It was India, 2003. I was walking down a crowded street when a young boy of about 15, a leper, held out his hand, begging. I snagged a rupee from my pocket and handed it to him. In the process of the exchange, our fingers touched. Eye contact was immediate, and I am sure he saw shock in my eyes, as I saw uncertainty in his.
Suddenly, the absurdity of the situation caused me to smile at him and he shyly smiled back before we were separated by the crowd, disappearing from each other’s lives forever. Continue reading “He touched me”
Anger towards God deprives us of blessings. Continue reading Angry at God
by Barbara Ann Oliver My dad fought in World War II. He never talked about it. The only story he ever told was something that happened on the way over to Europe. The ship he was on had a boxing tournament, and Dad won the tournament. They got close to another ship, and the challenge was delivered: Your best fighter against our best fighter. Dad was a young boy, fresh off the farm, strong from working the fields. He was pretty cocky, as most young men are, and he was more than ready to face any opponent. The champ from … Continue reading Save Your Strength
by Barbara Ann Oliver Kristin was buried today. She was 19. She had been in and out of the hospital her whole life, but she finally lost the battle. At her funeral, there were pictures of her, and trophies, and ribbons, showing the triumphs of her short life. But her greatest triumph was her faith. Kristin was a fine Christian lady. I have known Kristin for about 12 years. Her mother is one of my best friends. But I have a hard time remembering what Kristin looks like, because I didn’t see her very often. Now that she is gone, … Continue reading A Picture of Love
by Barbara Ann Oliver I got too close. No other explanation for it. The bees were flying, I was nosy, and I got in their flight path. So several of the girls reminded me to keep my distance with a little head-butt. They had no intention of stinging me, just giving me a friendly warning, which I heeded by moving to the side of the hive and backing up a little. If I had persisted, they would have stung me, no question. Wouldn’t it be great if the Lord did that for us every time we got too close to … Continue reading Give Me a Bump, Lord
by Barbara Ann Oliver I have started making the dreaded New Year’s resolutions. As usual, diet is near the top of the list, as it is for many Americans. Then, there is the one about working harder, and the one about learning to speak Spanish. And, of course, as a Christian, reading my Bible, praying more, and developing a closer relationship with God top the list. These are all commitments that I make at the beginning of each new year. But that is where I go wrong. I make a commitment. Yet, commitments are based on My strength, My drive, … Continue reading I Surrender
by Barbara Ann Oliver Last night I was talking with a friend about the church and its reputation in town, and at the same time we both said, “Unfortunately, we are known for what we don’t do.” We did not mean that we should not be the voice of concern in this age of moral laissez faire. Knowing what we don’t or shouldn’t do is important. But should it be the outstanding characteristic of our Christian walk? My goal in life is not to be known for what I don’t do, but rather for what I do. When people look … Continue reading Doing the Do's
by Barbara Ann Oliver I was born in West Virginia. My grandmother was Maybelle Hatfield, before she married. One of my Hatfield aunts is married to a McCoy. Nearly everyone in the USA has heard of the historic feud between these two infamous families. And though it is fun to joke about being a Hatfield, it is not really a name to be proud of. Names are so important. A girl in one of my karate classes was about fourteen, overweight, and very shy. She told the instructor her last name was Jones. A few weeks later, her parents, Mr. … Continue reading What's in a Name?
by Barbara Ann Oliver One of my favorite movie lines is from the movie Starman. Sitting in a coffee shop, the alien looks across the table at the human and says, “Do you know what we find the most beautiful about you? You are at your best when things are at their worst.” We have only to look at the lives of the early Christians to find examples of being at our best during difficult situations. Peter and John, after spending the night in jail, were being threatened by the Jewish priests and elders. But they proclaimed, “we cannot but … Continue reading At Our Best
by Barbara Ann Oliver For the July 4th weekend, I joined six fearless ladies from Highland Street in Memphis for a weekend on a 50-foot houseboat. When we left Memphis, we were sure of only two things: We had a cook and a captain, and we were going to have fun! Then reality set in. We discovered that several people were needed to jump off the boat, swim to shore, and tie it up. To our utter amazement, three Amazon women were in our group: Amy, Carol and Diane. Often, the boat would have to be pulled further one way … Continue reading Row, Row, Row Your Boat