The Right Time

Today’s post, The Right Time, is written by my writer-friend, Phyllis Farringer.

Though the incident happened years ago, I remember it as if it was last week. After a hectic few days, my husband and I were eager to escape the demands of life for an afternoon of sailing. It was our favorite recreation. We had a small sailboat we pulled on a trailer to a lake about 50 miles from our home. That morning, just as we were ready to leave the house, a friend showed up. He needed help with a project. It only took a few minutes, and we were glad to help, but thus began a series of 5 and 10 minute delays and interruptions. With each assault against our plans, we became increasingly frustrated and irritable.

Finally, after what turned out to be just more than an hour, we were on our way. It was our routine on sailing days to grab lunch at the one fast food restaurant near the lake. The drive-in restaurant was of the design that patrons ordered from speakers and ate in their cars. However, because we pulled a trailer with our sailboat we always parked off to the side where there was no speaker, so my husband then went inside to order our food. This day, when we arrived at the restaurant, the entrance was blocked by two police cars with lights flashing. I don’t fully understand the scientific explanation for what happened, but about an hour earlier a sudden micro burst, or very localized tornado had picked up the heavy metal roof over the speakers and set it down to the side at precisely the spot where my husband and I would have been parked in our open convertible if we had been able to get there according to our planned schedule, without all the delays.

That experience taught me there is always more to a situation than what I can see.

The delays made no sense to us when we were going through them. They were frustrating. However, when we saw what we missed because of the delays, we were grateful that the timing of the day’s events was beyond our control.

Remembering that day has shaped my perspective on delays, interruptions and changed plans. Rather than irritation, I instead find myself wondering if the interference to my plans is sparing me from some greater difficulty. When I experience setbacks or frustrating circumstances I don’t understand, I have learned to focus my thoughts on what I do understand–on the things I know to be true. I know that God is sovereign. He is good. His ways are not our ways, but His ways are perfect. Our times are in His hands. And those who hope in Him will not be disappointed.

Phyllis Farringer delights in proclaiming God’s goodness. Her work has appeared in various periodicals including Decision Magazine, Focus on the Family publications, and Christianity Today Bible Studies. She has also written for several compilations including Cup of Comfort for Moms and God Allows U-Turns. She and her husband live in North Carolina. They have two married children and seven grandchildren.

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But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands. Psalm 31:14, 15a (NIV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Wandering Aimlessly

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

The summer before Pie, our son, went into 9th grade, he and I took a trip to Australia and New Zealand with stops in Hawaii and Fiji.

I’d always wanted to explore Down Under. I particularly wanted to see if the sinks really drain counter-clockwise. They do!
The scenery was beautiful and varied. The people friendly and really do call you “Mate”. The wildlife was amazing and oh so unique.

When I’m north of the equator, I usually have no problem with direction, knowing where I am, and which way to head. Not so, south of the equator. My sense of direction was totally scrambled. Every time the hotel elevator doors opened, I’d head off in the wrong direction.

At first, Pie said something like, “You’re going the wrong way.”

I’d correct course, and we’d end up where we needed to be.

Eventually, as my lack of direction became more evident with no hope of improving, Pie anticipated my waywardness, grabbed, and pulled. No need for discussion.

Near the end of the trip I let Pie lead. Especially after I spent about half an hour wandering through our hotel on Mt. Cook in New Zealand trying to locate our room on my own.

This lack of sense of direction isn’t confined to adventures south of the equator. It applies to life.

How is our spiritual compass doing? Do we navigate without any problem when we’re in familiar surroundings, but lose our way when faced with the unknown?

When faced with the unknown, do we stay on our errant path, or rely on the true guide, Jesus, to grab and pull us the right direction?

How many times do we have to wander aimlessly on our own before we simply stop when the elevator door opens and let Jesus lead?

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The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need. He lets me rest in fields of green grass and leads me to quiet pools of fresh water. He gives me new strength. He guides me in the right paths, as he has promised. Psalm 23:1-3 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Happy Valentine’s Day

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. May understanding how much we are loved by the Creator God who knit us together in our mother’s womb bring joy to our hearts, and a smile to our face.

Because we are loved enough for God to allow his only son to die so we can have a relationship with him, shouldn’t we share that wonderful news with those who don’t know him?

Today and always, may we remember through Jesus we are:

  • Valued
  • Adored
  • Loved
  • Embraced
  • Nurtured
  • Treasured
  • Invited
  • Nobility
  • Esteemed

Now that’s what I call the ultimate Valentine.

What other words should we add?

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For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to be its judge, but to be its savior. John 3:16-17 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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God’s Hedge of Protection

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

A devotion I recently read in Streams in the Desert looked at God’s hedge of protection in a way I’d not considered before. Perhaps the thought will be a different way for you to think of God’s protection, as well.

In Mrs. Charles E. Cowman’s poem about the hawthorn hedge she points out although we may not always see the hedge’s thorns, they are always present. They become visible in winter and are covered in spring.

