Foolhardy or Courageous?

Friday, May 27, 2022

More Often Than Not,

The Challenges We Face Are Unseen,

Like the Mosquitoes on the Lake

and

the Wasps Nesting

in That Tree

1 Samuel 17:37

David said, ‘The Lord, who saved me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will save me from the hand of this Philistine.’ So Saul said to David, ‘Go, and may the Lord be with you!’

1 Peter 4:11

Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Words of Grace For Today

Going into battle with nothing more than trust in God is wholly foolhardy.

David has brought provisions from their father to his brothers who serve in Saul’s army, now facing the Philistines. He hears of Goliath’s challenge. He witnesses the Israelis cowering in fear. He speaks up that facing such an enemy and putting him to defeat would surely win the king’s favour.

That just gets his brothers angry with him for his seeming foolishness.

David’s words reach Saul’s ears, he is summon, and David offers to be the one to fight Goliath. Saul rebukes him. David is just a boy. Then the verse above is David’s response. He has faced down lions and bears. Certainly he can face down one man. Saul, with few other options, sends David as a last hope, or rather as a meaningless sacrifice to let Goliath demonstrate his battle powers.

Saul dresses David in Saul’s own armour, and David takes it off because he cannot move in it. Instead he takes staff and 5 smooth stones from the wadi.

The rest is history.

Goliath falls. David rises to become the celebrated king of Israel.

Most of us, fortunately, will not have to go into battle, nor serve as king. Instead our battles will be less fatal by all appearances. Our callings will be varied, and God sends us out to be as courageous (not to be confused with foolhardy) as David in what we do.

Most of all, just as David relies fully on the little skills he has and the great faith that he has in God, so we are to rely on our God-given skills and more so on the great faith God gives us.

It is our attitude of gratitude (for God saving us and giving us renewed life each day) more than anything else that will carry us through adversity.

God did not create us all so that we can seek our own glory. God created, redeems, and renews us so that all people will know how great God’s mercy is, how abundant God’s grace is, and how beautifully unconditional God’s love for us is.

That’s something to start the day with: knowing that we, whatever we are called to be and do, do it all as God’s people.

Small gods or …?

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

God Created It All,

The Good,

The Bad,

The Ugly.

Which Are We Going To Be Today?

1 Chronicles 29:11

Yours, O Lord, are the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the heavens and on the earth is yours; yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.

1 Timothy 2:5-6

For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself a ransom for all — this was attested at the right time.

Words of Grace For Today

Today, as in many times before, most people pick and choose what they accept as ‘god’ for themselves. The other options in other times is for people to accept blindly what others have chosen to declare as ‘god’ for others (usually in order to control them better, and rarely to provide a better life for people), or people can take all that others say about ‘god’ and just declare they refuse to accept any of it.

Most everyone claims that, with their choice of ‘god’s’ attributes, they worship the one, true ‘god’, and all other people are just plain wrong in their false beliefs. Through history this has gotten more wars started, people killed, and the attributes claimed for ‘god’ to be wholly undermined by the people’s thoughts, words, and deeds.

When we start with the declarations like 1 Chronicles provides: Yours, O Lord, are the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the heavens and on the earth is yours; yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all then what should, and at best, follows, is our humble confession that we simply cannot know God enough to choose God’s attributes at all. It’s not only above our pay grade, the kind of knowledge that such choices require belong to a completely different kind of existence that begins outside of creation itself.

And we are mere creatures in this, God’s creation.

So how can we know anything about God at all?

Only as God chooses to reveal God’s attributes and attitudes towards us, can we know anything about God at all.

Jesus, as fully God, born as a full human, living and ministering to all kinds of people (especially the poor, the ill, and the outcasts), dying on a cross crucified on false charges (brought by the religious leaders of the day), being buried in a rock tomb, and rising from the dead on the third day, … Jesus is God’s clearest revelation to us: God loves us, sacrifices everything to let us know that we do not need to sacrifice others, certainly not to please God, and that we are forgiven, as are our enemies and our lives are given to us so that we can be God’s love and forgiveness for all other people.

Now that’s a good beginning to giving God attributes that are fitting.

It is a beginning which places God for us, and beyond our control, and involved in our lives, and wishing and doing everything possible to give us the ability to love and live and choose to:

1) love God above all else

2) love our neighbours

3) love ourselves

4) love even our enemies,

and to do so humbly.

