Terry had serious throat cancer. He pastored a small church in rural Montana. The community of people who loved him prayed hard and fasted long. We encouraged him in every way we knew how. One by one, medical answers came up empty. Still, we sought God’s healing power.

But Terry died anyway. He was only 39.

I cried a flood tears. My heart ached for his family. But some tears also revealed my disappointment with God. Why would He take such a wonderful man? We needed Terry here. God is able to heal—but in this case, He didn’t. I asked God for understanding. Over the course of Terry’s decline I saw four dramatic symbolic pictures.

In the wake of Terry’s death, God made sense of them.Continue reading

Doctor Blake’s Question

Doctor Blake’s Question

“I can get angry at God sometimes,” said Father Emery, “But it doesn’t mean I’ll walk out on Him.”

Dr. Blake’s eyes widened as he made direct eye contact with the priest.

Father Emery continued. “Don’t let God go because you couldn’t hear Him when you needed to. Don’t let hurt decide your faith.”

Maybe the priest knew something of the good doctor’s inner struggle. His message was pointed.

He has spiritual questionDoctor Lucien Blake played by Craig McLachlan is the main character of a TV series called The Doctor Blake Mysteries. In his backstory, Blake served in the Far East as a medical officer during World War II. There, he married a Chinese woman and had a child. When Singapore fell, he tragically lost contact with them. He has been searching ever since. The series takes place Australia, in the late 1950s, where Blake assumed his late father’s work as a police forensics doctor. Though several decades have passed, he still doesn’t know if his family is alive or dead. He remains heartbroken.

The priest’s admonition seemed to touch the doctor’s deep pain. Later, Blake goes into the church alone to have a talk with God. Continue reading

The Sentences We Live By

The Sentences We Live By

Without warning, the great white shark violently surfaced behind the boat with jaws wide open. Three men gasped at the sight. One man harpooned a barrel line into its back, but the giant fish easily dragged the container under and disappeared. The men commissioned to hunt it down stood breathless.

I made a vow during JAWSJaws was a 1975 thriller about a 25-foot, man-eating shark that terrorized a New England summer resort town. And yes, it pretty much wrecked ocean swimming for years.

In the very next scene, Quint the professional shark hunter, Brody the local police chief, and Hooper the marine biologist, swapped stories and got drunk below deck as night fell. They blew off steam, believing the danger had passed for the moment. However, we, the audience, knew the terrible shark was lurking. The deep bass music—da-dummm, da-dummm, da-dummm—gave it away.

How can they be so oblivious! Blood rushed to my face. A cold sweat broke out on my neck and shoulders. Come on…get a clue! The pulsating notes grew louder, the pace quickened. Oh no! No, no, NO! And all at once, the shark rammed the hull with tooth-rattling force. The guys didn’t see it coming.

Right then and there, I made an inner vow:Continue reading