Written December 11, 2013 at 7:16 AM
Jeremiah 29:11-14 (New American Standard) For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and
a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your
heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places
where I have driven you,’ declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.’
Philippians 1:3-6 (Darby Translation) I thank my God for my whole remembrance of you, constantly in my every supplication, making the supplication for you all with joy,
because of your fellowship with the gospel, from the first day until now; having confidence of this very thing, that he who has begun in you a good work
will complete it unto Jesus Christ’s day:
God I come to You through Christ the advocate. Please help me to say what You would want me to say. Please help the readers understand the message You
desire to convey through me. Please help us to remain mindful and aware of these simple but powerful truths. These are life-changing concepts and I feel
so blessed and priviledged to share them. Amen!
Good morning and blessings to you all.
I am tagging two people in this post. The reasons for this tagging will become apparent as we get into the story I’m about to tell.
This is a long writing but I ask that you bear with me through the telling. I truly believe this will bless you in a big way.
I will shorten my subsequent daily posts but I need to start by telling a big part of a story that is an ongoing reflection of God’s love for us.
Yesterday I decided that I will praise Jesus for the rest of this month by posting an inspirational piece each day. These are stories, bits of humor and
poetry that have touched my life over the past nine and a half years.
On July 5 of 2014, I will have been a Christian for ten years. It hasn’t been the easiest ten years but it has been the most blessed ten years of my life.
As I begin this 21 day festival of praising Jesus, I want to share with you a story that profoundly impacted my life. The story is a great one but the
profoundness is in the way that the story was brought to me.
The inspirational piece is called “I Still Could See The Sun” and is written by a guy who was having a really bad day.
Have you ever had a bad day? A bad week? A Bad month? A Bad year?
I think we all have.
When I read this story on Friday, March 17, 2006, I was having a very very bad week. I’ll never forget this date because it came at the end of a week where
everything that could go wrong did go wrong.
It marked the end of a two week period where I had felt shunned by some church members. I felt as though I was the victim of prejudice and stereotype.
I felt as though everyone around me was playing a game and not being real.
Some of these feelings were a result of my own insecurities and immaturity as a Christian but some of the concerns were valid one’s.
I won’t go into details about specifics here. I will say that I was depressed and disheartened at the way I had been treated.
You see, I didn’t know then that you can get hurt in any church. I didn’t know then that there are no perfect churches or perfect people. I was a hurting
person looking for an individual or group of individuals to cure me.
I didn’t realize until 2010 that we can’t look to people for that kind of healing.
There is only one way by which that healing can come and it’s through Jesus Christ.
I learned that lesson from two people who, up until this point, probably have no idea how profoundly they have helped me.
They are David and Tracy Zentz. They are tagged in this post because, in addition to wishing to bless you all with this writing, I want to recognize and
commend them for their service and true heart for God. In my opinion, they embody the essence of the Christian.
They had something happen in their lives that no one should ever have to experience. However, bad things happen to good people and sometimes good people
falter and fall because of it.
These two did not.
They had a son killed in a tragic accident.
They could have chosen to blame God, distance themselves from people and hide inside a shell but they didn’t. They got proactive and they changed laws
that relate to distracted driving. They got out and made people aware that reckless and distracted driving can take lives. They got out and petitioned
for legislation to change the penalties for reckless or distracted driving. They brought attention to a very real problem that is too commonplace among
drivers. And, they never stopped serving God, praising God and giving their testimony.
One day David gave a testimony in a men’s group. He talked about how he and Aaron had worked on a vehicle every weekend. He talked about how he was getting
frustrated because it seemed that everything was going wrong with this vehicle. He and his son would fix one problem and another one would pop up.
He said that he didn’t realize until after Aaron died that the problems with the vehicle were a blessing in disguise. He came to realize that God was using
that opportunity to allow him and Aaron to spend time together so that he could reflect back on that time after Aaron’s death with fond memories.
That testimony made me cry because I realized something.
God is truly with us through the storms of our lives. He cares for us so deeply that he continues to work on us daily.
Do you realize that God created the universe in 6 days but He will work on us all our lives?
Can you truly get your mind around that concept?
I think David and Tracy grasp that concept. They are serving God at this very moment as volunteers at Silver Lake Bible Camp in Washington State. They
have served God all of their adult lives and they are two of my role models.
The day I heard David’s testimony I said to myself “that’s the kind of Christian I want to be. I want to have that kind of faith. I want to understand
God in that way.”
So, every day, I set aside time to gain that understanding. I’m not there yet, but I’m on the train and headed down the track.
But, On Friday, March 17, 2006, I didn’t even have a grasp of these basic concepts. I suffered from a devastating misunderstanding of God’s sovereignty,
God’s will and God’s purpose for our lives.
I got to work around 7:20 that Friday morning because I knew I was in for a long day. I had suffered major computer problems all week and had finally resolved
those issues the day before. I knew I would have hundreds of e-mails requiring my response. I also had deadlines that were fast approaching because I wasn’t
able to complete them that week because of computer problems.
When I got to the office, it smelled like a skunk had sprayed everything in the building. A skunk had gotten inside the offices the night before. Not only
was the smell terrible but we had to keep the office doors open to air out the building and it was very wet and cold outside. “Great,” I said, “on top
of everything else, it’s going to be a miserable work environment today.”
Yeah, my poor attitude plummeted even further.
