Praise be given to our gracious and loving God. I didn’t know where to start, so I am doing what I know to be wise and expedient. God is so good; and, as I see this world unravel, I pray that many will truly see how good he really is.
My life, in a sense, has been one continual bad luck story that seemingly has no ending. I am the product of a single parent family of seven. I was born in the early forty’s; and, being without a father, we had very little of this earth’s possessions and necessities. There were no government handouts or assistance programs back then, but the country did not have the financial problems that it has today. When you talk of poverty today, so many just do not relate or understand what you are talking about; but, when you lived it, it becomes a part of your personality, of whom you really are. I do not wish to bemoan my meager past because, in all honesty, I believe I am a better person because of it. As we talk about God’s guardianship, we are only giving credence to his ability to do what is necessary and consequential. To think that God did not love me and that I would have to survive on my own was never a notion. Life was difficult; and, in many instances, not what I wanted it to be; but I can say without hesitation, I never felt that I was going through it all alone.
God gives every one of his children those things that they need; and, without his loving-kindness, we would not only have little; we would have nothing. I am not defending God or trying to make him something he is not. God needs no defense, and his character has never been in question. The many stories that have been related only go to prove his total goodness; and, if we are to be honest we must acknowledge our worthlessness. Everything that God allows has a purpose, and he has never allowed anything to happen that was not for our eventual good and advancement. The fact that so many have missed the real significance of life and place God in a position of adversary or intruder is our true dilemma.
If I am to be found compassionate, where do I find any room to dismiss what has happened and not place myself into that same predicament? Remember that God does not allow anything to happen without purpose or reason. I do not feel that we as individuals can dismiss the pain and suffering of others as inconsequential and unimportant. It’s not happening to me so why do I care? So many of the things that happen to others are for our own benefit and advancement. If we are willing to view things in their completeness and heed the warning that God is giving us, we can avoid the pain that others have had to go through. This is where I see the importance of sharing with others in a genuine feeling of compassion and concern. Truly, God allows us to go through those moments of refinement and perfecting; but there is not a problem that has occurred or difficulty arisen that is not for the good of society, as well as for the good of individuals. As an experience is being related, do I sympathize with those that have experienced it, and then do I take from it the important lesson(s) and apply them in my own life? Do I thank God for his goodness and ask for his protection in my own life and in the lives of my family and loved ones?
The dilemmas or difficulties in my life have made me a better person and have allowed me to accomplish far more than I could have ever accomplished without there occurrence. I have come to a point in my life where I have told God; whatever it takes, Lord, let my life amount to something more than my stubborn pride and selfishness will take me. I do not see this as a burden or hardship; I count it a blessing or my reasonable service. So many go through life and never see their true importance or possibilities. They make life difficult by their unwillingness to surrender and forgive. We have been deluded by this world telling us that we are only worth what we own or possess; and, in order to be successful, we must be well-to-do. True wealth is not material; and, to have the peace and joy that only God can give, we must be full of his love and compassion.
Several years ago my daughter, Heather, experienced a terrible auto accident where, without the grace of God, she would have died along with the passenger that was riding with her. Her legs were crushed; and, without the compassion and expertise of an elderly doctor, she would have had them amputated. She spent several weeks in the hospital and under went many surgeries to correct the damage done in the accident. Her friend riding with her was dead at the scene; but, because there were a couple of nurses in a car just behind them, he was given CPR and life-flighted to the hospital where he revived. She has since gone on with her life and is a cheerful example of what God can do through adversity. She will be the first to tell you about the goodness of God and how he protects his children.
In the early 1990’s, I was called at work to go home because my house was on fire; and it looked like I would lose everything that I had. I can remember standing there and watching as my house was burning to the ground and wondering, Why God? It was very difficult for me to see and to understand, but I had a peace in my heart that was telling me I was not alone and that all my needs would be taken care of. I lost many things that I thought were important; but, through it all, I gained the knowledge that God would forever meet my needs and that so many of the things I valued were really of no true worth. Many of the things that were not destroyed in the fire were later stolen and I was left having to start all over again. I can’t say that I would want to experience it again; but I did several years later, and through all the devastation and despair I really got to see what in life is truly important. God truly is good, and he will not hold back on all that he has promised. My house was insured; and, because of that, I was able to afford a somewhat better place. Most of my worldly possessions were destroyed, but all of those things that I needed God has faithfully replaced.
