Tuesday, March 27, 2012


The Middle School where I taught part-time was a monstrously large building of hallways, classrooms and courtyards. The courtyards were planted with flowers and trees and opened to the sky. Every spring for many years, a mother duck would fly into one of these spaces, lay her eggs and wait for them to hatch. A certain science teacher, whose classroom faced the courtyard, and his students, watched daily. Every spring they witnessed the hatching of several ducklings. Getting out of the courtyard with her ducklings was impossible for the mother because they had not yet learned to fly. So, every year, this science teacher would lead the parade of his furry friends through his classroom, down the long corridors, and out to the green meadows beyond.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hear the Whistle Blow

If you miss the train I’m on, you will know that I am gone,
You will hear the whistle blow a hundred miles.

Maybe it’s my background of learning and teaching folksongs, among them old songs about the railroad, but trains and the sounds they make in a distance intrigue me. From my bedroom I can hear the local trains coming and going and whistling through the crossings as they rumble on their way.

For a year I have felt like I am sitting on my luggage on a platform waiting for the train to come. I have sat through rain, wind, snow, cold, darkness of night and the aloneness out there by myself.

Now on a spring morning, I think I hear the whistle of a train in the distance. I am ready to embark on a new journey. Where the train will take me I do not know, nor who will be on the train with me, but finally I sense my days of waiting on the platform are coming to an end.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Two Little Words

All Christians need to come to the same conclusion that Jeremiah did. As he was lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem, he also reflected on his own griefs. He said, My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped FROM the Lord. (Lamentations 3:18) Yet after reflecting on the Lord’s great love, compassion and faithfulness, he added, The Lord is good to those whose hope is IN Him. (Lamentations 3:25)

We all ask for things FROM the Lord, but He will bring us to the place where we see His goodness in giving us Himself. When He becomes our portion, we can begin to accept what He gives us because we find our hope IN Him.

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Exchange

“Trade ‘ya.” We picture two second graders eyeing each others’ sandwiches at the school lunch table. The motivation, of course, for such an exchange comes from a preference for something other than what one has. The most common exchange in our culture is money for goods, and the more equal the bargain seems, the better.

Hudson Taylor, pioneer missionary to China, used the term, The Exchanged Life, to describe his experience when he met Christ. Here we begin to see the absolute unbalance of the deal. Puritan writer, John Flavel, puts it this way:

We may say, “Lord, condemnation was yours, that justification might be mine; agony was yours, and victory mine; pain was yours, and ease is mine; stripes were yours, and healing mine; vinegar and gall were yours, that honey and sweet might be mine; the curse was yours, and the blessing mine; death was yours, that the crown of glory might be mine; death was yours, and eternal life mine!”… Christ says, “All I have is yours”, and we say: “Though my person is vile, and not worthy of being accepted, but such as it is, it is yours. My soul with all and every faculty; my body, and every member of it; my gifts, time, and all my talents are yours.”

What grace is this!! We have nothing to offer in exchange for everything from Christ but everything we have.

A little song I learned as a child comes to mind:

After all He’s done for me,
After all He’s done for me,
How can I do less than give Him by best
And live for Him completely,
After all He’s done for me.