Sunday, May 25, 2003


At church today I spoke with my friend Claud about his daughter, Claire. Claire has been a teenager in trouble. Serious trouble that frightened everyone around her. We prayed for the best, but feared and expected the worst. Claire was in a very bad place not long ago, and seemingly intent on finding even worse destinations.

At church today I watched my friend Jim. Less than one year ago Jim was in a military prison while his wife and two children literally scrambled to determine how they would survive. His mistakes, and the draconian system of military justice, were costing them their home, their medical and retirement benefits (one child is autistic) and all of their planned hopes for the "future".

At church today I walked an area of land we have cleared in preparation for another small building. Cedar, scrub brush, and cactus indelicately shoved aside to make way for the dreams of our community of faith. From a distance I looked at the piles of debris...dead stuff. Ripped from its roots. Beyond redemption.

One week from today, Claire will graduate high school. She will deliver the commencement address as Salutatorian having made straight A's for the past two years.
This morning Jim stood before our congregation taking prayer requests and then led us in an extremely moving, heartfelt prayer of hope, praise and thanksgiving. His family sat nearby. Content, whole and healthy.
At church today I went back outside to look closer at that pile of debris.

The cacti are re-growing amid the rubble.

After church today Amy and I shared a meal with John and Denise. We shared more of the agony they've been through; how in the past 4 days their lives, their plans for the future, their dreams, had been ripped from their roots.
Their pain is alive with searing intensity...but their family's hopes still live too.

Psalm 31:24
Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord