Thursday, October 7, 2021

Rich Kids & Poor Moms

Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”

So, Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One; that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’”

And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.”

Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”

“Good teacher, how can I get to heaven?” the young man asked.

As He often did, Jesus answered the question with a question.

“Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. …” That, was the answer. The Answer. I AM the Good One; The Way to eternal life. If you called Me Good because you know and believe that I AM the Son of God, then, you know Me, you know, the Truth, and you have found your way to heaven.

Unfortunately, many don’t see it as being so simple, they think the way to heaven is through religion, through good works, thus Jesus added: “You know the commandments: ‘Do not...Do not...Do not...’”

Jesus was asking, the young man, which way he believed. He gave the Truth, (I AM the way) and then, He gave the, technically, politically correct, religious answer, and let the man decide.

The young man had a choice. He could have answered like the Gentile, Syrophoenician, woman who begged Jesus to cast a demon out of her daughter.

Jesus answered her with the technically, politically correct, religious answer, telling her that the Messiah had come for the Jews first. She didn’t argue the religious point, (that would’ve been a waste of time—arguing about religion always is). She simply played the relationship card… “Yes, Lord—” she said— “but even the puppies under the Master’s table eat from the children’s crumbs.” She understood that mercy triumphs over judgment (James2:13).

In God’s deck, relationship trumps religion, every. single. time.

The rich kid could’ve said, “Yes Lord, but no one is righteous, all have sinned, Your words hold the keys to eternal life.”

But his heart wasn’t there yet, he looked at it as one more acquisition, one more asset to add to his fat portfolio. So, instead, he slapped his resume on the desk. “I’ve done all that since my youth…”

But, down inside he knew, that even though he looked good on paper, even though, his sins were low and his good deeds were high…he still knew something was missing. A gnawing emptiness told him there had to be more. That is religion. That is works. That is why religious folks fight each other. (Notice I said religious folks—not Christians—there’s a huge difference. Not everyone who says, “I’m a Christian,” actually is one).   

Religion will never fill the void meant for Relationship.

The rich young ruler walked away feeling sad and empty; the poor outcast mother with the wild child skipped away feeling like she just found out she was heir to a King.

Until we reach the reckless abandonment of the desperate Syrophoenician woman, until we’re ready to lay down our religion, our title, our very lives, and pick up our cross and follow Jesus through the steep, straight and narrow; we are just looking for some good thing, but missing God…we’re just going through the motions.

That’s why Jesus looked at the young man, loved him, knew him, gave him the answer, again; this time, with a little more detail. I see you have an unhealthy love for money, you trust in good deeds and riches. You’ll need to break those chains, and then, come and follow me. Don’t worry, I own the whole world— you won't miss a thing.

When we see relationship before religion, before dos and don’ts and works…we’ll drop our banners, our titles, our pretty walls and petty differences and just obey the simple gospel of love. Then, instead of just calling Jesus, “Lord, Lord” He actually will be.

And then, the only unanswered prayer Jesus ever prayed, will finally be answered. 

“I do not pray for these (his disciples) alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word (me & you); that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” John 17:20-21

iluvu & pray4u, everyday,



Saturday, September 25, 2021

Vaccinated or Terminated Religious Exemption

 The following is an actual Religious Exemption we created for my son, Josiah, and his lovely wife, Brittnee. Feel free to use any part of this to assist in creating your own. Credit for much of the content goes to Liberty Council Action, a wonderful resource. 

Text from Brittnee:

Dear Allina Health Care, 

Don’t’ worry about anything, pray about everything, with thanksgiving make your requests to God, and the peace of God that passes understanding, will guard your heart and mind through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

I have prayed about how to respond to the COVID shot directive, in light of my current, marvelous and miraculous pregnancy, and in light of my pro-life and Christian beliefs.

I believe my body belongs to God and is the temple of His Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). I believe innocent life is sacred to God, from conception, to birth, to natural death (Jeremiah 1:5). I believe God’s promise that “if anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally” (James 1:5).

In this wisdom, and in His peace, I’m writing to request a medical and religious exemption from Allina Health Care Systems, COVID shot directive.

