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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


Daily Boost

June 17, 2010 - Only God Has the Full Story

By T. Ray Rachels

There is an interesting story of an ancient Persian king who wanted to discourage his four sons from making rash judgments. At his command, the oldest made a winter journey to see a mango tree. Spring came and the next oldest was sent on the same errand. Summer followed, and the third son went.

When the youngest boy had returned from his Autumn visit, the king called them together to describe the tree.

The first said, “It looks like a burnt old stump.” The second disagreed, describing it as lovely and lacy green; the third declared its blossoms as beautiful as the rose. The fourth said all were wrong. “Its fruit is like a pear.”

“Each is right,” the king said, “for each of you saw the tree in a different season.”

And so it is that when we hear or view another’s thoughts or actions, we should withhold judgment until we are certain — remembering the fable — we have seen the tree in all its seasons.

There is, of course, a basic wisdom in this that says we must be careful with pronouncing quick and absolute statements over people and events. We may not be seeing the whole picture. God is the only One with the full story.

The words and actions of thoughtless people with inaccurate or incomplete information often result in pain. A faulty or misinformed interpretation creates an indelible bias, one not easily reversed. What you heard may or may not be true. Did you hear correctly? Did you miss a part? Do you know the intent? What you heard may be true, but, given the context, may not be accurate.

Jesus said, “Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults — unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It's easy to see a smudge on your neighbor's face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own” (Matthew 7:1,2, The Message).

Not long ago, I was wrestling with a few gut-wrenching personal issues. Walking the beach, I watched the ocean as it slowly swallowed the sun. The scene was so beautiful I stood looking out across the water, waiting, listening. The waves were breaking against the shore, the seagulls scrambling to decide what to do for the night, many of them huddled in place, letting the ocean foam wash around their spindly legs.

And I just stood there, transfixed by the sky’s color brilliance, a deep orange at the edges, and to each side darkness falling. Above, in the heavens, the stars began to twinkle, slowly displacing the receding orange tint of the sun’s disappearing presence. I felt warmly enclosed in an incredibly aesthetic firmament. I knew God was there. I felt Him!

My hands went up, both of them, spontaneously, in a submissive gesture, and before I knew I was saying it, I said, “Oh God, You are so big ... and I am so small! Thank You for knowing all about me.”

I dropped my hands, turned to keep walking, and looked down to discover underneath my feet where I had been standing a beautifully scripted, “Jesus loves you — John 3:16,” written in the sand. Another person, with their toe probably, had added, “Amen” in bigger letters.

I took the event personally. Just when I needed to be made aware of God’s love, there I was, standing on it. Above me and below me I saw and felt God’s love, His grace, His care, His bigness, His world, His universe, His personal connection with me. It was something I could stand under, and on. And I did. And, so can you!

— T. Ray Rachels retired in 2010 as superintendent of the Southern California District of the Assemblies of God after more than 22 years of service.



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