By Connie W. Adams
Ten Candles and Two Oil Lamps
On January 16 and 17, the Louisville area was surprised with sixteen inches of snow. In Bullitt County, where we live, we measured 18 inches. That was followed by plunging temperatures reaching minus 22 on Tuesday night. We had several days and nights where temperatures hovered around zero or below. At 12:30 a.m. on the coldest night, our power went off. It stayed off for 13 and ‘/2 hours. We have a heat pump and that meant, no power, no heat. Our fireplace did little to help under such conditions. We managed to stay warm the rest of the night but when morning came it was survival time. We were snowed in. There was no way to leave. We put on four layers of clothes, plus heavy coats, toboggans and gloves. We had two good flashlights, a battery radio and took refuge in our basement in the office where we did the book work for Searching The Scriptures. We lit 10 candles and two old-fashioned oil lamps. It is surprising how much warmth can be generated in a small area by that means. Our power came back on at 2:10 p.m. that day but it took until late that night before the house was warm. Others were not as fortunate as we. Some had to be evacuated by those with four-wheel drives. Some were without power and water for days.
I have thought much since of the lessons to be learned from such experiences. (1) We are reminded of our finite limitations. “My times are in thy hand” (Ps. 31:15). Thousands upon thousands were restrained from doing what seemed so urgent to do. (2) The storm was a common denominator. Stranded motorists were all in the same predicament. The interstates had to be closed to the poor as well as to the rich and famous. Cadillacs, 18-wheelers and compacts skidded into snow banks. (3) All were reminded of the importance of things taken for granted. What a blessing it is to have warmth, light, access to work, worship and to families.
But the greatest lesson of all for me was the strength of influence. I am amazed at how much heat radiates from one candle. We often lament the sad state of affairs in the country or the world and seem to feel powerless to do anything about it. “I am just one. What could I possibly do to make a difference?” My friend, for ten righteous people, God would have spared Sodom. “Ye are the light of the world. A city that it set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:14-16). “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15).
God reminded Job of the “treasures in the snow” (Job 38:22). One brother remarked that a good snowfall is the poor farmer’s fertilizer. Indeed! But there are other treasures to think about. I’ll always appreciate the treasured lessons of ten candles and two kerosene lamps.
Issues and Insults
Honorable, truth-loving men will always discuss issues which are of great importance to them. Out of such controversies truth emerges, error is exposed and great good results. Issues are prompted by people. They have faces and names. Sometimes an issue can be explored and the truth made to shine without identifying those who promote error. But the Lord and his apostles found it necessary at times to identify those whose error they opposed. Jesus freely referred to the Pharisees, Sadducees and others in positions of power among the Jews. The apostles identified the likes of Hymenaeus and Philetus, Diotrephes, and Paul called the name of Peter and Barnabas. But there is a difference in an objective identification of error with those who hold it and in competing for the most insulting epithets to fling at each other. In some of the recent controversies hateful and spiteful things have been said. The names of good men have been dragged through the mud, evil motives have been imputed and the Devil surely rejoices. There is a certain dignity and restraint which ought to characterize the people of God and that ought to include all of us who publish material for public consumption.
Meetings Schedule for 1994
The writer of this column will be engaged in gospel meetings at the following places in 1994 and would be pleased to greet any of our readers who might be able to attend.
March 6-11, Palmetto, FL: March 21-27, Aiken, South Carolina; April 3-8, Steele, KY; April 17-22, Houston, TX (Fry Rd.); May 1-6, Brawley, CA; May 8-13, Fresno, CA (Sierra Viesta); June 12-17, Houston, MS; June 26-July 1, Cambridge, OH; July 10-15, Etna (Ozark), AR; July 24-29, Lexington, AL; August 7-12, Grenada, MS; Sept. 11-16, Wilkesville, OH; Sept. 18-23, Knollwood, Xenia, OH; Oct. 2-7, W. Main, Barnesville, OH; Oct. 16-21, Crescent Park, Odessa, TX; Oct. 30-Nov. 4, E. Alton, IL; Nov. 13-18, Southwest, Lakeland, FL.
“Don’t Blame Me”
We are living in the age of “Don’t blame me, it is not my fault.” A man robs a service station. His case comes to court and the jury is treated to all sorts of whining about how he was brought up by a single parent and they were always poor. See, it is really not his fault at all. Two young men murder their own parents and the case turns on how badly they were treated. A woman mutilates her husband, but it was really his fault. A homosexual contracts AIDS but it is really the fault of the government for not allocating enough money to fight this scourge. Enough, already! Whatever else someone does to you, you are still responsible for your own conduct. Godly parents have agonized over the foolish choices of their own adult children and have engaged in much self-blame. Every parent has room for improvement, even the very best. But somewhere the buck has to stop and the truth has to be faced that people must be held account-able for their own actions. There is one judgment coming in which nobody can pass the blame. “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:12).
Guardian of Truth XXXVIII: 6, p. 3-4
March 17, 1994