Be not afraid!

Witnesses to Hope is close to its 1000th post.  This is the first post I ever put up.  I think the reasons are obvious.



BE NOT AFRAID! (John Paul II, October 16, 1978 and many, many times afterward . . .)

“We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of his son, Jesus.” (WYD 2002, Toronto)

Christians and depression

Bill, over at Unshakable Hope, has a very timely and interesting post: Why are So Many Christians Depressed?  Most of the comments (and his responses) are very good.  You can find my own among them.  I will direct you over there today.  I’m sure there are some of you, including myself, who deal with (or have dealt with) depression and struggled with “What does this mean about me and God?  Am I failing him somehow?”, etc.

And, by the way, if you haven’t already, read Bill’s story while you’re over there.  (Under “About Bill“.)

Know that you are all in my prayers.  And keep him and his family in yours.

What can man do to me?

Ps 118.6: The Lord is on my side; I will not fear; what can man do to me?

Job 34.29: When He gives quietness, who then can make trouble?

The Lord is for me (margin).  What can man do to me?  Nothing.  Nothing that really matters.  Nothing that can do any harm.  Nothing that will not be turned to golden good.

Sometimes we feel as though man could do a great deal. A perverse child can cloud a whole day.  The sight of deadly sin, injustice and suffering can overwhelm us.  And deeper things, the inward assaults of the never-resting foe (though he is not man but stronger than man) can seem to do appalling things.

But still the word stands, the question that can have only one answer.  The Lord is for me.  What can man do to me?  Nothing.

And to another questions there is only one answer.  When He gives quietness, who then can make trouble?  No one.

However things seem, the answers to those two questions are among the things that cannot be shaken.

~Amy Carmichael

The age-long minute

If you feel like Jesus may pass you by, have hope–He is coming to you.

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The title of this post comes from a meditation by Amy Carmichael on Ps 107.29-30: He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.  Then they were glad because they had quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.  I have to say that my first thought after reading Then they were glad because they had quiet, were: “This verse must mean a lot to parents of toddlers and teenagers!”  Amy’s reflection was other–and deeper–than mine 🙂

jesus-walking-on-the-water“Then they were glad because they had quiet;” the words were music to me.  Then in reading the different stories of the Lord calming the sea, I found this: “He came to them . . . and meant to pass by them” [Mk 6.48].  The more literal the translation the more startling it is.  As I pondered the matter I saw that this “age-long minute” was part of the spiritual preparation of these men for a life that at that time was unimagined by them–a life of dauntless faith and witness in the absence of any manifestation of the power of the Lord; and it must be the same today.  Such minutes must be in our lives, unless our training is to be unlike that of ever saint and warrior who ever lived.  Our “minute” may seem endless–“How long wilt Thou forget me,” cried David out of the depths of his–but perhaps looking back we shall in such an experience a great and shining opportunity.  Words are spoken then that are spoken at no other time . . .  We have a chance to prove our glorious God, to prove that His joy is strength and that His peace passeth all understanding, and to know the love of Christ that passeth knowledge.
     And the “minute” always ends in one way, there is no other ending recorded anywhere: “But immediately he spoke to them, and said, ‘Take heart, it is I; have no fear” . . . and the wind ceased” [Mk 6.50].   
     “Then they were glad because they had quiet; and he brought them to their desired haven.”
                                                  (Edges of His Ways, pp. 143-44)

If you feel that you are in “an age-long minute”, have hope–He is coming to you and will bring you to your desired haven.

The Butterfly Circus

One of the sisters called my attention to this beautiful short film, that you can view here: The Butterfly Circus.  I’d love to read your comments.

A message of the movie is this:

     No one has been born by chance and no one was consulted before being brought into the world.  The essence and existence of each person is something of extraordinary value, something very important . . . And if no one exists by chance, there is no chance involved in his particular physical and psychological make-up.  There is also a reason for the fact that everyone has his own individual temperament, qualities, a particular degree of intelligence, sensitivity and even particular features . . . Everything has a reason for being and existing and each creature has been appropriately gifted for the end which it is to fulfill in the universe.  (Frederico Suarez, Mary of Nazareth)