WHATS IN THIS BLOG:
• Fish Creek beach.
• A little like heaven.
• Tragedy at Independence, Kansas.
• The process of pain.
• Any good purpose for the trials of life?
Fish Creek, Wisconsin is a tiny village pregnant with tourists in Door County – a finger of land that sticks out into Lake Michigan about a hundred miles north of Chicago.
FISH CREEK BEACH. I’m typing up my thoughts on my deck at 3 pm. Across the road is a beach. It’s not a man’s beach like in Australia with enormous waves crashing on miles of golden sand, and tanned surfer-hunks on the watch for rip tides. Fish Creek beach is only 75 yards long, with lawn not sand, and of course the water is fresh lake water not salt. But the kiddos love it. No megalodons here!
Twenty yards from my deck is a restaurant called the Blue Horse Cafe. I ordered a mocha frappuccino decaf. And it was a perfect coffee for sipping from the deck!
FISH CREEK, WISCONSIN, IS A LITTLE LIKE HEAVEN. The weather has been a sunny 80F – ideal for bathing or walking or shopping or hiking. From the deck I can hear the squeals of children swimming at the “beach”. And I can see the faces, all happy, sauntering along the street. Old folks, millennials, children, babes in strollers. All eager to explore the exquisite town of Fish Creek.
In contrast, THE NEWS FROM INDEPENDENCE, KANSAS, LAST WEEK WAS TRAGIC (I have family in Independence.) A successful businessman, Tim Valentine, died when piloting his small plane that crashed in Oklahoma. Also dead were a separate family of four: Bill Warner, his son, and his two young grand-children, all from Independence. Tim was a lay minister in a church. Such a tragedy for Independence! Brenda Warner, Bill’s wife, lost her husband, her son, and two grand-children.
According to Californian Pastor Rick Warren, pain and suffering in life coexist with happiness and excitement. Its like two rails in a railroad track.
MASSIVE DISTRESS. I have been reading a book called Live – Love – Lead, by Brian Houston. He’s an Australian pastor who started the ministry called Hillsong, now an international church famous for its creative songs of worship. In this book Brian discusses the horror and shame of finding out that his own father, a minister of the church for many years, was a pedophile, and was arrested. Suffering a shock like this dropped Brian into a lengthy period of depression with anxiety attacks. But out of this comes practical advice and encouragement to people in distress from hurt or pain or shame:
Houston writes transparently about this in a chapter called UNDERSTANDING THE PROCESS OF PAIN. Below are some valuable bullet excerpts from this chapter:
• Captain James Cook discovered the east coast of Australia in 1770. He named Botany Bay, near Sydney, and encountered aborigines for the first time. After this excitement, he crashed his wooden sailing ship, the HMS Endeavour, on the Great Barrier Reef. His crew tossed overboard everything they could lay their hands on – tools, bags of grain, jars of olives, even cannons. The ship became lighter and rose above the reef, and they were able to beach it for repairs, which took seven weeks. They called the place Cape Tribulation.
• Life consists of pain, disappointment, fear, and challenges as well as joy, excitement, confidence, and comfort.
• We must not get stuck in our pain.
• Suffering is not from God, but he uses our suffering because with God nothing is wasted. God took a bullet for us – the cross. He defeated sin and death so we can have joy and hope. Because of this we can endure life’s trials.
• But like Captain Cook, we often have to lighten our load if we want to keep sailing. Sometimes we have to change the way we’re living.
• We often feel that WE CAN’T SEE ANY GOOD PURPOSE IN THE TRIALS OF LIFE. But its amazing how God can use the experience to take us forward. To make us stronger, wiser, more compassionate. To give us more depth, or our business a new lease on life. To give our family a second chance at affection and understanding. To force us into the arms of God for a more intimate relationship.
• We can cooperate with the solution rather than remain a victim of the problem.
• We can seek out the power of community for help through a difficult problem. We need the comfort of others and their support.
• What begins as a prison of pain can become a prism of praise. In the Bible, Joseph was kidnapped by his brothers, sold as a slave to Egypt, accused falsely by his owner’s wife, and jailed as a result. “His soul was in the iron.” But God pulled him through eventually, and he rose to become the CEO of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh.
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PS: I write blogs about Inspiration and Hope, Science and Energy, and Health and Hiking.