fear and difficult times

image courtesy of photobucket.com

I remember a lot from my childhood, that may or may not be a good thing for you the reader, but it certainly gives me many things to reflect, ponder, and share.

I watched my dad step toward a small group of men working on a tire at a gas station, the tire obviously had the men frustrated. We were stretching our legs as my dad was pumping gas into our car.

“HEY”!!!!! “YOU WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE OVER THERE”!!! My dad yelled startling me and everyone else. The ┬áman who was doing most of the cursing stood there stunned with a tire iron in his hand. My dad left his big index finger at the end of his outstretched arm pointing at the men for a few seconds after he confronted them.

I watched wide-eyed as the men studied my dad… I’m not sure if they realized there were women and children around or if they saw their potentially dangerous future in my dad’s eyes, but they were silent no more cursing.

My sister and I had already heard all the words they were using to express their frustrations, I know my dad probably knew it too, he just couldn’t allow something he considered wrong to go down in his presence without taking action.

I also recall my mom and dad helping others including family, friends, and strangers who were in need financially. This while dealing with their own financial difficulties.

It’s during those tense moments that define a person’s life. Will we keep silent for fear of physical harm even though we know what the right thing to do is? Will fear of not having enough keep us from helping out people who are worse off than us?

I was reminded of these type of things this week. My brother who lives in a different city about 3 hours from where I live is in a city affected even worse from the economic downturn than most. The last statistic I heard was that the particular county where my brother lives is leading the nation in home foreclosures.

We had a piece of equipment that we sold last week for less than half of what it was worth a couple of years ago, but we sold something in a place where to have sold anything could be considered a bonafide miracle.

My brother took his portion and divided it with his youngest son who works with him. That very day a good friend of their family and fellow Christian called my brothers son offering to sell them his very elaborate metal working tools for less than 10 cents on the dollar.

My nephew knew his friend was in a desperate situation. That same nephew and his family who are in their own financial difficulties told his dad he was going to take his portion to his friend. My brother gave him a third of his portion to go with my nephew’s.

When my nephew arrived at his friends house unexpectedly to drop off the money, he found his friend was in such a bind financially the only thing in the house to feed his wife, children, and himself, was baby food…

One of my mom’s famous sayings from our childhood came back to me once again… I heard it in my head like it was yesterday, she’d say, “You can’t out-give God.”

Since all things come from the hand of God, I’d say she’s right. My brother has more than enough reasons to not have shared with his friends, but that’s not the man God made my brother in heart, having been shaped by the hand of God through our parents. Nor is my nephew the man to fear the world when others in his shoes might fall apart like wet kleenex, due to the same shaping of God through his parents.

In this world, there will always be fear and difficult times ahead, but I’m not so sure there will be enough people left like my brother and nephews…

There’s a very good chance the legacy we leave behind won’t be measured by material things, but by the decisions and actions demonstrated during the tough times.

Fear my friends isn’t from God. I’m glad my brother reminded me of that this week…