DayBreaks for 1/27/21 – Busted Parts and Beautiful Things

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From the DayBreaks archive, January 2012:

Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. – Isaiah 42:1-3

Julie Pennington-Russell, in Our Friend Calling, wrote: “I have a friend. He’s a man in his late 60’s. Rugged, burly, brilliant guy. He’s always reminded me a little of the Marlborough Man. He studied at a prestigious university in the East some years ago, and then he moved to Texas to work on his doctorate. But somewhere along the way he became addicted to cocaine–just tumbled into that dark hole. Lost his family, lost his place in graduate school, lost big pieces of himself. But somehow he washed up on the shores of a good church. And when he did, he was so fragile–he looked like he’d been “rode hard and put up wet”–as they say in Texas. But the folks in that church put their arms around that man and slowly he started to heal, and eventually, miraculously, even reunited with his wife and children.

“We had this couple in our home for dinner and the man began to talk with Tim and me about where his life was going. “I want to believe,” he said, “that my best days aren’t behind me, and that my life can still count, can still make a difference for God.” He sat at our table with his head in his hands. “I just can’t help but feel like I’ve blown all of my best chances,” he said. That’s when his wife, who’s just this wonderful, middle-aged bohemian Texas flower child kind of woman, reached over and took his hand and said–and I’ll never forget this–she said, “Baby, you’ve got to take your sticky fingers off that steering wheel. If God could yank Jesus out of a grave, I figure he can make something beautiful out of busted parts.” And I tell you what–if I live to be a hundred and ten, I don’t expect to hear the gospel better articulated than that.”

When we are broken and busted, we tend to think that we are useless.  As we get older and feel that we’re defective, we can really despair thinking that we’re washed up and ready for the junk heap.  The joyful news for all of us is that we are never too old for God to use us, if we just stop trying to control our life and let Him take control.  It is hard to pry our fingers off the steering wheel.  We live under the illusion that we’ve done a good job of driving so far so we figure we just as well keep on driving since we’ve relatively okay.   

Deep inside, though, we know we’ve not done all that well.  Could we have done worse?  Probably.  Could we have done better?  Certainly.  But God doesn’t ever make mistakes.  Let Him take the busted parts in you.  Gather them up, put them in His hands, and see what He does with them!

PRAYER: We are like shattered glass, Lord.  We need you to put our lives back together and back on track!!  Make something beautiful out of our brokenness, Lord!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2021, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 1/26/21 – Where’s the Difference?

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From the DayBreaks archive, January 2012:

Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?” Jesus told them, “Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen—the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor. And tell him, ‘God blesses those who do not turn away because of me.’”-  Matthew 11:3-6

This is one of the most perplexing passages in Scripture.  Jesus will go on just a bit later in the discussion to say that no man ever born of woman was greater than John, yet here is John in prison, sending his disciples to Jesus to ask him if he’s really the Messiah.  This is the same John who had seen the dove descend on Jesus at his baptism and heard the voice of God proclaim Jesus was His Son.  This is the same John who said of Jesus, “He must increase, I must decrease” and “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the world’s sin!”  It is comforting to know that even the greatest man born of woman had questions and doubts at times.  But that’s not the point I want to consider today. 

Jesus didn’t directly answer the question, but pointed the questioners to what they’d seen: the miracle, the blind who could now see, the lame who could now walk, lepers healed, hearing restored – and even the dead raised to life.  Had those present seen the dead who Jesus had raised?  I don’t know.  Jesus seems to imply that they had.  But then I got to thinking, perhaps Jesus was referring not to the physically raised, perhaps he was referring to the people who had been spiritually dead who had found new life – such as the immoral woman who washed Jesus feet, even those who were part of the crowd who had been dead, but found in Jesus new life.

I started to ponder my life.  As Christians, we have been born again.  Our old man is dead, the new life has come.  But if questioners were to look at me, would they see someone who is truly alive, vibrantly alive?  Is not the Christian experience supposed to be life from the dead?  We were dead in our trespasses and sins, Paul wrote.  But we’re now alive in Christ Jesus!

Has anybody noticed it in you?

PRAYER: Let your life be brilliantly visible in me, may I give witness to the new life I have in Your Son, and may people wonder at how the dead can live again!!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2021, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 1/25/21 – Who Lives Where?

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From the DayBreaks archive, January 2012:

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So, I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. -Galatians 2:20

Here’s a question for you: does Christ live in us, or do we live in Him?  I suspect that the answer is “Yes” to both.  On the one hand, Paul said it is “no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”  That’s relatively clear, isn’t it?  But then we have the parable of the vine and the branches…and we are part of the vine…the vine isn’t part of the branches. 

The mystery of the indwelling of the Spirit is purely that…a mystery.  If we could explain it, it would no longer be a mystery.  How does it work?

I liked the analogy that Randy Pope gave this past Sunday.  Think about eating food.  You take a piece of meat or a vegetable or whatever, and you eat it.  Before you eat it, it was something that was separate and distinct – it existed in its own right.  It was not part of you…you were separate and distinct, too.  But, once you eat that bit of foodstuffs, it becomes a part of you.  It is absorbed, it is no longer separate from you or your body.  It becomes a part, potentially, of every cell in your body and it is indistinguishable from “you”.  You, and “it” cannot be separated because you are now one in substance.  You were strengthened by what you took in.

So it is to be with the Spirit who lives within us.  He is separate and distinct, as we were, before He took up residence in us.  But when we belong to Christ, we become more Christlike, and as Paul said, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”  The Spirit is to be so tightly interwoven into the very fabric of our being that we are no longer distinguishable…He is to permeate our cells/hearts/minds, in fact, our body at that moment has become His temple – in a way it is no longer our body, but His temple where He is to be worshipped.

Does Christ live in us via the Spirit?  Yes.  We can only live as we remain connected to Him.  Christ doesn’t so much want us to live our lives with Him – He wants to live HIS life through us.

PRAYER: How great, Lord, is the mystery of the Incarnation, and of the indwelling of Your Spirit within us!  Take control over every aspect of our lives so that we can echo Paul’s words that it is not any longer we who live, but You who live in us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2021, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 1/22/21 – Dressed in His Righteousness

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From the DayBreaks archive, January 2012:

There is a great Christian hymn, The Solid Rock¸ that includes this phrase: “…dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.” 

Oh, how we hope and long to be dressed in righteousness, don’t we?!!!  But because we’re humans, we look in the mirror and see ourselves with flaws and faults that go far deeper than pimples on our face or scars on our skin.  We often look at ourselves with loathing.  We know the dark thoughts that go on behind the back of our eyes that no other human sees or knows.  In the darkness of night, those things haunt us…and taunt us. 

We hear our enemy, Lucifer, accusing us as clearly as if we were in the halls of heaven where he is the “accuser of the saints,” accusing us as he did Job long ago.  And we know what appears to be the obvious truth: he is right.  We are miserable, despicable, desperately evil and wicked.  Without any redeeming virtue that could possibly undo all the wickedness that we’ve done, are doing, or will do in the future.  And we fear standing before God, clothed in our own righteousness – which is virtually nil (though we might be tempted to give ourselves more credit for righteousness than we really deserve!)

If that’s what we are thinking and feeling about ourselves, we’ve missed one of the most incredible truths of Scripture: for those who have put their trust in Christ, we are no longer clothed in our own wickedness, we are clothing with His righteousness – nothing more but certainly nothing less! 

What is Christ’s righteousness?  It is sinless perfection.  Without spot or blemish, faultless.  And that’s how we will stand before the throne of God.

for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. – Romans 3:26

Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. – Philippians 3:8-9

PRAYER: Jesus, thank You for your unsurpassable gift of righteousness that You have given to us!  We look forward to standing faultless before the throne of the Father because of You – and You alone!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2021, Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 1/21/21 – Of Dirty Diapers, Sin and Grace

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From the DayBreaks archive, January 2012:

I’ve been a Christian a long, long time.  I’ve heard about sin even longer.  But I don’t think I’ve ever heard a better analogy about sin and God’s amazing love and grace than one from Jon Tyson, from Rumors of God which he co-authored with Darren Whitehead.  He tells of his 2-year old daughter and how they were trying to potty train her.  He wrote: “It seemed that everything my wife and I did as a married couple centered on helping our daughter go to the bathroom by herself.  About a week into this process, my wife felt that we were making enough progress to leave me to watch our daughter without her supervision.   I took my daughter to Disney World in the morning, took her to lunch, to play, and around 2 we came home for her regular afternoon nap.  Knowing my daughter was exhausted, I put a fresh diaper on her and popped her into her bed for a relaxing afternoon of rest. 

