Monday, April 18, 2016

the book bag...

"Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails....The fear of the LORD leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble. " Proverbs 19:21, 23

In the hands or on the back of a student all is relatively calm, but found elsewhere suspicion erupts. The book bag has lost its innocence. 

Arriving late at church, my regular spot was filled.  Skimming my choices, i crossed the aisle for another seat. Ten minutes later a man arrived and sat on my pew. With silvery and slightly oily shoulder length hair, a deeply creased leather face and worn clothes, his appearance clearly was unlike other attendees.  I wondered what others were thinking.

One of my biggest pet peeves in life is a guest not feeling welcomed, especially in church. I shudder to think about getting to heaven's gates and Jesus asking, "Why did you turn from Me?" Certain he was a guest, i decided to welcome him after the service.  Another member approached him first, and i waited patiently.  During this time i exchanged the normal niceties with other members.  But Mrs. Lee kept chatting with me beyond the usual hello and have a good afternoon.  She spoke and asked about my outings, my children, etc. all the while her eyes darted from me to the guest.  

She finally whispered to me, " I'm protecting you."
I was totally caught off guard.  "What do you mean?"
"The man next to you, he has a book bag."

She might as well have said a bomb.  In the past few years we have experienced horrific, senseless tragedies carried out by extreme radicals... many carrying a book bag. Now there was a stranger among us... and he was toting a book bag. Were we safe?  As i left with her at my arm, i was saddened with the growing doubts and uncertainties we face in our troubled world.

Where was the danger?  Was he a lost soul seeking comfort? Was he questioning Jesus' love for him? Was he angry and looking for a place to lash out? Or, was the danger really with me?   Was i in danger of forsaking obedience to God? Was i in danger of allowing fear and doubt to rule over trust?

I think danger existed for us both. The question is who survived. Sometimes our peace in life must lie in the knowledge God's purpose prevails, in spite of our actions. Father, the world is a dangerous place, give me the strength to not live in a self-contained cocoon, but to live out boldly for You. 

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,

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