“… but a crushed spirit who can bear?” (Proverbs 18:14)

“There can be only One…” The Highlander movie, 1986.

Japan had an earthquake … followed by a tsunami … followed by the meltdown of their nuclear reactors.  For some, it merely felt like the end of the world.  For some folks in Japan, it actually was. Nature had gone haywire, leaving a path of destruction. Lives lost, homes lost, a nuclear disaster on the horizon. The earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan has the attention of the world as we look on in horror. We’ve watched the videos and the devastation is heartbreaking. Tragedy makes bedfellows of us all. We see their pain and feel helpless.  We think what if that were us and we know that we have no defense. For how can we defend against nature?

For most, fear began to set in – like it usually does in the aftermath of such events – as we look for answers. We want to be comforted. We want our illusion of security back. We want to believe (and hope) that such calamity will never come our way.  We fear we will not be ready if it does in two senses – we’ll be ill prepared to protect ourselves and we’re not ready to meet our Maker.  Most folks fool themselves into believing that there is no God, but times like these can shake us out of our complacency and make us consider, just for the moment, what if?

Of course, end-of- the-world theories and scenarios abound. When a natural disaster of this magnitude strikes, people speculate on the deeper meaning. Even people who don’t believe begin to latch onto scriptures and prophecies and try to connect the dots. The go-to scripture at a time like this, the one guaranteed to strike fear in our hearts, is the one that mentions “wars and rumors of wars … earthquakes in diverse places … famine.” (Mark 13:7-8) We consult our checklist: Wars? Check. Earthquakes and natural disasters? Check.  Famine and disease? Check. We ask ourselves – is this a disaster of biblical proportions? Does this mean that “The End” is near?

Now it’s true – these are signs of our times but this has been pretty much true for every generation.  So while these events are scary in and of themselves, they are not an absolute indicator of our impending demise. Most folks completely skip over the part where Jesus says, when we see these things “do not be alarmed” and this is “just the beginning of birth pains.” In other words, THE END is not yet near. So what is really going on?

Recently, my friend’s beloved grandfather and true patriarch of her family passed and she asked the question – WHY? Why him – he was a good man. Why him – he never hurt anyone. Why did he have to get sick – why did he have to die? And I answered her with the same answer I gave to my children when they began to have fears about death: We are all sick – sin sick, that is. That’s the why of it. Babies die. Teenagers die. Really good people die. Since sin was introduced into the world, it has consequences that we all must pay. Namely, that a body created to live forever, instead must die at some point.  Long life is not guaranteed to any of us. People die – no one knows the when, why or the how of their demise.  Most people cannot prepare for death – it takes many suddenly. What’s so important is what we do with the time we are allowed to be here.

That answered my friend’s question – but did you know that our world is sick, too? When God gave the land of Canaan to the Israelites, he did so with a condition. The Canaanites had become so vile and repugnant that they caused the land to sin. God ejected them in favor of the Israelites but warned the new caretakers: if you do the same, the land will reject you, too. (Leviticus 18:25) And that is what we have happening to this day. Creation is sick because of the things we do to each other, the lives we live, the disregard and disrespect for God and our fellow man. It can’t be fixed by recycling – that’s just a symptom of our problems. Because of our sins the land wants to reject mankind, spew us out, and vomit us up. Sin entered the scene and destroyed the perfection of God’s world. Now, like us, all creation is diseased and is groaning for redemption (Romans 8:22-23). It yearns to be restored to its original sinless state. And that is the real culprit behind Japan’s tsunami and all such natural disasters.

So what can we do to be made safe in times like these? How can we feel secure in a world that has no security? When I first struck out on my own, it was frightening to me. I had lived a pretty sheltered life. I’d always lived at home so I didn’t know what it was to truly take care of myself, by myself. Throw two kids into the equation and I was terrified. Not only did I have to take care of me, I had to take care of them. Wow. How would I keep us safe at night? Who would keep away the bad? Terrible scenarios played out in my mind. We would need a dog and a smoke alarm with a carbon monoxide detector and maybe even an alarm, too. I felt the pressure to keep us safe. In this, I could not fail because my kids, who were innocent, were counting on me.

But then it occurred to me: Who is the One that always keeps me safe? Who’s been keeping me safe all these years? Who keeps my kids when I am not around, when they are not in my sight? While they are away at school? Who keeps us at night when we are sleeping and senseless? I used to panic when I heard tornado sirens during the day until I realized that the same sirens go off at night while I’m sleeping and I’ve slept right through them. I didn’t know enough to be afraid – I didn’t even know I was in danger. There are dangers everywhere, seen and unseen, but there is One who keeps me when I don’t even realize I need to be kept.

When I want to feel safe in a world that’s gone crazy, I go to the One who made it and made me, too. He is my safety and security. He is my shelter. I run to his arms. In my mind, I picture these huge, MASSIVE biceps surrounding me – arms that I know are big enough to shelter me from anything. He longs to shield us all “as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings,” (Matthew 23:37) so I can count on him to keep me safe. And even if he doesn’t, even if calamity should touch my life, I know that He is still able. That gives me a measure of peace.