The problem we all run into when we choose ‘god’s’ attributes to accept is that our ‘god’ ends up to be a small ‘god’, a ‘god’ that can do only what we want ‘god’ to do.

Small ‘gods’ lead us right to the Devil’s doorstep, and fuel great arguments for refusing to accept that God even exists. Everyone’s lives would be so much better if we could all refuse to accept all small ‘gods’, and begin each day with a similar declaration as in Chronicles.

In short it might go like this: God is greater than anything I can know. I am just clay enlivened by God’s spirit. God’s first and foremost attitude towards me, and all people, is love. God asks first and foremost that I love God, all people, and even myself. Thank you, God, for everything that gives me life. Now there’s a day to live, work to do, gracious things to say, people to love, forgiveness to beg for, and courage to be Christ’s voice, feet, and hands for all people. Never a slow day, thank you, God, for everything.

Well, what are we waiting for. Sun is up. Day is begun. Onward into the fray.

Love always leaves us feeling a bit frayed. It’s not cheap. It like life is precious.

Enduring Less Than 30 Meters

Sunday, May 22, 2022

From on the Water,

the Sun Rises

Also

Over the Campers Parked Within 5 Metres

of the Protected Water.

Job 10:12

You have granted me life and steadfast love, and your care has preserved my spirit.

James 5:11

Indeed we call blessed those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

Words of Grace For Today

Job showed great endurance, suffering greater losses and illness and pain than most of us care to imagine. Endurance is a gift from God, as it is fueled by faith, as Job’s demonstrated.

What are we to do when the earth and it’s fragile systems cannot endure the onslaught we have brought against her?

In Canada the law has sought to protect bodies of water and the fragile ecosystems on their shores by proscribing camping within 30 meters of a body of water and driving through any waterway.

Here the area used by many campers each summer is a random camping area, which used to be a municipal campground decades ago before it was handed back over to the province to ‘care for’ as Crown Land. Signs ask that people respect the land, not cut down trees for firewood (logs already on the ground can be used for firewood), stay no longer than 14 days, and take out with them everything they bring in.

Still many leave garbage, unbelievable garbage behind, stay months on end (it’s supposedly their right!) and they hack down living trees and worse scar trees so that in a few years they will die, and generally show great disrespect for the land, tearing it up with motorized deep tread tires among many other things. What no sign says is that camping is prohibited within 30 metres of the shoreline, and scores of campers dig up the sand to park within 10 meters of the shore everything from subcompact cars with tents to 50 foot 5th wheel campers.

This first long weekend, the start of the camping season for many, is certainly no exception. Only noteworthy is that there are ‘only’ ten vehicles parked within 20 meters of the shore, and only two larger camper units within 10 metres. That will change, for the worse … or for the better … as the summer progresses?

One can only hope.

And trust that as the Lord is compassionate and merciful so too will the enforcement officers first be clear with what is legal and what is not, and then be compassionate and merciful, but not afraid to ban people who cannot seem to learn to camp responsibly and respectfully.

Now excessive noise from partying and quads or side-by-sides that do not have sufficient mufflers are another problem, as is the public drinking, that is the drinking of alcoholic beverages anywhere other than in one’s own camping area, which begins to beg the question if there are ten units parked around one campfire, is all that drinking still at each person’s campsite? Stretch it far enough and anyone can drink anywhere in the whole random camping area. Or rather, that is how far it is stretched and tolerated by any enforcement persons I’ve ever witnessed out here. Some of the partiers are off-duty enforcement officers.

So we will endure, for the damage is not to us, but to the land … as long as God keeps the craziness of these ‘illegal’ campers at a great distance from us. After all, compassionate and merciful as God calls us also to be does not mean that we need to be ignorant, naive, or stupid about other’s stupidities, does it?

We pray the earth will endure, for generations and generations to come, so that they can enjoy the beauty of such a camping area.

This day will be marvellous, a wonder to behold, in spite of the disrespect so plentiful here.

Selah.

Striving for Greeds Rots Us at the Core

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Will We Choose to See Beyond Our Own Greeds, to Other’s Needs?

Ecclesiastes 5:10

The lover of money will not be satisfied with money; nor the lover of wealth, with gain. This also is vanity.

1 Timothy 6:8-9

If we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.

Words of Grace For Today

It would seem to be common sense that money is necessary for life and a lot of money will make for a better life. Much of humanity has lived so. Before there was money it was wealth of whatever kind was recognized in their day.

