Danger and a Friend: Using Meditation to Draw Near to God

Danger and the Presence of God
Put your Hand in the Hand

We all face dangers of one sort or another. We are broken people living with broken people in a broken world.

I read this tidbit about living through danger confirmed by recent research done at the University of Virginia. The information was in “Our Daily Bread” back in April of 2017.  After meditating on this, my take is a bit different.

Researchers ran the test on dozens of pairs, and found consistent results. When a person was alone or holding a stranger’s hand while anticipating a shock, the regions of the brain that process danger lit up. But when holding the hand of a trusted person, the brain relaxed. The comfort of a friend’s presence made the pain seem more bearable.

You don’t have to be a Christian to know that life lived with an intimate friend or two goes better than live lived as a solo “Lone Wolf” In fact,

Christians know three things more. First, the Resurrection means that even when there is no one physically present, God sits beside us and holds us close. Second, danger is something we pass through on our life journey. It is never a destination. Third, by making use of the form of prayer called Meditation we can experience the Presence. Sometimes we cannot call that precious friend that lives next door. We can always find the one that lives within. For that reason we have a peace that most people notice but do not have for themselves. So remember when you have found the power of peace. Be willing to share with others who find our lives attractive but confusing.

In the face of danger we know the joy expressed in Gene_MacLellan‘s song, “Put your Hand in the Hand of the Man.”

When danger breaks in, I look for “the Hand.” God is Faithful.

Part of Love, All of Love: What Do We Decide about the Pain of Loss.

Reflections Concerning a Parent's Loss of a Child
From a Parent Who Lost a Young Child

We are near the end of the Christian season of Lent, a time to ponder the positive meaning of loss.

Loss is just not welcomed anywhere. My wife and I see this reality each year when we teach as Christian people in a Buddhist country, Cambodia. Cambodians don’t like the pain of loss any more than Americans. This aversion to pain is human. Loss. Ugh. So many people conclude that the world as we know it cannot possibly reflect the intention of a God who is loving. The unexpected loss of a healthy young teen in our Upstate NY community brought this home to me. How can the world we live in make sense?

People everywhere ask the same question. When we are in Cambodia we always ask people why they became Christians. The second most common answer is that the Death and Resurrection of Jesus helps them deal with the pain of loss. Like people all over the world, Cambodians feel terribly alone at times when they allow themselves to be aware of their pain. Yet Christians view the world though the eyes of a risen Lord. We are never alone.  No one can change what is done. Still, God brings healing to broken hearts. The Bible provides many helps.

Loss means we all have a decision to make. Passionate attachment of people, ideas, ambitions, hopes and dreams will cost us something.

We just will become frustrated, upset or feel completely alone at time. On the other hand, we experience excitement, challenge, victory and fellowship. So are the gains worth it?

Jesus thought that deep attachment to his Disciples and to us was worth the pain. The Resurrection shows us that pain never defines us. There is always a next chapter. A new door opens. We step into a new opportunity each time until the end. They we step through the door of eternity.

Jesus offers life without the fear of being overwhelmed. I think that is more than a small gift. I am so grateful. Loss is never the final word. The presence of God and of others who will sit with us in our grief resolves our loneliness. Pain is not king. The Resurrection always comes.