COMPOST Matthew 13

The gardens around our home are becoming more beautiful and lush. Mainly due to my wife’s ‘green thumb’. She’s a wiz at gardening. Removing critters that eat away with abandon. Weeds don’t have a chance. New ideas grab hold of her only to make our gardens even more gorgeous.

The earth that makes up our home lot consists of river rock soil. Sounds fine until you want to dig into it. Almost impossible. Hit rocks at every turn. Can hardly make a dent. But after eight years of hammering away, it’s coming along and giving way.

What makes the difference? Good old compost. Fresh scraps from meal preparation, coffee grounds, wood chips, and especially the gifts given by worms who eat that stuff leaving casings (manure) that add richness to our compost. Planting this mixture into our soil, and blending it thoroughly, produces a gumbo of luxurious soil. Compost.

Matthew 13 contains Jesus’ parable about soil. A farmer spreads seeds over his fields. Most wind up falling on less than favorable soil conditions that then produce a poor crop, if any at all. Some get eaten by birds right off the bat. Other seeds have shallow roots and don’t survive. Some grow up between noxious weeds that choke the life out of them. The last group is planted in good soil, grabbing hold and producing crops like gangbusters. Thirty, sixty, one hundred-fold of grain galore!

Later on, Jesus explains to His disciples that the good soil represents God’s Word implanted in them and then acted upon–‘As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields…’ (Matt. 13:23). The good earth of God’s Word leads to a productive life for Jesus. That’s what I want. To be useful for the Master. Who wouldn’t?

I picture the Lord’s good soil involving compost. For when you read your Bible you come across all kinds of characters. A concoction of personalities and abilities. Much like you and me. Many start out strong for God and then wind up on some trash pile somewhere out in the desert. Like King Saul and Solomon. Others amble along trying to avoid trouble, only to find it smack dab in their faces. Like Gideon and Job. While some finish up fully committed to the Lord, yet paying the ultimate price with their lives. Like most of Jesus’ apostles.

So, that good soil involves messy stuff like those Bible madcap eccentrics. Like you and me! Tossed out as abject failures. Full of regrets. Sinners, yet forgiven, thankfully. All the spoiled stuff of our lives can meld and blend together in the warmth of God’s Word into something useful for Jesus. Like compost.

I need this message. I’m sure there are others who do also. For when we keep reminding ourselves how horrible we’ve been, then Satan robs us of the joy of God’s forgiveness. When we get stuck in the past, not letting go of what God has forgiven, then we can’t effectively serve Him. Puts us on our back foot, off balance, and dizzy. Too much looking in the rearview mirror, missing what’s right in front of us, becoming useless soil.

I need to put His promises into action. Planted and rooted in the good soil of His Word. Where can I hear Him? You know. Your Bible. The true good earth. Time to plant?

Why not give Jesus our compost, the jumble and muddle of our lives? What we’ve mishandled and mismanaged. And watch what He makes of it. Surprising what good can come out of our seeming messes when given to Jesus. Give it a try. You’ll see! Want to?

Lord Jesus, thank you for placing me in the best place of all, right next to you. Amen.

CLING Joshua 23

I love reading 19th-century novels such as those authored by Dickens, Tolstoy, Eliot, Melville, Austen, and more. One recently recommended is entitled ‘Shirley’ by Charlotte Bronte. It’s proving to be a real page-turner. Bronte’s descriptive powers are breathtaking and sublime. Masterfully crafted language with nary a swear word, thankfully. Aren’t you tired of the smut oozing out of our current culture, which seems to lack any semblance of ‘culture’ whatsoever? When you think it can’t get any worse, it does.

But there’s nothing new about a decaying society. You know about the Old Testament book of Judges, where everyone does exactly what they themselves want to do regardless of God’s ways or will. They’re mad to defy and flaunt the Law of the Lord. Maybe it’s recreation or cheap entertainment for them. If they want to do something, they’ll do it. Defiant bigshots. See what I mean? There’s ‘nothing new under the sun’.

