead in months. Why?"
The Lord answered, "The boy, My lamb, shall return to My flock, for he
has done his duty: I did not put My lamb with your flock to lose him, but to retrieve another lost lamb."The surgeon wept.
The following day, as the surgeon sat beside the boy's bed; the boy's
parents sat across from him. The boy awoke and whispered, "Did you cut open my heart?" "Yes," said the surgeon."What did you find?" asked the boy. "I found Jesus there," said the surgeon.
Walking through the forest, a seasoned hiker came upon a broad, slowly
moving river. He stopped to gaze over the waters, appreciating the
beauty, when suddenly he heard a faint cry coming from upstream.
Looking in the direction of the noise, he saw an obviously drowning man
floundering in the river and drifting slowly toward him.
The hiker was stunned momentarily, but he sprang into action when he saw
the man disappear beneath the waters. Throwing off all of his cumbersome
gear, he dove into the river and swam like a madman toward the spot
where the man went under.
Upon reaching the spot he plunged below the surface and frantically
hauled up the helpless man. He then laboriously towed the victim to
shore. Heaving the lifeless body up on the riverbank, the hiker
attempted to revive the man, who eventually spit up water and began to
Relieved, the hiker paused to catch his breath. But no sooner had he
done so than he heard another voice out on the water. Another drowning
Once again he swam out and pulled the person to shore, a little more
slowly this time. As the hiker-turned-lifeguard revived the second
victim, he heard yet another cry for help.
All day long the hiker worked, rescuing one person after another as they
came drifting down the river. There seemed to be no end of drowning
victims, and the hiker didn't think he could keep it up.
Just when he was about to collapse from exhaustion, he spotted another
man walking rapidly beside the river, headed upstream. "Hey mister!" he
cried out. "Please help me! These poor people are drowning!"
Amazingly, the man kept walking upstream. The astonished hiker called
out again. Without even acknowledging the cry, the man kept going.
Indignant and angry, the hiker leapt to his feet, ran toward the
uncompassionate man, stood directly in his path, and in a loud voice
demanded, "Sir! How can you possibly walk past all these drowning
people? Have you no conscience? Must I force you to help me save these
The stranger stopped, looked at him for the first time and said with a
calm, focused voice, "Sir, please get out of my way. I am headed
upstream to stop the guy who is pushing all these people in."
Each of us has a role to play in rescuing those who are drowning in sin.
Some of us pull people from the water and resuscitate them with
counseling, food and shelter, a rehabilitation program, a support group,
or financial aid. Affirm those doing these important ministries.
Others of us find our place of ministry upstream, opposing the one
pushing people into the river. We do this by introducing those people to
Jesus Christ. Knowing Christ sets a person free from sin and releases
them from Satan's power over them.
By itself, pulling people from the water isn't enough.
We need to help people deal with the problem of sin at its source.
-- Author Unknown
As I faced my Maker at the last judgment, I
knelt before the Lord along with all the other souls.
Before each of us, laid our lives like the squares
of a quilt in many piles.
An Angel sat before each of us sewing our
quilt squares together into a tapestry that is our life,
but as my angel took each piece of cloth off the
pile, I noticed how ragged and empty each of my
squares were. They were filled with giant holes.
Each square was labeled with a part of my life that
had been difficult, the challenges and temptations I
was faced with in everyday life. I saw hardships
that I endured, which were the largest holes of all.
I glanced around me. Nobody else had such
squares. Other than a tiny hole here and there, the
other tapestries were filled with rich color and the
bright hues of worldly fortune.
I gazed upon my own life and was disheartened.
My Angel was sewing the ragged pieces of cloth
together, threadbare and empty, like binding air.
Finally the time came when each life was to be
displayed...held up to the light...the scrutiny of truth.
The others rose, each in turn, holding up their
tapestries. So filled their lives had been.
