Thursday, October 20, 2011

Who Am I?

I’ve been job hunting with no success. Then a brilliant idea arose. School bus lines are always in need of drivers. I drove a bus for ten years but four years ago I down-graded my licence to a D thinking I’ll never drive a bus again.

In order to up-grade back to a bus licence, I’d have to get a medical. Although I don’t have a family doctor, any walk-in clinic will gladly give me a physical and complete the medical form for a fee of about $100.00 or more. I’d also have to write an exam for a cost of $10.00. Then there’s the road test for a cost of $75.00. Of course, before doing those tests I’d have to purchase a bus driver’s manual to re-fresh my memory about road laws concerning buses and what to look for when doing the daily check of the vehicle. Cost of the manual $20.00. And of course, a police check on my background would have to be done since I’d be working with children; a cost of $22.00. The bus company also wanted a driver’s abstract; a cost of $12.00. Total cost $239.00; and no doubt there’d be taxes heaped on the total.

Unfortunately, my brilliant idea fell through when I couldn’t prove my identity.

After showing my driver’s licence to the MTO clerk, she asked for a second piece of ID, such as a birth certificate.

I whipped out my little plastic birth certificate card. The clerk wasn’t satisfied because the name didn’t match the one on my driver’s licence. The birth certificate is in my maiden name; the driver’s license is in my married name. Well of course, the birth certificate is in my maiden name. That’s the name my parents gave me when I was born. Silly me I changed my name when I got married. What was I thinking?

The clerk asked for a marriage certificate. Proudly I showed it to her.

“That won’t do. It’s handwritten on paper.”

“Yeah, well, that’s what people use to do years ago. Hand write on paper.”

She slid a piece of paper to me with the web address of Service Ontario where I could apply for a plastic marriage certificate for a cost of $15.00. Her other suggestion was a passport. Mine was expired; cost for a new one $87.00 – 92.00.

Now the cost of my brilliant idea had reached $254.00 - $346.00. It would take several weeks to get everything, probably several more weeks waiting to be assigned a suitable bus route, and then more weeks to squeeze enough from the peanut pay cheque to cover all the accumulated costs. I left discouraged. The part-time driver’s job wasn’t worth the time, the money and the hassle.

But a thought cheered me up. Even though I couldn’t prove my identity to the MTO, God knows who I am. I’m a royal child of God’s, redeemed by Jesus’ blood and therefore an heir with Christ. And Jesus paid it all! Hallelujah!

Friday, September 30, 2011

At the Ready

As I sat enjoying a hot cup of coffee in the coffee shop, I observed a mother with her young son; a boy of about ten years of age. She watched as the boy played with a hand-held technical gizmo. Then suddenly a vision popped into my head like a mini film. Here’s what I saw;

An elderly mother is having lunch with her young adult son. They don’t speak; in fact, the young man fidgets with his tie and glances around the restaurant perhaps hoping to see a friend or perhaps hoping no one notices him sitting with his mother. Every now and then, the mother’s lips part as if she is about to say something but instead looks anxiously at her son. They seem uncomfortable in each other’s presence. After a few awkward moments, the young man casually slips a technical device from his jacket pocket and turns it on. As he ponders over it, his soup cools.

Suddenly his mother sits up straight, her eyes twinkling. A slight smile appears as she sees an opportunity to begin a conversation. A couple of weeks ago, her son mentioned the purchase of a new technical communication device. She is about to demonstrate her knowledge of the popular technical gadgets of the day.

“Is that your new strawberry?” she asks her son.

The young man sighs deeply and throws her a look of disgust as he replies angrily, almost in a growl; “Blackberry, Mom! Blackberry!”

When we sit in God’s presence, we need not feel uncomfortable or search awkwardly for the right words or topic. When words fail us, as they do sometimes, the Holy Spirit will ‘intercede for us with groanings too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26) If we keep regular company with God; through prayer, Bible reading, obeying His commandments, worship; He will hear us. He has promised. Ask, seek, and knock; it will be given, found, and opened unto you. (Matthew 7: 7) He wants to commune with us; daily. God is at the ready.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Way In

One of the little century churches which I visited while gathering information to write a book was originally a Methodist Church. It later became a United Church named Miller Memorial, formerly known as Pleasant Point United Church.

A neighbour lady who had keys to the church unlocked the large wooden front doors, opened them wide and we entered. I studied the interior and took photographs and jotted notes. Then we went outside to take pictures. As I studied the church from the outside, I didn't see a steeple or a cross. That seemed strange to me since all the century churches I'd seen had steeples and crosses. I asked the lady about it. She assured me there was a cross and led me back to the front of the church. She shut the wooden double doors and there was the cross - carved into the front of the doors - half of the cross on each door making a complete full cross when the doors were closed.

