Saturday, June 24, 2017
Good evening from the Hilton Inn, or at east one of them, in Fort Worth, Texas! I am here for the beautiful wedding which took place several hours ago between Yanping, a beautiful young lady from my congregation and Chris, the lucky guy who left today with his new wife on his arm. I was supposed to spend the night with college friends Jim and Dana but they had to go out of town unexpectedly so we will reconnect in the morning when they return. I was blessed by being given a first floor room within about fifteen seconds from the front desk where the wonderful Ashley checked me in. You might ask why that is important. If you have been keeping up to date recently, you know I am recovering, quite nicely, from a knee injury. Due to this condition, I have not climbed any stairs in twelve days. Suddenly, the elevator on my apartment complex floor and the elevator at my school have become vitally important to me. Back in the spring, the elevator on my end of our floor kept going out of order. No problem for me as I always took the stairs. But my neighbor Frank, a vet, was wounded in Vietnam and has to use a walker to get around. To get to the other elevator on our floor would require a very long walk plus opening two heavy doors. If, heaven forbid, both elevators were out concurrently, Frank would be stranded at best and trapped at worst. All of a sudden, I'm seeing Frank's daily existence in a whole new light.
I never thought about the concept of access until I met Ronnie Doak. Ronnie was the director of development when I taught and coached at Friendship Christian School. A terrific athlete in high school, Ronnie was paralyzed in a gym accident and was forced to learn a brand new way to live. He did and did so admirably, being a terrific fund raiser for our school which paled in comparison to his role as husband to his lovely wife and daddy to their two terrific kiddos. Through modifications to his car and later his van, Ronnie was able to drive and there were times I went along with him to visit businesses or attend school functions. What I became aware of was that there were places Ronnie had great difficulty getting into or simply was blocked because of the construction of the building; no ramp, a very high curb, no available parking places to accommodate his needs. He handled it better than I did. It was the first time I had seen life though his eyes..... but then I always returned to my world. (One of my favorite Ronnie stories had to do with my coaching. We had put a great deal of time and effort into fixing up our girls' basketball locker room on the second floor of our old gym which had no elevator. Ronnie asked me to take a video camera and give him a visual tour so he could see what I had bragged about!)
Access to where we want to go with our bodies in the physical realm is important but it is dwarfed by the need for access in the spiritual realm. My parents were surrogate parents and mentors to many youngsters and some middle aged folks who were dealing with issues often dating back to childhood. As a boy, I recall vividly the phone ringing off the wall with people wanting and needing to speak to and be counseled by Mom and Dad. But sometimes they weren't home and sometimes they were busy. I didn't realize how blessed we were as our folks' children to have constant access to our parents.We didn't have to make an appointment or stand in line. We, logically, were the priority to our father and mother. Their door was always open to us. The word access is used just twice in the New Testament, both times by Paul. In Romans 5, he speaks of having access through Jesus into grace by faith. In Ephesians, 2:18, Paul talks of the Gentiles now having a relationship with God as do his Jewish brethren:
For through Him (Jesus) we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
What a joy that we may approach Jehovah God because Jesus our Savior provided that access through His sacrifice, and especially for those of us who are Gentiles! It's likely I'll relegate elevators back to overlooked status as I heal and return to the stairs. Woe to me if I neglect the access I have to the Father. Honestly, it never dawned on me that unlimited interaction with our parents was special. I learned it when they aged and died and I got older and smarter. I can't talk to my folks anymore and believe me, I miss it. But I have something even better than the time spent with my mom and dad. I have access to my Father and theirs. And he's never to busy to take my call.
Applicable quote of the day:
If you die in an elevator, be sure to push the Up button.
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Posted by Steve Hawley at 9:07 PM