Wisdom has always taught that pursuing money/wealth is a sure route to despair and futility. The writer of Ecclesiastes is right, such pursuits are all vanity, and vanity that serve nothing in life or in death. In fact they hasten death even though one may still walk, talk, breathe and chase after more money/wealth.

The writer of 1 Timothy has it correct if incompletely so. When we have the necessities of life we can be content, though the necessities of life are more than just food and clothing. They also include clean air and water, adequate shelter, meaningful labour and being able to love and be loved. With these we ought to be content, though we rarely are.

Built into our DNA, our survival, is the drive to make things better for ourselves and those with us. So even after we have the necessities of life we strive to have more … and that striving is rots our souls at the core.

Our ability to labour on earth is not intended to be used for ourselves alone. It is to be labour that makes life possible and better for everyone.

Today, just another today, is a day …

when we are able

by Grace

to labour

for God’s bountiful blessings to be enjoyed by more and more people.

So – what’s up for you today?

Ready or Foul, Here It Comes

Friday, May 20, 2022

Where to Today?

Where from Today?

Where Ever, What Ever, Always

God’s Power of Love

All Around Us!

Psalm 38:5

My wounds grow foul and fester because of my foolishness.

Colossians 2:11-14

In him also you were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision, by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ; when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross.

Words of Grace For Today

There is really only one huge challenge in life, and that is: to perceive, comprehend, and wisely respond to the reality one faces each day.

Our minds are marvellously powerful organs, capable of visions and imagining a better tomorrow. We are also able to hide from the reality that we face, and make life going forward next to impossible for ourselves and/or for people around us, even people around the globe (now and in the future!) Oh, what power we have!

When one is ill, the symptoms can be mild. One can try to ignore them, continue with the aid of medication to minimize the symptoms, share the illness with unsuspecting contacts, and likely end up with worsening illness if not in the short term then as a chronic condition (which one may not even recognize as being a result of one’s ‘carrying-on with a stiff upper lip’.)

When the symptoms become severe, as the Psalmist reflects today, with fouling and festering, the illness is hard to ignore. A stiff upper lip will not do. Yet one may be so out of it that one cannot figure out how to or be able to provide the necessary care to bring about healing. The psalmist makes clear that the challenge is to find the cause of ones illness. Admitting that the cause is ones own foolishness is difficult, or at least all too often avoided by us humans.

The Colossians passage puts it right out there: we humans are very successful at … sinning. And it leaves us spiritually rotting, festering, and fouled. God uses Jesus’ story to convince us that, no matter the power of our minds to deny reality and our successes in building a perspective of life for ourselves that excludes God and God’s saving love for us, – no matter what God works to save us. Our sins are nailed to the cross. The illness of our spirits are healed. We are spiritually ‘circumcised’, so that God’s mark is made on us, a protection from all illness is provided to our souls, and we are set free to live as God created us to live: being the reflectors of, the voices of, and the hands of God’s saving love for all people.

Young William McCormick Sudbury, ON, with a group of two dozen people was awarded the Ontario Medal for Young Volunteers this last Apri;. Only one piece of his volunteer, work McCormick started A Place to Call Their Home with his brother, with a goal of reaching out to underrepresented or underserved populations by sending care packages of school supplies, and providing clothing to groups in need. He said, “My parents have always tried to instill in us a deep sense of gratitude for the situation we’re in.” Then came his rare words of recognition of the blessings he enjoys through no merit of his own: “I’ve been provided a loving family and all the support I could ever need. It was really important to try to give back.”CBC Morning Brief <info@newsletters.cbc.ca> for Friday 20 May 2022

If we could only see the true reality of the day we face each day, and our place in it (for most of us that is a place of privilege so great it has been unimaginable for most humans who have ever lived!)

Since we rarely do see God’s reality for us which includes both our foul and festering souls and God’s healing, loving grace, God uses every means possible to open our eyes, ears, minds and souls to the day that comes our way.

Ready or not here it comes.

Without Distinction

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Even as the Sun Sets

and Life’s End Nears,

Jesus Offers to Everyone

Peace

for All Our Troubled Waters

Isaiah 28:29

This also comes from the Lord of hosts; he is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in wisdom.

Ephesians 2:17

So Jesus came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.

Words of Grace For Today

While the world (that’s all of us) gauges and categorizes different people for different receptions, different responses, and different levels of care, those most in need are all too often left to fend for themselves.