But what precedes the book of Judges offers some semblance of hope. The Israelite leader Joshua is tasked with the unenviable job of settling Israel into its twelve tribal land allotments. You can imagine the war-mongering going on from within and without. Battles rage yet victories outnumber defeats. Near the end of Joshua’s life, he challenges his people to choose whom they will serve–the One True God of Israel or the gods of neighboring nations? Decision day arrives.

As Yogi Berra says, ‘When you get to the fork in the road, take it!’ But Joshua offers a more decided choice. All roads don’t lead to Rome or Yogi’s home! You either follow the Lord or align yourself with pagan gods. Not ‘all of the above’ on God’s multiple choice test. Decide, already.

Knowing how wonderful Israel’s God has been to them, the miracles He performs, what kind of choice is that? Should be a no-brainer. Like rejecting everything to embrace nothing. As my Grandfather Fischer used to say: ‘Smart like your father, you dope you!’ So, who’s not playing with a full deck? Read the book of Judges to find out.

Many years ago, I chose to follow Jesus. To accept His offer of love and forgiveness. To be my Lord and Savior. How could I not? And then to make the Bible my life’s guidebook. Also to hang out with others who’ve chosen the same Lord and guide. Is that it? There must be more. Seems way too simple.

So, what does God require of us? There’s got to be a catch somewhere. Something that’s hidden in the fine print, which I can barely read? Too good to be true? Let’s check it out.

Hints can be found in the Old Testament Book of Joshua. ‘Therefore, be very strong to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, turning aside from it neither to the right hand nor to the left, that you may not mix with these nations remaining among you or make mention of the names of their gods…’ (Joshua 23:6-7). GPS is your Bible. God’s Positioning System! He’ll lead. We’ll follow.

More? ‘Be very careful, therefore, to love the Lord your God’ (Josh. 23:11). Something else? ‘…but you shall cling to the Lord your God…’ (Josh. 23:8).

As I read these verses, I understand that following the Lord Jesus is not tied up with rituals and rules. Of course, there are do’s and don’ts but not to hamstring us. He wants to help us. Giving us good guidance with ways to live a life that is for our best. Being in a loving relationship with us, as we freely choose to follow Jesus. Loving Him back. Clinging to the Lord. Hanging on to His every word. Not letting go. Does He ask too much of us? Does He?

Back to Charlotte Bronte–‘…it is felt that a pitying God watches what all mankind has forsaken; the tender compassion of Jesus is recalled and relied on. The faded eye, the gazing beyond Time, sees a Home, a Friend, a Refuge in Eternity’ (‘Shirley’).

I choose to rely on Jesus. To cling to my Friend who prepares a Home for me, a Refuge, a safe place, not only for a fleeting moment but forever. How could anyone turn their back on such promised good news?

Thank you, Jesus, for being my true forever Friend. Amen.

THE KEY Ecclesiastes 5: 8-20

A friend’s mother warns him to shy away from the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes. Why? He’s not sure but he’s tiptoed around it ever since. Not me. I love this book. It’s nitty-gritty. Down-to-earth. With warts and all. That’s for me.

I know we hear that life today is jam-packed with anxieties. Super busy. Preoccupied. All wound up, tied up, and hung up. Less free time than what’s promised at one of the pavilions at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, where smart-aleck prognosticators picture us flying here and there in personal helicopters with household chores done solely by robots. In someone’s dreams. Or nightmares.

Hard-pressed and swamped only in our time? I don’t think so. In a way, we’re spoiled rotten. Troubles come followed quickly by a check from the government. Food galore makes us roly-poly and groggy. Possess so much stuff that we need self-storage facilities all over the place. Park $80,000 trucks in the driveway while enclosed garages overflow with junk galore. We’d be the envy of previous generations? Are you sure about that? I’m not.

In spite of someone’s warnings, check out Ecclesiastes 5:20–‘ For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.’ God focuses our hearts and minds joyfully upward rather than snared in a downdraft of worries and fears.

I wish someone would tell me how to do that. Sorry to admit that I quickly trip into thinking that the worst will happen in no time flat. One wrong move and God will get me. Anything bad must be my fault including earthquakes and enemy attacks. See what I mean? I know all about being preoccupied with what drags me down.

But it’s my occupation, so to speak, that the Lord wants. Pinpoint focusing on Him. Giving Him my life. After all, He can do more with it than I can. Being uplifted by God’s promises, getting His Word entrenched in my thick craw, crowding out those pins and needles. Pushing hard.

When I was going through a year of medical tests, surgery, and follow-ups, I kept Isaiah 26:3 right at hand, nestled firmly in my mind–‘ thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee.’ When fear comes on stage, I quickly quote from God’s script. It feels reassuring, planting God’s Word deep within. The Bible standing by me, a most welcome companion, whose hand I hold onto tightly. And still do.

Did all my fears evaporate? Hardly. But they’re pushed out a bit more to the fringes of my mind allowing faith to make a better showing. No room for both in full bloom. Clip and prune your fears and faith grows taller and more muscular. It’s true. Give it a try.

But don’t wait for some disaster to strike. Find a couple of Bible verses to memorize this week. Why not Isaiah 26:3 and Ecclesiastes 5:20? Hold onto them. Don’t let go no matter what, and you’ll find yourself occupied with joy from the Lord Jesus, the key to life in all its fullness.

Lord Jesus, I love you, and thank you for always standing with me. Amen.

HONEY Proverbs 24

Our silver anniversary French River cruise was one for the book. On board, the food was sumptuous and scrumptious. Something unique was provided for our enjoyment at the breakfast and lunch buffets. A wooden honeycomb frame about a foot and a half square, where you could spoon out whatever quantity of honey your tummy desires. I enjoyed honeycomb treats every day at both meals.

Not everyone chomped away. One passenger made it crystal clear to her hubby, and those of us within earshot, what she thought of this gooey goodness. ‘I don’t like honey,’ she’d bellow. Too bad, so sad. More for the rest of us!

Proverbs 24:13-14–‘My son, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste. Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off.’

Wisdom. I’m sure I have some. Don’t I? Probably none in abundance. And, in and of myself, not worth writing home about. I wonder where I can get more? Any ideas?

You know. Go to the head of the class. Yes, the Bible. From cover to cover, it’s God’s Word. Totally trustworthy and true. Helpful and wise like nothing else. Puts us on the straight and narrow and keeps us there. Picks us up when we’ve fallen into some ditch of our own making. Wipes us off. Cleans us up. That’s my experience, yet He’s not done with messy old me. There’s more needed, sorry to say.

When the Bible speaks, God speaks. What better voice to hear? Who knows best? Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? I’d have to say yes. I’ve done some checking elsewhere. Scoped out the competition. Studied under some rather liberal religious professors, who thought they knew it all. Many cast the Bible as just another record of ancient myths and fables. They rest smugly on the settled science of theological arrogance. Of their own making. They should get off your high horses before they fall off. Watch out, Humpty-Dumpty! I’m moving out of the way. A big crash is coming. Sheltered safe and secure under God’s Word.

I’m glad I heard those discordant voices, casting doubt and disrepute about the Bible, for they inadvertently drove me back to God’s Word, where it made the most sense. And still does. More than ever.

Can I figure it all out? All of my questions answered? Not quite. But that’s why I dig deeper into my Bible. More time committed to and with my Lord Jesus. Learning and studying are never-ending. No Summa Cum Loud Mouth for me. Graduation day has yet to come.

I know myself. That I need more of Him daily. For I run out of spiritual steam way too soon. If I skip getting closer to the Lord in prayer and His Word, the gas tank quickly runs on empty, sputtering out by the side of the road. When I let worry grab hold of my mind, imagining all the possible horrors that await me, forgetting His promises, I sink deeper into fear, ignoring how close He wants to be with me, right there next to me holding my hands. Now you can see why I dare not neglect Jesus and His Word.

Again, wisdom is but a Book away. Sweet as honey. Spoon it on your plate. Take all you want. Relish its sweetness. Plenty to go around. Never runs out. No supply-chain delays or over-inflated price gouging.

Go ahead, try some. You’ll like it. So good and healthful. Besides, it’s the wise thing to do. Honey.

Thank you, Lord, for your gift of the Bible. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Matthew 8 in the New Testament focuses on three healings by Jesus. None involve surgery or advanced medical procedures involving robots. No high-powered medicines are prescribed. No vaccines or boosters are required. Only Jesus’ word and touch. For what He says happens. Whoever needs His touch receives healing help.

When I came to believe in Jesus, I became less lonely. Fewer feelings of inferiority, fearfulness, and self-consciousness. Fewer troubles are found when placed squarely in Jesus’ hands. His Words and touch lighten the load. He takes up residence within us. Comforts us with His gift of the Holy Spirit.

All better? On top of the world? Always happy as a clam? Like a child with a new toy? Kind of. As you can well imagine, I have a long ways to go. But the trend is my friend. Two steps forward follow one back. Being Jesus’ follower is a daily task, regardless of your age. Goofing off is not recommended.

One healing done by Jesus in Matthew 8 is of the Apostle Peter’s mother-in-law. Jesus and His disciples gather at Peter’s home only to find that his mother-in-law suffers from a raging fever, which puts her to bed. Being a busy person, she wants to do what’s needed around the house to make Jesus’ stay more pleasant. She likes to help. Lives to give. Not to be served but to serve. But she can’t now. Who knows what this fever will lead to? Could it be the end for her?

Not to fear. The Master is here. The light touch of Jesus drains away that nasty fever. Gone and good riddance. Now what? Her strength returns. She throws off the covers. Watch out. Get out of her way. She’s back in action! ‘He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve Him’ (Matt. 8:15).

Don’t imagine for one moment that Jesus heals her so that she can wait on Him hand and foot. Puts her back to work. Gets the most out of this old lady. Uses her for the drudgery she could perform.

No. For when you know Jesus, you can’t help but want to do your part. To follow His lead, getting behind Him. Serving the Lord is a natural overflow from our relationship with Him. The closer you get to Jesus, the more you want to please Him. To hear Him say, ‘…Well done, good and faithful servant’ (Matt. 25:21). Those would be the best words I could ever hear. But will I?

Jesus gave His all to have us near Him, forgiven and clean. As His children and heirs. Can you imagine?

Are we thankful enough to serve Him as best we can? Am I? Are you? After all, it’s only natural.

Thank you, Jesus, for being my Lord and Savior. Amen.

A CONTINUAL FEAST Proverbs 15:15

Give me a buffet any day. A continual feast of food. Could be at a high-end restaurant for Easter brunch, a simple one at a Chinese restaurant, or tables loaded with homecooked goodies at a church potluck supper. Love them all.

It’s in Europe that we’ve relished breakfasts at hotels we’ve stayed at. One my wife and I will never forget was on our 25th wedding anniversary, enjoying brunch at the Ritz Carlton Cannes Hotel in France, directly facing the Mediterranean Sea. What a magnificent spread. Culinary elegance at its best. Thankfully, they didn’t weigh us before and after to compute our bill. But a feast that never ended was there for our enjoyment. And did we ever!

Trying to move off of food for a moment, which seems like a chore, let’s look at some wise words found in Proverbs 15:15–‘All the days of the afflicted are evil, but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast.’ Don’t you love such wisdom? It should come as no surprise. For it comes from the Bible, God’s own Word.

Sure there are lots of daily troubles. Worries plague us. Pandemics past, present, and when in the future? We know they happen. Do we ever. Now we’re on the alert for more to come. When? Who knows? We don’t have a clue, but trauma puts us on edge. Such fear afflicts us even when times are good. Worry robs us even when no thief is around. Bad days come as we allow anxiety to grab us by the throat not letting go.

