Prisoner Envy

I know a man who is in prison. He has been there for many years. Although he readily acknowledges what got him there in the first place, he was charged with another crime while in prison that, for the years I have known him, he maintains he did not commit. As I have gotten to know this man, I believe this to be true.

Before I met him, he was baptized while in prison. Since I have come to know him, I have been impressed by his strong, remarkable, enduring faith. Even though parole has continued to be denied to him, I have never heard him say “if” he gets released. He always says “when.” He loves God above all, and believes that one day he will be freed.

What an example! He shows kindness to the men around him. He prays often. He holds fast to his Bible and the words within. In Proverbs 3 we are told to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and He will make your paths straight.” He lives by those words.

When I look around this world, at evil that is too much rampant, and when I observe so many who have made gods of money and material goods, I am humbled and awed by the example of a man who has no money, and few possessions to his name. To this “outsider,” he would appear as a man with a less-than-optimistic future, and yet he has more than many will ever have. He continues to give glory to God at every chance he gets. I only hope that one day my level of faith will come close to his!

Seeking a Reason

I want something amazing to happen! I want something so powerful to happen that there will be no doubt in my mind the meaning it has for me. I want direction, faith, and commitment to suddenly surface in my life. Is that too much to ask?

I so admire those who know exactly where they are going. I envy those who believe strongly, those who commit to a cause, and those who cannot be shaken in their beliefs. I’m a pretty loyal person, but I’m sporadic about causes. At times I simply become discouraged because there are so many causes out there – far more than I have the money to support. And what difference can just I make? Sometimes it simply feels discouraging. Sometimes it angers me. If even half of the money that gets spent on political ads, or on movies that erupt repeatedly with explosions, could be spent on needs within our society, what a difference we could be make! Instead, I feel discouraged, and in need of direction.

I don’t have a huge amount of money, thus I feel I the need to be judicious about how I use what money I do have. Yet, I am selfish with it. Today’s sermon at church concerned tithing. Perhaps I feel guilty because I haven’t been giving much anywhere these days. I think, however, it’s more than that. I want to be so totally committed to something that nothing can sway me in my total support of it. I also want the most “bang for my buck.”

I believe that, if you believe strongly enough in something, you can change lives. I want to be able to communicate the same fervor, excitement, and commitment that I so admire in a select few whom I consider to be my mentors. I want to make that kind of difference in this world. My problem is akin to writer’s block. I look around me, recognize there are many options, and end up doing nothing at all.

I want to hear the drumming of that different drummer, and I long for a cause that is uniquely mine. I want to clearly recognize the need, and have not a single doubt. My fear is that, while doing nothing, I’m going to miss it if it ever comes along.

How do you choose, commit to, and faithfully support a cause? I want a road map. What must I do to get there? What must you?


I’m still working on trying to establish a new routine. They say it takes thirty days to establish a habit. It hasn’t been a month yet. I’m seeking stronger faith. Oh, I believe in God. I go to church. I try to be a good person. But it’s not enough. I need more.

Recently I read a newspaper column written by a pastor that addressed strengthening your faith. The premise that remained most markedly with me was his suggestion to begin the day with reading the Bible. I have been guilty of checking e-mail first thing in the morning. Then I get sidetracked on something else I want to read. Then I get dressed. Finally – if I have time – I might read the Bible.

But now my new plan is this:  I do shower and dress first, but my next effort is to read from the Bible. So far, I have been opening it randomly, reading a selection from the Old Testament, a selection from the New Testament, and either a Psalm or a Proverb. When a particular verse strikes me as something some inner voice tells me I need to hear, I write it down. At the end of the week, I reflect on all those things I thought spoke to me.

I probably should have more of a plan because right now I never remember or keep track of what passages I read. On the other hand, the words I have written down usually strike some chord within me that has needed striking. Sometimes everything seems to fit together; other times the challenge is to figure out how the particular passages connect with me.

This week, things I heard include that the foundation is laid after giving thanks and praise. I read that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” I learned that I need to share more, practice fellowship, communion, and prayer. I must trust in Him and commit my way to Him. I must do good and cultivate faithfulness. “…Stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught.” Life should be enjoyed as His gift to us. “Comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.”  Ask and you shall receive. “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks….”

I think I have my Cliff’s Notes’ version of how to strengthen my faith. Now, all I have to do it put it into practice.

God’s Time

Timing is everything. Recently, a friend applied for a job that she really wanted, and didn’t get the position. She was angry and frustrated, and, in a rather plaintive kind of way, wondered why God wasn’t recognizing that she was trying so hard. The very next day she heard from another business to which she’d applied. While the company hasn’t directly hired her yet, it sounds promising. I’m hoping that it was the second job that God intended for her.

When I look back on various events in my life, I can now see an orchestration of events that would never have worked at other times in my life. God’s timing is not our timing.

I have been reflecting on faith and doubt and trust. I am encouraged by such words as those in Matthew 17:20 – that if I have faith the size of a mustard seed, I shall be able to move mountains. I often worry that my faith is smaller still! But then, when I reflect on how certain events have occurred in my life, I have to believe they were totally intended to happen at those moments in time, and I am awed.

I remember having had a similar reaction when I studied massage therapy. Science has never been one of my stronger subjects, yet as I read a basically abbreviated version of how intricately the body’s actions and reactions are balanced, I marveled at what a complex entity the human body is! When I further think of the very many people who are in this world, each one different from the other, each one unique with thoughts peculiar to only that one individual, I cannot fathom how there are some individuals out there who do not believe in God. Who else could have produced such magnificence?

Perhaps my faith is growing a little. I don’t think that ten years ago I would have looked back and been able to God’s work in my life. Now, I wonder who I will meet or what I might do each day that will bring either me, or someone else, closer to God. Having recognized His handiwork on more than one occasion, I know He is there…it’s just that His timing is not always my timing.