God does not deal with us this way. God hears the cries of all in need and responds with most excellent wisdom (not which furthers the unjust powers of this world – that’s all of us) but a wisdoem which serves God’s most precious, life-giving love.

God sends Jesus and with God’s own voice he proclaims peace to all, those near and those far off. All receive the offer of peace and the promise of peace.

How counter to the world’s systems, protocols, rules, and ethics! God provides to all without distinction. That might just expand our minds to think about the most needy in our neighbourhoods, the wealthiest in our neighbourhoods, and the most lost in the middle in our neighbourhoods.

‘How are you?’ is a simple phrase, too often a throw-away. Yet, God gives us the ability to ask it of all our neighbours with the most precious love.

After nearly a week taken for recovery of health and renewal of strength, even for me God offers:

Whatever troubles our hearts (and there seems to be no end to the possibilities; and as we grow older they seem to multiple geometrically) Jesus’ Word offers and promises peace.

Breathe.

Let that peace permeate all the worries of this day, all the efforts of this day, and all our accomplishments of this day.

Tears and Ears

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

God Gave Us Many Things.

One Would Hope Enough Brains to Figure Out Something Better for the Environment,

Like Haul It Out (As The Law Requires)

1 Samuel 3:19

As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.

Luke 10:16

Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.’

Words of Grace For Today

Letting one’s words fall to the ground.

That’s a great image of losing one’s voice, of not being heard, of not being enough that one’s voice reaches any ear and merely peters out like a plane out of fuel and they bite the dust.

But

To have God ensure that one’s words do not fall to the ground! Now that is something blessed.

We really don’t know what we’ve got until we lose it. And then when we lose our voice, and people shun us (though we’ve done nothing to deserve it, it’s all lies and deception made up to cover other’s sins), and we are cast out, unable to work, or earn a living, and we become dependent at best and desperate at least, and dead at worst.

So after one has been made to be nothing by other people’s cruelties that seem to have no end, when God comes along and promises to ‘not let your words fall to the ground’, it is to be raised from the dead and to be brought home again.

So it is.

Whoever listens, listens. And whoever rejects a person, rejects the one who gives life to that person.

May we learn to listen more carefully, kindly, with empathy to those ‘cast out’ by the world’s ways.

That’s what those two good ears God gave us are for, after all! Holding glasses in place and hanging ear rings from them may be good and even beautiful, but listening …

now that’s what God created those ears for,

and our minds for,

and our hearts for.

Dammed or Damned

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Which would we rather,

to be dammed by ice and all that is not nice,

OR

to be damned by our own blindness and foolish ways?

Jeremiah 31:34

No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, ‘Know the Lord’, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

John 6:28-29

Then they said to him, ‘What must we do to perform the works of God?’ Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’

Words of Grace For Today

This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’

Or to put it another way: It is God’s work, not ours, to believe in Jesus.

Here we see Jesus responding to questions that really have no good answer, not as those asking would understand what a good answer might be.

The person comes with a certain way of seeing the world. It is a very unhealthy, sometimes really destructive way of seeing the world. It is a common way of seeing the world. It is to see the world as if God really did not exist and as if God did not create the universe and everything in it and as if God did not love every person in ways we can at best imagine only a little bit.

One such common question is ‘How can I save myself and my family from the threat of the foreign powers that rule our world?’

There are lots of things that one could try to do. Maybe they are even possible to do. But none of them will save you from the real threats to you and your families lives, because the foreign powers are not the greatest or the worst threats to your lives. The greatest threat to life is always to assume one lives outside God’s favour, blessings and grace.

Another common enough question is, ‘How can I get a [fill in the romantic preference, girl/boy/woman/man/monkey (just kidding)] to fall in love with me?’

The reality is no one can get anyone else to fall in love with them. Often people think they can ‘trick’ or ‘seduce’ another person to love them, but the result cannot ever be love. It is much, much less and if it’s based on deception, it will always be destructive to all parties.

The right question is, ‘How can I love someone with all my being, even when they might never love me in return? And if they never do, can I then learn to love someone else with all my being?’

The answer to that question is simple: be honest, open, trustworthy, kind and … be yourself. Then if someone should love you, they will love the real you.

The tricky part of all these ‘love me’ questions is not the love part, it is being ‘me’, and being ‘me’ in such a way as to be the best that God created ‘me’ to be.

