What Doesn’t Work

First Ice. Last night I walked out on the lake and took a picture of the sunset. All the migrating birds were gone. It’s winter here. In a couple of cold days and freezing nights the ice will be safe enough to go fishing. I know…I know, “safe” is a word with wide borders for some and quite rigid for others. “Safe” is a here and now word for some and an eternal word for others. “Safe” is a false perspective outside the game of baseball and the gates of heaven.

Three young guys were checking out the thickness of the ice with an ice auger. They are standing on less than three inches of ice. They didn’t fall through so it’s safe ice. How much ice do you need to feel safe?? My siblings tell me I need more inches of ice than thin teenagers in skinny jeans. Technically-scientifically safe? That’s different isn’t it. We desperately want to be safe in this world and it’s prudent to do the best we can but we deep inside know life here will never be safe. Time will prove that statement to be true.

This morning I went down to the lake and there was a single young signet swan on the ice. Evidently it could no longer stay with the rest of the swans. Sometime in the night it dropped out. Left behind it is vulnerable and has a 50/50 chance of survival. The ice is not safe as open water would be much safer. Eagles, big owls, coyotes, wolves, otter, fisher, mink and bobcat would all love a meal of signet. They need to eat to survive as well. I’m rooting for the signet but if it’s too weak to continue the migration with another flock it will die.

My wife and I for 40 years have tried to keep our handicapped daughter safe but we can’t and it hurts. Several Life flights and many many emergency surgeries make one either jaded in life or sure of the bottom line of life, or, both. In Christ we are promised both death and life. We live and then die. We die to live. Both are true but only dying to live is safe. Our daughter knows the score. She is like the signet on thin ice and the world is getting less and less safe for people like her. Several doctors have advised “Let her go” because she is handicapped. We are getting older as her protectors. Her safety and ours is found in Jesus. We talk of these things often. Meanwhile her safety here has been way out of bounds miraculous. Someday her Jesus will say “come home where it’s safe”.

Trying to control our own safety doesn’t work. Like walking on thin ice, it works until it doesn’t.

We are not “safe” people. Jesus is not “safe” to follow, yet safety is ultimately only found In Him. This is campfire talk. Deep talks. Time to think of the realities beyond just living each day out. Time to really know our creator now rather than meeting his refusal at the gate. “Safety First” should include “Safety at last”


31 thoughts on “What Doesn’t Work

  1. Amen, brother. Your thoughts here would make for a good talk at your church someday “Safe” is only certain in baseball ⚾️ and in heaven. Hope and prayers for your daughter. She is a person of great worth. 🙏May even the callous world recognize this. Blessings!

    PS. I like how you only post when you have something to say. Too many seek to pad their stats with daily, haphazard offerings.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It is a good talk David because it deals with how much we actually trust God in our daily lives and decision making.
      I actually haven’t looked at my stats in a couple of months. They are not very important to me. When feel the urge to put one of my many thoughts on screen, I do. I then reread it and either hit publish or delete or save in a draft only to delete later. What really charges me up is the interaction from people like you who really add to the conversation. It’s a team effort kingdom wise. I just light the match and hope for some fuel from a host of people.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I won’t deny the pain, the gift of tears and the depth of feeling betrayed by doctors and a system not designed for people like her. We also have experienced God’s miraculous ways when and where He chooses. When she was 3 she went into septic shock. An intern saved her life as the head doctor told him to let her go because her MRI’s from birth indicated a centimeter of brain and the rest was water, therefore she would have severe retardation. I told the intern she was very bright and definitely brighter than his head doctor at that age (I said a few other unrepeatable things as well). Through the night she was unresponsive to anything hanging in the balances. The C-scan unit guy promised the Lord he would go to church the next morning (Sunday) if the “baby” would not die in his unit. He ended up taking his wife and two kids to our church, heard the gospel and the whole family is following Jesus to this day (we became friends). Many more stories abound and continue to this day.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Such an inspiring story, Gary! You may have shared it before but this is the first time I’ve read it. Praise God for that family now in the family of God because of your daughter!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Nancy, I have shared it in public speaking, not sure about my 10 years of blogging memories.
        It seems the Lord will use the struggles (we want to be saved from) for his purposes and we still have the pain and scars.
        We have many other stories. I will readily admit to jealousy when someone like her has a healing recovery. More than once I have said to God “where’s our miracle?” I suspect in heaven the ground is quite level but life here some have bigger mountains and storms.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I too have some “why” questions for God, but I suppose when we’re all together at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb, each of us perfected in ways we never imagined here, our questions won’t matter anymore!

