A vivid point of light from Scripture

The streamlined diesel train awaits passengers at Playland Amusement Park in Willow Springs, IL.

“We all need a vivid point of light from Scripture — a particular verse that resonates with us personally, to guide or paths and give us a reference point, no matter the size of the waves.”- Bill Hybels, Simplicity (2014)

“You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.”- Psalm 18:28

Playland Amusement Park, once located in present-day Willow Springs, IL, opened in mid-summer 1950.  On summer weekday afternoons in the late 1950s,  my next door neighbor, Dorothy Podewell, would take her son Cliff, my mom Elinor, and me to Playland- about a ten-mile drive from Evergreen Park.

Primarily a kiddie park with a total of 30-40 rides, Playland provided minimal landscaping, with dirt and gravel paths.  Although Playland charged no admission, patrons paid per ride.  Upon arriving, I’d immediately head for my favorite ride, the streamlined diesel train.  At one point it ran through a 300-foot tunnel.  In general, I gravitated toward rides that maintained direct contact with terra firma, like the Electric Street Cars.  If I felt particularly daring, I’d try my hand at the bumper cars!  And to cool off, a refreshing strawberry soda beckoned at the concession stand.

By 1979, Playland’s simplicity no longer competed with larger, fancier amusement parks like Six Flags Great America in Gurnee.  Playland closed.  Hence, today a mobile home park occupies the site.

Writing in Simplicity, Pastor Bill Hybels asserts that, when adversity batters us and we’re most likely to go off-course, a “life verse” guides us back to what matters most.  In other words, a vivid point of light.  Pastor Hybels defines a life-verse as:

  • a powerful, clarifying tool when it comes to simplifying our lives
  • a short passage of Scripture serving as a rallying cry to guide and focus the current season of your life, or your life as a whole
  • carefully chosen after prayerful consideration- resonates with you in a personal way
  • a continual guide back to God’s mission and vision for your life

Furthermore, Pastor Hybels describes three key reasons and benefits for choosing a life-verse:

1.  It clarifies what matters most.  As a Christ follower, God’s given you an earthly assignment that makes specific use of your unique gifts.  Thus, your life  verse reflects God’s particular guidance in your life.  Read, write, or recite your life verse every day.  It always recenters you on your purpose.

2.  It calls out the best in me.  Your life verse calls out the best in you.  Therefore, it minces no words.  Also, it provides blindingly clear marching orders for your life.  Most importantly, a Christ follower’s motivation should come from within.

3.  It brings comfort.  Every effort you expend to advance the purposes of God in this world is never in vain.  Whether your effort is big or small, visible or invisible, God Himself notices and appreciates your effort.  Ultimately, you do what you do for an audience of one.  Guided by a vivid point of light from Scripture.

We’ll never walk alone down the Red Sea road

Rev. Otto G. Thieme, longtime shepherd of Timothy Lutheran Church and School, c. 1965

“When we can’t see the way/ He will part the waves/ And we’ll never walk alone/ Down the Red Sea road.”- Ellie Holcomb

“Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD.  They rejoice in your name all day long; they exult in your righteousness.”- Psalm 89:15, 16

“There is a road from the eye to the heart that does not go through the intellect.”- G. K. Chesterton

As an eighth grade student at Timothy Lutheran School in Chicago, I grasped the unique opportunity to participate in two diverse confirmation classes.  One class met Saturday mornings at Ashburn Lutheran, my home congregation.  The other class, let by Rev. Otto G. Thieme, took the place of one regularly scheduled religion class at Timothy’s day school.

In contrast to an updated version of Luther’s Small Catechism used by Pastor Lillie at Ashburn, Rev. Thieme used the tried and true original version.  Complete with proof texts.  Most importantly, though, Rev. Thieme gently spoke God’s language of possibility.  Furthermore, as a true shepherd and guide, he compassionately communicated Jesus’ forgiveness and understanding.

Writing in Glory Days, pastor and author Max Lucado defines a stronghold as “a false premise that denies God’s promise. . . . It seeks to eclipse our discovery of God.  It attempts to magnify the problem and minimize God’s ability to solve it.”  In other words, Max asks, does a specific stronghold maintain a strong hold over you?  Is your everyday speech peppered with the language of impossibility?

