An 85-year-old woman, all alone in a convent, got trapped inside an elevator for 4 nights and 3 days. Fortunately, she had a jar of water, some celery sticks, and a few cough drops. After she tried unsuccessfully to open the elevator doors and get a cell phone signal, she decided to turn to God in prayer. “It was either panic or pray,” she later told CNN. In her distress, she relied on God and waited till she was rescued.
Samuel, who was 4, had finished eating his dinner and asked if he could be dismissed from the table. He wanted to go outside to play. But he was too young to be out alone, so his mother said, “No. You can’t go outside by yourself. You need to wait for me to finish and go with you.” His quick reply: “But, Mommy, Jesus is with me!”
During my first year of seminary, I listened as a new friend described her life. Abandoned by her husband, she was raising two small children alone. Earning just over minimum wage, she had little chance of escaping the poverty and dangers she described in her neighborhood.
When my daughter Debbie was a little girl, she took ballet lessons. One dance exercise involved jumping over a rolled-up gym mat. Debbie’s first attempt resulted in her bouncing off this hurdle. For a moment she sat on the floor stunned, and then she began to cry. Immediately, I darted out to help her up and spoke soothing words to her. Then, holding her hand, I ran with her until she successfully jumped over the rolled-up mat. Debbie needed my encouragement to clear that hurdle.
You’d think I would have my mother’s fingerprints embedded in my knee from all the times she squeezed my leg in church and whispered in no uncertain terms, “Be still.” Like any boy, I had a bad case of the wiggles in places like church. So for years, when I read, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10), I thought of it in terms of not being antsy.
An unusual list called The 100 Least Powerful People in the World appeared in the online publication 24/7 Wall St. Among those selected were corporate executives, sports figures, politicians, and celebrities who shared one common characteristic—they used to be powerful. Some were victims of circumstances, others made poor business decisions, while others lost their influence because of moral failure.
When I was young, I thought the cost of living in my parents’ home was too high. Looking back, I laugh at how ridiculous it was to complain. My parents never charged me a cent for living at home. The only “cost” was obedience. I simply had to obey rules like clean up after myself, be polite, tell the truth, and go to church. The rules weren’t difficult, but I still had trouble obeying them. My parents didn’t kick me out for my disobedience, however. They just kept reminding me that the rules were to protect me, not harm me, and sometimes they made the rules stricter to protect me from myself.