Tag Archives: trust

Scared Spitless But Willing to Trust

Story of the Day for Wednesday May 23, 2012

Scared Spitless But Willing to Trust

 

                Whenever I’m afraid, I will trust in you.

                                     Psalm 56:3

 

If you ever find a job opening for the position of aerialist manager, you might want to learn about Harry Colcord before you call for an interview.

But let’s leave Harry Colcord in his manager’s office for a moment while we focus on the wacky antics of Jean Francois Gravelot, a French aerialist who, because of his fair hair, called himself The Great Blondin. While touring with P.T. Barnum in 1858, he saw Niagara Falls for the first time and knew he had to cross it . . . on a tightrope.

The next year he stretched a 1300-foot rope 160 feet above the roaring falls, while 10,000 anxious spectators watched as he walked across. For two summers, Blondin repeated his stunt – each time making his crossing more breathtaking. He crossed on a bicycle. Next, with his feet chained together. He did it blindfolded; he did it on stilts.

 

Before Blondin left Niagara Falls for other things, he needed a Grand Finale – a climactic stunt that would top his previous heart-stopping acts. He knew what would thrill the crowds: he would cross the falls with another person sitting on his shoulders.

But no one would volunteer to make the crossing.

And now, at last, we can drag Harry Colcord out of his manager’s office. You’ll have to excuse him for looking so pale, but he doesn’t feel very well at the moment. No one could be found to cross Niagara Falls on Blondin’s shoulders . . . and, as they say, the show must go on.

With 10,000 spectators watching, Blondin held his 35-foot balancing pole, and his manager on his back, and started across Niagara Falls.

 

It’s so easy to trust others when you’re just a spectator. Unfortunately, the Lord never lets you sit comfortably in the back row of the auditorium. He’s always calling you onstage. Faith is lived when we’re scared spitless, but still willing to trust in the calm assurances of the Lord.

 

Blondin walked twenty feet to the first guy rope, but it snapped, jerking them violently sideways. Blondin quickly ran to the next guy rope and told Harry to get off his shoulders quick. Colcord had to feel with his feet for the vibrating rope and hold on for dear life to his slippery tights, while Blondin rested and regained his composure.

And then a gust of wind caused the two of them to sway – terrifying the crowd. Other guy ropes failed (reporters later learned that the guy lines were deliberately sabotaged). Blondin, realizing the danger, sprinted the last twenty yards, and plunged into the crowd with his human passenger.

 

After this stunt, I think we can reasonably assume that Harry Colcord had great job security. When you dare to live the life of faith, the competition thins.

 

But you will live.

                            (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

One Missing Crescent Wrench

Story of the Day for Thursday December 1, 2011

One Missing Crescent Wrench

                 Why do we profane the covenant of our fathers by breaking faith with each other? 

                                                                      Malachi 2:10

When I was young I picked up a couple of hitchhikers.  We were driving down a dark, lonely stretch of road when the guy next to me said he was going to kill me.  (Not to ruin the suspense or anything, but he didn’t.)  They did, however, promise to rob me, and they were faithful to their word.  They went through my glove compartment, found nothing memorable, and finally settled on stealing my crescent wrench lying on the passenger side floor.

 

Whenever we break a promise or betray a trust, we are creating more than a single incident of disappointment for someone.  When someone puts their trust in us and we let them down, they now become less likely to trust others.

Have you heard the old story of the Bedouin who was riding his camel through the desert?  He came upon a stranger who said he was stranded, and asked if he might be able to ride with him on the camel.  The kindly Bedouin was happy to help him out.

They had not ridden long together before the stranger threw the Bedouin off the camel.  As the stranger fled on the camel, the Bedouin shouted after him, “I am not so much angry that you stole my camel, as that, from now on, it will be harder for me to help a stranger who is in need.”