What a glorious message! We search high and low for joy and hope and there it is in plain view just as that cross on the doors of that little church. The way to God's heavenly sanctuary, to life eternal, is through Jesus. He is the way, the truth, and the life. Salvation is free and within easy reach for all. Ask for forgiveness for your sins, knock on the door and it will be opened to you. Unlike the doors on that century church which are kept locked, God's door is never locked.

John 14:6

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I Am WIth You

A few weeks ago, during an unusually long period of choking, my prayer was; "God, help me! Make the spasms stop." As I searched for an open clinic, suddenly the situation worsened. I began vomiting. A stranger called for an ambulance and I was swiftly taken to the hospital. Two hours later, the vomiting stopped and the throat relaxed. The doctor on duty referred me to a gastroenterologist (we don't have a family doctor in town).

As I rested on the gurney, finally out of the distressful situation, I thought about all the people in worse circumstances; burn victims, mothers giving birth, people suffering heart attacks, et cetera. I wondered what I was doing there and felt guilty about taking up medical staff's valuable time. Perhaps I should have stayed home and just rode through the troublesome wave by myself.

But then I realized...God was with me. I asked for help - not healing. God answered. He stopped the spasms and put me in contact with a specialist who can determine the cause of the choking episodes that plague me and put my mind to rest. He knows just what we need and when we need it.

Being alone during a crisis is frightening. Yes, I was frightened but I wasn't alone.

Matthew 28:20 "...I am with you always, even unto the end of the world."

Monday, March 14, 2011

Lost Opportunity

There is an image etched in my memory from the early 1970's that when I recall it, it stabs my heart. In 1971, I had just begun working for a large bank. Each morning as I walked to work down the main street, I passed a lady (perhaps then in her thirties) sitting in a wheelchair. Every workday and year round, she sat in front of a department store next to the bank. It is the wintertime scene that is imprinted in my mind.

She was dressed in shabby clothes with a blanket across her lap. Her long thin fingers, rough and red from the winter cold, clutched a small can filled with pencils. I remember watching as many business people rushed into the store to buy their morning coffee and pastry at the lunch counter and then hurry past her without even glancing her way. Occasionally someone would toss a coin into her tin can and she'd smile and give a hearty thank you.

I thought to myself, 'What a sad way to earn a living?' In my youthful ignorance I contemplated many times of buying a pencil from her but I didn't need one and I really didn't have much money myself - maybe tomorrow. Then one day she was gone.

It was then I realized the point and the opportunity I had missed. I suffered with the all-too-common "I Syndrome". I didn't have much money because I had just started working. I didn't need a pencil. I thought she'd be there tomorrow. I simply pitted her.

Today, I understand it would have been good for both of us, if I had bought a pencil from her now and then, smiled at her, spoken to her, perhaps even bought a cup of hot coffee for her. God had presented an opportunity for me. I thoughtlessly tossed it aside. A small good deed would have meant a lot to one in need yet I foolishly thought tomorrow - someday - when I have some money - I will help.

Someday is now.

Matthew 25:45

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Just Around The Bend

The highway wound through the dense forest. Deep ditches hugged the road. For miles I drove without seeing anyone; pedestrians, cyclists, cars or trucks.

The car was gobbling gas. When the gas gauge died a few years ago, I began relying on the trip meter for estimated gas consumption readings. Although I could guess the distance the car would travel before running out of fuel, I had no idea how much further it was to my destination or if there was a gas station along the way.

A young black bear sat on the side of the road, playing contently like a child.

Apprehensively I continued driving, wondering how much further to my destination. I wanted to see the lighthouse at the end of the road. As I approached each curve I thought 'It must be right after this curve.' But after each curve there was disappointment. On the approach of the next curve again my hopes heightened. And after the curve, disappointment.

I had to abandon my lighthouse search. Fuel was getting low. I turned the car around and headed back to the main highway, hoping I had enough fuel to drive to the first gas station on the main route.

On the return trip, I passed the same young black bear. He was still contently playing beside the highway. He didn't appear to have any concerns; he was satisfied where he was at the moment. I, on-the-other-hand, had been rushing to see something only to retreat in dismay. I hadn't enjoyed the trip but instead anxiously eyed the trip meter.

Life is much like that highway through the forest. We hope for something good just around the bend. If that something doesn't materialize, we are disappointed and often give up hope and abandon our dreams. But when we walk in God's will, we are assured of hope, peace and dreams fulfilled because He said, "I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 NIV