Thursday, July 12, 2007

"Where are You?"

Yesterday two childhood memories came to mind, both taking place in winter – perhaps I was trying to find a cool place since we hit the highest temperature in B.C. yesterday – 38 ½’ Celsius.

When I was four years old, my family travelled by train to Saskatchewan to visit my paternal grandparents.
I remember the train journey well and especially enjoyed sleeping in the berths and I remember jumping over the link between train cars.
One day I awakened from a nap and found the seats beside me empty. My Mom, my Dad, my baby brother were no-where to be seen.
My eyes frantically searched the seats behind me, beside me, in front of me but there were only the unfriendly faces of strangers.
Then, I saw it.
The back of my Dad’s head , a few rows in front of me. Relieved beyond measure I called out, “Daddy!!”
But there was no response.
Again and again I called out to him, louder each time, not understanding why he did not respond to my cry!
Finally he did.
He turned around, and the face I was expecting distorted into the scowling face of an intimidating stranger.
I will never forget the feeling I had -- the brutal shock that paralyzed my emotions when I looked into that unfriendly, unfamiliar face and realized that my hope was dashed.
I was truly alone!!

(My parents of course had not left me but had simply gone to the dining car for a cup of coffee and returned shortly)

When I was eight or nine and attending my little two room country school one day I sat in the school room and watched the snowflakes start to drift past the windows.
It began to snow harder and harder throughout the morning and I remember my teacher becoming anxious. I did not really understand why.
Finally she informed us that she was dismissing us from school early and that our parents would be coming to get us because of the snow storm.
I knew my Dad was working so I expected to just walk home as I always did.
I put on my coat, my mittens, my extra socks and my boots, took my lunch kit and followed the other children outside.
I was not prepared for what hit me!
It was a blizzard like I had never seen before. The wind was fiercely blowing the snowflakes in a swirling cloud so dense that I could not see two feet in front of me.
I remember feeling scared because I had no idea which way was home.
(those of you who know me can stop laughing! – yes, I admit it – I had no sense of direction even then!)
Which way to go? What to do? I had difficulty breathing, the storm was so intense.
I could hear the other children's high pitched voices screaming and calling for their parents and I heard the lower pitched voices of adults.
But I was lost!
Then through all the other screaming voices, above the howl of the wind, I heard a voice I immediately recognized.
My father was calling my name! My heart leaped!
“Daddy, Daddy!” I shouted.
“Julie,” he called back! “Over here, come this way!”
He kept calling and I answered him.
Following the direction of his voice he guided me into his waiting arms.
I was safe.
You know what is odd? That is where my memory ends. I have no idea how my father managed to drive home through that blizzard. I have no idea how long it took or how much trouble he had.
Once I was with my father, I had no more fear, no more concern - I was secure in his care, I knew we were going home!!

I was thinking about these two memories and realized they carried a deep spiritual application.

Last night I stumbled upon Nicole’s blog. Nicole is a young 27 year old girl just diagnosed with liver cancer.
She is a single mom with a 12 year old son. Refusing to have an abortion at the age of 15, her parents disowned her and the baby, leaving her with no family support.
She struggled to put her life back together after doing the drug and party scene and found faith in Jesus. She thought she was doing fine, living a clean life, living for God and living for the son she loved with all her heart!
Then the cancer!
She screamed at God, blaming Him, accusing Him, and has turned her back on Him in her pain , sent her son off to live with parents of a friend and decided that if she was going to die anyway she might as well party her way out!

My heart aches for her !!
But oh…. How I wished she could see that the one she is screaming at is not her ‘Father’ but the unfriendly face of a scowling stranger.
So often we look for God in the wrong places.

He is not in the ‘whys’… He is the Answer.
He is not in the pain…. He is the Strength to endure the pain.
He is not in the suffering …. He is the Comfort
He is not in the turmoil…… He is the Peace in the midst of chaos.
He is not in the fear….. He is the Love that dispels the fear!

He is the Voice that guides us to the safety and shelter of His arms where no enemy can defeat us, no harm can destroy us, no terror crush us.

We all have times in our lives where circumstances threaten to overwhelm us, fill us with foreboding and gut wrenching fear and agony.
When these times come in your life…don’t panic screaming at a stranger, don’t look at the howling storm…..listen for your Father’s voice calling to you, guiding you through the threatening storm into a safe haven.

And behold the Lord passed by and a great and strong wind rent the mountains…. But the Lord was not in the wind….
And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake….
And after the earthquake a fire... but the Lord was not in the fire…

And after the fire……. A still, small Voice…..”
I Kings. 19:11-13


Carolanne said...

Julie, this is a beautiful and touching post.

Thank you.

Lovella said...

Julie, this post really touched me. Somehow your personal experiences are always my favorite. Maybe because I already know you and this helps me to know you in a deeper way.
I love . . just love the peace that passes all understanding amidst the storms of life.
Thank you.

Monkey Giggles said...

Thank you for visiting me. Your post was very well said. Have a blessed day.

Demara said...

Thank-you Julie! That was...i'm finding it hard to find the right words...the best I've ever read of yours!!! Thank-you for sharing. Again.