But, as is almost always the case when people ask important questions, the problem is in the person asking the question, not the world around them; and usually the problem is they have not figured out how to be themselves. They imitate, pretend, hope, and fail, but they never really know who they are.

So in the reading for today the people come to Jesus and ask, ‘What must we do to perform the works of God?’

Which is an odd question. They might mean, ‘what must we do to do what God would have us do?’ but instead they ask, ‘what must we do in order to do the things that only God can do?’

The obvious answer is ‘you cannot do a thing since you simply will never do God’s work for God’. God does that work just fine, thank you. And only God does that work.

But telling the people who are asking in earnest this odd question is not kind. So Jesus answers another question, perhaps a question the people meant to ask, and perhaps the question that they could have asked. Always Jesus answers the people with something that is REALLY important for them to hear.

So Jesus tells these inquisitive people: ‘God’s work is to believe in me, the one God sent to you!’

That’s what they need to hear. It’s all about believing in Jesus.

The thing they do not hear is this: only the Holy Spirit can bring a person to believe in Jesus. Oh, people, dear stumbling, controlling people. No one can bring themselves to believe. And look at all the work, the words, the movements, the effort spent over the last 2000 years to get people to believe in Jesus!

Writing long before Jesus’ day Jeremiah knew well what faith in God was all about. It is about God working in us all that God wills for us: that we know God and love God, ourselves, our neighbours and our enemies, and all creation! Jeremiah sees that God does it all for us: ‘No longer shall we teach one another, or say to each other, ‘Know the Lord’, for we shall all know God, from the least of us to the greatest, [as the Lord says]; for God, and God alone, will forgive our iniquity, and remember our sin no more.

Now that will be the day!

1/4 Turned and Twisted

Monday, May 9, 2022

When We Twist

God’s Grace

Even A Bit,

Life Is All Uphill.

Psalm 11:7

For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.

Ephesians 4:23-24

For surely you have heard about him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus. You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Words of Grace For Today

Ah Ephesians, Ephesians. So like so much truncated and 1/4 turn twisted faith. Jesus shows us we cannot save ourselves. The twist is simple: after Jesus saves us, then we are able to save ourselves.

Ha!

The world and people in it would have to be of an entirely different creator for that to be possible.

Yes, the Holy Spirit gives us the courage to recognize that we should, and by God’s grace sometimes do,

put away our former way of life, you old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, and to be renewed in the spirit of our minds, and to clothe ourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

This is a marvellous miracle for us when God accomplishes this in us, and in those around us, or anyone on this planet … and then we go off the rails, back to our old ways

like Ephesians, thinking we can save ourselves, and not being able to at all, but making up story after story as if we can, have and will …

which is the devil’s fertile ground for all the destruction that follows in such self-delusions.

So we beg: God save us again,

and again,

and again,

and again without end,

so that we might reflect the power of your grace for us, so that others may know your grace for them.

Oh, God, give us a bit of righteousness, today, if you could. We certainly do need it. We all need it.

God Save Us! Do Not Forsake Us in Our Darkness!

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Oh, God, Save

Those Caught In The Darkness of The Bright Days

And Those Who Cannot See, Hear, or Imagine …

Isaiah 42:16

I will lead the blind by a road they do not know,
by paths they have not known I will guide them.
I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground.
These are the things I will do, and I will not forsake them.

1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.

Words of Grace For Today

Jim sat in the darkness of the bright day.

He could not see the horizon out there where the sun should have been. Not that many years ago he’d met Beatrice and she swept him off his feet before he knew what was happening. She was in her mid-thirties. Jim was 8 years older. Then he’d fallen in love and given everything to her. They proclaimed their love for each other and promised their lives to each other, until death did them part. They were madly in love with each other and everything looked so wonderful.

Jim moved in with Bea in her grand house and he worked to turn it into their shared home. They travelled to France and then to the Maritimes. They went sailing in the Caribbean for a week. It was all a dream come true. Their second year together their twins arrived, a girl and a boy. As agreed he stayed home to raise the children so she could go back to work. He put his career on hold. That first year was a dream come true.

The honeymoon shine wore off soon after Bea became pregnant with twins. He did everything he could to support her. She flew off the handle at him and others, making wild accusations. Her screaming at him cut him to the quick and he’d be silent trying to ‘fix’ whatever Bea ‘needed fixing’. He interpreted everything she did in the best possible light and went out of his way to bolster her fragile ego. She tore strips of him, saw everything he did in the worst possible light and worse blamed him for things he had nothing to do with.