Be blessed,



“…Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” Deuteronomy 4:9

Recently, a friend posed a question on Face Book that made me think:  What is your legacy? I used to think my children were my legacy and counted on them to keep my memory alive. Then I became a writer and realized that was another way to keep my memories alive. Words are powerful – it’s how this world was formed. Words become our reality. Before there was the written word, there was the spoken word. Histories and family traditions were handed down orally, passed from generation to generation. It’s how our Bible was created – it was spoken and handed down well before it ever became a written account. It’s how Alex Haley was able to trace his Roots – an old African told stories of his homeland, his capture and subsequent enslavement and taught them to his children.  And, it’s also how my own parents instilled in me the wisdom of their generation which I am now able to pass to my own children.

Of course, I’m having about as much success with that as my parents had with me, LOL! It’s hit and miss at times, but I have hope that the seed I have sown will eventually take root in them as it inevitably did with me. My parents set the example in that they never stopped trying to reach me, never stopped talking to me and never stopped trying to impart that wisdom to me. No matter how stubbornly I rejected their teachings, they kept at it. So much so, that their words are still with me to this day. This is their legacy to me. It’s how they live on in me. It’s how they are immortalized. For as long as I live, they will live on.

“Longevity has its place.” Dr. Martin Luther King

When I was a young girl, I had a science teacher that told our class that our bodies were created to live forever. Our cells constantly regenerate. In theory, they should continue to regenerate cells of the same caliber, like for like, forever. But at some point, for no apparent reason, the cells create older versions of themselves, beginning the aging process. Some cells even get sick, regenerating in an abnormal fashion and turning against the body, resulting in diseases like cancer and leukemia.  A healthy immune system will suddenly run amok and fight the body.  Science has no explanation for why the normal regeneration process, that should keep us young and healthy forever, suddenly goes awry.

The answer lies in the beginning.  We were created to live forever, initially.  God created the heavens and the earth. For seven days he labored.  The sun, moon and stars were formed; lakes, rivers and the creatures that dwell therein; birds that fly in the air and walk on the ground, vegetation to feed the animals that tread upon the earth.  And then, there was the crowning pinnacle of His achievement – Man – created to have dominion over and to be a caretaker of the earth.

Then came the fall of mankind – Adam and Eve sinned by disobeying God and brought trouble upon us all. They believed the lies of the Serpent and God revoked the whole “eternal life” thing by forbidding them access to the Tree of Life. But the desire to live forever, to create something that survives the passage of time, still lives in each of us. It is inherent in our DNA. It’s why we have children. It’s in why we create businesses and dynasties. Or why we have statues erected in our names and plaques to memorialize our achievements. It’s also why you’ll see a message carved in a desk or on a tree: “Jane loves Jim” or “Max was here.” We want someone to know that we lived, that we “were here” and to not forget us. We want to live on.

Some folks, like the poor misguided young man who went on a shooting spree in Arizona, leaving several people dead and critically injuring Congresswoman Giffords, think that they have to kill someone or commit mass murder to make sure they are remembered. They are so afraid that their life will be meaningless, that they will leave this world and be completely forgotten that they carry out some insane plot to ensure their place in history and secure their fifteen minutes of fame. But there is a more positive way to leave your world better for your existence. 

“… All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.” Acts 9:39

Dorcas (aka Tabitha) became sick and died.  The believers were distraught; they mourned her passing and showed the Apostle Peter all the wonderful things she had created, with love, by her very own hands.  These were tangible evidence of her good works.   This was her ministry and her legacy. It was how she would best be remembered.  How would you like to impact the world around you?  What can you do to leave your imprint or make your mark in this world? How would you like to be remembered? What Dorcas did was relatively small but, in her world, it made her memorable. As Mother Theresa once said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” We can create a legacy and live on through our actions.

Another FB friend recently decided that she would create her own personal ministry of encouragement to others. She just wanted to be that person to bless someone “on purpose.”  I admired her effort because she was seeking to change her world and the people around her by bringing a positive spirit and influence into their lives.  She spoke a wonderful blessing over me that touched me – for no other reason than just because she could. I think I will always remember that about her. And that is how we leave our mark – we leave the people around us better for having known us. It’s that simple.

I think what my parents did for me was done in a purposeful way, keeping in mind the kind of adult they wanted to produce and unleash upon the world. It was also done to prepare me to face some of life’s trials and tribulations. And it also happened to create a lasting legacy in me. So I write because I feel the same burden and responsibility to pass it on to the next generation and so that my own children will do the same.  As my brother recently put it, “When you are an inspiration, you have an obligation!”

So ask yourself – what can I do? How do I want to be remembered? What can I do to create a lasting legacy? I think that whatever you do, as long as you do with a spirit of love, no matter how great or small an act, you won’t have a problem being remembered. We can live our lives “on purpose,” keeping in mind the kind of final result we want to achieve and how we want to be perceived. To paraphrase Queen “Who wants to live (on) forever?” I think we all do.

Be blessed,