My Revenge

1eSOfG.AuSt.91It was no surprise.

In a very short period of time, shorter than my lifetime, the “gay rights” movement sold Americans the message that “gay rights” are “civil rights” and should be protected and respected on the same level as the color of one’s skin or the faith an individual chooses to practice.

This particular sin, which the Bible calls “Sodomy,” is now not only tolerated, but celebrated and—by some misguiding folks—considered the equivalent to the union God established to demonstrate His special relationship of love and faithfulness to the church. To be the foundation of the family. To be the fabric of society.

But, as I remind myself, the whole reason why Christians should care about this is the same reason why we do not have to fear or fret. Because there is a much higher authority than the US Supreme Court. And God is fully capable of defending His own rules. Justice Kennedy will not be writing the majority opinion for God’s court. And to God, it was just that by the way: an opinion.

But here on earth…what should our response be? As I pondered the crowds of jubilant protesters reveling in their momentary victory, I found myself grasping for a meaningful response.

I felt so helpless. And, in so many ways, disqualified from leading a charge for faith and family. Who would even listen? Who would care?

The only thing that will help us is revival.

But haven’t we made a lot of attempts at revival? Haven’t some of the best Christian leaders of our century tried unsuccessfully to stem the tide of society running amuck? Who could truly bring us to our knees in the stillness and quietness of hearts obedient to Christ?

I may not be able to light a fire of revival in our nation. But I am determined that there will be plunder. I’m determined that I can come through this more of a danger to complacency and disgusting lukewarm Christianity than ever before.

So here is my revenge:

I will love harder and give more; but most of all, I will worship more sincerely.

No more worshiping by rote. No yawning through church services half-heartedly singing words. No alternately thinking about what people are wearing, what is for lunch, and what the song-writer was prompting us to sing to our Savior. No more bowing my head to pray and drifting off into “to do” land—making lists in my head of what needs to happen that afternoon.

I will take more time to worship alone. With my phone off. The radio off. The TV off. I will take note of songs that are particularly meaningful to me. I will worship with Scripture. I will worship when no one is watching.

I’ll take everyone down the road with me that will go. And if that is zero, I’ll go alone.

I will look back and say, “Obergefell v. Hodges, that’s the day that changed me.” Five people handed down an opinion and it prompted me to turn up the heat on my Christian walk. It made me want plunder. It made me repent of sins I wouldn’t repent of before. Let go of selfishness I wouldn’t have let go of otherwise. Forgive people I didn’t want to forgive. But most of all, it made me clear the stage so I can worship.

I’m still imperfect and my zeal will fade with time, but every time someone tries to redefine “life” or “marriage” or change any truth Scripture, they will heap coals on the flames of my passion for Christ.  Let there be plunder!

At first, I was disgusted with the picture of the White House lighted up in rainbow colors. But now, I think it’s beautiful. Because the LGBT community can’t define the rainbow. God made it and He got to define it. He said, I have set MY bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between ME and the earth… Genesis 9:13 (ESV).  Every time I see the rainbow, I will be reminded of God’s love and of His justice. And I will worship.

Because I have nothing to fear. God still loves. He is still just. And the rainbow is still a reminder that God is on His throne and a refraction of light cannot hit a water droplet without the heavens declaring His glory…And this humble soul doing its best to join them.

Let there be plunder.


And…I have a few more ideas for revenge…and I would love to hear yours…

Two Become One

My hairstylist tells me that there are 2,500 weddings a year in Charleston. I’m sure the month of June claims a disproportionate share of that number…My parents were married in June. All three of my sisters we married in June. It’s just the month for weddings. School’s out…Spring’s hanging on… Love is in the air.

And no where do I sense the love more strongly than during my frequent trips to Penney Farms, Florida.   That’s where my grandparents live. They are now 95 and 98 and their lives have been simplified accordingly. They live in a two-room apartment. Their kitchen is the size of my closet and boasts only a hot plate, a microwave, a refrigerator and a small sink.

Their bed swallows the bedroom, leaving room for an 8” TV. Grandpa will pull his wheelchair next to my Grandma and they will watch the Andy Griffith show. And when Andy isn’t “sherriffing,” they will watch the goings’ on around their retirement community on closed circuit TV.

My grandparents weren’t married until they were in their 30s. But that still leaves a lot of time—65 years.

They are both from the Philadelphia area, but met at Wheaton College. Grandma—Frances she would have been called then—was a student there. And George, my Grandpa, met her when he came to pick up his sister one weekend.

It wasn’t really the beginning of anything although Frances was later invited so spend some holiday time with his family. And when she stayed for a few summer classes after her last year, George was there too and she remembers some long evening walks in the cornfield affecting her grades.

But they didn’t stay in close contact and when she went to Florida to teach at a Christian boarding school, he went to seminary in Texas, and later, to the South Pacific on an aircraft carrier.

