Recently my wife called a longtime friend of ours to see how she was doing.  As I sat and listened to a diatribe of complaints regarding her and her husband’s medical conditions, I couldn’t help but think of how the two of them had never been folks given to complaining.  She was a mother who had raised three sons; two of whom had grown up to serve the Lord;one as a missionary, the other as the Pastor of a small church, while the third son was somewhat rebellious as a youth, he had finally gotten saved and was following God.  Her husband had spent his life working in a steel mill, retired early and had become a successful contractor.   
     In these times of financial uncertainty, loss of employment, and an outright attack on believers, our foundations are being shaken.  Houses built on shifting sand are crumbling and in some cases, falling down.  Our friends had built their spiritual house on a solid foundation and yet they were having serious trials. 
     We are in a body of sin and death and on this side of eternity our earthly body will suffer and in some cases, the more spiritual we are, the harder the test.  Mother Theresa comes to mind and her ill health toward the end of her life.  God allows us to be tested and the trial of our faith produces fine gold (I Peter 1:7).  

     One only has to look at the life of Job and the trials he went through.  Our saviour Jesus Christ was arrested, falsely accused, spat upon, scourged and crucifed.  Yet He opened not his mouth, but when He did, all He said was “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).  Jesus “finished the work” (John 17:4) when He suffered and died in our place.  The apostle Paul “finished his course” (l Tim. 4:7).  Job in the midst of his trial had a heart revelation of the truth as stated in chapter 19 verses 25-27 that “his redeemer lived and he would see God.”

     Whether we are in the throes of withdrawal from opiate addiction at the extreme end of the spectrum of suffering or like our Godly friends at the beginning of this narrative, God will give us the grace to go through it.  We must, as we grow in his grace and knowledge (2 Peter 3:18) learn to be what I call a Job 19:25 believer.     



     My inclination one morning was to call on an army of prayer warriors for help with all the challenges I was facing and the burdens I carried.  But there it was; so simply and aptly stated on the pages of my well worn devotional.  The words of Amy Carmichael jumped off the page; written decades ago by this very courageous woman of God from her sick bed in the country of India.  She was bold enough to journey alone from her native Ireland to establish a fruitful ministry to those in need, yet remained sensitive to God as reflected in her writings. How many times I have been helped and encouraged by this one who knew God so long ago.
     She writes: “Sometimes after a period of special prayer there is a silence.  We are not conscious of any response on the part of God.  We can give Him joy by not misunderstanding His silence.  He loves us to count on His tender caring. His deep solicitude, even though, for reasons that we may not know He is for a while silent in His love.”  That was enough for me already; the words “His tender caring” touched me where I was at.  I was reminded of His love, and it instantly released me from my burdens.  She goes on to say:” Love is a very tender thing.  A thought can hurt it.  But just  because it is so tender, a very little thing can give it infinite joy.”

     I think the word “tender” is almost archaic in this present culture.  I doubt if the average person even knows what it means in the truest sense.  A cold and uncaring world has had a conditioning effect to the contrary.  I think that even some of Christianity has lost the essence of our faith pertaining to the tender love and care of our Saviour.  I’m sure there are many who could be delivered from their fears and insecurities; those things that drive some to addictions, if they only knew that tender love. 

     Well, there it was; words from so many years ago continuing to have an impact.  It was God’s word for me that day; “His tender caring”, words so simple, but so powerful.  Make no mistake, the power of the tenderness of Jesus Christ can cut through the “cold case hardened eyes”* of a bank robber and turn him into a humble servant of God.

Sandy Lightsey

*phrase taken from poem BALLAD OF KING GEORGE


Put another nickel in
And  I’ll recite you a line.
If you want more,
It’ll cost you a dime.
That’s no way to make a living,
Moaned the poet’s wife.
I’ll enter a contest

And win a great prize.
But there’s no food on the table,
She pleaded with tears in her eyes.
I’ll write an amazing story
Full of guts and fading glory.
It’ll be a famous movie,
An exciting flick.

But what about our car?
When I turn the key, it only makes a click.
RING! came the call
Hollywood hadn’t forgotten us after all.
Just in time!
Saved from starvation
By a hallmark rhyme!

Sandy Lightsey

Published in Manorborn,
Harford Poetry and Literary Society/2007