Second Best Day In The Christian Faith

Good Friday.  What’s so good about it?  It is the day my Savior and King Jesus Christ, Son of God finished His work of salvation.  Fully man and fully God, He knew no sin, yet became sin for us.  He fulfilled every requirement of the Law for us now and forever.

The day after tomorrow we celebrate the greatest victory in history: Resurrection Day!  The day death was defeated.  Because death could not hold Him, death cannot hold us!

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Blue Skies and Light Winds

This is not the post I wanted to write today.  I lost a very good friend today.  Leon was a huge part of our airport community and a very dear friend.  He always had a way of looking for the positives in a negative situation.  He has helped or offered to help me numerous times and was always there at the airport to talk to about my flying, life, and above all, Christ.

Leon was out flying his Challenger II airplane this morning when he collided with his own pickup truck upon landing and, tragically, died.  I would like to say that he died doing what he loved, but that would be overly trite and cliche.  What I will say instead is that he lived a full life.  A life of adventure and love and fellowship.  I take great comfort knowing that he is now more alive than he has ever been.

Our loss is Christ’s gain.  Blue skies, Leon.

NorCal Flooding

One aspect I didn’t bring up in yesterday’s blog posting was the adventure getting to and from Lincoln Regional Airport to view the P3 Lite.  With all the rain we’ve had in California this year we’ve got some pretty severe localized flooding.  Traffic going north bound on I-5 was heavy and slow between Twin Cities Road and Elk Grove.  There were no accidents, everyone was slowing down to look at this:

At least the roadways were clear.  Coming home was a different story.  Google took me out in a different direction than it brought me in.  I thought that would be fine because I’d miss traffic taking the back roads.  It was not all that fine:

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Luckily the deepest water I had to drive through was only about a foot deep.  What I didn’t like about it was that it was moving water, not standing water.  Providentially I, and the car in front of me, made it through the several sections of flooded roadway we had to pass.  These folks could sure you your prayers if your the praying kind.

One Year Ago Today

I have a bad habit of hanging on to calendars so I can see what I did over the past few years.  I was looking at last year’s calendar tonight.  Last January my son had just moved out to the first of three group homes he lived in.  My wife was just getting over the flu.  I was still planning to live full-time on the road and finding a way to get my employer to buy off on my hair-brained scheme.

The plan was to travel from data center to data center, hitting all our properties on the way to or from.  I had meticulously planned routes to RV parks and campgrounds closest to our business properties.  My job at the time was pretty much location independent.  However, management being what it is, they always wanted us to be somewhere so it’s pretty unlikely they would have bought off on this plan.  I was still blissfully unaware of the plans management had for us.  I was still driving an hour to our corporate headquarters to plan to bond two core switches together.  Happily, my time with my employer came to an end before I had to do that work.  I was wondering why my boss wasn’t pushing me to move faster on that project.  Now I know why, I would never have been able to complete it before the transition happened.

There’s no moral to this story.  No point really.  Just reminiscing while looking at the calendar.  Well, maybe there is a moral to the story; don’t set your plans in stone, stay flexible and be ready to adapt those plans to what life hands you.  And if you’re so inlined, as I am, never stop having faith that God will work things out for the best for those whom He loves.

The Old Man In The Rain – Cont

Read part 1 of this short story here.

He began with obvious relish, “She was the most beautiful woman I have ever known.  But her physical beauty paled in comparison with her spirit.  I had been searching for something, someone, to fill the void that had existed inside me my entire life.  To my mind, she would fill that void.”

His eyes sparkled and he looked off into the rainy darkness as if he could see the subject of his story.  “What I didn’t know” he continued, “is that she couldn’t fill the void in my heart.  What I didn’t know is that I had a Christ-shaped hole in my heart that I had been trying to fill with things… and people.   What I didn’t know was that until Christ filled that void, I would never be complete.”

“She prayed for me, she was patient with me, she loved me far more than I deserved.  She was the living embodiment of Christ in my life.  Finally, I asked Christ to fill that void.  Finally I was whole.   I had been running from one place to another, from one person to another up until then.  Once I gave up control to Christ, there was no reason to run anymore.”

He smiled a crinkly smile at the bruised young woman.  She wasn’t sure he’d even noticed.  He noticed.   The smile never wavered as he touched her shoulder, “Thank you for listening”  he said, a little more somberly.  Then he straightened up, shuffled around, and started back toward his truck.  He paused, turned back toward her and said, “Think about my story, won’t you?”  The young woman nodded without saying a word and felt tears starting for no reason she could think of.

She watched the old man shuffling off into the rain and darkness .  He was a dark silhouette against the headlights in her rear view mirror.  As she watched another silhouette came from the darkness carrying an umbrella.  The other person put an arm around the old man and held the umbrella over both of them.  They got into the truck and the lights slowly dimmed as the truck backed away.  She kept waiting for the truck to pass her on the roadway but it never did.  Perhaps they turned around.