What about that second part of verse 15? About how to live and how to look at life. As in trusting God. Staying close to our Lord. Putting faith into action–‘…but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast.’ Joy and gladness continually feed us, making tough times that much less.

What’s ironic about nourishing your relationship with Jesus is that the closer you get to Him, the more you want Him. Those buffets we enjoyed took a long time to recover from, to get back our appetite. Thoughts of food were far from our minds, sometimes for a day or two. Or at least until an evening snack!

But with Jesus, the more you take, the more He gives. The more you open your life to Him, the more you discover His wonder and love. Never enough. Always more to enjoy of our Lord and Saviour. Glee multiplies. Happiness radiates with kindness. He cheers our hearts and minds as promised in Proverbs. Cloudy, rainy days see some clearing. Smiles finally show up. Why not? After all, He is our continual feast!

Lord Jesus, you are all I need. Amen.

NICE TO MEET YOU! Proverbs 14: 22

Recently I met the fiance of a friend from the church where I’ve been honored to serve as their emeritus pastor. Both widowed, grew up near each other, and both with love for the Lord. A match made on earth, arranged for in heaven.

When greeting this fiance, I said the following –‘Nice to meet you!’ And it was. So gratifying to see happy people planning a life together, sharing families, memories of days gone by, and creating new experiences together as a married couple.

This man and woman remind me of a meeting we can all have. With God. When we commit our lives to Him, trying, as best we can, to live His ways, knowing that He’s available for us 24/7, 365. For when you meet the Risen Jesus, an eternal relationship begins. What could be better? Any ideas?

How about winning a mega lottery? Multiple millions in our grubby paws? But winners often wind up losers for varied reasons, worse off than before they hit the jackpot. But you and I would be different. We can handle having a gazillion bucks in our clutches, fending off relatives we’ve never heard of, who immediately pop out of the woodwork. Right? Probably wrong. That’s you, I mean. I’ll keep greedy folk far away. Right? Fat chance, once again.

Here’s something far better–knowing Jesus places us in His hands forever. He’s the one we meet when you ask Him into your life. I met Jesus when I was 16 while listening to a radio program on a Sunday evening. Over the years, He’s become more precious to me in spite of my tendency to walk my own way, wanting what I want, tossing sand in His face, so to speak.

When you meet the Risen Jesus, you shake hands with two wonderful words found here in the Old Testament book of Proverbs–‘…Those who devise good meet steadfast love and faithfulness’ (Pr. 14:22). ‘Steadfast love’ and ‘faithfulness’ are two precious character traits of the Lord. You’ll see them coupled together throughout the Old Testament.

‘Steadfast love’ is God’s commitment to His own, which lasts when everything else fails and fades away. His promises endure it all. When He gives you His hand, He won’t pull it back. Like a marriage between a man and a woman, who love each other and stay committed to each other, so is God’s steadfast love.

Here’s more–‘faithfulness’. Where God stands by us. With us. Minding the store. Carrying the load. Always there in a pinch. Hedging us in. Protecting and providing. Trustworthy and dependable. Never flighty. He means what He says and says what He means. Faithfulness.

However, none of this is for those who turn their backs on God, wanting absolutely nothing to do with Him. Happily and deliberately divorced from Jesus. Determined to go their own way no matter what. Therefore, so be it. Their wish will be granted.

But for those of us who run to Jesus, wanting that relationship with Him, guess who eagerly comes your way, with open arms? Yes–steadfast love and faithfulness. Embodied in Jesus. Nice to meet you!

Lord Jesus, thank you for staying with me forever. Amen.


I’m amazed at how quickly I start worrying rather than praying or trusting the Lord. After breathing a sigh of relief, witnessing God’s help, then with the next whiff of trouble, guess what? Right. What eats at me instantly rears its ugly head. Going from believer to doubter without missing a beat. As if Easter Sunday never happened? Does anyone else identify with what I’m saying?

The people of ancient Israel certainly would shout a sorrowful ‘amen’. Do I feel better in their misery-loving company? Not really. So, let’s get with the program. What’s the point of following Jesus if we get nudged off-base at the slightest provocation?