“I settled on the couch to do some light reading, when I was suddenly confronted with an overwhelming smell.  At first I thought that the toilet had overflowed, so I got up and walked in to check.  Nothing there.  I walked all around the house to locate the source of it, when I suddenly realized the unthinkable had happened.  Sure enough, I followed the smell toward my daughter’s room.  I braced myself to confront my failure as a parent.

“When I opened the door the stench was overwhelming, but I couldn’t see my daughter.  What I could see, however, was some creative finger-painting done in interesting shades of green and brown, all over the walls.  Her bed was empty except for the overflowing diaper that she had managed to pull off, and there were tiny brown footprints on the floor.  I followed the prints to the wall, and then in a circle to find that they led back behind the door.

“I found my tiny two-year old daughter covered from head to toe with the smelly brown mess, with her tiny little hands over her face, whimpering in shame.  I looked at the disaster of the room, and then back at her.  How could someone so tiny make such a colossal mess?  I suspect that, disappointed she had not used the potty, she slipped the dirty diaper off.  As she did this, the mess got all over her.  She tried wiping it off on the wall.  Then she unknowingly stepped in the dirty diaper and left a trail around the room.

“I knelt down to talk to her.  ‘Sweetheart,’ I said, ‘what happened?’

“She peeked through her hands, then burst into tears, held them up to me, and cried, ‘Poooooooh!”

“I gently picked her up and walked with her into our bathroom.  I couldn’t find any bath soap, so I ended up using dishwashing detergent to wash her clean.  The whole time she was crying, thinking she was in trouble.  I tried to calm her down, but she refused to listen.  Eventually I grabbed a giant white towel and gently dried her.  I carried her downstairs, we sat on the couch, and she whimpered in my arms.  I kept telling her that it was okay, she was not in trouble, and that Daddy would clean up all the mess.  After about 15 minutes my words finally sank in.  She jumped out of the towel, ran and grabbed some toys, and asked me if I wanted to play.

“As I looked at this tiny little girl whom I loved with all my might, I pondered the idea of bringing our sin to God, instead of dealing with it on our own.  So much of my daughter’s shame was based on the fact that she tried to clean her mess herself, but she only ended up making things worse.  God knows that we struggle.  Christ himself is our advocate with the Father.  Christ stands to acquit us based on His perfect work.  Instead of trying to deal with our sexual failure, lies, bitterness, hatred, pride, and shame, we need to bring it all to Jesus.  He will not only forgive our sin, but will cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

“Our world needs to know that the rumors of grace are true.”

There is a kind who is pure in his own eyes, Yet is not washed from his filthiness. – Proverbs 30:12

Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. –  Ezekiel 36:25

PRAYER: Wash me Lord, and I shall be whiter than snow!  In Jesus’ name, Amen. Copyright 2021, Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 1/20/21 – Discipleship: a Dangerous Job

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The gospel stories tell about Jesus calling of his first four disciples. (By the way, they were the first people in the Kingdom to hold the jobs we are to hold today!)

Mark’s story is not very elaborate. It is short and to the point. There is a certain note of adventure, dare we say excitement, as the four men leave their fishing business to go with Jesus, and there isn’t much in the story that seems terribly upsetting.

What the story of the calling of those first four doesn’t tell about is what those men were getting in for by becoming followers of Jesus. To find out what was really in store for them, we have to keep reading. And what we discover is that being a disciple was not glamorous. In fact, it was downright dangerous.

Later in Mark we hear Jesus say, Whoever loses his life for my sake and the sake of the gospel will find it. Matthew includes another comment: Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. Those are disturbing statements, especially for those of us who are today’s disciples.

Jesus never misled anyone. He was saying that being his disciple is not an easy task. He was saying that the gospel is a disturbing force in the world which can upset individuals and nations alike. It brings change and new experiences to all who hear it. Some will welcome it and others will attack it – and those who carry that gospel.

We have the advantage today of both hearing the invitation and hearing about the dangerous job of discipleship. I hope and pray that we won’t let the latter cause us to choose another path. If there was ever a time when the world needs Christian witness it may now – in our lifetimes. Will we, like those first four, follow Jesus, or will the fear hold us back?