My angel looked upon me, and nodded for me to
rise. My gaze dropped to the ground in shame. I
hadn't had all the earthly fortunes. I had had love in
my life, and laughter. But there had also been trials
of illness, and death, and false accusations that
took from me my world as I knew it. I had to start
over many times. I often struggled with the
temptation to quit, only to somehow muster the
strength to pick up and begin again.
I spent many nights on my knees in prayer, asking for help
and guidance. In my life I had often been held up
to ridicule, which I endured painfully, each time
offering it up to the Father in hopes that I would
not melt within my skin beneath the judgmental
gaze of those who unfairly judged me.
And now, I had to face the truth. My life was
what it was, and I had to accept it for what it was.
I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of
my life to the light. An awe-filled gasp filled the air.
I gazed around at the others who stared at me
with wide eyes. Then I looked upon the tapestry
Light flooded through the many holes,
creating an image. The face of Christ. Then our
Lord stood before me, with warmth and love in
His eyes. He said, "Every time you gave over your
life to Me, it became My life, My hardships, My
struggles. Each point of light in your life is when
you stepped aside and let Me shine through, until
there was more of Me than there was of you."
Tears filled my eyes as everyone gazed upon
the most beautiful tapestry.
(As told by Helen Roseveare, a doctor missionary from England to Zaire, Africa)
One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in
spite of all we could do she died leaving us with a tiny premature
baby and a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty
keeping the baby alive, as we had no incubator (we had no electricity to run an incubator) and no special feeding facilities.
Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. One student midwife went for the box we had
such babies and the cotton wool the baby would be wrapped in. Another
went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back
shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had
burst. Rubber perishes easily in tropical climates. "And it is our
last hot water bottle!" she exclaimed.
As in the West it is no good crying over spilled milk, so in Central
Africa it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles.
They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest
"All right," I said, "Put the baby as near the fire as you safely can;
sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts. Your
job is to keep the baby warm."
The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with
any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the
youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them
about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby
warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle. The baby could so
easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year-old
sister, crying because her mother had died.
During the prayer time, one ten-year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the
usual blunt conciseness of our African children. "Please, God," she
prayed, "send us a water bottle. It'll be no good tomorrow, God, as
the baby'll be dead, so please send it this afternoon." While I
gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added by way of
corollary, "And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly
for the little girl so she'll know You really love her?"
As often with children's prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I
honestly say, "Amen"? I just did not believe that God could do this.
Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything. The Bible says so. But
there are limits, aren't there? The only way God could answer this
particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from the homeland.
I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had
never, ever received a parcel from home. Anyway, if anyone did send
me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the
Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses'
training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front
door. By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there, on the
verandah, was a large twenty-two pound parcel! I felt tears pricking
my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the
orphanage children. Together we pulled off the string, carefully
undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it
unduly. Excitement was mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes
were focused on the large cardboard box.
From the top, I lifted out brightly colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes
sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knitted bandages for
the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored. Then
came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas -- that would make a nice
batch of buns for the weekend. Then, as I put my hand in again, I
felt the . . . could it really be? I grasped it and pulled it out
yes! A brand-new, rubber hot water bottle! I cried. I had not
asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could.
Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying
out, "If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!"
Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small,
beautifully dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted!
Looking up at me, she asked, "Can I go over with you, Mummy, and give
this dolly to that little girl, so she'll know that Jesus really loves
That parcel had been on the way for five whole months! Packed up by
my former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God's
prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator. And one of
the girls had put in a dolly for an African child -- five months
before -- in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring
it "that afternoon."
"Before they call, I will answer!" Isaiah 65:24
*Helen Roseveare, a doctor missionary from England to Zaire, Africa,
told this as it happened to her in Africa.
Not too long ago I had "one of those days". I was feeling pressure from a writing deadline. I had company arriving in a couple days and the toilet was clogged. I went to the bank, and the trainee teller processing my deposit had to start over three times.
I swung by the supermarket to pick up a few things and the lines were serpentine. By the time I got home, I was frazzled and sweaty and in a hurry to get something on the table for dinner. Deciding on Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup, I grabbed a can opener, cranked open the can, then remembered I had forgotten to buy milk at the store. Nix the soup idea. Setting the can aside, I went to plan B, which was leftover baked beans.