Reading Exodus 14-15, we witness the miraculous escape of God’s people out of slavery in Egypt, freeing them to occupy God’s promised land. Not for a mere handful of stragglers. We’re talking about a couple of million people, heading toward freedom through God’s provision, protection, and direction.

Just prior, they note terrible plagues and troubles in Egypt because of their foolish and stubborn ruler, who wants nothing to do with losing his cheap labor force or providing royal approval of their foreign god. Disaster lurks nationwide except for where God’s people reside. He covers all the bases for His own as He would have for a repentant Egypt and its Pharaoh; but no, they want nothing to do with the true God. Not with their own so-called powerful gods, which leave them helplessly dragged down into utter wrack and ruin.

Israel saw this firsthand. With their own eyes. No doubt about it. And yet only three days out of Egypt, a mere 72 hours later, water runs out. This is a problem in the desert. Quite the understatement. One they’ll face time and again. But still, while God’s promises ring in their ears, they grumble and bicker at good old Moses, who’s starting to feel his age, big time! Exodus 15:24–“And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, ‘What shall we drink?’ And (Moses) cried to the Lord…”

Maybe you’re facing a challenge that makes you wonder if God can help. Or if He’s even concerned, willing to lift a finger or two. When that’s me, I try to remember what He’s already done for me. I try. Not consistently successful, but in time I hang onto Him as best I can. More like me waking up to the fact that Jesus is never leaving my side. He hangs onto me.

He knows we’re made of crumbly stuff. Dust and clay. He understands and loves us through and through. Why not give Him even a mustard seed-sized bit of your trust and faith? A little goes a long way. He’ll take it and make it grow. In His time. In His way. Did for Israel. Does for me. Will for you.

Risen Lord Jesus, thank you for always being there for me. Amen.

UNAWARE Proverbs 9

For many years now I’ve owned a personal letter from C. S. Lewis. A gift from a friend. You may know his writings. Like ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ or ‘Mere Christianity’. A favorite Lewis piece is a novella entitled ‘The Great Divorce’. It’s a serious yet whimsical account of people in hell, taking a bus to the outskirts of heaven, hating it along with its squeaky-clean inhabitants, and quickly grabbing the first transport back to hell!

One scene involves a group of unbelieving pastors gathered in hell for a conference entitled ‘Is There a Hell?’ Here Lewis seizes upon the angle that sin makes us unaware. Plain dull to where we are and what’s smack-dab in front of us. Insensitive to what’s throbbing with meaning around us. Unaware.

Take a gander at Proverbs chapter 9. This section, as with most of the book of Proverbs, draws clear pictures of the dangers of foolishness, as in being easily led unaware into sin by various temptations. Beginning at verse 13 we see a seductress who is clueless and ignorant–‘…and knows nothing’ (Pr. 9:13). Lollygagging around all day, putting on airs, calling to others to take a detour, parking themselves in her fool’s paradise. There’s stolen water and bread to feast upon. Woop-de-doo! A meager fare at best. Yet, whoever succumbs to these temptations has no idea that they’re in the company of the dead, in the depths of hell itself. Not a clue. Proverbs 9:18–‘But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol (another word for hell).’ Unaware.

Sobering thoughts. Makes me wonder. Not about going to hell. For believers in Jesus, who have that personal relationship with Him, hell remains a forbidden locale. Not for us. Not when you trust in Jesus. He alone has taken care of that.

So, what do I wonder about? It’s this– how much don’t I see in life? Missing what’s smack dab in front of me, as close as the ample nose on my face. Failing to notice our God whose fingerprints and footprints are everywhere. Unaware.

Let me be specific. After decades of hearing about how evolution explains away God (which I never did swallow even before becoming a Christian), I’m curious how much of that has permeated my little grey cells, robbing me of the wonder of it all, while looking at plants and trees and birds, unaware that all this beauty should take me back to their Creator God, with praise and thanks aimed directly at Him. Can I see Him in His creation as He intends me to? Will I?