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for your honesty about what it means and may cost to follow you. Now we as you for the strength and courage to follow – no matter the cost. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2021, Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 1/29/21 – Truth: The Final Word

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From the DayBreaks archive, January 2012:

This DayBreaks will conclude this series of thoughts on trust.  I don’t want to leave you with the mistaken impression that I’ve got it all together when it comes to trust.  Far, far from it.  I don’t.  But He is faithfully teaching me and has opened my eyes to the power of trust in the Christian life to free us and enable us to do things that we would never dream of even trying because we know it won’t be our doing or even our responsibility to make it happen – it is He that gives the victory and strength.

Yet, I have a dear friend with two young children whose husband is not longer in the home.  I have a dear friend whose mother is no longer able to care for herself and God doesn’t seem disposed to heal her.  I have friends at church for whom God has not provided a job for a long time, in spite of many prayers asking for a job.  I have a cousin who has a life-threatening illness – and I’ve prayed over and over for a miracle from God – thus far to no avail.  Why should these people trust Him?  Why should I? 

Let me turn one more time on this topic to Brennan Manning and his marvelous work, Ruthless Trust: “Abba, everything is possible for you.  Take this cup away from me.  But let it be as you, not I, would have it.”  (Mark 14:36)  Jesus’ death on Calvary is his greatest act of trust in his Father.  Jesus plunges into the darkness of death…confident only that somehow his Abba will vindicate him…and his blessed, obstinate, importunate trust ravishes the heart of his Abba.

“To be like Christ is to be a Christian. 

“Clearly, growth in trust cannot be self-initiated.  The one thing most needed cannot be self-supplied.  But there is one abundant source of trust to which we must return again and again.  It flows from the barren rock of Golgotha at the feet of the crucified Christ.  Contemplate the incomparable love of Jesus as he suffocates to death.  ‘There is no greater love than this…’ (John 15:13).  For a few minutes stay face to face with the dying Jesus and hear him whisper, ‘I’m dying…to be with you.’

The same love yesterday on Calvary, today in our hearts, and forever in heaven.   Jesus crucified is not merely a heroic example to the church.  He is the power and wisdom of God, his love capable of transforming our cowardly, distrustful hearts into hearts strong in the trust that they are loved.  We do not have to do anything, except let our unworthy, ungrateful selves be loved as we are.  Trust happens.  You will trust him to the degree that you know you are loved by him.

“I am the resurrection.  If anyone believes in me, even though he or she dies will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?  (John 11:26)

“Ruthless trust ultimately comes down to this: faith in the person of Jesus and hope in his promise.  In spite of all disconcerting appearances, we stare down death without nervousness and anticipate resurrection solely because Jesus has said, ‘You have my word on it.’ 

“It doesn’t get any more ruthless. Either we believe in the resurrection and therefore trust in Jesus of Nazareth and the gospel he preached, or we do not believe in the resurrection and therefore do not trust in Jesus of Nazareth and the gospel he preached.  If Easter is not history, we must become cynics.  In other words, either we trust in the person and promise of Jesus and commit our lives to both, or we do not. 

“In the century just gone by, was there a bolder witness than that of Deitrich Bonhoeffer?  On April 9, 1945, in a concentration camp in Flossenburg, Germany, having been condemned to death for conspiring in a plot to assassinate Adolph Hitler, Bonhoeffer broke loose from his two Nazi guards and went running toward the gallows, shouting, ‘O death, you are the supreme festival on the road to Christian freedom!’

“Ruthless trust is an unerring sense, way deep down, that beneath the surface agitation, boredom, and insecurity of life, it’s gonna be all right.  Ill winds may blow, more character defects may surface, sickness may visit, and friends will surely die; but a stubborn, irrefutable certainty persists that God is with us and loves us in our struggle to be faithful.  A non-rational, absolutely true intuition perdures that there is something unfathomably big in the universe, something that points to Someone who is filled with peace and power, love and undreamed of creativity – Someone who inevitably will reconcile all things in himself. 

“…trust is the pre-eminent expression of love.  Thus, it may mean more to Jesus when we say, ‘I trust you,’ than when we say, ‘I love you.

“Where am I in all this?  With you, clasping hands each morning and crying out in unison, ‘Lord Jesus, I trust you; help my lack of trust.”