Furthermore, it seems like you’ve been walking a long time.  In Exodus, the Hebrew people marching around Jericho certainly felt that way.  And even though God told Joshua Jericho’s walls would fall on the seventh day, Joshua didn’t inform the people.  They just kept walking that Red Sea road of trust.  Thus, we need to cultivate the God-drenched mind.

Therefore, acknowledge the presence of problems, but immerse your mind in God-thoughts.  As Max cautions, when you marinate your mind in your problems, like battery acid, those problems corrode and corrupt your thoughts.  In contrast, God-drenched thoughts preserve and refresh your attitudes.

As you ponder God’s holiness, Pastor Lucado exhorts, let His splendor stun and inspire you.  And turn a deaf ear to doubters.  Disregard cynics and their lethal disbeliefs.  Instead, fill your mind with faith.  Take on a God-sized challenge.  Most of all, keep walking the Red Sea road.  For all you know, this may be the day the sea parts or your walls of fear come tumbling down!

The three laws of relationship

Lagen’s Supermarket, originally an IGA, closed in 2014.

“A wise man once said that . . . the three laws of relationship are observation, observation, observation.”- John Ortberg

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge.”- Ephesians 3:17-19

For more than fifty years, Lagen’s Supermarket- originally an IGA, served the northeast Evergreen Park, IL community.  Located at 89th and California, the full-service grocer reached almost 20,000 people within a one-mile radius.  And sometime during my teen years, the building doubled in size.  Eventually, though, Lagen’s succumbed to the proliferation of big-box grocery stores, closing in 2014.

Truly, the independent grocery store created a sense of community.  The Henning family lived just a block away.  Since the store employed a butcher, mom bought all her meat there.  In addition, the store’s convenient location allowed mom to purchase any extra items needed during the week.  Dad took the family car to work.  Also, two neighbor ladies, Mrs. Kelly and Mrs. Peterson, worked the manual cash registers there.  I especially prized the foot-long pretzel sticks beckoning at the checkout lanes.

Noted Christian activist Dorothy Day once wrote that “we have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.”  Furthermore, author and pastor John Ortberg stresses that God designed us to flourish in connectedness.  Thus, we must learn to identify the life-giving people around us.  Most importantly, we need to discover how to give the power of connectedness to others.  As a result, John describes five gifts that connectedness brings.

  1. The Gift of Delighting.  As we consider the three laws of relationship, we realize that people who notice us give life to us.  Hence, love for someone grows when we work to truly observe that person.  In the process of our own self-forgetfulness, our own soul flourishes.
  2. The Gift of Commitment.  John notes that “too often, people who need cheers the most get them the least.”  Thus every life needs: an occasional shoulder to lean on, a prayer to lift them up to God, a hugger to wrap some arms around them sometimes.
  3. The Gift of Love.  John urges that every moment presents an opportunity to practice a gesture of love.
  4. The Gift of Joy.  Proverbs 17:22 reads, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
  5. The Gift of Belonging.  The most common designation for Christians is “brother” or “sister.”  Thus, belonging = God’s gift to us.

In conclusion, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin SJ (1881-1955) wrote about this gift of community and relationship:

“Someday, after we have mastered the winds and the waves, the tides and gravity, we will harness for God the energies of love, and then for the second time in the history of the world man will have discovered fire.”

But even if You don’t, my hope is You alone

Mr. Henning’s first class, Grades 3-4, St. Paul (Dorchester), Chicago

“But even if You don’t/ My hope is You alone”- MercyMe

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king.  But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods . . .”- Daniel 3:17-18

After graduation from Concordia Teachers College in River Forest, IL, St. Paul Lutheran School called me to teach grades three and four.  Sometime during the winter of 1974-75, I developed the worst sinus infection I’ve ever experienced.  Extreme congestion reduced my voice to a whisper.  Therefore, even if I reported  to school, I faced a communication dilemma.