Very soon my husband and I will be cradling our new born baby, our son, our precious Elijah. We thank God, for our miracle of life growing inside me. It wasn’t easy. My husband, Josiah was heart broken when he went to his dad and cried out, “Dad, why won’t God let us get pregnant?”

We prayed. And prayed. And then through another miracle, a medical miracle, today, I feel life inside me growing day by day. We love our little Elijah so much, and haven’t even met him. His room is ready. Elijah Scott is embroidered in shirts and blankets and wall hangings. Scott is in honor of Josiah’s step dad who passed away far too soon from cancer. 

I love working with Allina, it’s my chosen profession. I get to see, and help others to see, the miracle of life growing in them. I thank God for all the medical advances and miracles He has given us. I’m not against medicine or vaccines. I don’t know any commandment that says, “thou shalt not get vaccinated.” However, I am unable, in good conscience, to get this vaccine.

It’s not about a commandment, written in stone, it’s about one, written in flesh, in our heart. Jesus says it like this: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:36-40). Love God. Love people. Period.

In light of that commandment of love, I prayed. We prayed. We didn’t only pray for direction, for wisdom, we prayed for understanding. We searched and studied as well. God has given us a brain, and expects us to use it.

Should we get the vaccine?

Priority one: what’s best for our precious little Elijah. Will the vaccine harm him in any way?

Second priority: What’s best for others. I’m around others in my job. Should I protect and ‘love my neighbor’ by getting vaccinated?

 Will the vaccine harm my baby? The vaccine hasn’t been around long enough to really tell. However, it’s been around long enough to kill. I found article after article of tragedies after taking the vaccine.

How could we obey God’s commandment of love and subject our precious baby Elijah to such risks?

But those are extremely rare cases.

Perhaps, but not as rare as the chance that one of us will contract the virus and die. Science has shown that even if we do get it, we have very near to a 100% chance of survival with no adverse side effects. In doing so, we may feel sick, for a while. However, by contracting the virus naturally, our resistance will grow, just as God designed and when we recover, our system will be, according to science, “far superior” to those who are vaccinated.

That brings us to the question of God’s command of loving others. Should we get vaccinated to protect, and love, others? Once again, science has shown that vaccinated people still get and give the virus.

Considering that the unvaccinated, after beating the virus, have a “far superior” immunity, and the vaccinated have an inferior immunity, we can reasonably conclude that the vaccinated with weaker immune systems, are more likely to get and give the virus.

Therefore, walking in love to God, is to walk in faith, knowing that even if we contract the virus, by His divine design, we will recover and come out stronger than before. So strong in fact, that we will be less of a risk to others. Which also accomplishes the command of loving others.

We also discovered something else about this vaccine. Something more sinister. Something that breaks one of the Commandments written in stone. The sixth commandment. Thou Shalt Not Murder.

All currently available COVID-19 vaccines used cell lines originating from aborted children in their manufacturing or testing.

As Christians, we believe life begins at conception and ends at natural death. The Scriptures reveal that God knows us even before we are conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5 states: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart; I appointed you…”

God’s creative powers are at work while we’re still in the womb. “For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful; I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139: 13-16).

The Christian Church has condemned abortion. The Didache, a conduct code of the early Christian community, dated by some as being as early as 70 AD is in accord with Scripture, stating: “Do not abort a fetus or kill a child that is born.” Loeb Edition of the Apostolic Fathers (also translated as, “Thou shalt not murder a child by abortion nor kill that which is begotten.”).

A Plea for Christians, written around AD 177 by Athenagoras, stated, “We say that those women who use drugs to bring on abortion commit murder, and will have to give an account to God for the abortion.”

Tertullian, in his Apologeticum, written in 197 AD, wrote: “Murder being once for all forbidden, we [Christians] may not destroy even the fetus in the womb, . . .”

Clearly, we believe abortion is murder, and in violation of God’s sixth commandment.

The COVID vaccines in their current and/or developmental states have been complicit, with the abortion industry, in the slaughter of multiplied millions of innocent, beautiful, precious, little Elijahs.

