Safe Place with Ruth Graham

So much rain! I am sure the dear folks in Texas wonder if it will even stop. Maybe they are identifying with Noah by now. If only we could send some of that rain to California where they are suffering a record draught.

The devastation in Texas and Oklahoma I see in the news is heartbreaking, not to mention families that lost loved ones. I lived in Texas for 6 years and I know how fast flash floods happen. Actually, my husband got caught in one coming home one afternoon. It was frightening.

My prayers go out to those trying to clean up and sort through the wreckage. It sounds like a very redundant thing to say, but, water is so wet. It gets everywhere. It’s not like dust that can be  vacuumed or swept. Or fire that turns it all to ash, as bad as that is. Water just seeps in and destroys. And if things are not properly dried out, mold and mildew develop – the devastation will continue. It’s a mess.

Events like this are overwhelming. My prayers go out to those having to deal with their loss and the clean-up.

Another loss this week that has saddened me…Josh Duggar. My oldest granddaughter has watched that show for years. It is a wonderful reinforcement of the values my daughter holds dear and tries to teach her children. A refreshing TV program against all the trash that fills the airwaves. (Not that we agree with everything the Duggars do but it’s a whole lot better than the Kardashians!)

I don’t know of the details of Josh’s transgression. But I do know sexual abuse has to be dealt with swiftly and thoroughly. I understand his parents trying to protect him and the others involved as well as the TV show – they are celebrities. And a when something like this happens you want to keep it a secret. Cover it. And there are Bible verses one can quote to support that line of thinking. But it is dangerous. We are as sick as our secrets.

We try to build safe places on shaky foundations.

Abuse indicates a deeper issue – a root cause. I am not a psychologist or counsellor but I do know this sin has tentacles that if they are not cut off will create havoc for years to come. I am concerned for his wife. Yes, she knew about it before the marriage but we tend to see things through rose-colored glasses when we are newly in love. Now that the secret is out and there is job loss and a tarnished reputation the stress will be more than enough on the marriage and the family.

Just like Texas and Oklahoma it will be a messy clean up. It will take long time. It cannot be rushed. It takes professionals who know what to look for and what to clear away. It takes understanding people to come alongside to help. The Duggars had a flood hit them. They tried to stem the tide and hold back the waters. Their efforts were not sufficient. More damage was done…but the story isn’t over. God is in the restoration business.

We need to pray for them.

Yes, sin was committed. A horrible and devastating sin. But it doesn’t have to destroy lives, yes, scar lives, but not destroy. And scars don’t heal. But they can be testimonies to God’s amazing grace. Sin doesn’t have to win. By God’s grace and mercy, can sin be forgiven. Lives rebuilt. And I pray all that has begun.

I pray for the victims. That they have or will receive professional counseling – not just quoted Bible verses and prayer by a pastor. They need an expert counselor who knows the psychological damage done but also knows the healing power of God.

Sin is an opportunity to give and show grace. Let’s be people of grace as the process continues. God created out of chaos back in Genesis chapter 1 – He is still doing it today! Amen!


War is hideous. In recent years I think, in many ways, we have become immune to war’s hideousness and ugliness. We watch wars play out on television sitting in our living rooms. War is a decision men/women make in Washington and we rarely feel it’s consequences.

But this weekend may we pause to think about war. And those that fought. And those that lost their lives. And the families that miss them. Let us remember those that served us so bravely and sacrificially.

The movie, American Sniper seemed to show the hideousness of war from all angles. Not just the deprivation and hardship of the battlefield but the emotional toll taken by the men and women and their families.

As we raise our beer glasses and flip our burgers there are many who are not here to enjoy our celebrations. They paid the ultimate sacrifice. As did their family. We cannot remember our brave men and women without remembering the spouses, the parents, the children, the cousins, the aunts and uncles that remember them every day of the year. Not just on Memorial Day.

Those of us able to enjoy the holiday weekend are blessed by those who have worked so hard to protect our freedom. Let us thank God for His rich blessings on us and for those who protect us even now in a foreign land.

I heard on the radio this morning that ISIS has taken more Christian hostages in Syria. And the politicians are wringing their hands wondering what should be done.

So much is happening in the world but Monday morning the news broadcasts were filled with news about the Oscars: who won, who wore what, who said what…

Is it the proverbial “whistling in the dark” or the “Ostrich” syndrome? Are we really so shallow?

I did see and hear Melanie Griffiths’ answer when a reporter (although not a journalist) ask her if she had seen her daughter’s movie, “Fifty Shades of Grey”. She said, “No, I know she is a good actress without seeing that movie.” Good for her. I know I wouldn’t want to see my daughter is such a film. (I haven’t seen it or read the books but I know enough to know to stay away. If the lead actress’ mother won’t go see it, why should I?) I can spot a garbage dump without climbing into it.

I was flipping through the channels to try to find some “hard news” – something of substance. The network morning news shows are not news anymore. Oh they tell pop-culture news but the talking heads are not journalists they are in the entertainment business. There are some

Many of our so-called journalists have proven to be liars. I loved the congressman who apologized for saying he served in the army Special Forces, when he had not. He apologized for “mis-speaking”. That’s the new term for “lying”. He out and out lied – as did NBC’s Brian Williams and CBS’s Dan Rather. Making mistakes is one thing; lying or making something up is quite another.

Just as we no longer have statesman in DC (or very few) we no longer have journalists. Where are the Edward R. Murrows or David Frosts of our day? We are not demanding more so we get less and less. Are we hostages to the lack of critical thinking and lack of hard questions with truthful answers?

We have heard that 21 Coptic Christians died at the brutal hands of ISIS over the weekend. They are martyrs for their faith.

As I was having my devotions this morning the words of an old hymn written by Frederick Faber came to  mind:


Faith of our fathers living still

In spite of dungeon, fire and sword:

O how our hearts beat high with joy

Whene’er we hear that glorious word!

Faith of our fathers holy faith!

We will be true to thee till death!


Our fathers, chained in prisons dark,

Were still in heart and conscience free:

How sweet would be their children’s fate,

If they like them could die for Thee!

Faith of our fathers holy faith!

We will be true to thee till death!


Faith of our fathers

We will strive

To win all nations unto thee,

And thro’ the truth that comes from God,

Mankind shall then be truly free.

Faith of our fathers holy faith!

We will be true to thee till death!


Faith of our fathers

We  will love

Both friend and foe in all our strife:

And preach thee too as love knows how,

By kindly words and virtuous life.

Faith of our fathers holy faith!

We will be true to thee till death!


These 21 martyrs were true ’til death.

The last verse is the hard one – to love both friend and foe. We are commanded to love our enemies. That does not mean to be weak. We have a God-given duty to protect our homeland and families from the evil that is crouching at our gate. And it is evil – pure and heinous evil – straight from hell itself. These militants, radicals, have one thing on us – they are committed to what they believe!

Am I that committed to Jesus? Are you?