“BE-NIGN, VALENTINE!”

candy-heartsBy Lisa Huddleston

“But even if He does not rescue us, we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up” (Daniel 3:18). 

Many of you are probably familiar with those words from the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They were about to be thrown into a burning furnace, because they would not worship Nebuchadnezzar and his little ‘g’ gods. The king wanted to see if their god (THE God) could rescue them, and they replied that although they knew that God could do it they did not know if He would–but they cast their lot with God either way.

Their story ends well. God saves them with His supernatural power and “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the fire … not hair of their heads was singed, their robes were unaffected, and there was no smell of fire on them” (Dan. 3:27). And everyone says, “Amen!”

That’s sort of how I felt yesterday. After undergoing last week’s biopsy (uncomfortable but not terrible), I got the good news that the pathology report showed no signs of cancer. Chuck and I breathed synchronized sighs of relief and thanked God for the good news. Before we even left the parking garage, we texted the word, Benign, to everyone who had asked to be told and began receiving our friend’s happy words: Praise God, God is so good, Thank you, Jesus, Baruch haShem, and my personal favorite, “Be-Nign, Valentine!” It was very good news, and we have very good friends!

But ever the philosopher, I can’t help thinking of what our response would have been if the news had been bad. Even then, would we have praised God?

“In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity, consider: without question, God has made the one as well as the other” (Ecclesiastes 7:14).

Blessed be the name of the Lord!

RUMINATIONS

By Lisa Huddleston

I have not been writing, but I have been thinking.  And my best thoughts have encouraged me not to write.  So many have been writing and so many have been quick to express thoughts that would have been better left unsaid.  I confess to having written and deleted many comments on Facebook and Twitter.  I am glad that I refrained–until now.

Our nation appears divided, and if the media is right, we hang on the precipice of the next financial disaster.  Just as a noreaster added insult to injury in the hurricane damaged northeast, our election-weary country faces more turmoil.  It’s little wonder that people are afraid.  Change is here, and change breeds fear.  And fear causes sane people to act in insane ways.

According to a brief study (bing web search), the words “fear not” appear 365 times in the Bible.  One for each day of the year.  Shallow research but maybe a deep reality.  God does not want us to act in fear.  We are his, and he is in control.

I read some very wise words this morning that I will not refrain from sharing.  When Peter and the rest of the apostles refused to keep the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection to themselves, the religious high council decided to kill them, but one Pharisee named Gamaliel advised them to let God reveal the truth.  “So my advice is, leave these men alone.  If they are teaching and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown.  But if it is of God, you will not be able to stop them.  You may even find yourself fighting against God” (Acts 5:38-39).

God is in control.  I don’t need to fear the change that our nation faces.  Even if it leads us to financial or moral hurricanes that destroy our old coast lines causing us to redefine our borders.  It is good to be forced to look at what matters to us.  It is good to be stripped of facades that really are nothing more than sand.  It is good to recognize that there is only One who remains unchanged.

Enough for now.  Perhaps my plan should be to speak (write) when spoken to.  O Lord, give me ears to hear.