As I reflected on the devotion, but most especially on Mrs. Cowman’s poem, I realized we live our lives in seasons, do we not? There are seasons where the soft leaves of God’s hedge of protection shield us. There are also seasons where those same leaves fall, and the thorns of life protrude.

Regardless of the season we may be in at any point in time, leaves or no leaves, God’s hedge remains.

Nothing surprises the All-knowing God. He knows where the thorns in our lives are and he knows when they prick us. Whether the thorns are illness, unkind words, job uncertainty, betrayal, financial struggles, relationship problems, God knows.

And when we are pricked, he stands right there beside us comforting us until the soft leaves cover the thorns once again.

If you are in a season of thorns, I pray the soft leaves of God’s hedge will burst forth soon.

The hawthorn hedge that keeps us from intruding,
Looks very fierce and bare
When stripped by winter, every branch protruding
Its thorns that would wound and tear.

But spring-time comes; and like the rod that budded,
Each twig breaks out in green;
And cushions soft of tender leaves are studded,
Where spines alone were seen,

The sorrows, that to us seem so perplexing,
Are mercies kindly sent
To guard our wayward souls from sadder vexing,
And greater ills prevent.

To save us from the pit, no screen of roses
Would serve for our defense,
The hindrance that completely interposes
Stings back like thorny fence.

At first when smarting from the shock, complaining
Of wounds that freely bleed,
God’s hedges of severity us paining,
May seem severe indeed.

But afterwards, God’s blessed spring-time cometh,
And bitter murmurs cease;
The sharp severity that pierced us bloometh,
And yields the fruits of peace.

Then let us sing, our guarded way thus wending
Life’s hidden snares among,
Of mercy and of judgment sweetly blending;
Earth’s sad, but lovely song.”

Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

I don’t know about you, but I believe the sentiment in this poem well worth remembering.

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The Weymouth Bible translates James 1:2 as “whenever you find yourself hedged in by various trials.”

The Hawai’i Pidgin Bible translates James 1:2-3 this way.

You Like Know Wat Fo Do? Trus God!

My bruddas an sistas! Feel real good inside everytime you feel like you get hard time fo do wat God like you guys do. Cuz you know, afta you guys go thru all dat real hard time, an you guys still yet trus God, den dat goin make you guys hang in dea mo betta. James 1:2-3 (Hawai’I Pidgin)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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An Act of Humility and Love

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

One of the highlights of Pilot and my October trip last year was a visit to the Museum of Appalachia in Norris, Tennessee. If you ever have the opportunity to visit this wonderful museum, go. We’d been there years before and I couldn’t wait to return.

I love walking around this collection of Southern Appalachia pioneer buildings and artifacts, imagining what it was like to be one of the hardy mountain folk who lived in these buildings; gaining a greater appreciation of my Appalachian heritage.

Just like on any trip or outing, my camera got a workout focusing and snapping pictures.

There was an expansive peacock population with one male in particular giving quite the show, as he tried to impress a goat who could not have cared less. Too funny.

Pilot took advantage of the empty country church with its well-worn split log benches to play hymns on his dulcimer for an audience of One. The giver of the gift.

As I wandered around the grounds and its thirty-six buildings, my eyes more times than not, looked through my camera’s lens. Not where I stepped.

Coming down a path dug into the side of the rise behind one cabin, I planted my foot right in the middle of a copious amount of peacock poop. Yucky. Not content to stay on the bottom of my hiking boot, the watery mess seeped up the leather side as well.

No matter how much I dragged my foot through the dew-drenched grass, that mess was not about to disengage itself.

Although this is where I could turn the messy misstep into an application of watching where we trod, that’s not what I’m going to do. I’m going to tell you that in an act of humility and love, after I changed shoes, put the boots in a plastic bag outside the RV to deal with later, and continued shooting final pictures before we left, Pilot took my boots and washed them for me.

I didn’t ask Pilot to clean up the mess I got myself into. I planned to clean them later once we reached our campsite for the night.

This reminds me of what Jesus did when he took a basin of water, wrapped a towel around his waist, kneeled before the disciples in the upper room before his betrayal, crucifixion, and resurrection, and washed their feet in humility and love. Christ washed ALL the disciples’ feet. Judas and Peter included.

Christ’s love for them, and us, was so great he willingly became a servant to those he created; knowing the ultimate sacrifice of taking on the sins of the world and becoming the sacrificial Lamb of God was mere hours away.

But Jesus didn’t leave it there, did he? He didn’t just wash their feet and get up. Jesus gave the disciples a command. He gives us the same command.

Jesus wants us to serve each other as he served humanity in humility and love, laying aside any claim to his right to be served.

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 I, your Lord and Teacher, have just washed your feet. You, then, should wash one another’s feet.  I have set an example for you, so that you will do just what I have done for you.  John 13:14-15 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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