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Friday, October 9, 2020

Pennsylvania Grand Canyon
Pennsylvania Grand Canyon

"A Beautiful Story"

Message summary: God works all things out for the ultimate good, although I believe in some cases much will be revealed or clarified on the other side.

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"Do not lose heart… For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all" (2 Corinthians 4:16,17). "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).

You write a beautiful story
From glory to glory I believe
You write a beautiful story
Beginning to ending and in between

Darryl EylerLast weekend we attended a church where our long-time friend, Darryl Eyler, presently pastors near Wellsboro, PA. We worked with Darryl as a chaplain in the early part of this millennium.

During that time his first wife, Jody, died after a long battle with cancer so it was a very trying time for him. With two young daughters the future was rather bleak. But through it all Darryl's faith never wavered as he continued to serve as a chaplain and sought God's direction in raising his daughters. We recall visiting with him at that time and can only imagine the painful trial he was enduring.

But that was not the end of Darryl's story!

During the church service his second wife, Melissa, shared a brief testimony that we feel will bless many of our readers.

One of my favorite songs to listen to lately is "Beautiful Story" (see below for video link). This song talks about how God is writing the story of our lives: "Trust that He is orchestrating/custom-making all things for our good" (Romans 8:28).

There are times in our lives that just do NOT seem to be "good". Here’s our story: Darryl went through the tragic circumstances of his wife, Jody, getting cancer and eventually passing away. He had two daughters at the time. Meanwhile I was a widow with two small children. My husband, Erik, was 32 when he came home sick from work and passed away a few hours later.

Both Darryl and I experienced such heartache and loss. In the middle of our grief, it was hard to believe that anything was good. This was not the story we thought that God would write for our lives!

But our stories were far from over and several years later God brought our two families together.
Next month we celebrate 13 years of marriage.

What part of your story are you in? With the pandemic and all that is going on in our nation and around the world it is easy to wonder, "How is any of this for good?" Hang in there! Your story is not done yet!

In the midst of lingering troubles or tragedy it is essential that we not allow the troubling and mysterious circumstances of life to drain us of the eternal hope that comes from the indwelling Holy Spirit. Paul warned the Corinthian believers, "Do not lose heart…..For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all" (2 Corinthians 4:16,17).

The Life Application Bible gives an important faith perspective on this passage in its study notes:

"Our troubles should not diminish our faith or disillusion us. We should realize that there is a purpose in our suffering. Problems and human limitations have several benefits:
1) They remind us of Christ’s suffering for us;
They keep us from pride;
They cause us to look beyond this brief life;
They prove our faith to others; and
They give God the opportunity to demonstrate His power. See your troubles as opportunities!"

By faith we must look beyond the painful circumstance visible to all and remind ourselves that God is working in the invisible realm of the minds and hearts of those impacted by the tragedies of this life. By faith let us see the "bigger picture". Remember though, the final outcome is not always seen on this side since the “eternal glory” that outweighs life’s troubling circumstances will not be fully revealed in this life. 

Believers have long received great assurance from Romans 8:28: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." It was one of the first verses I memorized as a young Christian. How often I have drawn strength from it and do so again as I slowly read it and again ponder its truth. Whatever you are going through, keep the faith. God’s going to work this out for the ultimate good, although I believe in some cases much will be revealed or clarified on the other side, if that is of benefit to our existence in heaven.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, because we are visually stimulated by that which surrounds us it is easy to become discouraged by troubling circumstances that we see. Yet we choose to live by faith, not by sight so that we can rise above life’s visible circumstances to images invisible here on earth but made known to us through Scripture. Regardless of our limited perspective or personal cost we persevere in the hardships of life’s circumstances, so that we will gain an eternal glory that far outweighs them all remembering that our troubles here are only momentary in comparison to eternity. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Beautiful Story"   Video  Newsboys

"Something Beautiful"   Video  Gaither Vocal Band

Darryl and Melissa Eyler
Darryl and Melissa Eyler
(God blessed the union of their second marriage with the birth of a daughter about nine years ago.)

Last Sunday afternoon we rode our bikes on the Pine Creek Rail Trail through Pennsylvania's Grand Canyon, only a couple of miles from Darryl's church. Later we visited the state park on the rim. Today we share our final set of photos from our trip north to see the fall foliage last weekend.

Pine Creek rail trail
The Pine Creek Rail Trail runs 62 miles along Pine Creek. We rode down about nine miles from the Darling Run access point to the rustic Tiadaghton Campground and back.

Pine Creek rail trail
The trail runs on an old railroad grade along Pine Creek. The fall foliage was visible in every direction, with falling leaves bidding farewell to summer and ushering in the autumn season as we biked along the trail. We both got a kick out of leaves tumbling down on us and frequently Brooksyne called out, "Stephen, it's leafing." She might endure "leafing", but I know she wouldn't be biking if it was snowing, as she does not endure the cold weather so well. Locals expect the foliage will probably peak this weekend.

Grand Canyon wagon ride
The Ole Covered Wagon Tours offers a horse drawn wagon ride into the canyon. It was the first time on our bike rides that we saw the loaded wagons with about 30 people inside. Horses are instructed to use the lower dirt trail while bikers ride on the upper trail. We listened to the clip clopping of the horse's hooves on the dirt trail and heard the tour guide informing the tourists about the history of Pine Creek. And, lastly, everyone waved as we rode in opposite directions so it left a warm lasting memory. (Actually, the horses were not instructed about the proper trail, but their riders were.)

Horses on the Pine Creek rail trail
Since we often see evidence that horses have been on the trail, it was a ride when we actually met up with the horses and their friendly riders.

Tioga County view
A Tioga County rural scene

Grand Canyon selfie
Our attempt at a selfie on the canyon rim at the Leonard Harrison State Park.

Finally today:

Larry and Tina Kester
Yesterday we met up with long time friends Larry and Tina Kester, from Bethlehem, PA who are visiting this area and went to Sight and Sound last night. We enjoyed breakfast at The Casey Jones restaurant at the Red Caboose that's just up the road from The Old Windmill Farm. A lot of laughter was added to our gathering since 3 year old Stephen and 5 year old Sara Beth Lapp joined us for breakfast!

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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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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