An old expression used in Oklahoma when times are tough is...
"I'm in it for the long haul".
It can be an 'expression of defeat' or 'what's next'? But it can also be a vow of faith.
If ever a people needed to do this, it is the little town of Picher, Oklahoma!!
Lead and zinc mines brought prosperity to Picher and it's population before WWII was around 16,000. But the mines shut down in the 1970s, leaving huge piles of mining waste known as 'chat' (with some of those piles several hundred feet tall)...
and the population dwindled to around 900 people.
Those piles of 'chat' are loaded with heavy metals that have contaminated the groundwater causing serious health problems and making the area one of the most polluted in the nation. An additional problem are the abandoned mines beneath the town which could cave in without warning.
Oklahoma is called 'Tornado Alley' and this week several tornadoes touched down across our state. One of the most devastating ones hit Picher, bringing death to 7 people there and total destruction to what was left of the little town.
Picture after picture showed nothing left of the houses except the slab foundations!
The Daily Oklahoman newspaper wrote:
"Everyone who wanted to be, was on their way out of town before the tornado hit. Those who stayed are in a terrifying and heart-breaking limbo. Rebuilding would be foolish, but if they don't, then their hometown is gone forever....with no proper farewell. One man said, 'I don't think that we can heal from something like this!"
Before the storm, the town was in the middle of government 'buy-out'. Thankfully the government is offering to pay the same amount for their properties that was offered BEFORE the storm. Even though a house has been blown away (as most were) the offer remains the same.... but NOT if they choose to stay in Picher. Due to toxic lead and zinc poisoning in the area, officials want people to leave and NOT try to rebuild.
A situation like this is extremely difficult for they can't look down....nor around.
Therefore the only way to make it, is to look up with Faith....
even if it's only the size of a grain of mustard seed which is the smallest of all seeds.
(Matthew 17:20 and Luke 17:5-6 emphasizes 'Lord, increase our Faith')
It's hard to even imagine the problems that these people and others in similar situations are facing. I would never want to make it seem that the answer is 'simple nor easy'....
but let's look at 'Faith That is Needed for The Long Haul'.
I John 5:4: "Whosoever is born of God overcomes the world and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God?"
Romans 5: 1-2: "We are justified by faith and we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand and rejoice in hope of the Glory of God."
1) Believe God's Word and Power...
more than you believe your own feelings and experiences.
Samuel Rutherford wrote:
"Your Rock is Christ and it is not the 'rock which ebbs and flows'.
Matthew Henry said:
"When I can not enjoy the faith of assurance, I live by the faith of adherence."
2) An old hymn says, "Oh why will you die when the sheltering rock is so near by?"
Another says, "Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee."
One day while thinking about my favorite subject of Faith, I wrote down these thoughts:
~ Faith never fails... especially if the object of your faith is Christ.
~ Faith is needed to 'face and accept' past forgiveness and to be able to 'face the future'.
~ We need Faith that seeks, knocks, and opens all that God has for us.
~ We must have Faith in spite of failures....and continue to press on.
~ Faith is needed to fear the right things.
~ Faith is a 'must' to finish well and be willing to 'be a work in progress'.
~ There is a lapel pin that states: PBPWMGINTWMY
('Please be patient with me; God is not through with me yet')
Faithful people of Faith find that to serve the Lord, we must be:
~ FERVENT IN PRAYER:
"Ask, seek, knock" (Luke 11:9)
~ FEARLESS IN PRINCIPLES:
"God said it, I believe it and that settles it"
~ FIRM IN PURPOSE:
"Knowing Christ, fellowshipping with Him willing to die for Him" (Philippians 3:10)
~ FAITHFUL IN PROMISES:
"There has not failed one of God's good promises" (I Kings 8:56)
~ FUTURE PLAN:
"Live for that which will outlast you."
We rec'd this saying just this week from friends in Florida:
"What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments...
but what is woven into the lives of others"
A song that La Moyne and I have sung many times as a duet in the Korean language is:
"The Solid Rock" by Edward Mote (1797-1874) and Wm. B. Bradbury (1816-1868)
"My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesusí blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesusí name.
When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand."
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