The young woman looked again at her sleeping children in her minivan and turned and rested her head on the steering wheel.  There were still tears on her cheeks as she whispered, “Jesus, I don’t know if you’re really there, but I have a hole in my heart…”

The Old Man In The Rain

It had been a long day for the young woman behind the wheel of the minivan she was driving.  She had packed in a hurry, stuffed all the kids’ stuff in the back of the minivan and headed out onto the road.  Both of them were asleep in the seats behind her as show drove through the dark early winter rain.  She was tired and just wanted to be home.  But home wasn’t a good place to be right now.  She looked at her black and bruised eye in the mirror before turning her attention back to the road.  Then she heard it.  The “fwuppidah fwuppidah” sound a flat tire makes as it tries to roll down the road.  Just when she thought her day couldn’t any worse.

She pulled off the road as best she could and put her head down on the steering wheel.  This was a seldom traveled road, especially this time of night.  She saw an occasional set of headlights go by but no one stopped.  At least until a set of headlights pulled up behind her.  Her heart was pounding as the flashlight slowly bobbed through the rain up to her window.  Had her boyfriend called the police, or worse, was it him?  The flashlight stopped next to her window and someone was knocking.  She really didn’t want to see who it was but the knocking persisted.  She opened the window just a crack.  A pair of wrinkled blue eyes were peering in at her “Do you need help young lady?”

“Y-yes,” she stammered, “I have a flat tire.”

“Where’s your spare?  I’ll change it for you!” He crackled with genuine excitement in his voice.  She shot a quick look back at her sleeping children and then looked again at the rain-soaked old face with his mouth half-open as if he were about to say something.  Against her better judgement she popped the back door of the van so he could get the spare tire and the jack.  The old man smiled and said “Well alright then!”

He pulled out the spare tire and jack and set to work slowly changing her tire.  She kept her doors locked and was happy the old man had shut the back door once he had everything he needed to change her tire.  She still felt better keeping one hand on the baseball bat she kept in the car.  After about 30 minutes she heard him knocking on her window again.

She cracked the window again and was greeted with an excited, “All done!”  She popped the back door again and he put the blown tire exactly where the spare had been and put all the tools back where he found them.  He slammed the door shut and came back to her window, “Now, you best get that fixed as soon as possible.  You have a good evening!”  He started to walk away when she called out, “Thank you! I… I wish I could give you something but I…  I… don’t…” And then she started to tear up.  The old man stopped and turned around and said “Oh, I don’t need anything.  It was my pleasure to help you.  But if you want to thank me, you could listen to my story.”

“Your story?” She sniffled.

“Yes, I would love to tell someone my story.  If you would listen, that would be thanks enough.”  He replied.

It was late, she was running, it was raining, and there was an old man standing outside her window asking to tell her a story.  She didn’t know whether to laugh or cry so she did both.  “Sure,” she said, “why not?  Where else do I have to be?”

He smiled a genuine and warm smile back at her through the raindrops dripping from  his hood.  His eyes suddenly became as blue as she’d ever seen eyes, undimmed by the time he’d obviously spent on this earth.  He began with obvious relish, “She was the most beautiful woman I have ever known…”

To be continued…

The Greatest Gift

This was the craziest year I’ve ever had to live through.  Our son turned violent seemingly out of nowhere.  I was told I was being laid off.  Wife and daughter battling various gut-related ailments.  Mother-in-law with health problems.  Adjusting to a new church.  The temptation to give up and grumble about all our problems was fierce.  Instead, my prayers changed.  I stopped asking God for anything.  I merely praised Him in my prayers.

I acknowledged Him as the maker of the universe, and all that is contained in it.  The stars are as works of His fingers.  In truth WE are the work of His fingers, the stars were spoken into existence.   He spoke all there is into existence except humans.  He scooped up the dirt with His own hands and formed us.  He breathed His own breath into us.  Wouldn’t the same God bear my family through these trials?  In fact, He did.

In fact I appreciate the green pastures to which He has led me far more now that He has born me through the desert.  I prayed to Him in faith and He responded to me in faithfulness.  What’s more, He provided a Savior to relieve me of the burden of my sins.  The season we now celebrate is the coming of that Savior.  I do not celebrate the arrival of sweet baby Jesus, I celebrate the coming of the Lord of Armies!  The arrival of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!  All glory and power and honor are His.  The same hands that formed us out of the dirt are the same hands that were pierced for our transgressions.  The same hands that bore me through my trials, the same hands that relieved me of my burdens and blessed me with the peace and joy I now have.  These hands brought my family and I the greatest gift we will ever receive.  A gift we get to receive every day for the rest of eternity!

May you and your families enjoy the peace brought by the Lord of Armies, the conquering King; Yeshua Hamashiach!