God’s Grace and Humor from Slim Randles

Pale lavender Texas wildflower. Wordage: Happy Monday.

A friend sent me this devotional the other day and it has a good message for us, no matter what God we believe in. The world is royally messed up, and many of us are spinning, emotionally and mentally through that as well as personal challenges.

“It is easy to feel fearful and discouraged when we look at world events that always seem to be filled with so much rampant evil and cruelty or even looking at the difficulty of our own situations. We cannot understand why God allows such suffering. The difficulty lies in the fact that God is infinite, and we are finite. So many things are beyond our understanding, but we should not despair. God’s ways are mysterious and unpredictable, but they are good. When we reach the limits of our ability to comprehend, trusting God will carry us through these times of uncertainty. We affirm our trust in God by staying in communication with him through silent and spoken prayers.

Ecclesiastes 8:17 I realized that no one can discover everything God is doing under the sun. Not even the wisest people discover everything, no matter what they claim. NLT

Philippians 4:6 Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. CEV

Instead of becoming trapped in demanding an answer to the wrong question, wanting to know “why?”, ask God the correct questions: “How do you want me to view this situation?” and “What do you want me to do right now?” We cannot change the past, but we can start with this present moment, seeking to find God’s way forward. Trust God one day, one moment at a time.”

My personal belief is that there is no “wrong” or “correct” question to ask God. As a good friend told me and my daughter years ago, “You can go ahead and yell at God. She has big shoulders.” We were all reeling after the tragic death of the young son of a mutual friend. My daughter was angry, so the woman told her to take her pent up emotions to a private space and yell at God for allowing this to happen.

The devotional asks us to focus on how we could react to a situation, stepping back and trying to figure out what to do, as opposed to trying to figure out the “why.”

In his book, When Bad Things Happen to Good People, Rabbi Harold Kushner points out that God doesn’t rain down tragedy on His people for indiscretions. It’s not a matter of being a good Jew, or Christian, or Muslim, or Hindi, and then we will always have a smooth road, and the bad that comes into our lives is not because we are “bad.”

Sometimes we don’t get the answer to a prayer that we want. Our loved one doesn’t get better. Our own health continues to decline. The wars don’t stop. People don’t know the meaning of the word “civil.” We pray for the miracle that doesn’t come. Like Job, we are mired in adversity that threatens to destroy us.

Often the miracle comes in the form of Grace that gives us strength to carry on despite the weight on our hearts and souls.

If we’ve been knocked down, we get up and stand strong and tall. We’ve got this. Whatever it is that we are dealing with.

One of my favorite church hymns, “Be Not Afraid”, is based on the following Bible verse:

Isaiah 41:10 Do not be afraid—I am with you! I am your God—let nothing terrify you! I will make you strong and help you; I will protect you and save you.

The song lyrics bring me comfort, hope, and strength. Give a listen to this cover, sung by John Michael Talbot. I learned to sing this hymn by listening to his album and have always felt the strength of a resilient and holy spirit in every phrase, every word.

Wow! I didn’t realize my Monday thoughts were going to go on as long as they did. Hopefully you found some nugget of wisdom in the words from the devotional and my responses. And give Kushner’s book a try. It is filled with so much insight and heart.

Now here’s Slim with a nice story about one of his buddies at the Mule Barn Truck Stop. Enjoy…

Ran into Herb Collins the other day down by the school. He volunteers there, from time to time, helping kids with their math homework, and trying to recruit future members to The Great World of Business.

He loved business, back in the days when he lived in the city and ran the pawn shop. For years now, ever since he hung up his jeweler’s loupe, he’s told us that there was an excitement to making the right deal.

“It has to be right for the customer and for me, or it isn’t right at all,” Herb always says. “You can do that and make several people happy and earn a living. There’s no need to take unfair advantage of someone just for a few extra bucks.”

Our little town is a bit tame after city life, but it’s Herb’s wife’s home town and she wanted to come back here to live after he retired. So Herb turned to helping kids understand how wonderful business can be. He’s advised kids on the most effective way of delivering newspapers on their bicycles. He’s suggested advertising gimmicks for kids with summer lemonade stands. And he’s helped several boys market their skills with a lawn mower.

You can take the man out of the business, I guess, but it’s hard to take the business out of the man.

So after the handshakes and the how-are-yous, we settled down to talk about kids and business, and the new crop of youngsters coming up this year.

I couldn’t help thinking ol’ Herb might jump at the chance to dive back into the world of commerce again, but he disabused me of that right away.

“All through with that,” he said, shaking his head. “I was a successful businessman and now I’m successfully retired.”

“Successfully retired?”

“That’s right.” He grinned. “I have a wife and a television set, and they both work.”                                                  


Math shortcut from me to algebra students with love and best wishes. X equals 32. You’re welcome.

Banner with Home Country written on it. Old red pickup on the left and headshot of Slim Randles on the right. He's smiling and wearing a white cowboy hat.

Check out all of Slim’s award-winning books at his Goodreads Page and in better bookstores and bunkhouses throughout the free world.

All of the posts here are from his syndicated column, Home Country that is read in hundreds of newspapers across the country. I’m always happy to have him share his wit and wisdom here. There’s also the book, Home Country. Check it out.

Slim Randles is a veteran newspaperman, hunting guide, cowboy and dog musher. He was a feature writer and columnist for The Anchorage Daily News for 10 years and guided hunters in the Alaska Range and the Talkeetna Mountains. A resident of New Mexico now for more than 30 years, Randles is the prize-winning author of a dozen books, and is host of two podcasts and a television program.

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