In the Dark

08/29/2008

Music…it so speaks to our hearts doesn’t it. And once again, this message will include a song that will probably speak to many, if not all of us. It’s a song I heard CeCe Winan sing the other day called, “You Weren’t There.” The chorus includes these words:

I've come to pour my praise on Him like oil from Mary's Alabaster Box
Don't be angry if I wash His feet with my tears and I dry them with my hair.
You weren't there the night He found me.
You did not feel what I felt when He wrapped His love all around me.
And you don't know the cost of the oil in my Alabaster Box.

What do we do with words like that? Do we wonder what they mean? Do we cry tears of remembrance and understanding when they are sung? Do we stand in awe and praise before our Lord when we hear about what Mary did, because we feel the same way? Or do we wonder what this song is talking about while we sit and listen to it, not knowing, and maybe not even caring?

This song speaks of the story in Luke where an unabashed love towards Jesus is shown from a heart that knows what it means to be loved and cared for in her sin and brokenness. Jesus’ response to this woman’s actions was recorded in Luke 7:44-47. He said, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little." (NLT)

The world doesn’t seem to be sitting and not caring; it seems to be spinning and twirling and running and hustling and busy, busy, busy…the world seems oblivious to the darkness. It’s sad. Much of the world seems uninterested in the Light of Jesus—maybe that’s because they think that Jesus is for the weak and the sick, the hurt and the lame, the wounded and the bleeding, and they’re right about that one. The Light of Jesus is for those who acknowledge that there is a need of Him. Those who know they are broken. Those who acknowledge their sin. Those who need and want help from above. We have to admit the hole of darkness in our soul before we are able to receive the Light that will fill it. When we do, Jesus will comfort us like no one else on earth can. In Him we’ll find forgiveness beyond what we have ever known, and enjoy a Love that covers all.

Christ seems to delight to lavish His deepest sympathy on ‘Him that has no helper.’ It is in the hour of sorrow His people have found Him most precious. It is in ‘the wilderness’ He speaks most ‘comfortably to them.’ He gives them their vineyards in the places they least expect; wells of heavenly consolation break forth.”
John MacDuff

Recently I received news that Greg Laurie, a well known pastor and author, now has a son in Heaven. His son, Christopher, was in an auto accident not long ago and was killed. He left behind a beautiful wife, a young baby, and a child on the way that will be born without a father here to watch its arrival into this world. Sad, sad news, and as I listened to a part of what Pastor Laurie had to say on his first Sunday in the pulpit after his son died—which by the way, was the first Sunday after his son died—it caused me to remember many things. I remembered not only our own son who lives in Heaven now, but also how our pastor from years ago in Fresno also came to church that first Sunday after his son died. Greg Laurie echoed some of the same words that Pastor Bufe Karraker did back then… Pastor Laurie stood in the pulpit and with tears in his eyes said, “I still believe.” Profound words, but the words that followed that were also profound and I’m sure resonated with anyone who has felt what he felt on that Sunday morning—complete devastation, complete heartbreak, complete loss. I heard him say, “As a pastor, I have been with many who have lost a loved one. I have been with those who have lost a child, and I thought I was as close as anyone could have been…but I wasn’t even close at all.” (This is to the best of my recollection.)

Greg Laurie is a broken man right now, as is his wife, his other son, and all those who mourn the loss of Christopher. To my recollection, I had never heard of Greg Laurie, but now in just the past week or so I am reading things he has written, getting to know him a bit better through his work. I love what he wrote a while back about his time on the Larry King show, about those who may need a “crutch” in life. Here’s what was said:

I told Larry that God can use suffering in our lives, often to bring us to faith. I mentioned a C.S. Lewis quote, where he pointed out that God “whispers to us in our pleasures, but shouts to us in our pain.”
I then related a story about a lady who had breast cancer, who had come to our church office. She told me how this tragedy had gotten her attention, and so she was turning to God.
Larry interrupted me, and said, “How do you know it’s not a crutch? I mean, I’ve got breast cancer—I’ve got to pray to something! You know, there’s a believer in every foxhole.”
I responded, “Thank God for that crutch! Larry, He’s not a crutch to me, He’s a whole hospital.”
Larry smiled, pointed at me, and said, “Good line!”

Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.
I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who
know they are sinners and need to repent.” Luke 5:31-32 (NLT)

The Laurie family is in desperate need of a “hospital” right now. I know, because I was admitted to that “hospital” years ago when our son, Phil, died. It’s a hospital for the hurting, the weak, the broken, the sorrowful… I was in bad shape and I needed some fixing up in God’s ICU. Some of you were a witness—waiting in the “halls,” wondering if I was ever going to recover. You heard the cries of pain that came out of my heart. You saw the wounded look in my eyes. You knew there wasn’t much you could do, but you wanted to do something, and you did…you cared.

Just the other day I took a day trip with my good friend, Lynn. She and I drove over to Filoli. I know, I didn’t have a clue what it was either, or what it meant, but we’ll get to all of that in a bit. On the drive to Filoli, we talked about a book she was reading—it was one that I had loaned to her. In the book, of course, I had made my markings, and we laughed as I grabbed the book out of the back seat to see what she was seeing…looking into my heart and my thoughts when I had read it. She asked me about the part I had underlined about those that care even though they can’t fully understand the pain. She asked me if I had marked that because it was true for me. I had. I understood that no one knew the darkness I had been in, the grief that filled my heart—except for me, and God, of course—but that I appreciated all those who cared even though they couldn’t know. And I wouldn’t want them to know what I know about the pain that comes when your very loved child dies. I don’t want Greg Laurie to know that pain, but he does, as does his wife, as do many of you who have walked in those shoes. But even in that, it’s very unique, very individual…no two lives are the same; no two deaths are the same. No one can really know what we’re feeling…only God.

For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him?
In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
1 Corinthians 2:11 (NIV)

Greg Laurie had visited actual hospitals, he had heard the cries, and seen the pain and the fear. He had prayed and cared for and nurtured those who needed God’s touch in those devastating times. But now he was no longer a visitor, he had become the “patient,” he had moved into his own house of pain, he is there… and it’s very different. No one can imagine another’s loss, not really, but we can care, always.

Thank God Pastor Laurie knows that Jesus is more than a crutch that he’s leaning on when times are hard. Thank God he knows the love of God is a whole hospital filled with all the supplies he will need to make him well. Thank God he knows the Great Healer, because he will need Him more than he has probably ever needed Him before in his life, and he won’t be disappointed. What the Laurie family will find in this darkness is a closeness to our Lord that will bring them to their knees in appreciation for all that He has done. There will come a healing in what seems to have no cure at the present moment. The destruction seems beyond repair. The devastation seems to bring a pain that will never end. The loss holds tears enough to fill an ocean. But our Great God, our Creator, the Giver of life and death, knows how to heal our wounds. He knows how to dry our tears. He knows how to relieve our pain. He has all the supplies needed, and when we reach out to Jesus and ask for His help, we will receive it. When we rest in the arms of our Savior, we will be comforted. The Laurie family will, we all will, each day, as we check into God’s Great Hospital and receive His loving care. It won’t happen all at once, it won’t happen overnight, or next week or next month and maybe not even next year…but slowly healing will come because God is able. The timing will be God’s. The way will be God’s. And God will make it so.

You may be thinking, you’re over-stepping your bounds here Diane. You can’t speak for these people, you don’t know them, and you don’t know what I’m going through either. You haven’t walked in my shoes, you don’t know my darkness, you’ve never felt my pain. You’re speaking out of turn… But the thing is, what I’m talking about here is not our pain, our sorrows, or our hurts, because if they are our focus, then there’s not a leg to stand on. There’s too much in this world that wounds us to be able to speak to it all, it gets too confusing, too hard, too heavy to bear, there’s too much. If we focus on our trials, then we’re sunk. Period. When our pits are dark and deep, it looks impossible to live through, humanly speaking, because it is. Admittedly, these trials and tribulations are our reality, and there’s no denying they’re tough, but that’s exactly why we have to take our focus off of them and instead focus on the One Who is the Light in our darkness. If we put our suffering on a scale, it will seem to far outweigh anything God could ever do to make things better. To survive, and later thrive, we have to talk about what God is able to do—the One True Living God of the Universe. We have to focus on what He alone is capable of. We have to get to know Who we serve, and begin to understand how powerful He is to help us. We have to realize just how small and weak the enemy is compared to our Lord.