PRAYER: Jesus, I want to know you and love you and trust you more!  Grant me your grace to grow in trust!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2021, Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 1/18/21 – The Secret Worth Knowing – and Telling

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In Princeton, New Jersey, there is a legendary tale about the eminent scientist Albert Einstein walking in front of a local inn and being mistaken for a bell boy by a dowager who had just arrived in a luxury sedan. She orders him to carry her luggage into the hotel, and, according to the story, Einstein does so, receives a small tip, and then continues on to his office to ponder the mysteries of the universe. True or not, the story is delightful, precisely because we savor from the beginning a secret the dowager does not know: the strange-looking, ruffled little man is the most celebrated intellect of our time. Some stories gain their power from our knowing the story’s secret from the start.

The Gospel of Mark is just such a story. The secret of Mark’s Gospel is the identity of Jesus Christ. In the very first sentence of the Gospel story, Mark lifts the veil and lets us know the secret when he says that this is “the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus is the Son of God, that’s the secret, and lest we miss it, this hidden truth is confirmed in the story’s opening episode, when Jesus, coming up out of the waters of baptism, sees the Holy Spirit descending upon him like a dove from the heavens, which have been torn open like a piece of cloth, and hears the very voice of God telling the secret: “Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11). Only Jesus sees the Spirit; only Jesus hears the voice. This is, in the words of one commentator, “a secret epiphany.”

The great tragedy is that as we walk the streets or work in our cubicles or on the loading docks, we carry a secret that shouldn’t be a secret. We carry the presence of the Spirit of the Lord within us. Why is it a secret? Because to many around us we keep that Spirit bottled up inside us and don’t let our identity as believers be revealed.

We are to let the Light shine – that the secret of Jesus Christ is proclaimed to the whole world! This is one secret that we’re not supposed to hide!

PRAYER: Lord, we’ve recently seen images of those carrying flags about your Son during riots at the capitol building and other locations. It may make us reticent to let the Light shine out from within us for fear of being mocked or shamed. Give us discerning spirits and courage to share the best secret ever with those around us in a way that brings glory to Jesus!  In His name we pray, Amen.Copyright 2021, Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 1/15/21 – Trust (in the Third Millenium AD)

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From the DayBreaks archive, January 2012:

This is a time like no other in history.  Never before has a millennium (or for that matter, a century) started in which mankind had the power of destroying the world’s living things through nuclear, biological or chemical warfare.  That power exists today, and there are those that would use it if they can find a way to do so.  Some would do it because they are motivated by hatred.  Others would do it in the name of their god.  How, as Christians, are we to live in such a world?  We find ourselves faced with a dawning awareness that if we had ever put our trust in the goodness of our fellow man, that perhaps we were wrong.  And if we can’t trust one another, what is there that we can trust?  A God that none of us have ever seen?

As we enter the third millennium, ruthless trust is the courageous confidence that despite suffering and evil, terrorism and domestic conflict, God’s plan in Jesus Christ cannot fail…the day will dawn when the lion will lie down with the lamb…”. – (Brennan Manning, Ruthless Trust

Sometimes it is a bit hard to believe that the lion will lie down with the lamb when we go to bed at night wondering if we’ll awaken to another terrorist strike or deadly water in the shower.  But ruthless trust, the kind of trust that takes no prisoners, hears those words from the mouth of God and against all reason and logic, believes in them and believes that whether we live to see that day in our time or not is irrelevant because sooner or later, that day will certainly come.

Some would say that we’re crazy as Christians to feel that way, that we’re out of our minds and just deluded dreamers.  “We are neither boozy dreamers, hopeless idealists nor cockeyed optimists.  We are not playing ‘the religion game’…Search your heart for the Isaac in your life – name it and then place it on the altar as an offering to the Lord – and you will know the meaning of Abrahamic trust.

What is the “Isaac” in your life that God has been asking you to relinquish, to sacrifice to Him – in trust?  Is it your family?  Is it your job?  Is it your finances?  Is it your fear about the future?  Is it your doubts about His existence, or His goodness?  Stop fighting against Him and let it go.  Put it all on the altar.  If you live with ruthless trust in Him, your past failures will haunt you no longer, your insecurity be swallowed up by the security He offers, your fear of anthrax, botulism, smallpox or plague will disappear in the knowledge that NO MATTER WHAT happens to you in this world, you have nothing to fear – only heaven awaiting you on the other side.

