Aches and Praise Four Hundred & Fifty Three

May 14, 2020
Dear friends, 

While cleaning recently, I found something that our oldest daughter, Joëlle, wrote when she was in elementary school. It is entitled “When I Grow Up.”

“When I grow up I want to be a nurse. It will be hard but all I can do is try. If I try I can do it but if I do not, I will have to take a little more time on it. My great great grandfather was a nurse. My mom tells me about my great great grandfather’s experiences. He had funny ones. I’ll tell you about one.

One day there was some wash and my great great grandfather had to throw it down the shute. So my great great grandfather did. Then he heard some one saying that there was a baby in the pile of wash. When he heard he went and looked down the shute. Sure enough there was the baby. That was very funny.”

Joëlle did not become a nurse. She became a teacher instead. Both professions involve helping others. Last Sunday, Karen and I had the joy of seeing our children and their spouses, and our three grandchildren by way of video. We thank the Lord for blessing us with a family that loves to help people.

In the past week I read Jean Chrétien’s book “My Stories, My Times” in which he shares memories of forty years in public service, including when he was the Prime Minister of Canada from 1993 to 2003. I had the privilege of meeting two men who served as Prime Minister of Canada: Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney. I would have liked to meet Mr. Chrétien. He has a sense of humour that proved valuable in dealing with leaders of other parties and leaders of other countries.

In a chapter entitled “Humour as a political weapon,” Chrétien writes: “The naked truth is sometimes hard to swallow, but when it is deftly overlaid with humour, it goes down much more easily.” He tells about the time when Camille Samson, who grew up in the same neighbourhood as he did, met with many people in public consultations during the 1980 referendum in Québec regarding the issue of sovereignty. Samson saw that there were fluctuations in the polls before the vote. Chrétien writes: “Camille Samson had fun with this phenomenon, saying that he did his own polling, and at the start of the campaign, he’d gone down into his basement where his cat had given birth to nine kittens. He asked them how they intended to vote in the referendum, and the nine kittens said they would vote Yes. Four weeks later he went back down to the basement to ask the same question, and this time the nine kittens replied that they would vote No. He then asked the meeting: ‘Do you know why they changed their minds? It’s because now their eyes were open.’” Chrétien concludes the chapter with these words: “You can see that sometimes humour in politics can first make you smile, and then make you think.”

In the forward to Jean Chrétien’s book, Joe Clark writes: “By a tradition as old as parliamentary democracy, the distance between the government and the opposition benches in Canada’s House of Commons is ‘two swords and one inch apart.’ That distance symbolizes and encourages debate that is vigorous and adversarial but not fatal – to the participants, or to the country.” With social distancing being recommended for the past couple of months, we find ourselves in uncharted waters. While we wait in line to enter a store, we might reflect on how blessed we are to live in a country that has plenty, including the freedom to debate beliefs.

In the book of 1 Samuel, we read about another man who was a public servant for forty years: Eli. While he was a judge in Israel, his two sons were living immorally. Sadly, Eli died of a broken neck when he fell backward after receiving news of the death of his sons (4:17-18).

The Bible also contains many accounts of people who experienced joy and victory as they walked with God. May we follow in their footsteps, even if we have to stay two metres or six feet away from others.          

Scripture for the weekend: “There is no one holy like the Lord. Indeed, there is no one besides Thee, nor is there any rock like our God.”1 Samuel 2:2 (NASB)

Thought for the weekend: “We should do more than read words; we should seek the Word exposed in the words.” – David Roper (from “The Lord is My Shepherd”, Our Daily Bread Ministries, Grand Rapids, Michigan)


By His grace,