When we’re the patients in God’s Hospital, we have to remember that patients don’t heal themselves, they check themselves in and let the doctors and nurses do the work. If we will check ourselves into God’s Hospital, trusting in His skill, in His knowledge, in His wisdom, in His healing touch, we will come out healed. If God can’t do it, then who? If not God’s Hospital, then where? If not God’s way, then how? Without God we are all hopeless, so we might as well give it up to Him and believe. He truly is our only Hope!

But, we may ask, what if I’m still paralyzed when I exit the hospital? What if I still have that amputation to live with? What if my cancer still shows signs of being there? What if the pain is still greater than I can bear? What if the loss is so great I know I can’t go on…the list is endless and very true. All this terrible stuff is very true. This is a harsh world we live in. Right now a precious young woman is still showing signs of cancer after numerous chemotherapy treatments in the hospital. A friend on the east coast still sits in a wheelchair after a car accident. A man at church is living without the very parts God gave him because of diabetes. A friend is still waiting for a double lung transplant. People are hurting, fighting addictions, dealing with betrayal, and feeling abandoned, etc… Are these people whole? Am I? Is my husband? Are my sons after the loss of their brother? Yes.

The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus,
which had made him whole. John 5:15 (KJV)

We are all made whole when we know Jesus Christ as our Savior. No matter what we are going through, or how we have been wounded, or who or what we are missing in our lives on earth, we can be whole. Our wholeness has nothing to do with this world and the conditions we are in—although it seems to have everything to do with it—even still, we can know that our wholeness comes from Christ, the Son of God. It’s a wholeness that can be seen in the darkest dark—the light of Jesus shining into our emptiness. It has nothing to do with the dimness we feel, it has everything to do with His brightness. When we are shattered beyond what we believe we can bear—God sees our wholeness because He can see through the darkness into what will be, and how He’s shaping us and molding us through it. Only the devil wants us to feel hopeless in the dark, to see our situation as a dead-end. Our enemy wants us to collapse under the strain of it all and remain chained in his pit of fear. Our Father says, “Fear not.” Our Father knows everything we are going through, and He has a plan. The enemy wants us to think its all one big huge mistake!

What is my dream of God’s purpose? His purpose is that I
depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay in the
middle of the turmoil calm and un-perplexed, that is the end
of the purpose of God. God is not working toward a particular
finish; His end is the process—Oswald Chambers

We are the clay, and we on the Potter’s wheel being transformed into the vessel that will be able to best serve our Father in Heaven while we inhabit planet earth. We don’t have to like it, we can hate it in fact. We can be angry and upset at everything that this world has handed to us, and we can talk it over with God. He understands. He wants to hear from us. He wants to have our full attention, but we also have to realize that He understands what we do not, He understands the plan. He sees the process before we are even out of the womb. He sees our first day, and our last. And even though what happens in between can get very, very, messy and confusing, and painful, we can trust that there is a plan, and God is overseeing it all, and one day we will leave here as believers in Jesus Christ, arriving in Heaven, where we will not be disappointed ever again. One day all the hurt and pain and sorrow will be done with, and maybe then we will even see ourselves and everything that happened here as perfectly as God sees it on this day. We can’t know all that we might like to, but God can and does!

I just received an e-mail this morning from a woman I know. It revealed a small piece of God’s plan in the process of our lives. She is fighting the good fight right now, struggling with difficult things, life changes and transformation that can only come when we check ourselves into God’s Hospital and say, “Here, You’re free to work on me. Do what You must, no matter how painful it might be.” She has lived through many things that this dark and sinful world exposes us to—things that truly need God’s healing touch along the way and His perfect plan, otherwise…we’d only be left with the pain and not the gain. This is what she wrote to me:

A man contacted me on myyearbook.com and said he always considered me a friend as we rode the school bus together from Westport to Fort Bragg everyday, and that we always talked about the Bible on our way to school. He wanted to know if I was still going to church etc. Wow! I don't remember our conversations but it was interesting to hear. I got lost somewhere in between. I wasn't even living. I was just floating along until now where I have been able to be reunited with my spiritual family. All the pieces to this puzzle will eventually come together as I am able to understand them or…

And she didn’t finish it. I wrote back, “or…” what does that mean? Maybe, “or not.” Maybe we never understand them, or maybe when we get to Heaven we understand them, or maybe not…but it really, truly doesn’t matter as long as God understands them. As long as God sees two young children on a school bus talking about His Living Word, knowing that in the coming years at least one of those children would do some wandering, even getting “lost somewhere in between.” But God was still watching and helping and knowing the eternal plan for that person’s life.