I grabbed a Tupperware from the fridge, popped the seal, took a look and groaned. My husband isn't a picky eater, but even HE won't eat baked beans that look like caterpillars. Really frustrated, now, I decided on a menu that promised to be as foolproof as it is nutrition-free: hot dogs and potato chips. Retrieving a brand new bag of chips from the cupboard, I grabbed the cellophane and gave a hearty pull. The bag didn't open. I tried again. Nothing happened.
I took a breath, doubled my muscle, and gave the bag a hearty wrestle. With a loud pop, the cellophane suddenly gave way, ripping wide from top to bottom. Chips flew sky high. I was left holding the bag, and it was empty. It was the final straw. I let out a blood curdling scream. "I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!" My husband heard my unorthodox cry for help.
Within minutes he was standing at the doorway to the kitchen, where he surveyed the damage: an opened can of soup, melting groceries, moldy baked beans, and one quivering wife standing ankle deep in potato chips. My husband did the most helpful thing he could think of at the moment. He took a flying leap, landing flat-footed in the pile of chips. And then he began to stomp and dance and twirl, grinding those chips into my linoleum in the process! I stared. I fumed.
Pretty soon I was working to stifle a smile. Eventually I had to laugh. And finally I decided to join him. I, too, took a leap onto the chips. And then I danced. Now I'll be the first to admit that my husband's response wasn't the one I was looking for. But the truth is, it was exactly what I needed. I didn't need a cleanup crew as much as I needed an attitude adjustment, and the laughter from that rather funky moment provided just that.
So now I have a question for you, and it's simply this: Has God ever stomped on your chips? I know that, in my life, there have been plenty of times when I've gotten myself into frustrating situations and I've cried out for help, all the while hoping God would show up with a celestial broom and clean up the mess I've made of things. What often happens instead is that God dances on my chips, answering my prayer in a completely different manner than I had expected, but in the manner that is best for me after all.
Sometimes I can see right away that God's response was the best one after all. Sometimes I have to wait weeks or months before I begin to understand how and why God answered a particular prayer the way He did. There are even some situations that, years later, I'm still trying to understand. I figure God will fill me in sooner or later, either this side of Heaven or beyond.
Do I trust Him? Even when He's answering my prayers in a way that is completely different from my expectations? Even when He's dancing and stomping instead of sweeping and mopping? Can I embrace what He's offering?
Can I let His joy adjust my attitude? Am I going to stand on the sidelines and sulk, or am I willing to learn the steps of the dance He's dancin'
with my needs in mind? I'll be honest with you: Sometimes I sulk. Sometimes I dance. I'm working on doing more of the latter than the former. I guess the older I get the more I realize that He really does know what He's doing. He loves me and I can trust Him. Even when the chips are down.
Beth was sitting at an airport terminal,
waiting to board a plane. She was sitting
there with several other people who were
also waiting, whom she did not know.
As she waited, she pulled out her Bible
and started to read. All of a sudden
she felt as if the people sitting there
around her, were looking at her. She
looked up, but realized that they were
looking just over her head, in the
direction right behind her.
She turned to see what everyone was
looking at, and when she did, she saw
a stewardess pushing a wheelchair, with
the ugliest old man sitting in it. It was
the ugliest man she ever saw. She said
he had this long white hair that was all
tangled and such a mess. His face was
really wrinkled, and he didn't look
friendly at all.
She didn't know why, but she felt drawn
to the man, and thought at first that
God wanted her to witness to him. In her
mind she said she was thinking "Oh,
God, please not now, not here."
No matter what she did, she couldn't get
the man off her mind, and all of a sudden
she knew what God wanted her to do.
She was supposed to brush this man's hair.
