I went into our bedroom this morning to grab our Kindle so that I could continue reading from Kenneth Hagin’s classic edition book “The Name of Jesus” that we have been studying for the last few weeks. As I picked up the eBook, I glanced up at the large framed picture I have hanging on the wall near my side of the bed that was taken of Piper when she was twenty one years old. I stood there a little spellbound for a couple of moments as I thought about how pretty she looked and then began to consider how much things have changed in our lives over the last forty years.
That frame also has two rather recent pictures of Piper attached to it. One taken in the kitchen of the house we lived in just before we moved to Oklahoma, and one while on a family vacation in the Sierra’s. I may be slightly prejudiced about this, but to me she is one of those women that just seems to get more beautiful as she ages! In a quick flash of time I recalled the years between her at twenty one and today and asked the question: “Who knew how different things would be exactly forty years later from the date of that 11”X14” print?”
It is not like the change came overnight, in fact the specialists say that Dementia is one disease that usually is working, unseen inside those with whom it attacks, for up to twenty years before any visible signs are apparent. Looking back now, we can actually remember seeing some telltale signs in her as far back as the early 2000’s. So it is not like we woke up one morning with all the symptoms suddenly present!
Then on the other hand, there are times when change can happen in an instant. Yesterday morning at breakfast I was looking out at our patio and mentioned to my wife how nice our potted plants looked, and in particular the various Petunias’ I had planted. They had taken over the long narrow planter that was sitting on the railing, and were blooming quite profusely!
I went out about an hour later to water the plants and decided to trim some of the old blooms from the two hanging geranium pots over the deck. So I climbed up our little step ladder to work on the first plant, reached out with my shears and began to trim, turning the pot as I progressed around it. Then without any warning the sturdy hook holding up the heavy plant snapped, the pot fell and knocked over the long planter with the Petunias on the railing.
Well, let’s just say I wasn’t the happiest of campers at that particular moment in time! I had to go through the house, out the front door and around the building to get to the other side of the railing because the plants fell outside of the patio. Once there I was horrified to find both plants lying in various piles with many broken branches, roots exposed and flowers torn away from their supporting vines. By the time I got everything back together, both planters looked a little empty and sad!
This morning’s check-up showed that we lost about half the plants in either pot! One moment everything looked wonderful and healthy and the next it looked like a hurricane had blown through! Have you ever had an experience in your life like either of these examples?
In yesterday’s blog I mentioned a few of the tough situations that we had to deal with when Piper was first diagnosed with Dementia. But as I thought about it this morning, I also realized that our decision to do the things we did… and are still actively pursuing… in choosing to trust in and follow the Word of God, were actually quite easy to make!
I’ve told of how things had changed when we returned to our hometown after our three year stint in Oklahoma and Bible School. Just about everything we had depended on as foundations to our life was different, from our church, to our extended family’s lives and reactions to us (some predicated by their disagreement to our move to Oklahoma in the first place), my job and even the location in town we choose to live in. Even though I had been raised from third grade through high school in that area, the actual neighborhood we moved into wasn’t even there when I was a kid! It was part of a cow pasture that we had to ford a creek as kids to get to, in order to chase Jack Rabbits around!
But we knew ahead of time the path we would go as we entered into the battle for Piper’s life. We arrived home super-fortified with the Word of God after Bible School and our involvement with the church community we were a part of in Oklahoma and were immovably certain of His will and way for us to follow. The ups and downs we faced, the persecution from loved ones and the questions and frustrations they provided may have shook our faith in man, but it only worked to strengthen our resolve and faith in Papa God and His promises to us.
After the Apostle Paul told his followers that “God has hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge in Christ,” (Colossians 2:3 God’s Word ©) he challenged them saying: “I say this so that no one will mislead you with arguments that merely sound good.” (Colossians 2:4 God’s Word ©) Evidently there were people in the city and in their church that were attempting to water-down the Gospel message that had been taught to them by members of Paul’s ministry team. He knew that their walk of faith was dependent upon their sticking to the solid truth of God’s Word and not being swayed by the reason of man… no matter how good that worldly reason seemed to sound.
When we came home we received a lot of man’s reasoning from many good meaning Christians. Most of it was based on unsubstantiated information or was simply the way that the individual would do it based on their beliefs, their background and their life experiences… and according to them - was the ONLY way to go! Some was scripturally shaky and some was just plain weird!
What we learned and have come to depend on is knowing and following the Word that is inside of us, depending on the truths we have been taught and lived successfully through the years and to stay ever sensitive to the leadings of the Holy Spirit ,for He knows us and what is best for us… more than anyone else! Paul summed it up best in Colossians 2:7 when he said: “Sink your roots in him and build on him. Be strengthened by the faith that you were taught, and overflow with thanksgiving.” (God’s Word ©)
It is great to be surrounded and encouraged by good Christian mentors and friends, but when push comes to shove, when the pressure is on, when you find yourself alone in the middle of the night needing support and direction, it is the Word you’ve put inside of you, the personal relationship you’ve developed with the Lord and your unflappable trust in Him that you must depend on. I believe that is why they call Christianity a relationship instead of just a religion.
I heard a gold investment commercial a few times yesterday that ended with the catch phrase, “What’s in your safe?” I think as Christians we should regularly ask ourselves the same question, “When times get tough, what or Who is in the safe of your heart?” Have a good day. Stay in tune to His Word and keep asking yourself… “What or in Whom am I expecting to TRUST IN today?”