As a result, my industrious students seized the day.  Presented with the opportunity to be my voice, they eagerly volunteered to read answers from the teachers guides and give directions for assignments.  Our cohesive classroom community carried through the next two days without a hitch.

Writing in Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering, Timothy Keller notes a puzzling statement in Daniel 3:18.  The verse begins, “But even if he does not”.  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego admit the possibility God might not deliver them.  Why?  Because they place their confidence in God.  They chose not to rely on their limited understanding of what God would do.  In other words, Pastor Keller adds, the three men trusted in God period.  Tim Keller explains:

“But Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego really believed ‘all the way down’ to God.  So they were not nervous at all.  They were already spiritually fireproofed. . . . Their greatest joy was to honor God, not to use God to get what they wanted in life.  And as a result, they were fearless.  Nothing could overthrow them.”

In conclusion, Pastor Keller describes three lessons learned from the story of “The Fiery Furnace”:

1.  God is with us in the fire.  This metaphor means God understands the difficulties of living through the miseries of this world.  God walks with us.   However, the real question revolves around if we’ll walk with Him.  Life falls apart when we create a false God-of-my-program.

2.  We must treat God as God and as there.  Timothy Keller exhorts: “If you remember with grateful amazement that Jesus was thrown into the ultimate furnace for you, you can begin to sense him in your smaller furnaces with you (emphasis Tim’s).”

3.  You must go into the furnace with the gospel to find God there.  It’s most dangerous to go into the fire without the gospel.  You’ll be mad at God, mad at yourself, or both.  If you trust in Jesus, your furnace will only make you better.

God made you to flourish

Hawthorn-Mellody Farms’ “free of human touch” production process

“God made you to flourish — to receive life from outside yourself, creating vitality within yourself and producing blessing beyond yourself.”- John Ortberg

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”- Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)

In its heyday, Hawthorn-Mellody Farms & Amusement Park in Libertyville, IL, functioned as a state-of-the-art dairy farm.  One of the largest dairy farms in Lake County, Hawthorn-Mellody also operated a small, but successful, amusement park.  The park included a petting zoo, small western town, and a steam train.

The owner, John Cuneo, Sr., built Hawthorn-Mellody in 1949.  He intended that the farm serve as a fun, educational center where families learned about agriculture and the dairy industry.  To achieve this goal, Mr. Cuneo constructed a public milking parlor.  Every afternoon, Holsteins were milked using Hawthorn’s “free of human touch” production process.  However, new owners razed the farm in 1970 due to decreased attendance and increased competition from more modern dairies.

Before your ministry downsizing or vocation loss, perhaps preoccupation with work and/or career goals defined your existence.   As a result, you felt alive.  Furthermore, after your loss that preoccupation simply shifted gears to resurrecting your vocation.  Consequently, then, how do you avoid acquiring the “spiritual” gift of pouting?

Writing in The Me I Want to Be, John Ortberg stresses that no one particular achievement or experience defines life.  Instead, your most important task in life consists of who you become, not what you do.  Citing Ephesians 2:10, Pastor Ortberg explains:

“You are not your handiwork; your life is not your project.  Your life is God’s project.  God thought you up, and he knows what you were intended to be.  He has many good works for you to do . . . signposts to your true self.”

Therefore, Dr. Ortberg exhorts you to remember that God made you to flourish.  In addition, he describes flourishing as:

  • God’s gift and plan
  • living in harmony with God, other people, creation, and yourself
  • not measured by outward signs such as income, possessions, or attractiveness
  • becoming the person God had in mind in creating you
  • moving toward God’s best version of you

In conclusion, Pastor Ortberg encourages, you become more you when you flourish.  Although you are a “new creation,” you’re not completely different.  For God wants to redeem you rather than exchange you.  And in this process you grow, giving God the glory.  John explains:

“But as God grows you, he wants to use you in his plan to redeem the world, and you find him changing your experiences.  Your flourishing self works out of a richness and a desire to contribute.  You live with a sense of calling . .  . doing what you love and what creates value. . . . become resilient in suffering. . . . You grow.”

Finally, God calls us to bring His wisdom and glory to the world.  As we flourish, we bring blessing to others.  Yes, even in the most unexpected and humble circumstances.

