An ageless truth

Brenda Cannon HenleyBy Brenda Cannon Henley
I remember my Mama Cole telling me many years ago, “One thing is certain. There will always be change.” She went on to add in one of those conversations that some changes will make us very happy. They will bring joy into our lives. Others changes, such as the death of love ones, extreme sickness, homes destroyed, and hurtful misunderstandings will work to make us sad. Relationships will come and go and losing people dear to our hearts will make us sad. We, too, will change as we grow and learn from life’s experiences.

It seems to me, looking back on these long ago conversations, that I must have thought my own life would remain nearly perfect and that it would follow the course I dreamed for it as I grew into maturity. I thought I would grow up, marry the man of my dreams, have beautiful children, and live in that pretty little house with the white picket fence and grow lots of colorful flowers. Some of those dreams did, in fact, come true. But change came and much of what I had planned evaporated right before my eyes.

Certainly in the last few weeks, and now even months, we have all experienced many changing situations in our daily lives. Some of our friends have lost family members to the COVID – 19 Virus. Other good people have lost jobs and have seen household normals change. We have had to learn to do things differently and to live unusual lives. I never imagined living where many of our population would be wearing masks any time they ventured out their door. I never considered that meeting together in large numbers would be frowned upon because doing so could make us quite ill. And the fear I’ve witnessed has perplexed many.

Yesterday was the first time in over many weeks that our church congregation was allowed to meet back in our physical buildings, although we still had to follow strict guidelines and sit in pods of three or six people, and be in those groups with only family members with whom you traveled to church. There was no handshaking, hugging, or touching, unless one simply forgot and did it out of habit. More than 300 seats were removed from the auditorium so that we could not exceed our number of attendees given by our government and CDC guidelines. And, we had two morning services and one evening service with the entire plant being sanitized after each. It is different, but we are grateful to gather.

The one thing that has not changed during this time is the Word of God. It has remained the same, its truth still relevant, joy discovered in every one of the 66 books, proven guidelines for living with our fellow men and women, and hope abounding in each chapter — if we will read, study, and pray asking God to show us what we need to read to stay strong, confident, happy, and joy filled. Another discovery I have made is that many people are simply too busy to know these truths. They have never been taught to study the Bible, to revere it, to depend upon it, and to treasure it for the blessing it is to believers.

I read this week that Bible sales have increased greatly during this uncertain time and that people seem to be reading it for themselves, and they are asking questions of Christians and pastoral staff members about what certain passages may mean. Our job as a Christian man or woman, boy or girl, whether employed by a ministry, or not, should be able to give an answer to anyone that asks us about our faith. How strong is our Bible knowledge? Would it throw us for a loop if asked about a particular verse? Are we confident enough to answer sincerely or be able to point the questioner to someone that could help him or her?

I learned many years ago that honesty is simply the best policy. If a student I was teaching, or a friend I was counseling, asked a difficult or unusual question of me about Scripture, and I did not know the answer, simply articulate that. I have been known to say on more than one occasion, “That is an interesting question you have posed. I do not know the answer, but I will study and ask someone else, and I promise to get back to you in a few days.” And, I always tried my best to do just that and get back to the person in as short a period of time as possible.

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” (1 Peter 3:15) When we trust Christ, believe in his name, surrender our lives, or declare that we are a Christian, it will change us. People that observe us will see the difference. That difference, especially in times like these, is hope. Even in the midst of trial or suffering, our hopefulness should be apparent. So, Peter, the very outspoken disciple, instructs us to be ready to answer the questions our life should inspire.

My life verse, or one I love very much is Hebrews 6:19. “My hope is as an anchor, both sure and steadfast.” We have needed those anchors very much lately. We will continue to look at the Word of God in our next column.

Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788, or
[email protected]


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