Jim tried valiantly to reconnect her to her parents and siblings, though she seemed to hate them for no real reason. He met them and they were pretty good people, and as in-laws they were very supportive of him, even in awe of him. Bea refused to have anything to do with his family or his friends. She’d have a wild tantrum, throwing things, and even beating on him every time he spent time on the phone with them. Visiting any of them was out of the question. Soon he gave up keeping any contact with them.

Then Bea started telling ‘stories’ about Jim to her family. They were things he had never done. Some Bea had done to him. When she told them that he was the one beating on her, they stopped talking to him all together. He heard from their daughter’s teacher at school that she said he was sexual with her. It wasn’t true but soon it was impossible to go to school with the children for anything. People at church started to avoid him.

That had been more than a year ago. Jim could barely sleep. The doctor put him on one drug, then another, then another until he was taking 5 medications besides his allergy medicine and the sleep apnea machine he wore at night. Every two weeks he got either a testosterone or a B12 shot. He was so dragged out he could barely get anything done. He would often sit down alone after everyone left for school and not notice anything until the bus arrived to deliver the twins home. He talked with two different therapists by phone, and once a month travel 3 hours to see one of them. His hair turned grey and already the first year with Bea he’d lost 50 lbs trying to please her. He just went hungry and did not eat. No one could tell him what the matter was with him. He prayed, he meditated, he gave Bea gifts for no special occasion. He had worked out at the gym for a year but gave up on it when he injured his shoulder. He tried to walk but it was slow going, nothing like the running he’d done when he was in his 20’s. He told his doctors and therapists that he felt like he was 85 or 90 and barely able to think, work, sleep or even exist.

Bea’s promise to him, and his to her, that they would love each other until death did them part, looped endlessly in his mind. The only sense he could make of anything was that he needed to die, to be free of the weight, to finally be accepted by someone somewhere. He already had a new bottle of sleeping pills. He bought 2 large bottles of the cheapest whisky he saw at the liquor store. He cleaned the house, sorted the garaged, and their two vehicles. He made sure the groceries were bought for the coming two weeks. The fridge was bursting. He even took the recycle bottles to the depot and the garbage and recycling to the transfer station. Months ago he’d made sure his life insurance was in order. There was nothing more he could do to make things better.

Jim sat in the darkness of the bright day.

There was no distance between the end of the horizon and his arms stretched out pleading in prayer. No one heard his voice. No one had heard his voice for longer than he could remember.

It was a Sunday evening. He read a story to the twins and said good night. He made sure everything was secure in the house. He grabbed his backpack with the whisky in it. He put the sleeping pills in his pocket, put on a warm jacket and walked a mile to the woods. He sat on his special log, took all the sleeping pills, drank one bottle and most of the second before he was numbed and so tired. Finally he would be able to sleep and be free and be home.

Jim knew well most of the Bible. He was familiar with Isaiah’s words: I will lead the blind by a road they do not know, by paths they have not known I will guide them.

He had to trust that this path he’d taken was the only one God had for him.

There were no shelters for abused men. People could not imagine that men are abused just like women are, not the therapist and certainly not the doctors or the teachers or their pastor or any of Bea’s family … or any one at all.

Not one single person could imagine a man being abused, not one person Jim had talked to in the last 9 years as he suffered … until he could not take any more.

Many of them may have been members of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that they may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called them out of darkness into his marvellous light.

But no one thought they could help Jim find the light of life, because, well, women may beat on men, but they do not abuse them, not women. Reports are abuse kills ten times as many men than women, many of them by abuse that drives them to suicide. It is important to stop men abusing women, because it always ends in death for the abused. But, they say, men are not abused,

so they say.

So Jim is just another statistic that is ignored. And Bea will find another man to raise the children for her, and abuse him and the children. He will likely die, and they will become abusers if they survive.

But women do not abuse men or

so they say.

Oh, God, save us!

Save us all, though it is too late for Jim and millions like him, God, save us!

Turn the darkness before us into light, the rough places into level ground.

Do not forsake us!

Do not forsake the men who are abused to death!

Do not forsake the children who never have a chance to know what love really is.

.

Today, many men will sit in the darkness of the bright day. No one will see them. No one will hear them.

Oh, God save them and us who do not see and do not hear and cannot imagine the darkness of their reality of being abused.