Perspective in Disappointment

 Pastor Steve Harris came by for coffee today. When you visit me you have to bring your own coffee. Thanks Steve, for doing that, along with a cookie! I decided to “take him for a ride” literally. He seemed a little hesitant to jump in the passenger seat of my car but he did. We made through the 1.5 mile drive safely and I even got the car back into the driveway. Of course I needed Steve to help me manage my wheelchair to make the trip possible.

This afternoon I had my cardiologist appointment. It is always good when a doctor says, “I have been reviewing your medical records and am trying to figure out why you are here?” I wanted to say, “That’s what I wanted to hear!” Then I realized the records for my last hospitalization with the septic shock and my heart function tests were not in his file.

So we did get things figured out and he ordered the follow up tests anticipated by the hospital when I was released. I will have a follow up appointment to review those test and any medication that I am currently taking related to my heart function. So you can pray that these tests will reveal everything is a okay with the old ticker. Thanks to Sue Schmidt for giving me a ride to the doctor’s office. (she wouldn’t let me drive.)


Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever— no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. Philemon 15,16

This morning I read Paul’s letter to Philemon. This is the most personal of the Apostle’s writings. Apparently Onesimus a runaway slave of Philemon’s had stolen from him and while on the run came in contact with the Apostle Paul and became a Christian.

Paul is writing this letter to help reunite Onesimus with Philemon. The basis of Paul’s appeal was love for Christ, love for Christian brothers and to see Onesimus in a different light. “No longer as a slave, but as a brother.”

In writing this letter and in verses15,16 and Paul gives a “big picture perspective.” God’s hand was working in this situation.  Even in these events that could have discouraged Philemon as one who was known as faithful to the Lord and as one who had shown love to God’s people.

Paul did not give Philemon a command, although he could have. However, he did remind Philemon of their relationship over the years. Paul said, “If he wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge it to me.  I, Paul, promise to pay it back. I’m writing this with my own hand. I won’t even mention that you owe me your life.” (Philemon18,19)

Paul, as the aging apostle, had been through many experiences for the cause of Christ. One of those was many years ago with a young believer named John Mark. Mark had abandon Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey. When Paul and Barnabas planned to return to the churches they established Barnabas wanted to take Mark. Paul was emphatic in saying no! So much so, that it resulted in a division between the two. Over the years Mark proved himself to Paul. So much so when Paul wrote to Timothy at a time when others were forsaking him, he said “bring Mark with you for he is profitable to me in the ministry.”                 (2 Tim. 4:11) At the end of his letter to Philemon Paul identifies Mark as one of his coworkers who is with him.

Paul, over the course of time, had seen his perspective of others change and to see how God worked in the life of others even when he experienced disappointment with that person. He was now appealing to Philemon to see how God had worked in this situation to turn it around.

We don’t know how long it was before Paul was reunited with Mark. We don’t how long Onesimus was separated from Philemon. It is hard to tell how many months or years it will take for you to see God’s hand in your disappointment, hardship or challenge. But if you hang in there you will.

I can think back over the years of ministry and identify some John Mark’s. It is important that we don’t write off people or circumstances as lost causes before the Lord has had the final word.

As I move through my recovery process, I continue to look for that “perhaps the reason…” insight into my situation. One thing I know now, is that I would not be writing daily blogs if it were not for my illness and disability. So for now my desire is to be like Philemon and to be faithful to the Lord and to love and comfort God’s people.