It began to rain and it seemed that it would never stop. The tributaries rose steadily and without abatement for months. Slowly, the disaster began to take shape. Finally, in the spring of 1927, the levees along the great Mississippi River began to fail. Tens of thousands of square miles were inundated. Hundreds of thousands of people lost their homes and their jobs. The waters did not fully recede for months.
Many songs were written in the aftermath of the flood, including “When the Levee Breaks” by Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie. It detailed the sorrow of the inevitable. Where do you go when your protection fails and the flood waters surge? Continue reading “When the levee breaks”
Although we realise that God is different from us and so much more than we are, often we place our human limitations and thoughts in how we think of him. Two verses that should bring us back to our senses are found in 2 Peter 3.
“Now, dear friends, do not let this one thing escape your notice, that a single day is like a thousand years with the Lord and a thousand years are like a single day. The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some regard slowness, but is being patient toward you, because he does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:8-9 NET)
There are two thoughts here that radically distinguish God from humans. Continue reading “God’s patience”
If you are a worker in God’s kingdom, take the long view. Present afflictions, without the perspective of eternity, can be depressing. But knowing the sovereignty of God, we can be sure that he works all things for the accomplishment of his will and the good of his people, Romans 8.28.
As planters and waterers, we may not always see the growth. Sometimes we will, sometimes not. Sometimes the growth may come quickly, at others times slowly or, in our limited sight, not at all. But if God gives the growth, 1 Corinthians 3.7, we may be sure that growth there will be. Patience is key. Continue reading “If you are a worker in God’s kingdom”
We often don’t realize what damage we do when we argue. What we say can damage people and even damage those not part of the argument but are just listening to the exchange. Three times in a few verses Paul reminded Timothy that how we use our words can harm people.
“Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen” (2 Timothy 2:14 CSB). Continue reading “Quit arguing!”
Are you as weary as I am of titles to stories and articles that promise to “wow” you with an amazing surprise?
To tell you the truth, I usually murmur “What happens next is that I ignore this.” And then move on to something without the phony hype. Continue reading “What happens next?”
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9 NKJV).
A group of us were riding in a van, returning from a day’s visit to one of the village churches in Bangladesh. It had been raining all day, and in the early hours of darkness the rain had gotten harder, and water was beginning to rise.
We drove into a low section of road with standing water, and as it began to grow deeper we caught up to slower traffic ahead of us. Our driver, aware that water was above the tail pipe on the van and that we were in danger of having the engine choked down, stranding us, passed the other vehicles and drove as quickly as possible until we were through the water. Continue reading “Just keep on keeping on”
Throughout Job’s ordeal, he maintained before his friends that he was innocent, that he had not committed any dreadful sin that would have caused God to send these calamities on him. But he also did not understand why God had allowed all this to happen to him. We have the advantage of knowing what happened in chapters 1 and 2 when God and Satan were talking together. Continue reading “How patient was Job?”
“And I will wait for the LORD who is hiding His face from the house of Jacob; I will even look eagerly for Him” (Isa 8:17 NASB).
As we have driven through the streets of Kathmandu on this trip we have often passed extremely long lines of cars and motorcycles waiting their turn at the gas pumps (or as they say here, the petrol pumps). Disgruntled minority parties are staging sit-ins at the border crossing points with India and trucks of petroleum products, food, and other necessities are being held back from entering the country. Continue reading “What are we waiting for?”
As a young man, in the late ’70’s I worked construction on a framing crew, and as is often the case, there were several rather unique characters among them. The lead foremen had an odd sense of humor and nick-named everyone and everything. While working with the crew was generally a good time, the man we worked for was a raging alcoholic, whom the foreman nicknamed “the Strapper”.
The Strapper was a master of verbal abuse and humiliation. He was no carpenter himself, but he always had plenty of work lined up and paid every week. The two foremen who were the actual builders were willing to put up with the abuse because the pay was good and the work was steady. Continue reading “God, lovingkindness and longsuffering”
“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:3-5 NKJV).
How would you like to spend three days and nights in the cab of a heavy truck on the river bank, waiting for your turn to cross on the ferry? Or to sleep all night sitting in a doorway so as to ensure that you would be able to buy a ticket on the train to go home for the holidays when the counter opened at 9:00 a.m. the next morning?
Such experiences are commonplace in Bangladesh and other densely populated countries of Asia. The vast number of people combined with inadequate infrastructure means that it takes a long time to do almost anything, and waiting one’s turn is simply an inescapable fact of life. Add regular floods that destroy such infrastructure as there is and the problem is magnified even more. Continue reading “Is patience really a virtue?”