Archive | May 2014

Taken Home

 

The year was 1986.  My wife, son and I had been called to a deathwatch for a family friend.  John and Alice were older when we met them shortly after we became Christians in 1977.  For nearly 10 years, they were like surrogate parents for us, as well as grandparents for our two children.  This day, however, John was dying and Alice had told us he likely would not last the day.  Our son, Chris, went over to be with Alice until my wife Ellen and I could get off work and join them.

We arrived late in the afternoon and all moved into the living room to wait.  John’s hospital bed was in an adjoining room, but I was the only one who could clearly see him from where I was sitting.  As we talked, something caught my eye.  It is still hard to describe, but one thing I know; there was movement…Upward movement.  I can’t define it’s color or shape or anything more distinctive than to say it was a rising presence that was gone in less than a gasp!

I knew immediately what had happened.  I gently called to Alice and my family, “I believe he’s gone.  I just saw him leave.” and I told them what I had seen.  We went to his bedside, seeking a pulse, but John was already safely in Our Father’s arms.  That privileged, awesome and incomparable  sight has served ever since to strengthen, comfort and encourage me for the moment when my own earthly life will end and Jesus Messiah will take me home  “. . . in the twinkling of an eye”!

 

Prayer:  Lord, we thank You that You always keep every promise You make.  Amen

 

Thought for the day

Jesus once told me “My love is beyond your understanding, but it is not beyond your experience.”

Jerry Izor (Ohio)

 

Prayer Focus:   Those who fear death.

 

This entry was posted on May 28, 2014.

Shining Moment

Every four years I lose sleep.  The Olympics; the trials, the efforts, the energies of the athletes fascinate me.  Each Olympiad, there are new heroes, people who rise to the occasion both in winning and in losing.

At the end of the first week of the 27th Olympiad in 2000, I was losing sleep as usual when I was privileged to see a remarkable story begin to unfold.

A 22-year-old woman from Texas, Laura Wilkinson, was competing for the U.S.A. in platform diving.  She was in 8th place with the heavily favored  Chinese women already in the top two spots.

I was drawn to something she did before every one of her five dives.

Family, friends and others in the crowd would start cheering loudly as she reached the platform.  Each time, she would look in their direction and give them such a peaceful and precious smile that it was beyond description.

At first I couldn’t imagine anyone doing that before diving.  All the other women were focused, somber, all business before their dives, but Laura smiled, everytime connecting with those who loved her and were encouraging her.

Each dive seemed to be better than the one before while those of her opponents faltered.  Slowly she climbed in the rankings: 5th, 4th, and finally 1st!  Each time she stopped and smiled and each time the dive excelled in the judges’ eyes.

What made the whole event even more awe-inspiring was that last March, Laura had broken three bones in her right foot and they hadn’t healed.  She was facing more surgery once the competition was over.  For three months she could not dive, but during all that time, she said she kept running each dive over and over in her mind, perfecting her take off, her twists, summersaults and entries.  When the U.S. trials came, she won a spot on the team, fighting through the pain that would still be with her in Sydney.

After she won the gold Sunday, an interviewer asked her, “What were you thinking all that time you were trying to catch the leaders?”  Laura’s reply?  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!

The interviewer, a bit taken aback, then asked, “What were you doing when you would stop and acknowledge the crowd before each dive?”  She said something to the effect that it had been so hard for her to get here that she didn’t want to miss a minute of the experience.  Spiritually, the Lord seemed to reveal to me that what she had done before each effort, was to allow herself to soak up the love and encouragement of Jesus being poured out through those in the crowd.

Laura Wilkinson won the gold medal, but her most shining moments came each time she smiled; receiving from others, then reflecting to others, the Love of Christ. Click on this link to see her remarkable comeback to win Olympic Gold: http://www.laurawilkinson.com/videos.htm

This entry was posted on May 21, 2014.