MONDAY MINUTES by Pastor Chris McCool (December 7, 2020)

Today is the 79th anniversary of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. It would also have been my dad’s 81st birthday. Daddy always liked to joke that he was the first disaster to occur on December 7, then two years later Pearl Harbor was the second disaster!

My dad, Harold McCool, passed away nearly a year ago from Parkinson’s disease. He was a mighty influence in my life, always a “rock” for me to lean on until the disease caused him to become more and more frail, and to lose his stamina and strong spirit. It is a sad fact of life that, if our parents live to a “normal” old age (the Bible says 70 or 80 years is a good average), there will most likely come a time when the role of parent and child will be reversed, and the strong, reliable parent who once took care of us becomes OUR charge, and we must help them through their elderly years as they helped us through our childhood years.

When times of life change, as they did at Pearl Harbor and as it did in my life when my dad became sick, it can be very unnerving and upsetting. Many people go through life oblivious of the fact that changes can happen in a heartbeat, and then when times change their whole world is upended! Faith is shaken, beliefs are overturned, their entire world is rocked by an unexpected tragedy, or even a chronic illness that results in difficulties that were unexpected.

In 1999, my mother-in-law passed away after an extended bout with cancer. Her last few days were some of the most difficult I had ever experienced – we spent five days in the hospital with her, watching her slowly pass away a little at a time. When she finally passed from this life, I remarked to my wife that it seemed as if the earth had shifted on its axis. This change, while expected to some extent, nevertheless was a major trauma in our lives – one that we really have not gotten over yet!

What should we do when faced with changes like this? How do we deal with matters that “rock our world”? What about all the confusion that results from the changes of life? Thankfully, the Bible has an answer for us.

In Psalm 71, David writes this: In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion. Deliver me in thy righteousness, and cause me to escape: incline thine ear unto me, and save me. Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress. Ps. 71:1-3.

David is pointing us to the ONLY One Who can help us through changing times – Jesus Christ, “the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Heb. 13:8. David says that, when we put our trust in Him, we will not be confused by the problems of life. In this world of shifting sand, David says that Jesus is “my rock and my fortress.” In fact, he goes on to tell us that even old age will not remove us from the loving care of God: O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto thisgeneration, and thy power to every one that is to come. Ps. 71:17-18.

So when times of life bring changes, remember that the sweet Psalmist of Israel also state “[m]y times are in thy hand. . . .” I am thankful to know this Rock Who will never leave nor forsake, nor will He allow the effects of the sin-curse on this world to dominate us forever. One day, the final change will come, and we shall be like Him (1 John 3:2), and like David exclaimed, “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.” Ps. 17:15.

My dad, who would have been 81 today, experienced this same satisfaction nearly a year ago. All of God’s children who died serving in Pearl Harbor experienced this same thing 79 years ago. Many others living in 1941 felt fear and trembling because of the changes that the Pearl Harbor attack brought to their lives, and many more lost their lives during WWII – but each child of God who died in WWII experienced the same thing David spoke of when they passed from this life. We will experience it too, either when we die or when the Lord comes back. I pray we can take comfort from the fact that our Savior is always the same, always loves us, and always will be with us.

May the Lord bless you today!

Elder Chris McCool, Pastor