Hope comes in two flavors

Brigid Bazlen, age 14, as the Blue Fairy on WGN-TV, 1958

“We all hope, but hope comes in two flavors- hoping  for something and hoping in someone.”- John Ortberg, Know Doubt

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump:  for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”- 1 Corinthians 15:52 (KJV)

It’s almost 7:30 pm on a chilly Monday evening in 1958.  While parents watch in an adjoining room, a studio technician escorts me and five other youngsters to our seats- oversized mushrooms in The Blue Forest.  At 7:30, The Blue Fairy, suspended by wires, flies above the forest, saying: “I’m the Blue Fairy.  I’ll grant you a wish to make all your dreams come true.”  Resplendent in her blue gown and diamond tiara, Brigid Bazlen clasps a silver wand.  After descending to the forest floor, she asks each of us a question: “What is your favorite zoo animal?”

In 1958, WGN-TV, then located in the Prudential Building, produced two color programs- The Blue Fairy and Garfield Goose & Friend.  Although only televised in the Chicago area, The Blue Fairy won the Peabody Award for best children’s programming that year.  The award catapulted the series- and Brigid- to national attention.  Brigid later appeared in King of Kings (1961) as Salome and in the soap opera Days of Our Lives (1972).

Scottish author, poet, and Christian minister George MacDonald (1824-1905) once wrote: “Anything large enough for a wish to light upon, is large enough to hang a prayer upon.”  Yet, as John Ortberg points out, we must recognize the truth that one day every thing we hope for eventually disappoints us.  That’s why hope comes in two flavors.  Therefore, through the power of the Holy Spirit, faith requires:

  • belief- what we do with our minds
  • commitment- what we do with our wills
  • hope- what we do in our hearts

Furthermore, Pastor Ortberg suggests, our wishes reveal something true about why we exist and the reason God created us.  And Frederick Buechner echoed these thoughts when he stated that “sometimes wishing is the wings the truth comes true on.  Sometimes the truth is what sets us wishing for it.”

Three-day stories-  Jesus’ death and resurrection, for example- demonstrate (1) desperate need and anticipation and (2) hope hanging by a thread.  Although that hope comes in two flavors, only one flavor transforms your soul, rather than reducing Jesus to a heavenly meal ticket.  John Ortberg explains:

“What got released on Sunday was hope.  Not hope that life would turn out well.  Not even hope that there will be life after death.  Hope that called people to die: die to selfishness and sin and fear and greed, die to the lesser life of a lesser self so that a greater self might be born.  And many people did.  This hope changed things.”

Discover the beauty in sorrow

Removal of stained glass windows from Luther South’s chapel.

“We have lost the beauty in sorrow, so we try to get out of pain as quickly as possible. . . . But life will let all of us down, and we need a way to talk about it — a way we have lost along the way.”- Esther Fleece

“For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men.”- Lamentations 3:31-33

Founded in 1951, Luther South prospered under the leadership of Principal Walter Steinberg.  According to the Southwest News Herald, over 1200 students attended South during its heyday in the 60s.  Yet, when the school closed in June of 2014, enrollment stood at 145.  In December of 2016, alumni were invited to Luther South Memorabilia Days for a final opportunity to walk the halls and purchase items from their years at South.  Currently, the building faces likely demolition.  However, Pastor Joel A. C. Dietrich (Saint Paul Lutheran Church, Beecher, IL) preserved the stained glass windows.  Originally donated by his grandparents, the windows will be installed at Saint Paul.

In her book No More Faking Fine, Esther Fleece states the majority of us have said or heard the following clichés during times of suffering.  These conversation stoppers include:

  • “If God brings you to it, He’ll bring you through it.”
  • “It could have been worse.”
  • “Everything happens for a reason.”

Ms. Fleece contends that these clichés exist because we’ve lost the biblical language of lament.  As D. A. Carson, professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School writes, no Scriptural evidence exists to “fake it till you make it.”  Dr. Carson asserts:

“There is no attempt in Scripture to whitewash  the anguish of God’s people when they undergo suffering.  They argue with God, they complain to God, they weep before God.  Theirs is not a faith that leads to dry-eyed stoicism, but to a faith so robust it wrestles with God.”

