Grant each of us
seeking eyes to see Your face,
listening ears to hear Your voice,
outstretched hands to serve the poor,
a loving heart to embrace the stranger,
an honest tongue to bring justice in the earth,
and moving feet to go where peace is not yet found.
In the Name of the Word-made-flesh,
because You dwell among us.
In the spring of 2000, in South Bend, Indiana, there was a drought.
Through some bargain book sale, I had purchased a copy of the book Healing the Land: A Supernatural View of Ecology by Winkie Pratney. After reading the book, I concluded 2 things: God can heal the land, literally, and one way He does this is as we fast and pray and humble ourselves. As the LORD says in 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
God made a promise, so I wanted to take Him up on that pledge. Many times in my life I had fasted in a half-hearted manner. To focus in, I decided to fast for 1 whole day. After taking my medicine one evening and having a light snack, I started fasting. By late afternoon & early evening of the fast I was thirsty and hungry … so I drank a little water and ate a small snack.
I felt horrible. I had failed.
Ok, if I failed the first day, I will try again. So I again took my medicine, ate a small snack and drank some water and went to bed.
The next day was the middle of the week. I went to work in the morning and studied in the afternoon. I was a little tired, but determined to fast. It was going to rain, I just knew it. When I walked out of the house that evening to go to the midweek Bible study and prayer meeting, I overheard the news.
“It looks like it isn’t going to rain again,” the weatherman said.
“What does he know!” I thought.
Then I went outside and realized, Oh, it doesn’t look like it is going to rain.
I drove to church in a somber mood. I listened to a devotional on the resurrection and spending time with the Lord. Then we spent time in prayer. In the group of 3 that I was in, I got to pray first.
My pride had to be confessed. I had to admit my stubbornness and my impatience and a number of other sins. They are too numerous to list in this short testimony. Basically, pride was the big one. We prayed intensely for the various needs mentioned in the Bible study common time and for the needs we each had.
When we lifted our heads and talked, we were the last group to stop praying. The newest member of the prayer group said, “Now that was some prayer!” I was still saddened by the realization about how arrogant I had been.
After the service dismissed, we walked outside and headed home. As I walked to the car, something was different. The air smelled different. There seemed to be a fresh air, but I wasn’t sure quite what it was. As I drove along the familiar way back to the house, I noticed that the streets were wet. It had rained!
My heart was joyful. Few times in my life have I been as flooded with pure joy. God had heard the cries of His people!!
I realized that my life, however small and insignificant, really does make a difference in the earth. As the season continued, the rains continued.
Since then and following the talk about the threat of global warming, I wonder, “What if God’s people around the world would humble themselves and pray and seek God’s face? Could it be that there would indeed be a true healing of the whole earth? The most important thing that we can do for the environment is surely to repent and return to the Lord and rest in Him.”
burst hot air balloons
and in the midst
of sorrow and mockery
tears break the eye
over life lost
over paradise lost
over love lost
in a moment it is over
for a death is over
Pray for doors of relationship to open up to share the good news among unreached peoples.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to prepare hearts of the unreached to hear and embrace the gospel.
Pray for persons of peace to emerge who will create a bridge to unreached peoples.
Pray for opportunities to meet physical, educational, social and spiritual needs.
Pray for translation of Scripture and gospel presentations into their language.
Pray that God will demonstrate his power over evil spirits that enslave the people.
Pray for God to show himself supernaturally through dreams, visions, miracles.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide workers to those he has prepared.
Pray “to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”
Don’t be a fly in the ointment of love’s perfume, whispers the beloved.
Don’t lie to me, cries every soul.
Don’t act like an imperial cheeseburger, laughs the mockers.
Don’t lose heart, urges the hopeful.
Don’t tell me what to do, insists the weak but independent.
Don’t put me down, pleads the ordinary.
Don’t control my life, communicates the free.
Don’t work against us, harmonizes the chorus of the cooperative.
Don’t wallow in your filth, weeps the doctor over his patient.
Don’t die in your sins, preaches the peasant priest.
Don’t think more highly of yourself than you ought, expounds the humble missionary.
It is no exaggeration to say that one can trace the whole outline of Biblical theology and salvation history through the motif of clothing. — “Garments,” Dictionary of Biblical Imagery. Downers Grove: IVP, 1998, p 318.