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  2. The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
    The righteous runs into it and is safe. [Proverbs 18:10]

    At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. [2Timothy 4:16-18]

    Many are saying, “Who will show us any good?”
    Lift up the light of Your countenance upon us, O Lord!
    You have put gladness in my heart,
    More than when their grain and new wine abound.
    In peace I will both lie down and sleep,
    For You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety. [Psalm 4:6-8]

    But He led forth His own people like sheep
    And guided them in the wilderness like a flock;
    He led them safely, so that they did not fear;
    But the sea engulfed their enemies. [Psalm 78:52-53]

    For my eyes are toward You, O God, the Lord;
    In You I take refuge; do not leave me defenseless.
    Keep me from the jaws of the trap which they have set for me,
    And from the snares of those who do iniquity.
    Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
    While I pass by safely. [Psalm 141:8-10]

    Looking at them, Jesus said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.” Peter began to say to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You.” Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last, first.” [Mark 10:27-31]

    Happy Thanksgiving, Gary

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It’s so true. The good Lord is our Safe. The number of our days are in His hands. He protects us from all dangers, except the last one He may choose to bring us Home to Him. He heals us of all sicknesses except the last one. Bless His Holy Name!

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  4. I’m so thankful that “Meanwhile her safety here has been way out of bounds miraculous. Someday her Jesus will say “come home where it’s safe”. The promise that your precious cygnet will one day be a strong, graceful swan. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Gary!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Life is impossible and beautiful and altogether different than the impossible beauty of Heaven. The way you love your daughter is a lot like the way God loves us. He shelters us and offers what we need to make up for what we lack, regardless of our inability to reciprocate in any meaningful way. And He tells us the truth and He loves us. God’s Word says He loves and cares for the birds too – although the signet may appear to be alone, it will not fall without the eyes of the Creator taking note. What a glimpse of that impossible beauty! Happy Thanksgiving, Gary!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Gary, you and your wife are an inspiration to me. I agree with David that I appreciate so much that you write when you have something to say and don’t write to be the most prolific. These are beautiful pictures. I am praying that you and your family will have a nice Thanksgiving even in the midst of trials and adversities. Love and blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank You Mandy. For many years We missed Thanksgiving together with Family as parents were ailing then passing on in turn on both sides as well as our daughters emergencies. This year looks promising with much family coming with too much food. I truthfully will need carrot sticks for awhile if I even sample everything. Feasts are a precious thing. Some of the nephews with hollow legs will be there to help that problem. You and Nate have a great Thanksgiving as well.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Following Jesus isn’t safe … But in a way it’s the only thing that IS safe.
    I once asked my students which was better, lots of faith in two inches of ice, or a little faith in two feet of ice. Knowing me, some of them said a lot of faith in two inches. I told them they’d get very wet! But if the ice is two FEET thick, it’ll hold you up. You don’t need that much faith, just enough to take that first step… People place their faith in all kinds of things – their bank accounts, their doctors, their government, etc. But Jesus is the only One who will never let us down. So if our faith is in the right thing/Person, we don’t need a huge faith – the size of a mustard seed is enough.

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    1. Absolutely Ann
      My father used to say “the safest place to be is in the will of God, even when the cannibals’ have captured you it’s safer than being outside of where God wants you”
      We used to talk about the dangers of missions
      Your ice thickness analogy is great and very true. God’s trustworthiness with our lives is unbreakable. Wish my faith was more visible than a little seed. Ironically seeds find cracks and if they grow and take root it’s the root that cracks rocks in half.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. The measure of a life is known by the impact they have on others. Your daughter has touched a lot of lives may we be so blessed as she.

    Pearls are formed by suffering and such are the gates through which we will pass into the City of God.


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    1. Cheryl and I often talk of those exact things Brian. Every so often I see the Viet Nam vet across the lake. He always tells me that our daughter is his hero. He has had to make peace with being in the worst of the worst as a machine gunner.
      It’s possible she is the only one that can get him to hug someone…her. Possibly the only time he cries.


  9. Praying for you, your wife, and your daughter. As scripture promises, only God is our refuge.(Psalm 46) Through all the thin ice out there, He is constantly at our side. I pray His deep comfort penetrates all the pain, and eases the heartache. We do not have all the answers here on this earth, but we do have God’s promises to abide with us forever and always.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you Linda. We would like God to have more wobble room to include our will with his and believe we are still walking on Gods “safe” ice. Maybe a good way to put it is…if we follow Jesus closely and walk in his footsteps, we will not fall through the thin spots getting to the other shore.
    Praying for one another is like joining hands across the thin ice of life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That last line is such a beautiful thing. I am going to write that down as a reminder…”Praying for one another is like joining hands across the thin ice of life.” We all find our share of thin ice…thank you for sharing this reminder of the power of prayer in our lives.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Such God-given wisdom, here, Gary–so thankful you shared. Especially appreciated the juxtaposition of this statement: “Jesus is not “safe” to follow, yet safety is ultimately only found In Him.”

    Liked by 1 person

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