I sat at my desk, opened my e-mail and prayed as I waited for the messages to download. I asked God to show me some kind of sign today that He cared. I
told Him I needed encouragement because I felt as though my life was spinning out of control. I told Him I didn’t know if I could make it if something
When my e-mails were downloaded, I noticed I had 451 e-mails. Several hundred were spam but there were at least 100 that needed my attention.
I set my mind to start at the top and work my way down.
I had my Outlook set to display the most recent e-mails first. The following message was at the very top and it came in at the same time I was praying.
Here it is:
“I still could see the sun”
I was in such a mood yesterday. I tell you this so that you realize that everyone faces challenges. I am an inspirational writer and speaker. I am human
and fallible. But what I believed, the core of who I am, fought to break through the darkness of the attitude I had chosen for this day.
It was a combination of things, most of which I have permitted to fester beneath the surface, choosing not to deal with them and rid myself of the negative
thoughts. I won’t get into the details. I don’t want to whine about it any more.
It all came to a head in the parking lot of a store I was about to enter. I called my wife and told her how overwhelmed I was but just couldn’t explain
I’ve been here before, but I have developed thinking skills, mixed them with a strong faith and have always learned to rise above it all. I have to. I
have a job to do, a life I love and since I believe I chose to be overwhelmed with life, I can also choose to put it all in perspective.
I headed home.
As I was preparing dinner it started to rain. I had just started the charcoal grill and I could easily have added this silly little coincidence to my collection
of problems for the day. But I simply accepted it. No thunder and lightning, just rain gushing down on my plans.
I went about preparing the rest of the meal, choosing to believe that a little rain wasn’t going to stop me from making dinner. It will eventually stop.
Had I chosen to rant and rave all day long I would have been half crazed by now. But I chose to believe it would all resolve itself.
Suddenly the sun broke through the clouds. It was a perfect opportunity for me to turn this day around completely. I would rely on a promise made and kept.
A covenant, as it is called.
I rushed outside to find the rainbow. In the Bible the rainbow is used to remind us of the covenant between God and man.
I needed reminding.
I first headed out to the deck. Nothing in the sky. I then walked around to the left side of the house. Nothing.
I walked down my driveway and panned across the horizon. Still nothing.
To say I was disappointed is an understatement. You see I am a seeker of rainbows. I love to come across them by accident, but I also believe that these
are treasured gifts, so one must hunt for treasure.
Once again, this piled atop all the other negative thoughts I danced with today, should have plunged me into a deeply depressing mood. But I shrugged it
The sun faded away.
Finally getting to all the grill work I had to do, I thought about what this day meant to me. Then, once again, the sun burst through. Not just a sneak
peek but a sudden explosion of sunlight.
I paused and thought “Why waste your time?” Just write off this day and forget it.
But my curiosity got the best of me. I ran out to my front porch, scanning the skies….I saw nothing. A neighbor friend, who has been known to come charging
out to search for a rainbow under the same conditions drove around the corner. As he pulled into his driveway he yelled, “Did you see it?”
“No, as things went today I was not meant to see one,” I said.
“See one? You were one!” he said laughing.
“What? What are you talking about?”
“I was coming down the highway and I saw this beautiful rainbow in the sky. I was excited because It looked like it ended right near my home. I quickly
drove up the road and as I turned the corner, there it was. It looked just like it was touching your house as you were standing on the porch,” he said
with excitement. “It was awesome!”
I couldn’t believe what he was telling me. All along I was searching for something that, in reality, I was a part of already. I was a part of my neighbors
rainbow. I was the sign that I was looking for. I was the reminder that I needed.
“Did you find a pot of gold?” he asked jokingly.
“I am the pot of gold I was looking for all day,” I replied.
Although this piece gave me hope and motivation for a while, you know what? I still didn’t get it.
I didn’t start to truly “get it” until two things happened.
First, I had to become so broken that God could remold me. Second, I had to set aside my pride and become willing to open myself to teaching.
I had known good Christian people in Madill but I let my pride get in the way of progress. I thought I knew it all and that there was nothing they could
teach me that I didn’t already know.
One man in particular tried to help me but I became angry over circumstances and I refused his guidance and instruction. In fact I became hostile to his
direction. I know now he was only trying to help me but at the time, I thought he was my persecuter. satan is good at manipulating the truth that way.
My life began to change the day that I moved to Yukon as a broken and humbled man dealing with issues of major depression and recovering from a nine month
binge with alcohol.
I began attending a loving, caring, sharing, giving, supporting, serving teaching church. I started going to and participating in a recovery small group.
I earnestly began to truly seek God. My life has never been the same since.
I have met people these last four years who have shown me what it truly means to be a Christian and I am forever thankful.
I leave you with this thought.
Do I get discouraged? Yes. Do I get my feelings hurt? Yes. Do I become disappointed in people? Absolutely. Do I wonder about my future? Yes. But, I know
this: if my life never turns out the way I want it to, if my greatest dream never comes true, I will be fine with that because I know that my reward will
not come in this life. My reward is stored up where moth and rust cannot corrupt. My reward in the eternal life will be a reward beyond my imagination
and comprehention. That knowledge is more than enough to keep me going through the storms and trials of life in a fallen world.
If you made it all the way to this point, I thank you with all my heart for reading and I truly hope that you have been blessed.
I promise tomorrow’s writing will be much shorter.
Peace and blessings. I pray that God be with you in all you do today.