A florist named Barronelle Stutzman was informed by a Washington state judge on Wednesday that she must provide full support for same-sex weddings, even though such ceremonies are contrary to her faith. The court also ruled recently that she is personally liable for damages, meaning that the 70-year-old grandmother could lose her business, her home, and her life savings.
Meanwhile, lawmakers in 10 states are responding to the tragedy of college rapes by promoting bills that would permit the carrying of firearms on campus. "If you've got a person that's raped because you wouldn't let them carry a firearm to defend themselves, I think you're responsible," a Florida lawmaker stated.
And ISIS has made more headlines, this time with reports that they burned alive up to 40 people near the town of al-Baghdadi. The massacre occurred just nine miles from an airbase where some 400 U.S. military personnel are stationed. And it follows the video of the martyrdom of 21 Egyptian Christians released last Sunday.
Now consider this news item. Tourists flocked to see Niagara Falls this week when temperatures fell to 13 degrees below zero. The reason: layers of ice built up, creating a stunning winter wonderland. However, water continued to flow beneath the ice. The Falls have stopped completely only once—in 1848, due to an ice jam upriver.
Having just returned from Chicago, where the temperatures ranged from eight above to two below, I have a new appreciation for real winter. (In Dallas, anything near 32 degrees qualifies as Arctic, to the amusement of friends who migrated from the north.) And I see the "frozen" Niagara Falls as something of a parable.
In a culture that seems to grow more violent and anti-Christian with each day, it's easy to miss what God is doing that doesn't make news. Like a river flowing beneath a frozen waterfall, his Spirit continues to advance his Kingdom. Unconfessed sin can act like an ice jam blocking his Spirit's work in our lives. But nothing we do can prevent the Lord of the universe from accomplishing his ultimate purposes in his creation. (Tweet this)
I've recently been studying the biblical story of Joseph. After his father died, his brothers were afraid that he would exact revenge for the atrocities they had committed against him. But this young man, now the most powerful man in Egypt next to the pharaoh, took a different view of their cruelty: "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today" (Genesis 50:20). Joseph could look back over years of hardship and see the providential hand of God at work.
John Baines observed that "the first step toward the solution of any problem is optimism." What God said to Joshua, he says to us: "Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1:9). Name your challenges today, surrender them to your omnipotent Father, and trust him for his best. (Tweet this)
Winston Churchill noted: "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." Which are you?
Publication date: February 20, 2015
For more from the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
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