Or politics. Now, I’m not going to get partisan here. Not in the red/blue sense. But rather looking at history, then and now, as held in Someone else’s greater hands than the blokes running life here on earth. Again, then and now. Power people really think they run the show. Entirely. So, why do I get so worked up? So anxious and angry? If I really believe that God’s in charge, I should be happy, relaxing in Jesus. Shouldn’t I? Who’s the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? Can I see Him? Jesus? Or sink in quicksand unaware.

Maybe we’re not seeing what’s right in front of our eyes. As close as that Book of Books. The more time spent in your Bible, the less sway this world will tug at you the wrong way. So, get with His program. Turn around. Don’t take that bus to hell, tempting as it may be. Anyway, they’ll throw you off long before the depot arrives. Good!

Be aware. Eyes wide open. Ears tuned. Take it all in. Be aware. Maybe, spread some palms on your pathway, so to speak, welcoming Jesus into every facet of your life. Tomorrow is Palm Sunday after all. Shout Hosanna! To the King of Kings! And Lord of Lords!

Lord Jesus, help me to see you more clearly. In your name. Amen.

HE KNOWS Exodus 13: 17-22

A few years back my left foot aches with shooting pain.  Can barely walk on it.  Have no idea what I’ve done, if anything.  Now what?  Worse-case scenarios flood my pea brain.  Diabetes beginning?   Probably leading to amputation of this nasty appendage?  Buying a crutch or a wooden leg?  Wheelchair-bound?  See what I mean?

Thankfully, none of the above materializes.  It’s an ailment called plantar fasciitis, an inflammation caused by a heel spur.  I navigate online for some advice, which actually works out rather well.  Dr. Web will see you now!  Purchase a heel support for that foot along with using a firm massage technique.  Both do the trick?  Pain disappears sooner than expected never to return…so far.

In Exodus 13 we read about how sensitive the Lord is to His hurting people, who sweat out four hundred years in slavery.  Will their pain never end?  Or get unimaginatively worse?  Finally, they witness devastating plagues, not on them but upon their enslavers, which leads to their escape through a dry sea bed, which quickly returns to its normal water level drowning their enemies.  A narrow escape.  But slaves no longer!

Yes, they’ve seen what none of us ever has.  Miraculous judgments upon their oppressors.  A clean escape that leads to new life.  So, shouldn’t their faith be strong as strong can be having eyeballed all those miracles God performs for them?  Shouldn’t it?  But hold your horses.  Remember that they’re just coming out from abject slavery.  Must be weak and worn out.  Nerves frazzled.  Looking over their shoulders, wondering who’s gaining on them.   They even romanticize the good old days with all that free food and stuff that never really existed.  Tell them to be strong?

God’s people are about as ready to claim a new land as I am to run a marathon if plantar fasciitis rears its ugly head or foot again.  Don’t land on them with both good feet.  After all, the Lord knows we’re made of dust and clay.  Fragile stuff.  Bent and twisted by others’ sins and our own.  Limping because of pain and suffering.  Needing padded cushions of understanding and encouragement to walk forward while faith massages their feelings.

Exodus 13:17-18–“When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near.  For God said, ‘Lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt.  But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness…'”  The point is that He knows what’s best for His people, for us.  He knows to send us down strange pathways.  He knows throwing a monkey wrench or two in our way will discombobulate us.  But it will work out for our good (you know Romans 8:28).  In His way.

He knows that at the first sign of trouble, we’ll high-tale it back to where we least want to be.  From the frying pan into the fire.  From godly living to godless, fearful, and messed-up existence.  He knows.  So, trust His leading even when it looks like we’re stuck in some nasty dead-end canyon with no escape in sight.

Someone reading this knows all about being stuck.  Locked in and locked down.  Hang in there.  God knows all about it.  About us.  From headaches to pained feet.  The good, the bad, and the rest.  Yet He’s never through with His own.  After all, He knows.  Take His hand.  He knows the way out.  He does.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for knowing me and loving me.  Amen.