Rick Warren writes: Your spiritual family is even more important than your physical family because it will last forever. Our families on earth are wonderful gifts from God, but they are temporary and fragile, often broken by divorce, distance, growing old, and inevitably, death. On the other hand, our spiritual family – our relationship to other believers – will continue throughout eternity. It is a much stronger union, a more permanent bond, than blood relationships.

I just heard another story of a woman who gave her heart to Jesus when she was five years old. A wonderful godly neighbor, who was also her Sunday school teacher at the time, helped her find Jesus. My friend had forgotten that moment in time, and she wandered away from God for many years after that. She tried out different gods, none of them seemed to work. The day finally came when she turned back to her Savior, and she has remained “Home” ever since. Just recently she traveled back to her home state and met up with this wonderful neighbor, now in her nineties. This sweet woman reminded my friend of how she had asked Jesus into her heart those many years ago, and my friend realized that even though she had done a bit of wandering in life, God had sealed her with His Holy Spirit as a child, knowing she’d come back to Him one day. He knows what the plan is, even when we get lost for a time…

God also knew the Israelites would wander in the desert for 40 years on an eleven-day journey. God knew Jonah would end up in the belly of a whale before he headed for Nineveh. God knew that Job, in all his suffering would cry out, “Why didn’t you let me die at birth? Then I would have been spared this miserable existence.” These wanderings or acts of disobedience, or loss and illness and devastation are not beyond God’s control, they are in God’s control, we’re the ones who are seemingly out of control during different periods of our life. God is very patient with us, very patient.

During the day I spent with my friend Lynn at Filoli, we talked about control issues. She made me aware of something; it was that we all want to be in control. I guess I was a little surprised by that because it seems some who are meeker and milder will easily give the control over to others more willing to take over and steer. But Lynn helped me to realize that there probably really isn’t anyone on earth who doesn’t want things their way. Who doesn’t want to decide what’s right and what’s wrong, even if they are the meekest, mildest, kindest individual on planet earth. Who wouldn’t want to be where they want to be and doing what they want to do when it comes right down to it? We all have that in us, the sin of pride and wanting to be in control. That’s what caused the fall in the Garden with Adam and Eve in the very first place. We want to know, and we want to be in charge—and if we hand our pride and our control over to an Almighty Lord, He might make us do something or be something we don’t want to do or be.

God sees the control issues deep inside our hearts, and He knows that the only way to get to the bottom of most of our pride and independence is to shatter it, to break it apart. Sometimes that feels like a jackhammer pounding through the surface of rock-solid cement in our lives. Sometimes, like a computer, you just have to shut it down and reboot the whole system to clear up the mess. But it’s okay, because when God changes up our routine, what we have planned, how we think things should be, He knows how to do it. He knows the tools needed, the people needed, and the situations needed to get the job done right.

Shall we go back to Filoli now? It seems it is time to describe Filoli to you and tell you what it means. First of all, Filoli is a beautiful estate in Woodside, California. On this estate sits a home with 36,000 sq. ft. of living space, surrounded by 16 acres of well-planned out gardens. The house is spectacular, and the gardens are beautiful even in the summer, but our guide said if we came back around mid-April it’s almost like heaven when all the flowers are in bloom. Only two families have owned this home—the ones who built it in 1915, and the second owners who donated Filoli to the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1975. The first owners were the Bourn family, and Mr. Bourn’s credo in life was, “Fight for a just cause; Love your fellow man; Live a good life.” By combining the first two letters from the key words of his credo, he arrived at Filoli as a name. It’s a great place to spend the day, and see what God has done.