The list goes on, but each time I have felt the Lord ever so near. Six years ago my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, and we had to do the extended procedure that was required for her to survive. She took 6 kemo treatments and then had to take 33 radiation treatments for several weeks thereafter. For each treatment we had to travel 80 or 90 miles, but God was with us through it all. Since her recovery we have helped in starting a cancer care group called “Care to Share” to help those that are in need as they are going through their long and costly treatments. The group has become a success and is helping many to cope with their predicament.
Several years ago, my house was hit by a tornado. I can remember lying in bed as the storm howled all around me. I live in an area of Kansas where, it a moment, the weather can become quite severe. I can remember telling God that I knew everything belongs to him but I then remember asking him for his mercy and deliverance. I recall my son entering my bedroom and telling me to get into the basement because the tornado was spotted and it was headed our way. As I made my way to safety the windows exploded glass throughout the house and the roof was lifted from its perch. After the storm was over we had sustained several thousand dollars of damage but no one was injured and I was thanking God for seeing us through. As I pondered why it happened I was made to understand that the goodness of God does not mean that we will not have to go through difficulty but the he will be with us though it all. The only way that doubt can be dismissed and our faith can grow is when we see God at work first hand. When you are allowed to experience God’s protection, then you are able to put away all fear and begin to understand his marvelous dependability and power.
As we consider doing what many seem to be considered foolish let us, with the help of an almighty God, give as if we were giving unto Him. True blessings come from heavenly places; and, if we are to enjoy what God has provided, we must be willing to share it with others. Without a spirit of compassion how are we to understand the true sacrifice given us by God? The tears that we shed for our own sorrow can only be made justifiable when we shed them for the concerns of another. The true expression of love can only be felt when it is shared and to hoard any feelings of fondness will only make us self-centered and unforgiving. Resentment and bitterness are products of a selfish spirit and if we are to experience true joy it must be obtained by our willingness to share. There is something liberating about showing love for others and the compassion that we show to others will only be given back several fold. True contentment can only be felt when we see our lives being use to accomplish those things that are upright and productive. What better statement can be made than that we were loving and in doing so we were loved. The true wealth of this world is in obtaining those things that are eternal. Giving of yourself will never be considered as a waste and to separate yourself from those things that are considered self serving will only prove to be extremely gratifying.
God has promised to meet our every need and if we are willing to trust in His goodness we will never be left wanting. I have seen God at work and I know that He will never leave His work faulty or undone. With God everything is the best and without Him we will be left with nothing. Why do we complain or remain in want when it is God’s desire to bless us? The provisions of God are eternal and it is His desire that we are blessed by all He wants to provide. The heart of God only seeks to love and in His love there can only remain what is good and holy. God seeks to give so that we can live. Without God giving His love we would cease to live and without our desire to be like Him we will not obtain His glory.
I do not intend to say that life is not difficult; but, without God, it would be impossible. Recently, since the death of my mother, I have started writing music; and now I am working on a book. You may think that this is nothing out of the ordinary but knowing the circumstances may change your mind. I am not a music or writing professional, not in any form of the word. I do not have a singing voice or play any kind of musical instrument. All my work is done acapella; and, without my singing, there would be no music. I have serious breathing and allergy problems and find it difficult singing without gasping for breath. I take several medications to control my sinuses and find it difficult, if not impossible, to sing many of the songs I have written. What little I know about writing music you could place on the head of a match; and I have asked God many times, “Are you sure this is what you want me to do?” You would think, given the odds, that what I am doing could not happen; but, as God’s Word puts it, “With God all things are possible.”
I have had an extensive college education, obtaining a BFA and MS degree in the arts. My creativity was never directed in a way to bless others, and I find it strange that God has asked me to do what I know he has asked me to do. I have set up a web page with the help of my oldest son, Chad (www.myownmelody.com); and, as I have written music, I have handed out hundreds of copies. So far I have gotten a positive response and been told to keep doing what many feel God has told me to do. I am not very adept in marketing or production; and my message has been slow and difficult in its conveyance; but that has not dampened my resolve. At this time I have written 670 songs; and, if God allows me to remain here on earth, I will write 670 more. I am retired and have little income; but, I know that if I remain faithful, God will supply all of my needs. My intent is not to become famous or well-known, but to point those I can reach unto a loving and caring Savior.
My prayer is that God will bless the efforts of all those who have unselfishly given of their time and talents to honor him. You truly cannot and will not experience the true blessing of God until you allow him to direct and utilize your life in the way that he has intended.
Care to Share the Cancer support group of Fort Scott, Kansas, 66701
The Sharing Bucket
P.O. Box 133
Fort Scott, KS 66701