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Monday, March 7, 2011

Conestoga River
We awoke this morning to a light snow, a reminder that winter is not quite over yet!
Our friend Mike Book took this photo of a bridge over the Conestoga River in in eastern Lancaster County.

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"A Righteous Man Will Be Remembered Forever"

"A righteous man will be remembered forever" (Psalm 112:6).
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (II Corinthians 4:16-18).

Stephen and I had dinner with our friends
Jere and Sarah Withers shortly after meeting them over two years ago. I can still taste the delicious Banana Pudding Sarah whipped up for dessert. It wasn't long into our conversation before Sarah began to tell us about her childhood and the vital part her grandfather, Samuel Tilton Young, played in her life. Two artpieces he had drawn were nicely framed and displayed on the wall behind the table in their dining room.

Sam YoungSamuel and his wife, Mary, gave birth to twelve children in Manheim, PA where Sam grew up and worked as a bricklayer. During the prime of his life, at about 21 years of age, he was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (called crippling arthritis at that time). By the time he was in his mid-thirties he was completely bedridden.

His wife, Mary, cared for him for many years as his body continued to wither and his pain intensified.  After she passed away in 1942, Sarah's mom and dad began to care for him during the last ten years of his life. Samuel was not at all ambulatory and his needs were extensive. The arthritic knees fused into a locked position providing a tent-like position for his covering.

Sam YoungAt times they would place his bed outside so he could get fresh air. Sarah and her younger brother, Fritz, remained close to his bedside in their growing years. He entertained them with his colorful personality as he charmed them with drawings, poems, songs, witty sayings, riddles and games. Sarah still recalls her favorite was "Hide and Seek". The children hid and he sought them, not by charging after them, but by guessing the place where they might be hiding. If he was right they had to come out and show their face.

Samuel had a vibrant faith in Jesus Christ. Though he was given a seemingly overwhelming burden he did not lose heart but fixed his eyes on the eternal future where he would endure no pain or sickness, no confinement but streets of gold where he could walk, jump, skate, run, chase kites, you name it – he's surely doing it!  The patient endurance of Samuel Young calls to mind a character in the Bible that most, even non-biblical students, are familiar with.

Job covered with boilsI’m speaking of Job who dealt with loss of family, loss of wealth, and loss of health during the prime of his life – that covers just about everything we want in our lifetime, doesn't it!   In response to the news that all ten of his children died Job felt intense loss, sorrow and surely disbelief for a period. It all sank in at a time when he was also enduring intense suffering and deep humiliation. In his physical affliction his body was covered with painful boils.

And yet in the process of his grief he came to the conclusion that he brought nothing into the world; all that he had received was by the goodness and generosity of God.  Since God gave these treasures to him, He also had the right to remove them.  If only we had similar understanding of our human and material possessions, we might deal with grief and loss more courageously.

During his time of bereavement and financial ruin he also had to suffer discomfort, disgrace, and disagreeable pain that ravaged his body, even as well-meaning friends sought to comfort him but only stirred up emotions and unanswered questions that tormented his mind and spirit.

What more could go wrong?  How about a nagging wife who suggested he just give up, curse God, and get it over with. Perhaps she could get on with building a new life if she didn't have to deal with an afflicted husband who had been disgraced at the city gate.  When we study this portion of the Bible we consider not only the testing Job went through but also his wife, just as caretakers are tested while trying to lovingly support their loved ones.

"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD" (Job 1:21). "The Lord gave" - Job had nothing when he came into the world, and all that he had obtained had been by the good providence of God.

As God gave it, Job realized God also had the right to remove it. The same should be said of all believers who are fully submitted to God. The Apostle Paul echoes this sentiment in a great passage about contentedness, "For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either" (1 Timothy 6:7).

Both Job and Paul had a proper view of possessions. We likewise do well to realize it is all a gift from God, and that He has a right to remove when He pleases. Our earthly longings, affections, possessions, and dwellings must be anchored loosely, lest we permanently fix our attention on that which will eventually perish.

Job graciously endured his extreme trial, not without questioning and not without seeking counsel, as he sought to understand why he was chosen to suffer multiple losses and endure such pain and suffering. Just as there were many twists and turns, misunderstandings, well-meaning but dead wrong counsel, and patient endurance in Job’s long ordeal so it will be for most all who live out their lives here on earth.

If we are to experience a glory that far outweighs our troubles on earth we must absolutely fix our eyes and heart not on what we see or experience here, but on that which is to come; that which will last for more than a season, but for all eternity.  If we do so we can patiently endure multiple trials as we wait for the glorious appearing of our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, an event the Bible calls the "blessed hope"!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, we greatly rejoice knowing that as our physical body is wearing down our spiritual body is being renewed daily moving us closer and closer to the moment we receive an eternal glory that far outweighs the heartaches, losses, trials, injustices, and suffering of this life. Keep our eyes not on that which passes, but that which passeth not away.  Help us to envision the glory of heaven where there will be no need for a sun or moon for Jesus’ glory will be the light of heaven. We can hardly wait but then of course You choose the appointed hour, so until then we’ll look not to our temporal troubles but to Your eternal glory through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Sam Young obituary
For a fuller story on this remarkable Christian man, Samuel T. Young,  click here.  Brooksyne wrote this in tribute to Samuel and to bless Sarah, his granddaughter, who has herself endured many health issues and even today is undergoing a medical procedure.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Brooksyne and Mike Book recording song 3/6/11

"I Know For Me He Cares"
  Video  Samuel Tilton wrote poetry and Brooksyne adapted one of his poems so it could be sung to a familiar hymn tune, "I Know Whom I Have Believed".  Last night she and Mike Book recorded it w/o instrumentation in our home office and "studio". Note the innovative dual tissue box microphone stand!

I Know For Me He Cares

I know not why His hand is laid
In chastening on my life,
Nor why within my little world,
It is so full of strife.

But this I do know that God is love
And in my pain, He, my burden shares
Even though I may not understand
I know for me He cares!

I know not why when faith looks up
And seeks for rest from pain,
That o’er my skies fresh clouds arise
And drench my path with pain.

Repeat refrain

I know not why my prayer so long
By Him has been denied,
Nor why, while other ships sail on,
Mine should in port abide.

Repeat refrain

"He Giveth More Grace"  Video  Maranatha Singers This hymn text was written by Annie Flint Johnson who suffered from crippling arthritis beginning in her early teens.  Eventually she was institutionalized and bedridden through her adult years.  Listen carefully to the words and it will touch your heart.

"Blessed Be Your Name"  Video  This song is based on Job's account and recounts God's worthiness to be blessed in the good and bad times. This version has lyrics.

Mike & Kay Book 3/6/11
Our friends, Mike and Kay Book, joined us for pizza following our recording session of
"I Know For Me He Cares"

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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