 

As a society, and even more, so as a body of believers, we live in community.  Healthy communities are founded on trust.  Loren Morse wrote to Reader’s Digest about his friend, David, who moved from the big city to rural Maine. David went to a store to rent a rototiller.  He was told the rental fee was not based on how many hours he had the tiller, but on how many hours he actually used it.

David was confused, “How will you know how long I’ve used it?”

Puzzled, the owner said, “You tell me.”

Life is so much more refreshing when we’re are able to trust each other.

 

Sadly, communities can break down.  Every lock you buy testifies to the insecurity we live in when we can no longer trust each other.

 

We cannot control the climate of the community we live in.  But we can influence it.  Jesus said, after all, that we are the salt of the earth.  You don’t have to trust everyone, but you can become a person others can trust.  And even if we have failed to be trustworthy in the past, God’s mercy provides you a new day, and a new start.

 

And, although I never do it with my wife and kids in the car, and though I don’t commend the practice to others, I still pick up hitchhikers.  Helping others get down the road has been well worth the price of one missing crescent wrench.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Can You Keep a Secret?

Story of the Day for Wednesday October 19, 2011

Can You Keep A Secret?

                  A gossip exposes hidden things, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret. 

                                                                      Proverbs 11:13

William White, in his book, Stories for the Journey, relates an old Jewish story that goes like something like this:

The Teacher took one of his students along to visit a wealthy man. They were seeking financial help for a man who had suffered a heart attack.

The rich man listened quietly as the Teacher explained the desperate need for help to aid the ailing man. “We are asking for a generous gift,” the Teacher concluded.

“Who is the sick man?” the wealthy man asked.

“I’m sorry, but we cannot reveal names. In this case, it would be awkward for the public to know that he needs charity.”

“If I am going to help this man,” the rich man replied, “I need to know his identity. I am willing to donate one thousand dollars – on the condition that you tell me who it is.  I promise his name will be kept in strict confidence.”

The Teacher sadly shook his head, “I will not reveal his name.”

“Then, let me double the offer. Two thousand dollars.”

The student looked at his Teacher in disbelief as he again refused.

Taking a deep breath, the rich man said, “Ten thousand dollars.”

The student could stand it no longer. “Teacher, ten thousand dollars will pay for all his hospital bill. He is an honorable man, and his secret will be safe between us.”

“A man’s honor is not open to negotiation,” the Teacher replied, as he made his way to the door.

As the Teacher turned to leave, the wealthy man blurted out, “Please, wait. May I speak with you alone for a moment.”

While the student stood outside, the rich man broke into tears and said, “Teacher, I have lost all my fortune. I cannot even make my next payment on the mortgage. I have wanted to ask for help, but I am ashamed to let everyone know of my failure.”

“Ah, now I understand,” the Teacher replied. “You were testing me to see if I could be trusted to keep your secret.” The Teacher assured the man that the matter would be kept in confidence, and that he would also raise money to help him as well.

After the two left, the student could stand it no longer. “I know he offered you a great amount of money so that you would tell him the name of the sick man. How much did he give you?”

The Teacher smiled and winked at the student, “Shame on you! You know these things are a secret.”

 

Why are we so eager to gossip?  Why do we find pleasure in spreading the secret faults of others?

I don’t know. But I do know this: there is One who covers all my shame.  And, whatever sick pleasure I may find in spreading gossip, he teaches me a far greater joy in keeping a confidence.

                                                             (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Hidden From View by a Shoe and a Smelly Sock

Story of the Day for Friday May 20, 2011

Hidden From View by a Shoe and a Smelly Sock

                        “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’  And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’  On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.” 

                                                                      1 Corinthians 12:21-22

 When you crouch down to lift a heavy object (a hay bale, let’s say) what is the most important muscle group you use?  I’ll give you a hint: it’s not any muscles in your legs.  No, it’s not in your back either.  Or your arms.

I have a friend who is a university choir director.  Though I was skeptical at first, Hank (that’s Dr. Alviani to you) convinced me that the most important muscles necessary to lifting a heavy weight are your vocal chords.