For these reasons, I cannot violate my conscience and sin against my God and my fellow man by complying with the vaccine mandate.

Therefore, I am respectfully requesting a religious accommodation, under Title VII and any similar Minnesota state law(s), that will excuse me from having to receive a COVID-19 vaccine; and further request that no adverse employment action be taken against me on account of my religious beliefs.

Thank you for your consideration.







Name________________________                         Date___________

Friday, August 6, 2021

Vaccination or Termination Ultimatum



But I’m concerned about my baby.

It’s mandatory.

It was so difficult for us. We were finally able to get pregnant. Please, I don’t want to take any chances. Can you make—

No exceptions.

Even at the risk of terminating my baby?

Vaccination or termination.

Is there any evidence it won’t hurt my baby?


No? so, then, surely you won’t ask me to take this risk.

Only if you want to keep your job.

We don’t feel right about taking the…but, we need this job.

Well then, you know what to do.


That story is real.

My son and daughter in law are living it.

It was one of the greatest honors of my life to join my son Josiah, and his beautiful bride, Brittnee, in holy matrimony. 

Several months later, I heard. “Dad, why won't God let us get pregnant?”

We prayed.

God heard.

Elijah was conceived.  

Even though he's still in the womb, the 3-D pictures, from where Brittnee works, Allina Health Care, reveal, he already looks just like his dad.  

It's been all smiles, until today.

Today, Brittnee cried all day.

Today Allina gave her an ultimatum. Vaccination or termination.

Give up the job she loves as an Ultrasound Technician, or, take

the vaccine she fears may harm her baby.  

This is America. One Nation Under God. You cannot force US. Constitutionally you cannot fire US for refusing to risk our unalienable rights to, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; to bend to your communistic rule.

No matter how you feel, jab or no jab. The politicization of the vaccination, is wrong and you know it. Forcing anyone to poke anything into their body or be fired, is illegal, immoral,

unconstitutional, and absolutely, anti-American.

As Christians, we see this is a foreshadow of things to come. We know the source, and thus, resist. United we stand and the gates of hell will not prevail against US.

Is there not a cause?

If there was ever a time to stand united, it’s today.

No one should weep for fear of losing a job, or losing a child... 

especially by government mandate.

Let’s be clear. This power-lust is nothing new. It’s what caused Pharoah to slaughter babies before Moses. Herod to slaughter babies before Jesus. Democrats to applaud baby slaughter before…

‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,

That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Acts 2:17


 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet

Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

And he will turn

The hearts of the fathers to the children,

And the hearts of the children to their fathers (Malachi 4:56)



Let’s pray.

LORD, forgive US, for turning from You. We’ve rejected Your Wisdom and are reaping the weeds of apathy we’ve sown.

Thank You for waking US. For opening our eyes to the evil that has made US uncomfortable enough to rise, mad enough to revolt.

Now, here we are, humbled, broken, but ready to fight, For You. 

Give US courage, to stand, boldness to speak, passion to act, and wisdom to follow, Your leading.

Thank You, for Your Word, that shows US, that just before every great deliverance, the enemy always goes too far, slaughtering the innocent, out of fear, because he knows, his days are numbered.

Thank You for delivering US from evil and completing the Good work You began in US. 

Your ways are life, liberty, freedom.  

Thy will be done, on earth, right here, right now, as it is in heaven.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus. 



Please help:




Allina Health Care. CEO; Penny Wheeler.

Allina Health headquarters


Mailing Address:

Allina Health System

PO Box 43

Minneapolis, MN


You also have the option to contact The Joint Commission with a hospital concern via their Patient Safety Event online form or by emailing the joint commission

Share your concern with Allina anonymously by calling 1-800-472-9301.

Or, by submitting a secure web report  secure web report


United We Stand

Take Action:

Healthcare Workers Against Mandatory Vaccines


Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Blasphemy Against Holy Spirit

Outline for Whispering Pines Bible Study, 7.30.21. 

Blasphemy against Holy Spirit

Matt. 12:31

Mark 3:28-29.

Luke 12:10

The Unpardonable Sin

 “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men.  Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

Blasphemy: slander, railings, reviling, abusive language, speech injurious to one’s good name. vilification.