Therefore, the pathway of lament makes way for God to come and work His healing as we honestly express ourselves.  In lament, God refines, renews, holds, and transforms us.  As a result of our honest prayers, unrestrained lament, and trusting dependence, authentic praise flows from our souls.  That’s when, Esther notes, we discover the beauty in sorrow.

In conclusion, Louie and Shelley Giglio (Passion City Church, Atlanta) describe the beauty in sorrow.  They write in the Forward to Ms. Fleece’s book:

“The beautiful nature of lament is that it has a beginning and an end.  No one is meant to live forever in grief and sorrow, yet without it, our life loses all meaning and our sense of immeasurable joy that is intended for our journey.  Without lament, there is no joy.”

Lost in a sea of faces?

Pastor Dietrich teaching religion class at Luther South, 1968-69

“And in Your eyes I can see/ And in Your arms I will be/ I am not just a man, vastly lost in this world/ Lost in a sea of faces.”- Kutless

“What is man that your are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?  Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings, and crowned him with glory and honor.”- Psalm 6:4-5

Pastor Adam Dietrich passionately taught and defended the Christian faith as he taught Christian doctrine to countless Luther South students from 1964-1997.  In addition, Pastor Dietrich faithfully served as Interim Pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Hodgkins, IL, from 1976-2011.  As a student in his doctrine class, I found Pastor Dietrich to be firm in his beliefs.  Yet, he balanced that with compassion for each student.  Furthermore, he relished a good theological challenge!

Through his daughter Annie, I asked Pastor two questions about his teaching approach.

Question 1: What did you see when you looked out on that impressionable sea of faces?

Answer:  Some wonderful kids waiting to be taught.

Question 2:  What did you hope to communicate to your students?

Answer:  In whatever class I was teaching- business or religion- Christ alone!

When Joseph arrived in Egypt (Genesis 39), his world bottomed out for the second time.  Once again, he found himself on the auction block.  His status as Jacob’s favorite son gone, Joseph now lived in a foreign environment and culture.  He didn’t speak the language.  Lost in a sea of faces- the odds against him.

Yet, as Max Lucado notes in You’ll Get Through This, at this point Joseph’s story parts company with self-help papyri and secret-to-success formulas that direct the struggling soul to discover inner peace (“dig deeper”).  Joseph’s story exhorts us to “look higher.”

As Pastor Lucado encourages, “Make God’s presence your passion. . . . Be more sponge and less rock.”  Placing a rock in the ocean gets the surface wet, perhaps changing its color.  But, the interior of the rock remains unchanged.  However, when you place a sponge in the ocean, the water penetrates every pore, altering the essential nature of the sponge.

Therefore, “open every pore of your soul to God’s presence (Max).”  If you feel lost in a sea of faces, know that Joseph’s story doesn’t just focus on God being with Joseph.  Dr. Tony Evans (Detours) observes that Joseph also was with God (emphasis Dr. Evans’).

Dr. Evans adds that a sponge only lets out exactly what you put into it.  As a result, fill every pore of your soul with the promises contained in God’s Word.  Then, when life’s pressures threated to cave you in, everyone will witness “how much of God comes out (Tony Evans).”

A child’s heart, but a grown-up’s head

Dad (right) standing by B-25B Mitchell bomber on airfield in Burma.  Note the distinctive “greenhouse”-style nose.

“Christ wants a child’s heart, but a grown-up’s head.  He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have . . .”- C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“I, therefore, a prisoner of the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of your calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.”- Ephesians 4:1-2 (ESV)

Named after US aviation pioneer Major General William “Billy” Mitchell, the B-25 Mitchell served in all  theaters of World War II.  This twin engine, medium bomber first gained fame in the Doolittle Raid that attacked mainland Japan on 18 April 1942.  In that raid, sixteen B-25s took off from the carrier USS Hornet. Taking place four months after Pearl Harbor, the Doolittle Raid lifted American spirits and alarmed the Japanese.  They considered their home islands impregnable by enemy forces.

