Journey with John

Life is a gift of learning, growing, changing.  I am grateful for the faces and hands that have helped me do that. Hands stretched out in welcome.  Faces aglow with a joyful enthusiasm for life.  I have been blessed by the hands and faces of saints who have ministered to me as I struggle to be an obedient servant of God.  Robert Raines captures my delight for those special teachers and exposes my need for growth with this poem:

“I love to remember those precious moments when I saw people this week, really saw them – the innocent glory of my child’s face… the lined faces of patient parents… the unarmored face of one who knows he is dying… the hands that held, the hands that caress, the veined gnarled hands of work and love.  Why do I cause pain to those faces and make those hands go on guard?  Why do I turn the knife… belittle, demean, under-cut, while I want to open the door… build up… appreciate… encourage?  Let me bring light to those faces and gentleness to those hands.”   – From “Lord, Could You Make It Better” by Robert Raines

Thanks to the many teachers in my life, I’m making progress.  God sends the most extraordinary people to expand our lives.  I can’t help remembering those faces and hands that have helped me grow….  I was six years old.  My father had recently died.  Lonely and so very sad, I went to Sunday School where Fannie Kain waited with outstretched arms to take away some of the pain.  I still remember the touch of her hand….  As a junior in high school, shy and awkward, I remember the face of Lois Greene at Church Camp telling me to follow my dreams, that as a child of God, I could do anything.  Her kind face continues to minister to my shy and awkward soul….  As a young pastor, I thought I was supposed to know it all.  Failing miserably, I remember the face of wisdom and the hands of compassion in my friend, Bill Nichols who taught me we are constantly growing into God’s beauty.  The kindness in his face and the strength of his hands still move me….  I’m profoundly grateful to my latest teachers, Madelynn and Avery.  I stood by them last Sunday at our Work-ship day at Food Finders.  We were putting apples in bags and tying them.  They were amazing!  They talked to each other while they worked and laughed often.  They kept their hands busy filling the bags with apples and they were careful to handle them lovingly.  Their faces were simply – joyful!  Thanks, Madelynn and Avery for teaching me every job can be tackled with busy hands and joyful faces.  How God blesses us with the people sent our way.  Thank you, Lord.


Pastor John