It Was Serious And They Knew It:

Leviticus 24:15-16 death penalty for blasphemy


They Accused Jesus Of Blasphemy And Wanted To Kill Him For It:

(Mt 9:1-8)(Mk 2:1-12)(Lk 5:17-26) For telling the paralytic his sins were forgiven.

(Jn 10:30-33) For “making Himself God.”

(Mt 26:63-66)(Mk 14:61-64)(Lk 22:67-71) For claiming to be “the Christ, the Son of God.”

(Jn 5:17-18) For saying “God was his Father, making himself equal with God.”

(Jn 8:58-59) For calling Himself the “I AM.”


Blasphemy: revile, slander, call evil good and good evil.

Matt. 27:39:  they that passed by reviled him. Reviled = same word as blasphemy.

Ephesians 4:31 – evil speaking, slander (slander same word)

Isaiah 5:20-21 Wo to them who call good evil and evil good = definition of blasphemy

It happens little by little.

Hebrews 3:7-11 Today, if you hear His Voice harden not your heart. Those who did—never entered in.  

Each time we ignore, turn from, reject, HIS still small Voice, our hearts harden, little by little, until…

We blaspheme the Holy Spirit, knowingly revile the work of God; willfully slander The Holy Spirit; purposefully, reject the The Truth and promote the liar, calling evil good and good evil…accuse Life to death, by being one with the crowd crying, “crucify Him, crucify Him.” "My body, my choice." "Give us what we want or we'll burn down the system. Separate church from state. God got confused and put Susie's soul in Johnny's body. 

 Until one’s heart is past the point of no return, calloused, hardened seared 1Timothy 4:1-2

"Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron"


The end result:

Revelation 16:8,10,21 – blaspheme God rather than repent, even to their own destruction.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Mockingbird Manger

Squeak. Squeak. Squeak. Some might say, chirp, chirp, chirp. But it sounds more like a squeak, to me.

It’s still dark. But if you’re an early riser, you know, birds show more faith than we, they don’t need to see, to believe, while still dark, they sing, and before the song is through, the sun has risen.

I smile. Guess the babies don’t wait, either.

Back in January the old Christmas tree wound up standing in the carport. We planned to get rid of her, because after years of faithful service, she was shedding needles like a real tree. That was a bit, too real, for my wife, so the old tree had to go.

There she sat, looking kind of real, and sort of decorative, too pretty to throw. The mockingbird thought the old fake tree looked like a new real home, and there she built a nest and laid four of the prettiest eggs you ever saw.

In no time there were three babies, all mouths. I don’t know what happened to number four.

Squeak. Squeak. Squeak.

I picture their weary, feathered parents. They’ve been working non-stop, guarding the nest and feeding the chicks. They probably were never more than fifty yards from the nest but must’ve flown hundreds of miles each, back and forth with worms and bugs in their beaks.

Wonder if they ever say, “It’s your turn—I fed them last time.”

The sun was up, they were doing fine, just squeaking away from that fake Christmas tree as I pulled out of the drive.  

I placed Church signs and American flags by the road, set up the sound system and laid down the hymnals. The Sunday routine to transform our clubhouse into our Church house takes less than half an hour—but that was all it took.

As I pulled back into the drive, my heart sank.

The Christmas tree was leaning. Even though I’d tied it to the carport lattice, to keep the wind from blowing it over. 

All was silent. No squeak, squeak, squeak. No chirping alarm or dive-bombing parents as I approached. One of the plastic legs at the base of the tree was cracked. Something happened.  

I clenched my jaw when I noticed the outside edge of the nest was pulled down…the empty nest.

Evidence of what had happened lay on one of the lower branches of the tree. A feather. A big feather. A feather that surely came from mom or dad.

Something dark caught my eye. Five feet from the tree, in the grass, lay fluffy furlike feathers (like the kind that had covered the babies). Right in the middle of it all lay, mama bird. Dead.

What could’ve done this? A snake? A cat? I was only gone
for half an hour.  

