Did the final day have any capper to it? In a simple reply....without a doubt. Sunday, I had 3 plus hours of meetings on the launch of the Johnston-Grimes satellite church. The meetings were a little frustrating in that I had to write down any question I had. Some people were understanding and others seemed a little bothered by my silence. Sorry about that. It was really a lesson in patience on both ends. But then came the real education.
Afterward, I attended the 5 p.m. service at Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines. Our pastor, Mike Housholder, told of the story of a young woman surfer, Bethany Hamilton. Hamilton was an up and comer...destined to be one of the best in her sport. Or so people had deemed. But something happened on that journey. One night, the little 13-year old was surfing with some friends and a shark attacked the group. In one quick moment, Bethany's life changed. The shark attacked Hamilton and tore off one of arms. Her career, her life, her love for the sport of surfing was in jeopardy. At least that's what anyone thought who didn't know the Hamilton family.
But Bethany's parents had prepared themselves for these happenings. From a young child, her mother and father had instilled the word of God in her. In every situation, they said, God can be your rock. And they reinforced those words time and time again. This was one of those times......
|"I can do all things".........|
Bethany's story is told in a recently released movie, "Soul Surfer". The scene in the hospital as she comes out of surgery depicts a conversation between her and her father. "When can I surf again", she questions. Her dad responds, "aren't you a little busy right now". "When then?", was Bethany's answer back. "Soon", said her father. "Remember.....I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me", he recited. And she repeated it back to him, ever so slowly, "I.... can do..... all things through Christ,..... who strengthens me". Isn't that the truth? If we'd just walk that piece of wisdom out in our daily lives.
Continuing the Hamilton story, Bethany eventually returned to surfing and has been quite successful, despite the loss of her left arm. She seems undaunted by her shortcoming. Her words attest to that. A reporter asked her one day what she would do if given the chance to undo the loss of her arm. She says that she would still lose it because she can "embrace more people now than she ever could with two arms".
"I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me"...........
So, you can see....this was the perfect ending for me. Those words, "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me", was exactly what I needed. Not only did Christ provide me with the strength to make it these past seven days.....it's the fuel I can rely on each and every time life throws its challenges my way. BOOOOOOOOOOOYA.
P.S. My wife asked me if I have observations that I want to share about these past seven days. I do. But for the meantime, I'm going to take a little time to do some sorting out. But I want to share them with you. All I know is....a little over a week ago, I read a short little story about a young lady who did a week of Silent Prayer. And it challenged me. And it just might you too, at least I hope it does.