Okay! I admit it. I didn’t think that the current doomsday upheaval deserved any more attention than it was already getting over the airwaves. The Scriptures are pretty clear that we won’t know when the Lord will return. Therefore, May 21 at 6pm was not my biggest concern one week after my husband died and two weeks before Special Gathering ministry takes 200 special needs people to Vero Beach for a four day retreat.
However, it was a concern for many of our members who are intellectually disabled but who watch and understand TV news. As I stood in front of our Melbourne program on Sunday morning, I laughingly said, “Well, guess you know we are all still here and the rapture didn’t happen.” When I noticed that most of our members weren’t smiling, I asked, “How many of you were concerned?” Most of their hands went up in the air.
Because few of our teachers and chapel leaders were concerned or knew about the coming news hype regarding this issue, it had not been addressed last week at our weekly chapel services. However, as the week had waned and Saturday approached, I became increasingly interested in the reaction of many people I know who are not Christians and who knew that I am committed to Christ. “What do you think?” I was asked several times.
Trying to calm the fear that was etched on their faces, I said, “Jesus said that we would not know the day or the hour. He said that he didn’t know and the angels didn’t know. Only the Father knows, therefore, this preacher cannot know. But,” I continued to explain, “we can be ready no matter what happens. Jesus wants us to realize that he loves us enough to forgive our sins and make us God’s child. All we need to do is ask him.”
While I knew this was a big hoax, I also know that this is the thing that we, as Christians, have been living to happen. Christ’s return will be a great and glorious day for us. We have no need to fear or be concerned regarding his return. Given the choice of eternal paradise and living here with the hurt, fears and concerns of life, is there really a choice.
At Special Gathering, which is a ministry within the intellectually disabled community, we take our members on an annual retreat called Retreat Agape. It is located in Vero Beach at Life for Youth Camp. It is a youth summer camp but we rent the entire facility for Memorial Day weekend each year.
While Retreat Agape isn’t located “in the woods,” it is a rustic area and there are bugs. In fact, it is rural enough for red bugs. These tiny insects live in secluded, wooded areas; and they invade people who dare to invade their territory. Red bugs crawl under the skin and cause little red bumps that itch and itch. Many of our members are not exposed to wooded areas; and they aren’t used to these creepy crawlers that cause itchy bumps. Occasionally, someone will come up to me to announce that they are never coming back because “there are bugs out here and one of them got on me and it’s itching me TO DEATH!”
My comment is always, “We are at camp.”
In every experience in life there are good things and bad things that happen to us. Hopefully, the good will out weigh the bad. Yet, I’ve learned that most important element in this equation is our attitude. Like a light shining in the darkness, a good attitude will break the back of a bad attitude everytime, thereby turning even the most awful experiences into joy.
I came from a large family with many in-laws and out-laws. Funerals were part of my childhood memories. I remember massive numbers of aunts, uncles and cousins serving our plates from the feast spread over the large dinner table, with desserts spilling into the living room. The aunts, uncles and cousins balanced their plates and iced tea while roaming outside into the front yard. We sat under the trees, sharing a meal, family gossip and lots of laughter. Always, there was laughter. Even out tears were sprinkled with laughter.
As a child, those times were a lot like having a red bug come to dwell in your skin. I hated and loved the tickle. The itch was horrible but scratching the itch was wonderful.
There is no doubt that death is our enemy. The legacy of The Garden haunts every moment of our earthly existence. But the Holy Spirit miraculously works the wonder of scratching the itch, turning that which should be horrible into a wonderfully mysterious experience.
A friend shares that on a recent vacation she met a couple who were as different as soup and walnuts. The husband was having a marvelous time experiencing all the delights on the resort island where they were staying. Yet the wife was miserable. Nothing had gone right for her. The food was too rich. The A/C was too cold. The ocean was too salty, leaving her sticky. The pool was too warm. Their room was too elegant and sterile, making her uncomfortable.
The husband seemed to find his wife’s complaints and antics mildly amusing and he laughed a lot. The wife was frustrated by her husband’s lack of sensitivity regarding her discomfort. While the husband didn’t appreciate everything that was happening, he had learned to enjoy “scratching the itch. ”
Each day and sometime moment by moment, we decide how our life will be lived. Jesus said, “Blessed (or happy) are the peace maker.” I’m sure that he had also learned to enjoy scratching the itch. What are some of the ways you have learned to scratch the itch.
Few people realize that 17 per cent of the population of the US is disabled. This is a large number and growing. Additionally, it means that every person in the US is touched by disabilities in one way or another. Every faith group is touched by many forms of disability–from age-related cognitive decline to birth defects, autism. Physical and mental health issues grab the Christian, Jew, Muslim and infidel. Therefore, The White House has formed a disability group. Each month thousands of people join to be a part of the discussions regarding disabilities via a conference phone call. Here is the information regarding the May 2011 White House Disability Call.
|Subject:||Next White House Monthly Disability Call|
|Date:||Thu, 19 May 2011 08:30:46 -0500|
|From:||White House Disability Group <email@example.com>|
|Reply-||White House Disability Group <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
|In order to help keep you more informed, we are hosting monthly calls to update you on various disability issues as well as to introduce you to persons who work on disability issues in the Federal government.|
Our next call will be Thursday, May 26 at 3:00 PM Eastern.
I would encourage you to call in about five minutes early due to the large volume of callers.
If you received this email as a forward but would like to be added to the White House Disability Group email distribution list, please visit our website at http://www.whitehouse.gov/disability-issues-contact and fill out the contact us form in the disabilities section.
This month’s call will feature:
The call also will include updates on civil rights, health care, and fiscal/budget issues.
We strongly urge and ask that you distribute this email broadly to your networks and listserves so that everyone has an opportunity to learn of this valuable information.
The conference call information is below.
Dial in for listeners: (800) 230-1085
Title: White House Disability Call (use instead of code)
Date of Call: 05/26/2011
Start Time: 3:00 PM Eastern (dial in 5 minutes early)
This call is off the record and not for press purposes.
For live captioning, at the start time of the event, please login by clicking on the link below. Please only use this feature if you are deaf or hard of hearing.