However, in Burma the versatile bomber adapted to the jungle environment.  The B-25 emerged as a formidable strafing aircraft, using the preferred method of low-level attack.  In addition, the plane attacked Japanese communication links, especially bridges in central Burma.  After the war, many B-25s remained in service, spanning four decades.

Walking in your desert, land between time births the fear that taking a “lesser” calling potentially stunts you for life.  In Every Good Endeavor, Tim Keller argues that “everything we do wrong . . . stems from a conviction deep in our souls that there is something more crucial to our happiness and meaning than the love of God.”  In addition, modern culture strengthens this mindset.

According to Yale philosopher Nicholas Wolterstorff, today’s culture defines the happy life as a life “going well.”  As a result, experiential pleasure equals the happy life.  In contrast, the ancients understood the happy life as a life “lived well”.  Therefore, character, courage, humility, love, and justice prevailed.

Hence, as you journey toward the next season in your life, Tim Keller offers three biblical sources to light your way.   Using these sources requires a child’s heart, but a grown-up’s head.  The Bible, then, teaches that wisdom accrues from several sources.

  1. We must not merely believe in God, but know Him personally.  In other words, God’s gracious love becomes a living reality.  An abstract doctrine carries little impact.
  2. We must know ourselves.  The gospel show us both our sin and God’s love for us in Jesus.  Thus, the gospel keeps us from over- or underestimating our own abilities.
  3. We learn wisdom through experience.  Experience teaches us precious little without the knowledge of God and self brought to us through the gospel.  However, the gospel empowers us to deepen our knowledge of human nature and relationships

In conclusion, pastor and counselor Jack Miller reminds us God will prevail:

“Cheer up.  You’re a worse sinner than you ever dared imagine, and you’re more loved than you ever dared hope.”

You watch over me

Veronica, near her crossing guard post at 83rd and Paulina

“You watch over me in the darkest valleys/ You watch over me when the night seems long/ You help me to see the way before me/ You watch over me”- Aaron Shust

“The LORD watches over you — the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”- Psalm 121:5,8 (NIV)

During my elementary years at Timothy Lutheran (Chicago), Crossing Guard Veronica’s faithful presence gifted the blessings of protection and comfort to our tight-knit school community.  Veronica patrolled her high-traffic post at 83rd and Paulina before/after school as well as at lunchtime.  In addition, she served as a liaison with Timothy’s student crossing guards.

Prepared for the inevitable playground bumps and bruises, Veronica kept first aid supplies, specifically Band Aids, on hand.  Most noteworthy, though, God called Veronica to a ministry of presence.  As a result, she always took time to talk with any student in need of a listening ear.  Furthermore, she displayed a remarkable understanding of junior high kids, first crushes, and broken hearts.

Veronica kept her eyes on the Good Shepherd.  Through the Holy Spirit, the Good Shepherd and His compassion lived in her soul.  Therefore, she understood generously giving is like an enfolding ring.  Ann Voskamp describes this enfolding in The Broken Way:

“It’s the presence of Christ who gives us every single gift.  And the presence of Christ makes us into the gift given.  There are no gifts in the world, given or received, without the presence of Christ.  Christ gives the gifts to us, and then- He within us, indwelling us- gives the gifts through us to a beautiful and aching world.”

Similarly, earthly shepherd’s only concern for their sheep involves compassion and comfort.  Thus, Ann Voskamp lists several ways shepherds use a staff to watch over their sheep.  Shepherds:

  • stick the rod into the ground and lean it away from the body, making a V
  • wave for the sheep to come between their bulk and the leaning rod
  • lay the rod out to guard the sheep
  • make the rod an extension of their arm

However, to keep a stiff-necked sheep from running away, the shepherd may apply a brake, or weight, to that sheep’s leg.  The brake stays until the wayward sheep recognizes the shepherd’s voice, learns never to be afraid, and trusts the master’s ways.

As we rest in the arms of Jesus, He brings healing to the brokenhearted.  Ann encourages us with these closing words:

“The same hand that unwraps the firmaments of winging stars wraps liniments around the wounded heart; the One whose breath births galaxies into being births healing into the heart of the broken.”