I looked around. No snake. No cat. No babies…but wait. I heard it. That squeak I loved. There she (or he) was. Shorter than the blades of grass. Squeak. Squeak. Squeak. 

I reshaped the nest. Re-secured the tree. Wondered what to do next. Can you touch the baby or will that cause parents to reject it?

My neighbor was outside. I told her the story. She called someone she called “the bird lady.” But she wasn’t in.

I was told not touching the baby was an old wife’s tale. So, I placed baby back in the nest.

Before too long, daddy (I think it was daddy, but maybe it was mommy), showed up with a gift in his beak.

All was well and good, until Junior, after having a taste of freedom, hopped out of the nest and tumbled to the ground, the concrete carport driveway ground. But that didn’t seem to hurt—or knock any sense into—the little bird-brain.

After putting the little bird back into the nest, and it jumping out and escaping, time and time again, I decided the little thing was a girl, and named her after my daughter, Kayla. Why?  Well, that’s another story.

I tried reshaping the nest so it was deeper. Didn’t matter, Kayla hopped up and tumbled down. I cut a milk container and set the nest inside of it. I cut the sides too low. She jumped the wall. Finally, I put the nest in an ice cream bucket and tied the bucket to the tree.

Daddy was pretty ticked off at me the whole time. I don’t know mockingbird, but even if I did, I’m sure I wouldn’t repeat what he said. Don’t blame him a bit. Actually, impressed at how protective he is of his baby. Even if she acts like a juvenile delinquent. There’s a whole lot of men who should take a lesson from this bird.  

He was pretty wary of the ice cream bucket nest, but eventually gave in to the squeak, squeak, squeak and landed on the edge of the bucket and plunged a worm into Kayla’s mouth just to shut her up…at least for a minute or two.

I was relieved. Because for a moment, I thought he might be a deadbeat dad. I saw him already flying after another tail. He was pecking his beak on the neighbor’s plastic antenna, like a woodpecker. He hadn’t done that in months. Perhaps before he married his bride. Because, I’m told he was doing that, peck, peck, peck, peck, to show off. A mating call of sorts. But now that his dearly beloved, has become dearly departed, he is already looking for another. Single parenting is a pretty big job. He knows, he needs help—fast.

The signs and flags are no longer on the road, the sound system is shut down and the hymnals are put up, the daylight is fading fast.

I'm back in the same chair where I started this day. Where I heard the squeak, squeak, squeak of a nest full of babies, where I wondered about weary mom and dad only concerned about whose turn it was to feed their babies…

But now, everything has changed.

Can you relate?

Jesus said “Consider the birds, they don’t sow or reap, or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”

He also said, the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I’ve come, that you might have Life.

Darkness is falling and I’m thinking that mockingbird manger sure didn’t turn out like I thought it would. Neither has life. But then, I remember another manger and nod and smile as I hear the sound of hope.

It sounds a lot like, “squeak, squeak, squeak.”


Sunday, May 23, 2021

Aren't You Glad the Church Isn't Just Wearing Their Birthday Suit?


Happy Birthday!

You’re looking pretty good—for being almost 2,000 years old.

Today we remember how we went from being self-quarantined cowards hiding in an upper room to being bold as lions—bolder—bold as street preachers.

We went from hunkering in silence to carrying the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the uttermost parts of the earth. You’ve heard of Him, because of what happened to them, back then.

About ten days before it happened, He said, the thing we most hate to hear. Wait.

I’m reminded at how much I hate to wait at every red light. Nevertheless, He said it. Thankfully they did it. They went into an upper room and waited. And waited. And waited.

After His resurrection, He showed up time and again for about 40 days. I suppose, they figured, He’d do it again.

He told them to wait until they were endued with Power.

So. They. Waited. Even though they weren’t even sure what exactly they were waiting for.

But, after about 10 days, they must’ve worked through all their differences, their guesses about what they thought would happen, and they settled into a place Jesus had prayed we’d all reach, a place the Bible calls, one accord.

Then, just like that, suddenly the place shook and fire fell as if tongues of fire hovered over each of them and just like that, they went from chickens to lions.

Their outward circumstances did not change one iota. But they sure did.