PRAYER: I know, Lord, that we are not to fear what other humans can do to us, but we do fear such things.  We fear the unknown future and conjure all sorts of demons in the darkness of our minds and imaginations.  Remind us that we have nothing to fear, for your will WILL be done and the day when the lion lies down with the lamb will surely come!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2021, Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 1/14/21 – The Horse, the King and the Child of God

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From the DayBreaks archive:

Cuthbert, having just received a beautiful horse from the king because the former is limp and aging, rides down the road, sees a ragged beggar, and gives him the horse.  Word reaches the king.  He is angry.  At their next meeting, the king says to Cuthbert, ‘I gave you a magnificent horse and you squandered it on a worthless beggar.  I should have given you a sorry old mare.’ 

“Ah, my beloved king,” says Cuthbert, “you value the son of a thoroughbred more than you value a son of God.”  (Ruthless Trust, Brennan Manning)

We tend to exalt the things we value, don’t we?  The king valued the horse – Cuthbert valued the beggar because he saw him as a special creation of God.  In Matthew, Jesus told us: I tell you solemnly, insofar as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me. (25:40)

Our minister is not only our minister – he also works on a volunteer basis as a chaplain to the police department in our town.  He’s had extensive training in dealing with crisis situations and often accompanies the police to do death notifications or to assist in times of crisis.  His training has led him to develop the skills necessary to assist in situations of major disasters, and it was that training that led him to receive a phone call a while back asking him to come to New York City to work with and minister to the recovery workers at the remains of the World Trade Center.   Now as it turns out, there was the potential of serious events happening in our church family at the same time as he was called to be gone.  There were some in the congregation who were very upset – even angry – that he would leave for two weeks at a time when so much could go on in our church family.  They felt he should have been here “in case” something happened.

I think that is very sad, but even more, I think it shows a lack of trust.  Do you see it?  These people who had these feelings believed that they knew better than God where the minister should be during those two weeks.  And that is a lack of trust in God to know what is best and right and perfect in each and every situation.  If we trust God – and not our ministers – we would know that it just doesn’t matter where our minister is at any given moment in time.  By not wanting him to be gone, they may have been thwarting the direct and perfect will of God for him during the weeks of October 21 through November 4, 2001.  They aren’t trusting that God may have brought him to New York City because there was one soul – one potential “son of God” or “daughter of God” – that he was uniquely created to reach for Jesus. 

Our lack of trust in God causes us to make judgments and pronouncements that, if we look behind the surface to the reality behind them, show that we trust our wisdom more than the wisdom of the Ancient of Days, the only One who knows and sees the end from the beginning.  We have our own opinions about how things should go.  We have to let go of them.  We have to take to heart the words of Romans 14:4 – Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

Trusting God means not only trusting Him and His actions in our own lives, but also in the lives of those around us.  How dare we presume to be wiser than God! 

But trusting Him frees us – it frees us from our own preconceptions about life and how it SHOULD work – because only He truly knows what the future holds and how it will all work together for our good.  It frees us from the responsibility of making our lives work out okay – because that’s His job.  It frees us from judging situations as I described above – because if we trust that God knows what He is doing, then we don’t have to be too noble or wise and have to try to think it all through and reason it all out.

Ah, trust.  What a blessed relief to not have to pretend any longer to be God – to be able to surrender all that life brings to our table to Him!  What a blessing to be able to go to sleep at night knowing that whether we awake to a new day or die in our beds, that we don’t have to worry about a thing because He’s already got it all covered and under control!

So, you may ask: “Did those serious things happen in your church while your minister was gone?”  I’m not going to tell.  Why?  Because it doesn’t matter if they did or not.  If they did – it is because God willed it to be so – not because someone was gone ministering to hurting men and women on the other side of the country.  If they didn’t happen during that time – it is also because God willed it to be so – not because someone felt it was wrong for the minister to be gone.  Do you see how trust frees us?

Don’t you want to be free from the responsibility for controlling your life?  James 4:14-16 counsels us: Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”  Here is the key to the Christian’s peace – trusting in the Lord’s will for our lives, and not our own self-made plans.

PRAYER: We are so foolish, Lord, and have things in very wrong priority in our lives!  We think we are wiser than You, that surely our will is wiser and better than yours.  Have mercy on us, sinners, Lord!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2021, Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>