Come and see what God has done,
how awesome his works in man's behalf!
Psalm 66:5 (NIV)

Filoli not only has a great history behind it, but it has the hand of God upon it. Why? Lynn and I wondered just that as we strolled through the gardens. Why this home God? Why here? Why does this place mean so much to You that You would rescue it and preserve it for visitors throughout the years? Man’s plan was to maintain the gardens so they could be toured, but not the home. In fact, the home fell into such disrepair that it was going to be used to store feed and manure on the bottom floor of the 36,000 sq. ft. living space, while the gardeners used the upstairs for sleeping. This was very hard to comprehend when we walked through all the beautifully painted and decorated rooms.

What saved Filoli from devastation? The hand of God through a movie…yes, a movie. When the movie “Heaven Can Wait” was made in 1978, produced by Warren Beatty, they choose the Filoli estate for the mansion to be used. Then they very generously poured Hollywood money into repairing it—doing a magnificent job! On the day we visited, we met a woman pulling a suitcase up to the front door and I joked with her, “Are you staying here?” She began to tell us that she was there to play the piano in the ballroom. She was a volunteer, so we looked forward to hearing her play. As we stood in the ballroom listening to this beautiful music, we noticed a small replica of the ballroom itself in a glass case, and that’s where we first discovered that the movie “Heaven Can Wait” was filmed there. It turns out that when the paintings for the walls in the ballroom were commissioned to be painted, a model was made to get the dimensions correct, and then the model was given to a nephew by the painter as a doll house to play with. The replica was discovered years ago when a couple sat watching the movie and noticed that the paintings in the movie were the same as the paintings on the walls of the doll house they owned. It has since been donated to the Filoli estate.

After the movie was filmed in the home, still there was work to be done, furniture was needed. Our guide told us that one day a man who worked there was finished with his day and headed towards his car. He noticed two elderly gentlemen standing at the front door, so he grumbled his way back over to see what they needed. Unlocking the front door and leading them upstairs to his office, he heard the one gentleman who was deaf say, “I am in love.” It turned out that the man’s name was Melville Martin and he owned hundreds of pieces of eighteenth-century English and Irish furniture that Filoli needed to fill its rooms. Mr. Martin was very ill and about to die, and he had plans to place his furnishing in a museum but those plans fell through. Upon visiting Filoli, he knew this was where they should be placed, and he was so excited about it that he ended up living another three years after that before the furniture was donated—but it’s there today, and looking fine! God was putting the pieces of Filoli together.

What does Filoli, and Greg Laurie’s testimony, and our own pain and suffering have to do with being “In the Dark”? We’re getting there…

Our guide at Filoli, Tim, was passionate about all that he showed us, and all the stories he could tell us about this place. He said the first time he visited Filoli it didn’t take long to walk through it because there was not much to see…he had been there to see the emptiness of the rooms that once rang out with song and laughter, and he has been a witness to all that has taken place to bring the restoration and grandeur back to this once depleted home. Tim appreciates what has been done as much as anyone could. Why? Because “he was there,” and he watched the process take place.

Let’s go back to the song I first mentioned, “You Weren’t There.”

I've come to pour my praise on Him like oil from Mary's Alabaster Box
Don't be angry if I wash His feet with my tears and I dry them with my hair.
You weren't there the night He found me.
You did not feel what I felt when He wrapped His love all around me.
And you don't know the cost of the oil in my Alabaster Box.

Steven Curtis Chapman explained it this way on his own interview just recently with Larry King about his little five year old daughter, Maria Sue, who is in Heaven now. When asked about his music, and if he has changed, he said, “I know a lot less about God, but the things I know about God I know a lot more, for sure.” Steven’s there, seeing all that God is doing in the darkness as Jesus wraps His love around him and his family. Greg Laurie is there too, seeing the love of Christ. So is my friend who was recently reunited with an old friend from childhood that she talked with on a school bus about God many years ago, she was there in the dark hard days, as was my friend who was reminded of how she had asked Jesus into her heart when she was five years old. She knows what her there contains, and all that God has done since. When we have been there, we realize the cost and just how priceless Jesus’ love is in our lives.

