In warfare, they call it collateral damage. Those innocent bystanders, victims of a bomb that’s been dropped.

There have been a lot of those in recent years – in a different kind of war. Because when a Christian leader suddenly blows up spiritually, a lot of innocent people get hurt. Believers who looked to that person as an example, an inspiration, someone who’s helped them get closer to Jesus.

Every morning I have a date with my bathroom scale. Some days it makes me smile. Other days, I'm sad. So I need comfort food. Like donuts.

But years ago, our son had an unusually uplifting scale. He was working in youth ministry on a reservation and living in a trailer. He urged Karen and me to weigh on his scale in the morning. Karen was thrilled - she'd lost 15 pounds in a day! And so had I! Of course, we got wildly different results every time we weighed.

Our grandson wants to major in philosophy when he gets to college next fall. A few days ago, we got to sample what kind of philosophy we might expect from his one-of-a-kind brain. It's not exactly Socrates. But it's interesting. And within the reach of the common man.

He received some gifts for graduation. So here's the philosophical gem he spoke to his mother...

"You live. You die. And in the middle, you write thank you cards."

Lots of commencement speeches this time of year. Most of them, pretty predictable. "Live up to your potential." "Follow your dreams." "The sky's the limit."

But there has never been a commencement speech like the one at Morehouse College this year. Billionaire businessman Robert Smith set 396 graduates free in one day.

A Personal Word...

This is the third anniversary of the "quake" that rocked our world - when my amazing Karen was suddenly called Home. It was - as a major loss is in so many families - a redefining moment for all of us.

This week, three years later, is strangely reminiscent of that week. That year - and this year - a grandson graduates from the local high school as valedictorian. Then and now, our grandson gives a Christ-honoring graduation speech. Then and now, I speak for their school's baccalaureate service. But this time, Karen won't be there.

But my journey through this "valley of the shadow" continues to show me Jesus as I've never seen Him before. My prayer is that these reflections will give hope to someone who may just be starting this journey. I can only say that when your life is anchored in a relationship with Jesus, the anchor holds. In spite of the storm.

I told my Karen many times, "They're picking it up on seismograph." Her laugh, that is. That infectious, head back, light up the room laugh.

She's been gone since just after Mother's Day 2016. But her laughter still echoes in our hearts. Just ask her children and grandchildren.

But it was more than the laugh. It was the joy behind it. Because her life wasn't one big happy dance. I walked with her through many deep heartaches, wounds and disappointments. Through the seasons of no money. Through medical battles and three medical emergencies where we almost lost her. And too many funerals.

I had the last handful of dirt. Many of our dear Native American friends had led the way. They really loved my Karen.

As I threw mine into that six-foot hole, I spoke the three words engraved inside our wedding rings. "Til Jesus comes." And then, quietly - "See you soon, baby."

I know I will.

My first hint that things were changing was the Storm Troopers suddenly patrolling the parking lot. Then I saw the man with the floor-length wolf tail. Followed by seeing X-Men in the hotel lobby.

It's a stunner. They call it Firefall. For a few nights in February, Horsetail Falls at Yosemite National Park appears to have turned into cascading molten lava!

In reality, it's a phenomenon created as the setting sun reaches just the right angle to shine on that waterfall. And that reflection creates a breathtaking "firefall."

Our grandson's on a mission to Asia today! Literally, retracing much of my first overseas ministry trip many years ago.

When he texted about his landing there, I had a flashback. Of the people at the gate.

As I emerged from customs, here was this sea of people, waving signs with people's names on them. Folks they were looking for. Family members. Limo passengers. Business associates. Best friends.

            

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Ron Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

(870) 741-3300
(877) 741-1200 (toll-free)
(870) 741-3400 (fax)

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