|Vol. 14 No. 7 July 2012||
On Friday, March 2, 2012, our country [USA] was ravaged by an outburst of terrible tornadoes that brought death and destruction in at least 13 states. One tornado in the state of Kentucky stayed on the ground for 95 miles! Two others stayed on the ground for some 40 miles. At least one town was completely destroyed. Some forty plus persons lost their lives in a moment of time when their houses and other buildings fell on them. One infant was found critically injured in a field, and later we learned that she died, as well as the rest of her family. Hearts were broken and heads were bowed down with grief and sorrow as people saw the destruction of properties and learned of the loss of lives. You are made to feel so small and insignificant when you consider the onslaught of nature’s forces. My wife and I prepared the best we could by getting into closets when the warning came for our county, but even then, we did not feel secure. It is only when the clear signal was given did we feel relieved.
In life, we all experience storms of various kinds. Sometimes like the tornadoes, they come upon us so suddenly that we are overwhelmed. Please excuse the personal experience, but one of the greatest encounters with the storms of life was the death of my ‘baby brother’ who was only 35 years of age when he was killed while walking across a four lane highway in the state of Pennsylvania. I received the news by telephone at 1:00 a.m. the following morning. The next day, I had the responsibility of identifying his body. I sought refuge under the sheltering wings of my Heavenly Father. He was the second son of my mother who had been killed, the first in WWII at the age of 19.
I have been with families who have lost loved ones and have witnessed the tremendous grief they suffered; especially do I remember when close friends lost their teenage daughter in an automobile accident. Then there is a friend who has been greatly affected with the ‘Lou Gehrig’ disease. In but a short time she has become almost completely helpless. Individuals as ‘wage earners’ for their families have lost their jobs because of the economic situation in our nation. People like widows who are on a limited income have to make decisions as to whether to fill their much-needed medicine or to buy groceries. Almost daily, we learn of families who have lost their loved ones in a foreign county as they serve in the military. There is the constant threat of war between Israel and Iran that would involve our nation, along with others. Even our schools are not safe because of the real threat of some students bent on killing their classmates. Evil is ever present in our society. Slowly, but surely some of our religious rights are being threatened by leaders on different levels of our government. We will all experience ‘storms of life.’ If we live long enough, we will experience some kind of ‘storms’ that will bring us much sorrow and try our faith.
One of the basic reasons why I am thankful for the Book of Psalms is because David suffered so much because of the ‘storms of life’. That brings me to Psalm 57:1, which may have been written in a cave while he was hiding from King Saul who sought to kill him. Read carefully his words: “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, Until these calamities have passed by.”
As Christians, many of our hymns bring comfort and solace to our troubled hearts in the time of storms that we experience. In 1958, Mosie Lister wrote both the lyrics and music to this beautiful song. May you find strength in it.
Till the Storm Passes By
In the dark of the midnight,
Have I oft hid my face;
While the storm howls above me,
And there’s no hiding place;
‘Mid the crash of the thunder,
Precious Lord, hear my cry;
“Keep me safe ‘til the storm passes by.”
Many times Satan whispers,
“There is no need to try;
For there’s no end of sorrow,
There’s no hope by and by”;
But I know Thou art with me,
And tomorrow I’ll rise;
Where the storms never darken the skies.
When the long night has ended,
And the storms come no more,
Let me stand in Thy presence.
On that bright, peaceful shore.
In that land where the tempest
Never comes, Lord may I
Dwell with Thee when the storm passes by.
‘Til the storm passes over,
‘Til the thunder sounds no more;
‘Til the clouds roll forever from the sky,
Hold me fast, let me stand,
In the hollow of Thy hand;
Keep me safe ‘til the storm passes by.
Hold me fast, Let me stand,
In the hollow of Thy hand;
Keep me safe ‘til the storm passes by.
‘Till the storm passes by.
One of the results of the concern over the emission of greenhouse gases and the impact on the environment is a measurement of carbon dioxide (CO2) called the carbon footprint. This is the measurement of the amount of carbon dioxide released into the environment by the daily activities of individuals, institutions, and businesses. Nature.org provides a carbon footprint calculator for you to measure your footprint and that of your household. The following introduction is given at the website.
Inevitably, in going about our daily lives – commuting, sheltering our families, eating – each of us contributes to the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change. Yet, there are many things each of us, as individuals, can do to reduce our carbon emissions. The choices we make in our homes, our travel, the food we eat and what we buy and throw away all influence our carbon footprint and can help ensure a stable climate for future generations.
Humankind has always had an impact, both constructive and destructive, on the creation that God has entrusted to us. My purpose in this little article is not to discuss the issue of global warming. Rather, when recently reflecting on the kingdom of God, I thought, here is an illustration of what I will call the kingdom footprint.
The kingdom footprint, as I define it, is the amount of the likeness of God, in righteousness, in holiness, in peace and in love that we have released into the environment around us as we go about our daily activities. To borrow the quote above from Nature.org:
Inevitably, in going about our daily lives – commuting, the activities of the workplace, interactions in and maintenance of our marriages and families, working out at the gym, putting on the greens, eating in restaurants, reacting to the person who accidentally rammed our car, supporting and cheering on our favorite sports teams on whatever level of play, in the classroom, shopping, treatment of those who serve us at stores, restaurants, hospitals and the list can go on and on of the activities and circumstances of our varied daily lives – inevitably, each of us leaves a kingdom footprint. The choices we make in our daily lives, in each circumstance, in each interaction with others, all influence our kingdom footprint and can help influence the world around us with the righteousness, peace and joy of the kingdom of God.
May we have the faith, the strength, the courage, the hope and the love for the light of God’s kingdom to shine through our lives. May the kingdom footprint we leave on the community in which we live be large with the righteousness, peace and joy.
The kingdom of God is a matter “of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). “You are the salt of the earth… You are the light of the world… let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Jesus in Matthew 5:13-16).