Aug. 13, 2015

The Gate to Nowhere...

“The key to heaven’s gate cannot be duplicated.” Douglas Horton

“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts...Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” (Deut.6:6-9)

I came across an interview recently with Elena Shateni, originally from the old Soviet Union. Elena is one of 100 semifinalists vying to become one of the first humans to live on Mars, as part of the Mars One project. This mission is a one-way trip and, if chosen, Elena will never have breakfast at Fork in the Road on Main Street in Santa Monica – her hometown – again. As I read this interview I wondered if I would ever have signed up to go to Mars, spend a year on the Space Station, take another one of those “small steps for man, one giant leap for mankind” as Neil Armstrong did back in July, 1969. As men walked on the moon for the very first time, I was ten days away from the birth of our daughter, Crissy, about the same size and shape as the moon, and pretty cranky. Stated simply, I could have cared less.

Time has gone by, I’ve read The Right Stuff, seen Tom Hanks looking very serious, “Houston, we have a problem!” in Apollo 13, and now, reading what this 58 year old woman has to say about, “boldly going where no man has gone before,” as Captain Kirk would say, I find, once again, that I am most definitely NOT Pioneer stock. No, I would not have wanted to trade my rocky field in Massachusetts for a trip across the prairie, dodging arrows, possibly ending up as part of the Donner Party. I wouldn’t have signed up for the maiden voyage of The Mayflower and I honestly think that had I been living in the Garden of Eden and God said, “ have all the mangoes, papayas, peaches, and bananas you want, but leave that apple alone!” I could have!

My grandfather, Solon Kimball Weed, was prone to take off, when the urge overcame him, to Mexico to search for gold. As he put it, “The fever never lets go.” He found some, too. Not enough to make us all staggeringly wealthy, but he did leave behind a few nuggets and my Dad, Howard Kimball Weed, actually came across that treasure map some years ago. My grandfather also claimed and cleared 480 acres of land in the Imperial Valley area of California. I quote from his journal:

“It was difficult and dangerous work as the heat was excessive and the scorpions and rattlesnakes were countless. One day my brother, Dana, and I brought in fifteen snakes while clearing the land with a rail drawn by eight horses. When the place was all in mostly alfalfa, we figured we had killed at least one rattler for every acre.” (From A Treasure Map, A Drunken Owl and 47 Rattlers in a Bag*).

Abraham comes to mind, in Genesis 12, when he’s still Abram and a mere ninety-nine years old. God tells him to “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you.  I will make your name great and you will be a blessing. So Abram left, as the Lord had told him.” (Gen. 12:1-4).

Think about that. Abram had enough faith in God  to pack up all his tents, goats, wife, and assorted stuff and head off into the great unknown. That’s why he’s mentioned in the Hebrews Chapter 11 Hall of Faith. I wonder sometimes if that kind of faith exists in God’s people any more. It’s been my joy to know some people of strong, unshakeable faith. Hazel and Earl Lee, Estelle Crutcher, Hazel Lee’s mother, and my friend, Darrell, who is bedridden with cancer, but his faith in God is unshakeable, no matter what his circumstances are on a day to day basis.

“We walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Cor.5:7) Even though sometimes it feels like we’re walking through a gate to nowhere, we’re not! “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” (Ps. 119:105)

“And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.” And he replied: ‘Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.” So I went forth and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.”  (Minnie Louise Haskins)

"Many things about tomorrow,
I don't seem to understand,
But I know Who holds tomorrow,
                          And I know Who holds my hand!"   (Ira Stanphill)

If you’re facing a Gate to Nowhere this week, uncertainty on every side, doubt and fear nipping at your thoughts, remember that you know Who holds your hand. And if you think you’d enjoy that trip to Mars, I say go for it!

*By Deanne Davis, Available on Amazon.com