June 2016 Hammers Hearts and Hands
Early yesterday evening, I had the pleasure of mowing the grass at the new Hosanna Gibsonia facility. While operating the lawn tractor, I once again realized what a beautiful example of God’s creation that particular piece of real estate is, and what great potential it has toward inspiring people with new insights and fresh perspectives. There’s not a tree or flower there that doesn’t make God’s glory known! As I neared the completion of the work, I steered the machine away from the main yard and toward a little walking path that travels around the east side of the largest pond. Carefully, I trimmed that woodland path which meanders around plentiful trees, both old and young, and I prayed that God would lead certain people of His choosing to quietly pursue this unique path as a practical exercise in reflecting upon His presence in our lives, His guidance to our lives, and His call upon our lives. Please consider these words as a personal invitation!
Paths. How very important they are! How intimately they are connected to our pasts and futures, our memories and dreams! How ironic it is that, though our lives signify a lifelong career of path walking, our memory functions rarely if ever recall the first experimental steps we took when we first started out on the journey!
Did you know that the average moderately active person takes around 7500 steps per day? If we maintain that daily average until, let’s say the age of 80, we each walk about 216,262,500 steps in a lifetime, or 110,000 miles. That’s five times around the globe. No wonder our joints eventually wear out!
The paths of our lives are as powerful as destiny and as unique as a fingerprint and as ridiculous as it may seem to some people, I consider that the one thing that can be said of all of our paths is that bidden or unbidden, God is always there.
Right now, I’m aware of a friend whose path abruptly changed at the end of last year. A routine medical exam revealed a very serious and life-threatening illness. Everything that has happened since then is of a different hue.
In these early pre-dawn hours as I write this article, I’m aware of another path, this one on the part of a dear friend who is currently struggling with the meaning of God’s call. She is in the wrestling match of a lifetime, much like Jacob of old at Peniel. Where will her path take her?
Soon, a mother will awaken to the prospect of a new day, silently bearing the heartbreak of an adult child who is incarcerated again as a result of poor decision-making, mental imbalance and spiritual alienation. She will outwardly function today, but inwardly her feet are walking a lonesome path.
Not very many miles away, a saintly old person will soon arise to a new dawn, the vigorous past now gone, the quiet struggle of burden-bearing and patient waiting now at hand.
In another place, a young person is walking upon a new leg in the journey, soon to graduate from high school with the prospect of a lifetime future burning brightly ahead!
Yesterday, a little child completed her last day of first grade. Today, she begins her first experiences of an American child’s summer vacation. Where will her path lead?
Not too many years ago, another little child experienced the same moment. Today, she is making final arrangements for her upcoming wedding day, full of hope and with life’s cup overflowing with the joy of human love.
Earlier this week, the mission workers found themselves in another desperately needy home. They drove the green trucks to a new address to help another household in the name of the Lord! The homeowner is aged, widowed, and very poor. She lives within the brokenness of one of Pittsburgh’s former industrial river towns, but those days are now only a memory of a brighter past that led to a despairing future. In the bleakness of her quiet suffering, God’s helpers came to brighten a path with a strange new light that somehow glows from green shirts, smiling faces beneath sweat-streaked brows, and the simple tasks of a carpenter who can build. It seems to me that just a few blinks ago, it was Christmastime, and now we are already nearly halfway through a year that isn’t new anymore. How fast the path goes, and how quickly it changes! More than 26 years ago, a brand new mission took its first steps upon a new path, and we’ve been striving to do our very best ever since, one day at time. Thank you, dear friend, for everything you’ve done and for everything you are doing to support Hosanna’s walk upon that path!
Thousands of years ago, a sensitive soul interpreted the presence of God upon life’s path as one which leads to green pastures and still waters, even through valleys of dark shadows, yet always in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. I believe that hundreds of years later, a Carpenter from Nazareth somehow translated those words into the living presence of His example, His leadership, and His gracious friendship. He is the Word made flesh.
Perhaps one of Christian hymnody’s most beloved songs says it best ~ John Newton, the author of “Amazing Grace”, wrote these lyrics while on his own path from slave-trading to Christian ministry in the late 1700’s,“Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come, ’tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.”
May God’s grace be with you and upon your path, dear friend. Please continue to uphold us in your prayers.
With love, Donn