Don Goulding - Blog

The Gate

IMGP7978And just as people are appointed to die once, and then to face judgment, so also, after Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many, to those who eagerly await him he will appear a second time, not to bear sin but to bring salvation. (Hebrews 9:27-28)

I first saw the gate when I was a boy. It looked like a dark speck on the horizon, but I couldn’t be sure. It was far away.

During grade-school, I came to understand I’d have to go through the gate. A few said it wasn’t necessarily dark, it might open to light. I chose light, and from that time, if I stared long enough, I thought I saw a silver glow.

As a teenager, I realized most people playacted like the gate wasn’t there. If they had to talk about it they whispered, but to be polite no one looked that direction.

We used to run toward the far off speck, but then it got too close. So we tried to move away, or ignore it. Still it got bigger. Old or young, everyone was pulled to the gate, and we pretended otherwise.

One crazy day, I faced the gate. Yes, a silver glow, silver and gold. It wasn't the dark void, it was the entrance to life. I couldn’t recall why we feared it. True, we shouldn’t rush through, but rest, let it draw, and don’t be afraid. The gate wasn’t the end, it was the beginning.

Now I’m aging and up close the shining portal consumes my horizon. Wondering, I stare through the opening into an airy expanse. It secretly thrills me. But I have to remember, don’t talk about it. It’s not polite.

Prayer: God my Savior, I’ll not fear death.

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Crossing Fences

232911 fenceFor God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him. (John 3:17)

“Bothell, has anyone ever told you that you’re a strange Christian?” Rupert said over his white picket fence.

“I’m a strange Christian? What do you mean?” Bothell thought about the other fence that divided them.

“Most people shun Georgi and me, they don’t want our type in the neighborhood. If you know what I mean.” Rupert nodded toward another house. “But you’ve been a real friend. Not that I’m complaining, but it’s not what we’ve come to expect.”

Bothell smiled at Rupert’s florescent yellow and pink robe. He sent a silent prayer up, Lord give me the right words.

“When I read my Bible I don’t see that Jesus condemned anybody except the self-righteous. He was a friend of sinners like me.” Rupert seemed to be tracking. “I hope what you see in me is a little of the real Jesus. You and Georgi are loved.”

“Oh, you are just so sweet.” Rupert reached over the fence with a hug and a flutter of pats.

“Rupert, on behalf of Christians I apologize that we’re judgmental. It’s very wrong. We’re all sinners who need forgiveness and second chances to do better. That’s why Jesus came.” 

Rupert’s eyes moistened and Bothell knew the fence between them was dissolving.

Prayer: Savior of the world, lead me across fences.

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Mood Chameleon

chameleon on branchFor I consider that our present sufferings cannot even be compared to the glory that will be revealed to us. (Romans 8:18)

Many years ago Dani was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She recently underwent another MRI scan and the doctor called to discuss the results. There was no sign of the disease as recorded on previous tests. The mailed copy of the report confirmed this, and we were torn between celebration and confusion over the continuing symptoms. 

About three days later a second report arrived. The first result applied to the neck and the second to the brain, where the disease showed itself plainly. I was ecstatic with the first diagnosis and grieved by the second.

I’m a chameleon that changes moods according to the events in my life. God tries to mature my fickleness. “Don’t blend with the pleasures, or the problems of the world. Adapt to the blessedness you have for eternity.”

But it’s difficult to adapt to blessedness while I’m fighting my way through life’s jungle. What I need is a bird’s eye view of my situation. Looking down on my tiny life, I comprehend trials in the context of eternity. God doesn’t cause pain, he offers the remedy, he uses it for refinement, and he limits it to but a few of the years on my unending timeline. All that said, I still don’t like suffering while I’m in the chaos, but I will later because of the gains it brings.

If I’ve sworn allegiance to Jesus, then forgiveness, eternal healing, and glory are the backdrops for my life. They are my unchanging realities. When my attitude turns gray, I need to focus on my backdrops, and change my color to razzle-dazzle-yellow.

Prayer: Everlasting Father, help me adapt my mood to paradise with you.

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