When you lift things, he explained, your body must hold air pressure in your chest cavity, or else it would collapse.   That is why you always take a deep breath and hold it before you lift.  Your vocal chords are holding the air in your chest. (The grunts you make while lifting is from tiny bits of air escaping.)  Yet, without those tiny muscles in your throat, you would be unable to lift my daughter’s rock collection off the floor.

While God has given all of us our gifts and talents, it takes effort to view them from a proper perspective.  All of us are tempted to make one of two mistakes.  The first mistake is to feel that our gifts are superior to those of others.   The second is to think that our gifts are not nearly as important as others.   We wish we had gifts that others have.

Both of these attitudes are profoundly unhelpful.

God tells us that one part of the body should not look down on another part and consider it unnecessary.

Dizzy Dean was one of the greatest pitchers of all time.  He led the National League in strikeouts his rookie year.   In five years he won 120 games.

While pitching in the All-Star game in 1937, a grounder glanced off his toe.  Rather than waiting for his toe to heal, he simply re-adjusted his pitching motion. Adjusting his delivery eased the pain, but overextended his arm.  As a result, he ruined his arm, and no batter would ever see his blazing fastball again.

At the peak of his glory, many people could say, “Wow! What an arm that guy has!”  Nobody would have praised his toe.   But without his toe working right, his arm was ruined.

We all need each other.  “Those parts of the body that seem weaker, are indispensible.” The secret is to thank the Lord for the gifts he has given you.  And, if you feel your gift is like Dizzy Dean’s toe — hidden from view by a shoe and a smelly sock, don’t let that keep you from using it.  The body of Christ will have a really sore arm without you.

                                                               (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Swimming in the Fog

Story of the Day for Tuesday May 17, 2011

Swimming in the Fog

                              My soul is very troubled. How long, O Lord, how long?  

                                                                                   Psalm 6:3

On July 4, 1952, Florence Chadwick attempted to become the first woman to swim the twenty-one miles from Catalina Island to the California coast.

The fog was so thick, however, she could barely see the support boats accompanying her. After fifteen hours and fifty-five minutes, she begged to be taken out of the water. Soon after she got in the boat, Chadwick discovered she was only half a mile from shore.

At a news conference the next day, she said, “All I could see was the fog . . . I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.”

Marathon runners who know how much further it is to the finish line are better able to summon the strength to reach their goal. But, with most things in life, we’re like Florence Chadwick: we know the goal we want to accomplish, but we have no idea how close we are to reaching it. We live in a fog.

Louis L’Amour has more than 300 million copies of his books in print, but, in the early days, he says, “There was a steady flow of rejection slips.” He was not exaggerating. Publishers rejected his submissions 200 times before the first one was accepted.

If you knew your 200th story would usher you into a life of fame and fortune, you wouldn’t mind your 199th rejection slip. In fact, it would be kind of exciting. But, if you didn’t know whether your writing would ever be accepted by a publisher, your 199th rejection slip would be pretty discouraging, wouldn’t it?

The psalmists often ask God a question for which they never get an answer: “How long, O Lord?”

We’re encouraged to ask the Lord the same question – even though we’ll get the same answer they did. All the same, even groaning to God is an act of faith.

We don’t know how many more job applications we’ll have to fill out before we land a job. We don’t know how many prayers we’ll have to make on behalf of a loved one who is breaking our heart. How many more strokes did Florence Chadwick need to make before she reached her goal? How many more manuscripts did Louis L’Amour need to mail before he earned his first dollar?

The key is to take a deep breath, trust the Lord, and keep at it.

If we never know when the answers will come, is there ever a time to give up? I guess so.  James Reeves’ little poem speaks about just such a time:

The King sent for his wise men all

To find a rhyme for W.

When they had thought a good long time,

But could not think of a single rhyme,

     “I’m sorry,” said he, “to trouble you.”

                                          (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)