The elite still wanted them silenced. The government that crucified Jesus was still in power.

But that didn’t matter anymore.


Well, because. What happened to them was like what would happen to us, if we saw an enemy approaching with sticks and stones and suddenly we realized we held a stick, too. Only our stick was DYNAMITE.  

  That’s not advocating blowing up people. I never said people. I said enemy. We have an enemy and it isn’t people. It isn’t flesh and blood. We have an invisible enemy and blowing up his schemes and plans is exactly what we’re to do.

As a matter of fact, that’s what Jesus was talking about when He chose the words, “endued with Power.”

Endued is the Greek word, enduo; ἐνδύω; (en-doo'-o). It means to clothe or be clothed with (in the sense of sinking into a garment).

Think about that word for a moment. Jesus must’ve smiled when He said it; perhaps a tear of joy slid down His cheek. I can’t imagine it didn’t, considering, He’d longed for this moment since the beginning, when He found us, ashamed, scared, naked and hiding.  

He made clothes to cover our naked body. Then, watched as we walked away from the perfect garden home He’d made us. Perhaps He shed a tear then too, knowing those clothes would do nothing to cover our exposed soul.

Like the prodigal’s father, from that moment to this, He never stopped yearning, never stopped searching, never stopped preparing for this moment.

It’s a moment any good parent would take. In a heartbeat they’d step in harm’s way and take the place of their child.

It’s just what He did.

The moment He’d been waiting for finally came. He allowed Himself to be stripped, exposed and naked.

It sounds crazy, but it pleased Him to do it. It was part of His plan.

Because, He knew, the enemy was holding sticks and stones, that can only break bones, but He Himself was dynamite that pierces through bones clear to the soul.

Perhaps that’s why when He said, we’d “be endued with power,” the word He used for power, is dunamis, δύναμις, εως, , translated: (miraculous) power, might, strength.

You can guess, it’s where we get the word, dynamite.

Once inside the enemy’s lair, He blew off the doors and set the captives free.

He ripped the veil that separated His children. To this day, He still holds out clothes to cover our naked soul and invites us back into His Garden Home.

Just as the prodigal’s father, ran to his son, put a ring on his finger and a robe on his back; God so loved and longed for this moment that He swept in like a mighty rushing wind with tongues of fire that sat on them, like a great big embrace, a hug and a kiss and endued (clothed) them with His Spirit that had been stripped from them way back in the Garden.  

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure I can hear heaven singing, Happy Birthday to you.

Happy Birthday Church. Aren't you glad you're not still just wearing your birthday suit? 

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Why'd You Just Stand by and Let Her Die?

We've spent months praying for baby Finley to be healed. 

I've spent days wrestling with God, since hearing of her passing.  

The following story helped me find, peace. 

If you wonder why our prayers seem to go unanswered; why God seems to just stand idle; perhaps this will help you, too. 

“Stay the course, Mac and I’ll see you again.”

Maggie’s voice drifted across his memory like the wind…

Mac worked the muscles in his jaw and clenched his fist. “I would never let that happen to someone I loved if I could prevent it.” He pointed his finger toward the sky and noticed he was trembling. His chin quivered, “You could have prevented this. All of it…and You didn’t.” Mac sunk to the cockpit sole and drew his knees to his chest. “Why would you do nothing? Why?” For several moments he sat in silence listening and heard only the waves lapping against the side of his boat.

He knew he shouldn’t press so hard but he couldn’t shake the thought. “If one of my sailors stood by and watched a comrade get killed when they could have easily prevented it—I’d have him court marshaled, dishonorably discharged and I’d forever brand him as a coward.” He looked up; his eyes blurred with angry tears. “Now God, where does that leave us?”

No answer, just the gentle breeze, the lapping of the waves and the cry of the gull. “Yeah, ignore me some more—You’re good at that.” 

Then, a nagging question hit him. Why’d you let Richey join the Navy? You of all people knew the danger.

Mac made a single laugh that held no humor, “That’s not even the same thing God and You know it. Joining the Navy is not a death sentence. I didn’t want him to get hurt, but I’d have taken a bullet for him if I could to protect him. I certainly wouldn’t have stood by and watched without lifting a finger to help…like You.”