We can’t know the “cost” in others’ lives. We can’t know their there the way they do. Perhaps, sometimes, that’s why God creates a Filoli estate to visit. It might seem worldly, to bring an old house back to life again and make it beautiful, but in a way it is a physical manifestation of God’s restorative powers in our own lives. An estate is something that we can walk through and tour the gardens and marvel at, and if we’re paying attention, we can begin to see that when God wants something done, He does it. He provides what’s needed, and His work is full of beauty and order. It is well planned out. We may want to say, it’s just an old house, and that’s true—it will just pass away with all the rest of this world. It has no soul, it is not eternal, but this house would not be what it is today without God’s hand upon it. He gave the skills to all those who constructed the furniture and the building itself. He created the plants and the flowers and the trees that adorn the gardens. He put all the pieces together to bring it back to “life.” He put a love in the heart of those who tend to it. And if He cares that much about restoring a building, think about how much He cares about restoring us out of our brokenness.

We are God’s children, we’re not just an old house fit for storing feed and manure, we belong to the King, and He will make us new again. Our Lord will put us on display to bring Him glory. He will show the world what He can do in and through us, and it will be good, very good. Sometimes others can take a tour of our life when we share it with them, and they can be a witness to God’s transformational powers. They can see that we are God’s property, that we belong to Him, and He never let us go, even when it seemed too costly, or we seemed too far gone to ever be useful again. God sees the potential in all of us. Why would He not? He designed us!

God brings His light into the darkest places in our hearts, right where we need Him the most. When God does this, miracles happen—and sometimes when others laugh at us and get angry at us, and don’t understand our devotion to Him, we might want to say, “You weren’t there the night He found me…you didn’t feel what I felt, and how He wrapped His love all around me.” No one can know exactly how much we owe to our Savior because of all that He has done. When we find God’s help and comfort in the darkness of our lives, His light will begin to shine through what once was a hard shield of pride and independence, and we will rejoice!

And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Romans 5:3-5 (NIV)

I recently wrote about a book I read called, “23 Minutes in Hell.” Bill Wiese is the author. Jim and I made a trek to Selma, California to listen to this man speak about his experience. It was well worth the trip. He is a very gentle, unassuming man who seems to be out of his comfort zone when speaking about such a horrific vision, but he does it. If God took us to Hell and back, obedience would probably quickly follow, as it has with Bill. As I write this, and I think about what Bill experienced and his passion for getting this message out, he too would probably say, “You weren’t there…” And thank God we weren’t. Bill is dedicated now to serving God in this new way, by telling anyone who will listen that Hell is not the place we want to end up. It’s a place where there is no hope, no light, no air, no water, no love, no fellowship, no peace, no mercy…all these things are from God, and they are not in Hell. I wasn’t there, but to listen to Bill explain being there, it’s more horrific than we can imagine. It is truly a blessing to know that with the promise of Jesus, Hell will not be the final destination for those who do believe.

After listening to Bill speak about such a terrible place, I drove to church this past Sunday thanking God for the air I was breathing, for the blue sky above, for the trees and the flowers and the love we have that comes from God. I was truly grateful that I wasn’t there in Hell—a place that was only meant for the devil and his angels—a place where millions of people will end up if they remain in the darkness the devil continues to cast on this world. The enemy wants us to focus on the destruction; God wants us to focus on His restoration, His redemption, His forgiveness, and ultimately His eternal plan for our future. Bill said after being rescued out of Hell by Jesus that the demons that had seemed so mighty, so powerful, and so horrifying, diminished to the size of an ant in the presence of our Lord. Amen to that!

God is a God of power and of love, and He can take any life, anywhere, at anytime and transform it into all that it was ever meant to be. And when God does His mighty work, a once wounded heart will want to cry out, “If you had been there you would have seen what my Lord can do, and why I love Him so!” We’ll want to say, “Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for all his wonderful deeds to them. Let them exalt him publicly before the congregation and before the leaders of the nation.” (Psalm 107:31-32 NLT)

During a day at Filoli most would be focused on the beautiful gardens to be toured, and Lynn and I surely were, but on our day there we were also focused on the Great Gardener. As we did, we realized more than ever that whatever it is in life, when we look for God in it, we will find Him there.

Until we meet again,
Diane