We recently spent a few days in Seaside, Oregon. Having once lived there we drove around to see what had changed. As we drove up “our” street, the houses looked familiar, most had been well maintained and there were some changes. “Our” house, which was old when we lived there, now is well over 100 years old, was still in good condition. The sun porch had been remodeled and had new windows, a good place for the children to play. Even though the beach was only about 200 feet away we were very cautious about letting them play there. That did not always deter our adventurous son, but those stories are for a different time….
Our minds are fascinating. As we drove past the house memories filled my head, so many good times, and our share of stressful times as well. Like when the church high school young people needed some adult advisors and for some reason their parents felt we could do the job, even though we were not really that much older than them ourselves.
One activity was having them come to our house after church on Sunday evening. We had the young people be in charge as much as possible so there was never a dull moment. One evening there was a new girl. As the evening progressed it seemed that no one really knew her. As she talked, it became apparent that she lived in Portland but was having some difficulties with her parents so decided to distance herself from them and come to the beach, without them knowing where she was.
As this began to sink in, the legal and moral ramifications began flooding our minds. We thought some good advice would be handy. Fortunately, the husband of one of my employee’s was the chief of police. After some conversation he suggested the best course of action would be to let them handle it. Needless to say, the girl was not too thrilled when the police cruiser pulled up in front of our house. While there were a number of different alternatives for us that evening, we tried to do what was legally and morally best for this girl, and for us. This was certainly a learning experience for us and for our young people. Sometime later we received a letter from the girl thanking us for caring about her and for seeing that she was reunited with her family.
We were thankful for her growth and for God allowing us to see the positive results of our actions.
Sunny days in the fall bring out a lot of people at the coast, even during the middle of the week. As we continued our relaxing time at the beach we enjoyed some of our favorite restaurants in the area. One such place is the Log Cabin in Cannon Beach. When we lived here it actually was an ancient log cabin with uneven wood floors, a sagging roof and who knows what keeping the rotting walls standing. The new building is a magnificent edifice made out of logs but a mansion as compared to that humble original building.
As we were waiting for our food, and what has been our custom for all our marriage, we held hands, bowed our heads and thanked God for the food and asked His blessing on our lives. These prayers are usually quiet and brief, lacking pontification and boisterous oration so not drawing attention to ourselves. As we were finishing our meal, I noticed a young man and his wife on the other side of the restaurant. I saw him get up from the table and walk towards us. I was surprised when he stopped and thought that maybe he had met us sometime in the past. But, he paused and then said he was pleased to see that we had taken the time to pray before our meal. He then smiled and walked back to his wife.
Courage is not always some Herculean or epic event. It often comes in small doses and has a cumulative effect. We never know who is watching, the situation that will arise or the impact our words or actions will have on those around us.
Matt did a great job Sunday talking about courage–living for that which is important.
1. Courage in moral issues. Don’t whitewash God’s moral standards. It is okay to learn from the mistakes of others, we don’t have to repeat all the mistakes ourselves.
2. Courage in ministry. We have the responsibility to warn people of the dangers of their actions. Our lives should glow not glare. Don’t miss opportunities. Be a force for Jesus.
3. Courage in faith. Trust that God does have our best interests at heart.
Take time to thank God for the areas of courage He has developed in you. Ask Him to show you specific areas that He would like to refine even more.