Saturday, January 19, 2013

Melting The Snow

We got about three inches of snow in my community a couple of days ago.  Although it may not sound like much to most people who live in the United States,  to those of us who live just north of Birmingham, Alabama, it's a big deal.  In our area, we maybe get a significant snow about two times a year (sometimes never).  But, when it does snow, schools close, people scurry to the stores to buy milk and bread (don't know why because we rarely lose our power due to winter weather) and motor vehicle accidents abound as drivers attempt to navigate on slippery roads.  Local TV stations provide wall-to-wall coverage as the snow engulfs our area, giving continuous updates until the last snowflake has fallen.

That was two days ago.  Today the high was in the low 50's.  As a result, I decided to go jogging in my neighborhood, a frequent occurrence when weather conditions are favorable.  As I was running, I noticed a few rooftops were still covered with significant snow.  The entire roofs were not blanketed with snow, mind you, just the areas that the sun had not been able to penetrate.  I recognized that, in order for the snow to melt, it would take one or two phenomena to occur.  First, the sun would have to reach the snowy areas to begin the melting process.  Second, if the sun couldn't shine on these areas, just an overall increase in the temperature would do the trick.

Come to think of it, we all have cold areas in our lives or snow that needs to be melted away.  The snow could be something like bitterness, unforgiveness, worldliness, anger, hate, etc.  Basically, the snow could be whatever area of our lives that does not resonate the warmth of God's love.  So, how does the Heavenly Father get to these areas?  He turns up the heat in the form of trials or tribulations.  This heat could be financial difficulties, job struggles, or, as I strongly believe, physical  sickness.  Although the heat is painful, it ultimately points us to God in perhaps ways we have never seen Him before.  David mentions this in Psalms 119:71, proclaiming, "It was good that I was afflicted, that I may learn Thy statutes."

Ultimately, it's painful having snow melt in our lives.  Yet, God in His wisdom, sometimes uses our deepest hurts (such as cancer) to penetrate down to the inner recesses of our souls.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Mourning To Dancing

Just finished reading Bill O'Reilly's book, "Killing Lincoln:The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever".  The book focuses on the life of Abraham Lincoln in the two weeks prior to his death and ends with the capture of John Wilkes Booth and his co-conspirators.  Although I was somewhat familiar with some of the details of Lincoln's death, there were numerous facts which Mr. O'Reilly and his co-author Martin Dugard brought to my attention.  For example, I never knew that Ford's Theater was originally a Baptist church.  That's right.  From 1833-1859, it was the First Baptist Church of Washington.  In 1859, The First Baptist Church congregation merged with The Fourth Baptist Church and moved out of the facility.  The property was purchased by theater manager John T. Ford from Baltimore and opened as a state of the art performance facility in 1863.

So, at one time, it was a church, a place which brings many glorious thoughts to mind.  You see, for me, going to church is a peaceful place.  Since I was born again in 1975, I have attended church regularly since that time except for when I was "providentially hindered", e.g. couldn't make it to church due to work or sickness.  However, the joy of worshipping my Savior, fellowshipping with other believers and hearing God's Word proclaimed is something I relish on a weekly basis.  In that place, I feel love, I feel comfort,  and I feel happiness.  It is a wonderful place of refuge from the harshness of life.

Even though Ford's Theater was no longer a church, in a sense, it was still a happy place.  Audiences came, laughed, cheered, cried and sang as skilled performers entertained them on a nightly basis.  It was a respite from the world.  Even our sixteenth president saw it as a welcome relief to escape from the anguish of the recent Civil War.

 Hence, it saddens me to think of the tragedy that occurred in Ford's Theater on the night of April 14th, 1865 when John Wilkes Booth shot the President. In one night, the whole theater changed. It would no longer be known for its actors but for its assassin.  As a result, after the shooting, Congress felt it was no longer appropriate to use the theater to entertain others so it was purchased from Mr. Ford and converted to a federal office building.  Not until 1968 was it reopened as a theater again, well over one hundred years after the tragedy that had occurred in its midst.

It is said that time heals all wounds, whether it be a diagnosis of cancer or another tragedy in life.  It took well over a century for Ford's Theater to be restored to its former glory.  Although it may take many years to recover, we must continually trust the Heavenly Father to one day turn our mourning into dancing.  Furthermore, the Bible encourages us to "not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary." (Galatians 6:8 NASB)

You can learn more about my cancer victory and insights I gained from the battle by reading my book, "A Place I Didn't Want To Go: My Victory Over Cancer".  It can be accessed at: