Monday, October 06, 2014

You are the GateKeeper!

"Who is my neighbor?' Luke 10:29

I don't know how many times I have read 
or heard the story of the Good Samaritan, 
and even seen it re-enacted in a play. 
When it comes up as a reading,
I tend to gloss over it as I know the details so well.
But today, I decided to listen to it on 
the One Touch Digital App while I painted, 
to see if I could get anything new out of it.

I found that the story is applicable 
to every day life in so many ways.
It doesn't have to be a man lying on the road 
on our way to work or school or the mall. 
 I'm thinking it can be our office mate 
burdened with so many problems, 
a sick friend in need of some company, 
a brother or sister from church fighting his own demons.
The Samaritan traveler was "moved with compassion"
 and approached the "victim", 
poured "oil and wine" over his wounds. 
OIL and WINE. 

Oil is the symbol of the Holy Spirit, 
and we usually apply oil when we pray for healing. 
How wonderful that this man had oil with him! 
He was like the wise virgins in the story in Matthew 25! 
He was always prepared, always ready! 
This time it was to offer aid and comfort. 
But other times he would be ready with his oil 
to do what God wanted him to do. 
He can say like Jesus, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, 
because He has ANOINTED me to preach the gospel, 
to HEAL the brokenhearted..."

Wine in the Bible is a necessity 
because of the scarcity of water, 
so it symbolizes sustenance and life and God's blessings. 
How wonderful that this Samaritan was 
 willing to share out of his need, not his excess.

 Lord, I know I fall short in so many ways. 
But I pray that like the Samaritan traveler, 
I will be ever ready to help those in need 
with the oil and wine You have blessed me with in my life! 

 "It is good for me that I have been afflicted, 
that I may learn Your statutes." Psalm 119:71

Many people have left the faith because 
of the mystery of suffering and pain. 
We ask how can an all powerful, all loving God allow it? 
How can the God I know to be kind and merciful 
allow the persecution around the world, the hunger, 
the wars, cancer, depression that leads to suicide 
and the hundred million irritations 
and challenges we can never avoid?

It is one of the questions that made Alex Templeton,
 a charismatic preacher in the 40s, 
who rose to fame with Billy Graham, 
leave Christianity and become an atheist 
until he died in 2001 at the age of 86. 
When we decide to follow Jesus, 
we decide NOT because ALL our questions are answered. 
Sometimes when we believe 
there are more questions than answers. 

In relation to pain, I remember the story of a young woman 
with a strange disease where she was 
congenitally insensitive to any physical pain. 
Even if she was hit by a car, she would not feel anything! 
Is that a good thing? 
Then why did her mother pray every day she would be healed?
That she would be able to feel pain?
Because her mother or someone else had to watch her constantly. 
There could be a fire behind her and she could be 
half burning before she knew it! 
 She could hurt herself on a rusty nail 
and she wouldn't realize it until perhaps 
her leg was changing size and color. 

Is it not perhaps that God uses pain and suffering 
to teach us things we would never learn otherwise? 
 Like Job in Chapter 22, let us profess: 
"I know You can do all things, 
 and that no purpose of Yours can be hindered. 
I have dealt with great things I do not understand; 
things too wonderful for me, which I cannot know."

"Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, 
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, 
make your requests known to God, 
then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding 
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." 
Philippians 4:6-7

This is one of my favorite Bible verses, 
and the following passage from St. Augustine's Confessions, 
seems to be its partner: 
"You have made us for Yourself, 
O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in Thee."

I remember when I had no peace at all, 
little things made me cry, 
and it seemed as if everything I had done in my life was worthless. 
I would argue with everyone and 
fought with my poor mother who could not understand 
what was happening. 
It was in such a contrast to my usual state of mind 
 where I was content, thankful for everything, 
and rarely in contention with anyone. 
My mother called it my MIDNIGHT CRISIS, and so it was! 
I found out eventually there was something wrong 
with my thyroids that caused all the havoc 
with my emotions and physical well being.

Through it all, and it lasted for more than a year, 
I held on to Philippians 4:6-7. 
I would confess it, pray it, claim it, 
repeat it, and I knew that one day, 'this too shall pass'. 
And thank God, it did!

Peace is not the absence of 
problems, conflict, storms, anger...
It is the surety we belong to Someone 
who loves us and wants the best for us. 
It is the confidence that everything 
will turn out right, even in spite of ourselves.

Thank You Lord that even in a 
world full of tension and strife, 
You are the gatekeeper, 
and we can enter into Your peace!


  1. Patsy, Phil 4:6-7 is a favorite of mine as well. You have a lovely work of art to help refresh your memory. I like to listen to the Word as well. Thank you for posting your art with us this week during our 152nd challenge at Word Art Wednesday. Hoping you have a fun day, full of creativity, with buckets of blessings as you work, and play.
    Carole Robb Bisson

  2. I love your posts, and artwork, so much! I just wish you had some share buttons, so I could share them with other people too!

  3. I always love looking at the way you pair scripture with art. Thank you for sharing your gifts with the Unforced Rhythms community.

  4. Awesome post. I was also inquiring a few years back in this direction. Lot of questions than answers arose due to ignorance, but finally had a vision with god's grace ..... discovered a universal answer to all the questions that arise out of ignorance. The answer boils down to the four letter word "LOVE" for all the questions after all the so called intelligent inquiry. Hence, it appeared like an universal answer for me. It is the divine LOVE that lies at the heart of the creation. Is it the same what you have been trying to convey through this lovely post. Thanks a ton for this post.... Gowri from India


I am so glad you dropped by! You are a blessing!
:^) Patsy