She went and knelt down in front of the
old man, and said "Sir may I have the honor
of brushing your hair for you?" He said
"What?" She thought , "Oh great, he's
hard of hearing." Again, a little louder
she said "Sir, may I have the honor of
brushing your hair for you?" He answered,
"If you are going to talk to me, you are
going to have to speak up, I am
So this time, she was almost yelling, "Sir,
May I please have the honor of brushing
your hair for you?" Everyone was watching
to see what his response would be. The
old man just looked at her confused, and
said "Well, I guess if you really want too."
She said, "I don't even have a brush, but I
thought I would ask anyway." He said,
"Look in the bag hanging on the back of
my chair, there is a brush in there."
So she got the brush out and started
brushing his hair. (She has a little girl with
long hair, so she has lots of practice getting
tangles out, and knew how to be gentle
with him.) She worked for a long time,
until every last tangle was out.
Just as she was finishing up, she heard
the old man crying, and she went and put
her hands on his knees, kneeling in front of
him again looking directly into his eyes and
said "Sir, do you know Jesus?" He answered,
"Yes, of course I know Jesus. You see,
my bride told me she couldn't marry me
unless I knew Jesus, so I learned all
about Jesus, and asked Him to come
into my heart many years ago, before
I married my bride."
He continued, "You know, I am on my way
home to go and see my wife. I have
been in the hospital for a long time, and
had to have a special surgery in this town
far from my home. My wife couldn't
come with me, because she is so frail
herself. "He said, "I was so worried about
how terrible my hair looked, and I didn't
want her to see me looking so awful, but
I couldn't brush my hair, all by myself."
Tears were rolling down his cheeks, as he
thanked Beth for brushing his hair. He
thanked her over and over again. She
was crying, people all around witnessing
this were crying, and as they were all
boarding the plane, the stewardess,
who was also crying, stopped her, and
asked, "Why did you do that?" And right
there was the opportunity, the door that
had been opened to share with someone
else, the love of God.
"We don't always understand God's ways,
but be ready. He may use us to meet the
need of someone else, like He met the need
of this old man, and in a moment, also
calling out to a lost soul who needed to
know His love."
There was a group of women in a Bible study of the book of Malachi. As they were studying chapter three, they came across verse three which says:
"He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."
This verse puzzled the women, and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out about the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible study.
That week this woman called up a silver smith and made an appointment to watch him work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest in silver beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silver smith, he held a piece of silver over the
fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest so as to burn away all the impurities.
The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot - - then she thought again about the verse, that he sits as a refiner and purifier of silver. She asked the silver smith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined.
The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left even a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.
The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silver smith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?"
He smiled at her and answered,
"Oh, that's easy - - when I see my image in it.
Deal only with the present,
Never step into tomorrow,
For God asks us just to trust Him
And to never borrow sorrow -
For the future is not ours to know
And it my never be,
So let us live and give our best
And give it lavishly -
For to meet tomorrow's troubles
Before they are even ours
Is to anticipate the Savior
And to doubt His all-wise powers -
So let us be content to solve
Our problems one by one,
Asking nothing of tomorrow
Except "Thy Will Be Done."
~ Helen Steiner Rice ~
If I only knew it would be the last time
I would be there to share your day,
well I'm sure you'll have so many more
so I can let just this one slip away.
For surely there's always tomorrow
to make up for an oversight,
and we always get a second chance
to make everything right.
There will always be another day
to say our," I love yous’,"
And certainly there's another chance
to say our. " Anything I can do's?"
But just in case I might be wrong,
and today is all I get,
I'd like to say how much I love you
and I hope we never forget.
Tomorrow is not promised to anyone,
young or old alike,
And today may be the last chance
you get to hold your loved one tight.
So if you're waiting for tomorrow,
why not do it today?
For if tomorrow never comes,
you'll surely regret the day,
That you didn't take that extra time
for a smile, a hug, or a kiss
and you were too busy to grant someone,
what turned out to be their one last wish.
So always hold them dear.
Take time to say I'm sorry, Please forgive
me, Thank you, or It's okay.
And if tomorrow never comes,
you'll have no regrets about today.
© Copyright 2008 Psychological Asssociates James O. Henman Phone: 209.765.9528