I greet the world
and saints and angels,
yet torment greets me.
My only comfort seems distant
beyond the furthest horizon,
so I will go there
and go again
until my spirit rests
within the realm of our Father.
Then Love and I
and go home.
I scan the home and farm;
I scan my bank account and investments.
I see my wife and children dressed in finest fashions;
I see my workers smiling when they greet me at the door.
I smell the company dinners;
I smell the wine in private company.
I greet my neighbors in their also pleasant homes;
I greet my enemies from the security of my iron gate.
I think how God has blessed me;
I think how much more blessing I desire.
My heart yearns not faintly with longing;
My soul longs for more years to enjoy this world.
Till all is stripped away through heart attack;
Till my economy collapses beneath the wait of my greed.
My protection is breached!
My borders are unprotected!!
A heavy heart toils to find God among the ruins of disaster;
A heavy burdened back labors to lift my eyes beyond the horizon.
My children, home, lands and pleasant company are gone;
My wife wishes that I were gone as well.
How can a life so right
become so wronged?
I wrestle with the dirt,
as though digging my own grave.
I wrestle with my friends,
as though wrestling with my God.
I wrestle with the devil,
and find myself wrestling with myself.
Where has my love gone?
The simple love of children laughing;
The simple joys of cattle calving.
Where has my hope gone?
The simple hope of heaven yet to come;
The simple security of forgiveness won.
Where has my faith gone?
The simple faith in the Lord unmoved;
The simple humility of trusting Truth.
The Lord reveals Himself amid the storm;
He shows me that all that I thought was norm
Was merely what I’d seen
Yet hidden beyond my wildest dreams
I had not known the Maker of the stars;
I had not known the Designer of all my million parts.
“Lord, let me simply walk with you,
and though my path is marked with thorns
Let me speak in simple truths
and behold you sitting on Your Throne!”
I lift my eyes to see my friends gather round,
I lift my ears to hear with joy the sound of laughter once again.
The Lord has settled me alive in this broken world;
and though the swirls of life seem unsettled …
A broken heart proves plenty an offering in the plate that passes by.
Now I can taste once more His Presence at the table with my enemies.
My story & my song. – Mert Hershberger, remembering Job, in honor of all my loved ones.
February 17, 2017.
Beginning as a single, helicopter seed.
Seed taking root and giving sprout in spring.
The sprout grows up, grows thick, year in, year out,
Until birds land to rest their weary wings.
The summer comes, sun shines, and trees build strength
The sap is made within the broad green leaves.
When birds descend to celebrate and sing,
The roots spread out beneath mushrooms and weeds.
Fall seems to start when school kids start to enter.
Shadows stretch, extend their darker length.
The sap descends into the roots down deep.
The spread of autumn shades leaves little angst.
When Christmas comes and children play, give shout!
Snow blankets warmer earth in dead of winter.
Maple serves as toys or floorboard planks.
Morning light on untouched snow then splinters.
Crocus blooms, birds start their annual fling,
While maple sweetness rises to the spigot’s spout.
Young children to the breakfast table sprint.
Refined syrup flows: a pancake fount.
Dedicated to family & friends who store up the best sweetness during the darkest months of the year. May the Lord be with you.
The one my King loves is shattered in a thousand pieces.
Lying on the ground,
unable to stand against the waves.
Sea glass washed upon the shores of heart & mind,
crushed strength & shattered soul.
I look beyond the shores of time
beyond the farthest stars
upon a Light I can’t yet see,
beyond the universe’s mars.
The stains shall fade.
The Light shall brightly shine.
And on that day the King of glory whole,
I’ll be wholly Thine.
For now I face the pain of
burdened back, aching feet, pained heart, humbled soul, & loneliness in crowds
I look this way and that,
Yet my blankets are but nightly shrouds
to shield me from the chill of winter
and the pain of frigid death.
Alone, I cower back, while marching forward
Hurting all around and deep within.
The songs of saints a comfort,
Their sayings distant memories.
A release from captivity shall come,
Though now I see it far,
Though now my heart is harmed.
One day my hope shall be won!
Now mere promise then.
Even less, the hint
of any sort of sin.
“Hail King!” I shall be with Him.