Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ike brought crisp, cooler days, a little rain and wind gusts that cleared some limbs out of the trees. It's good porch sitting weather! We know, however, not to get too used to it. Fall is always hot in this part of the country. I am once again anticipating the turning of the ghinko trees downtown around the courthouse. The seasons come and go, but I never tire of the beauty of each one.

I learned Monday that the tumor marker has lost its way--it's going up instead of down. Of course, the nurse, in her brightest voice, reminded me how many treatments I had had and that I shouldn't be discouraged. "Discouragement" is not the word; it is "disappointment." We want that count to go down and the white count to come up. Pretty typical of human nature. We're seldom satisfied with what we have, always wanting more. The apostle Paul said that he had learned to be content in any state. That's an expression of all -out trust in an unchanging, faithful God and I want to be able to echo Paul's statement. "Discouragement" does not belong in my vocabulary.

I have been drawn to a lovely lady in our congregation who has caregiving responsibilities for her husband. He is a former mayor of the city and until a stroke disabled him, he was active, vital, very much involved in the church and community. The other day she told me that one of her friends saw her at church and commented that she had never seen her look prettier, then added: "Stress must agree with you." We laughed and said that if that's the case she would be the world's most beautiful lady.

If asked, I imagine she would say that her life has not taken the path she thought it would. I never imagined the circumstances we face day to day. Life is fragile. It can--and does--change in an instant. An outwardly healthy person can be felled by a stroke or heart attack in an instant; a doctor's diagnosis can change everything; an accident may rearrange your lifestyle; a broken relationship may hurt you deeply. Life is full of change. It is inevitable. The old cliche, "two things never change--death and taxes," holds no comfort, is no help. The comfort lies in the knowledge that God, alone, is unchanging in all He is and in all His works. While our circumstances will surely change, our lives take unknown, unwanted paths, we trust in an unchanging God who makes it possible for us to be "content" along with Paul.

Pastor Margaret

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