Silence filled the atmosphere. Another scene drifted into Mac’s mind. Richey stepped on a rusty nail when he was five. The nail was sticking out of the bottom of his shoe and Richey was hysterical. Maggie tried to pull it out, but Richey screamed bloody murder so they rushed him to the emergency room. The nail was removed, the area sterilized and Richey was sent to another room to wait for a tetanus shot.

Richey couldn’t understand why, after already being poked in the foot, they would want to poke him again, with a needle, in the arm. “I’ll be good—I won’t step on no more nails. Promise…Please…Please…Please don’t poke me no more.”

He cried. Maggie cried. Even the nurse who cleaned the wound cried. Maggie held Richey on her lap and rubbed his back and when his breathing settled, she whispered in his ear, “Do you trust me?”

Richey sniffed three times and tried to speak but could only make jerky little breaths. He squeezed his mom’s shoulders and looked in her eyes through tears and lifted his head up and down.

A lonesome wave rolled under the boat.

Mac shook his head hard and the memory vanished. But as he did other questions appeared. Was it Maggie’s fault he stepped on the nail? Did she make him? Why’d they hurt him again? The questions raced through Mac’s mind faster than he could answer but he knew the answers immediately.

“NO!  If Maggie had known, she’d have prevented it. And, sure the needle hurt—but it was for Richey’s own good. It’s not the same thing. How could cancer be good? How can whatever happened to Richey be good? Death is not good! Didn’t You say, ‘I’ve come to give life? Life not death!’”

Mac waved his hands in the air and looked toward the sky. His voice weak, about to break, “We don’t know the future, we’re just people—just stupid people…not God. Not eternal, not omniscient, omnipresent or omnipotent. I couldn’t help Mags…or Richey. I’m just a man.”

A single cry fell from his lips and he went to his knees, his hands clamped together and hung in front of him, his head tilted back facing the sky. Silence ruled for several moments. Mac listened to his racing, breaking heart. “I just don’t understand.”

One question rose to the top of a million others fighting for his attention. The Voice that asked the question was filled with compassion.

How can a man who doesn’t understand, blame a God who does?

Line by line slapped his soul, like waves against the boat…

It’s not My will that any should perish.

Life is a vapor.

The thief comes to kill steal and destroy.

There is none righteous, no not one.

My ways are not your ways.

Trust Me

Mac knew two things: the words rolling through his mind were from somewhere in the Bible, thanks to Maggie, insisting he make Bible reading a daily routine; and he was exhausted.

He poured himself onto the starboard bench. Folded his hands behind his head and stared straight into the sky. He tried to see through the clouds through the blue, through the solar system and into heaven—where Maggie was. 

Instead, all the scenes and questions rolled through his mind again—sailing with Richey, the Navy, the nail, the tetanus shot, Maggie. Mac watched the clouds; each one held a memory of Richey and Mags. But then, a vapor trail from a jet snaked into view. It floated like a water snake slithering across the sky. 

That’s when it hit him.

The venom that had bitten his wife and son happened not recently, but many years ago, back in a garden, where the world was right and good—God declared it very good and said, “I made this just for you, take the wheel.”

Mac let out a deep breath and shook his head. “But we handed the wheel to the snake…and now this.”

He pictured his wife and son.

Pain pierced its dagger one more time, but it was losing its sting.

Mac remembered Maggie’s plea, as he lifted his eyes toward heaven and his hands in surrender. “Alright, Captain Jesus, take the wheel—help me, to stay the course.”

The dagger dissolved and a gentle peace flooded his soul.

The circumstances didn’t change one bit—but Mac did. He knew that no matter what, somehow, he was going to make it through this storm. Without making a conscious effort, Mac did what he’d always done—what he’d taught Richey to do when adrift and lost at sea—look for and hold onto, what’s stable.

Although he knew there was an ocean full of things he didn’t understand; he knew God was the anchor for his souland he’d see his Maggie again.

And that was enough.

Above story is an excerpt from, The Voice.