View From The Ridge

View From The Ridge

Sunday, August 22, 2010

McCall, Idaho

A couple of weeks ago Jeri and I took a short trip to McCall, Idaho.  As the crow flies, McCall is only 100 miles straight east of us, but by highway it is about 215 miles.  The Eagle Cap Mountains and Snake river sort of get in the way.  The big draw for this area is the pristine skiing in the winter and Payette lake for water sports and fishing in the summer.  And golf.  I don't do the first two but I do the third. 

Payette Lake is over 5,000 acres and seven miles long and at 5,000 feet elevation.  Located on a peninsula sticking out into the lake is Ponderosa State Park, a beautiful mountain campground with over 200 camp sites that are well spaced out.
 Unfortunately, they do have rodents, aka chipmunks and squirrels, that apparently look for new places to take up residence.  Jeri kept hearing a noise so we investigated and found that one of them had been gnawing on the electrical cord door.  A good dowsing of WD-40 on the cord and door seemed to discourage any further reshaping of the entrance. 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Eph 1:4 Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love.

Life is a lot like flying. Most of my hours of flying in the air force were routine and mundane, punctuated by moments of sheer terror when we would have engine fires and what not. Most of the days of our lives are much the same, except for the ones we would like to forget. Such a day was Sunday for our close friends Bob and Sue, who lost their 24 year old son, Scott, to a car accident. He had been driving home from town in the early morning hours and apparently fell asleep, drove into the loose gravel, lost control and was killed instantly. Yes, he was wearing a seat belt.

I first met Bob and Sue six years ago. We had just returned from wintering south where the snow doesn’t fly and they had started attending our church while we were gone. We met them the first time in Sunday school with the usual “Hi, how are you?” and I immediately forgot their names since I have terminal short-term memory loss. By the next Sunday, I was able to nail down (sort of) the “Bob and Sue” part and they were in the row in front of us. Jeri nudged me during the last song at the end of the service and said “How about we ask this new couple to join us for lunch?” I gave my OK, but only because I trust Jeri’s intuition. On the other hand, I was mentally weighing the option of what to talk about with people I barely knew. I wanted to avoid a reeeeally loooong 45 minute lunch that seems like 3 hours. What it turned out to be was a reeeally long 2 hour lunch that seemed like 45 minutes. We got on the subject of travel and where we had been and where they had been. That is when they introduced us to short term medical missions with Global Health Outreach (GHO). Bob and Sue have been on trips as pharmacists to Ecuador, Honduras and Nigeria and usually taking one or two of their kids with them. And that is how we met Scott.

Scott was on two of the trips we eventually took to Ecuador, and was on the trip that my grandson and I took to Nigeria. He was a quiet guy, reserved, and usually secluded himself in the pharmacy counting pills or assisting in surgery. But he was always there helping with the heavy stuff when loading or unloading luggage and supplies. He was a neat kid, fun to be around, lots of potential, very bright and deserved more than the 24 years that he was allotted.

There should be a rule, an 11th commandment, something that says a parent shall not have to bury a child. Yet in the forty some years that we have been in La Grande First Baptist this is not the first and it won’t be the last. Over the years Jeri and I have seen too many friends lose children to various and sundry causes, mostly to car accidents.

But never in my life have I had to watch a friend bury two sons in three years. And that is what Bob and Sue will be doing this week. I cannot imagine the heartache of losing one child, but to lose two ----- I don’t have words for that.

Some of you will be asking “How can a loving God allow a family to have two adult children taken from their arms?” There is only one answer. As Christians we worship a loving God who has been down that same road. He knows and understands what it means to lose a son. He allowed Jesus to die on a cross, watched him suffer unimaginable atrocities, to be the last blood sacrifice for sin so that we who choose Jesus as Lord and Savior can spend eternity in Heaven. That is what separates Christianity from all the other religions of the world. The one we worship sacrificed Himself on the cross for us. He didn’t ask us to sacrifice ourselves in a Jihad. He isn’t telling us that we will be reincarnated as something else. He is promising eternal life with Him in Heaven.

Our time on this earth was determined before the foundations were laid. Our arrival and departure dates were already set before time began. Because God is in control, nothing happens that surprises Him.

I again spent time reading about Job and all he went through. I look at Bob and Sue and see a modern day Job experience. I can picture Satan and God having their daily meeting and the conversation going like this: GOD said to Satan, "Have you noticed my friend Bob? There's no one quite like him--honest and true to his word, totally devoted to God and hating evil." Satan retorted, "So do you think Bob does all that out of the sheer goodness of his heart? Why, no one ever had it so good! You pamper him like a pet, make sure nothing bad ever happens to him or his family or his possessions, bless everything he does--he can't lose! "But what do you think would happen if you reached down and took away everything that is his? He'd curse you right to your face, that's what." GOD replied, "We'll see. Go ahead--do what you want with all that is his. Just don't hurt him." Then Satan left the presence of GOD.

Twice God has allowed Satan to strike Bob and Sue’s family. Twice Satan has lost. Twice Satan has tried to destroy the ministry and testimony that Bob and Sue spread through their pharmacy business and across the world through health missions. Satan has caused them tremendous grief and heart ache, but I know that their resolve is not weakened. They will come back stronger for this, be able to minister and council with others who will lose children, and be the servants for Christ that they have dedicated their lives to be.

The last Chapter of Job God restores all that Satan took from Job. GOD blessed Job's later life even more than his earlier life. He ended up with fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand teams of oxen, and one thousand donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. Job 42:12 -13.

 When Bob’s first son died, he left three small girls behind. Bob and Sue adopted those girls and are now raising them, not as grandchildren but as their children. Only God sees the big picture. We just get bits and pieces and have to trust God for the strength and energy to fulfill our part of the puzzle. Thanks, Bob and Sue, for your great faith, testimony and witness for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

p.s.  No, Bob, you may not bring out to my place the 14,000 sheep when they arrive!