I haven’t heard too much about the seven years Frances spent teaching except that Elizabeth Elliott was one of her students. And that she loved it.

As World War II came to a close, George wrote to Frances and asked her to marry him. She wrote back and said yes. That’s how it was told to me, anyway.

When the school found she was leaving, an angry headmaster had her pack her trunk and dumped her off at the train station during a chapel service. She had nothing. She got to say goodbye to no one. Seven years of investing in students ended abruptly, and suddenly, she was alone in the world with one trunk and a fiancé that she had hardly seen in years.

“But,” she told me, “perhaps it was for the best. Because I never looked back. The next few years were not easy. But I never looked back.”

Six babies came in rapid succession, starting with my aunt, Christine, less than a year after their wedding.   George and Frances were practically living in their car while doing deputation around the country but by the time my mom was born, they were trying to plant a church in the war-torn country of Japan. Of course, between those two was a three month boat ride—the only means of transportation between here and there.

They started from scratch in Japan. They didn’t speak the language. They didn’t know the culture. They didn’t have a way to communicate back to friends and family. They didn’t have a lot of money. But they had each other. And they put their whole hearts into their new life in Japan.

After about 35 years, my grandparents retired from the mission field and took jobs in Florida. They used to travel to California to see us for one week every summer. Grandpa would take us on bike rides, buy us ice cream, and let us blow on his trumpet. I remember sitting on his lap while he read “101 Dalmatians” to my sister and I.

Meanwhile, my grandma would take over the laundry and for a week nothing could hit the bottom of a hamper before it would be snatched out; and nothing came back to you without starch in it.

They were both hard working, frugal, and godly. That isn’t to say they always agreed. Grandma would try to discourage my grandpa from buying so much ice cream, for example. Nonetheless, they complimented each other well. Grandma was good with the check book, but she didn’t operate anything with a motor it. Grandpa not only could operate a vehicle, but he was adventurous.

They could eat at Wendy’s for $2. They would order one baked potato and a cup of coffee. Grandpa liked sugar in his coffee and Grandma did not, so they would put one pack of sugar in, but not stir it. Grandpa would put his straw on the top; Grandma would put hers on the bottom, and everyone was happy.

They seemed timeless to me.

But old age creeps up even on the most stalwart of people. I took my grandparents on their last plane ride out of Florida last year—Pushing Grandpa in a wheelchair and waiting on a skycap to come get Grandma. I remember waiting at the gate in Atlanta for a flight and getting hungry. Grandpa, who is always hungry, agreed to go with me to find food. Grandma, who is never hungry, preferred to stay at the gate. “Don’t get me anything.” She called after us.

As we placed our orders, Grandpa was quick to ask me, “What are we going to get Grandma?” I opened my mouth to remind him that she didn’t want anything, but shut it again. I repeated this. “What do you think she would like?” I finally asked. And when we headed back to the gate, we were carrying three Styrofoam boxes.

He did the same thing a couple of weeks ago when my grandma wasn’t feeling well. Although the doctor couldn’t really find anything wrong, she had been in bed the better part of the week, and Grandpa was as frantic as I’ve seen him. At this stage in the game—they heavily rely on each other. She has the legs to get up and find things, he has the arms strong enough to dish the ice cream. She has good enough ears to hear the TV, and his eyes are still able to see well enough to read her magazine articles, her Sunday School lesson, or whatever else.

When she was sick, he was rattled. It wasn’t just like having a sick family member. It was like part of him was sick too. I could tell he wanted to “fix it,” but he couldn’t. So when she insisted that we go to the dining hall without her, he agreed only when he knew there was no changing her mind.

She said she wasn’t hungry, but he picked the entrée and sides that he knew she would like best. He ate half of each, dutifully saving the rest and carefully arranging it in a “to go” box. He didn’t say so, but I think he knew that she wouldn’t eat it, but she would know he cared.

He did care. He does care. In fact, I suspect he is holding on to life because of her. Because if something happened to him, who would dish the ice cream? who would read the Sunday School lesson? who would operate the golf cart?

Conversely, she is holding on for him. She is still trying to find things—even though her eyes are bad—because he can’t seem to find them without her help. She is still trying to move money from one account to another to get a little better interest rate. Still picking his laundry out of the hamper and making sure it comes back to him with starch in it. Still washing his ice cream dishes. Still discouraging him from buying ice cream.

They’ve never owned a home, yet they’ve built a beautiful family. They’ve never been famous, but they have touched many, many lives. They’ve never written a book, yet theirs is a beautiful love story. And as of yet, it’s still not all told.

Of the 60 weddings this weekend in Charleston, I wonder if even one of them will stick together enough to know the kind of simple, faithful love my grandparents know.

I’ll always remember the image of my 98 year old grandfather, after 65 years of marriage, saving half his dinner in a “to go” box. Because half of him was still at home. The half that he loves most.