Saturday, March 6, 2010

THE LOST DAY: Truth or Fiction?

A long time friend of mine sent to me a story about NASA being unable to account for a day in time. As the story went, one of the NASA scientists, who was a Christian, recalled two Biblical incidents of God interfering with the length of days. Supposedly, when the NASA scientists checked their time computers, the day went missing during the period of time mentioned in the Bible.

Sadly, the public affairs office at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland completely debunks the story. You can read about the origin of this story on the web at www.snopes.com/religion/lostday.asp.

Briefly, this story first emerged in a book written in 1936 by Harry Rimmer, entitled the Harmony of Science and Scripture. Instead of NASA, Rimmer cited a book written in 1890 as his proof. In those days, as is still somewhat true of this day, if it's in print some people believe it's true. Someone with a good imagination simply updated the story using NASA as current proof.

Thankfully, the Bible does not require proof. Just the fact that it has existed as a force in the life of so many through centuries has merit. Ben Franklin was a brilliant, gifted writer. Can you put your hand on a copy of Poor Richards Almanac? I bet not. Right beside me are two study Bibles and other Bibles are throughout the house.

The great secret of the Bible lies in faith. It is mentioned at least 446 times, if I counted correctly, from Exodus through Timothy. By Faith Ye Are Saved. There is a long list of "by Faith" in the Bible. It is not necessary to read of faith. Faith can be experienced. It is real.

I think of my good friend, now deceased, Orville Nichols. Nick and I were friends for decades. He was quite a bit older than me but we were, among other things, fellow coon hunters. I could tell some great coon hunting stories about Nick. It warms my heart to recall each of them.

Nick had retired as an electrician from Columbia Chemical in Barberton, Ohio and moved back to his home in West Virginia. We had not seen each other for many years when I suggested to my brother Henry, now also deceased, that we look old Nick up. We did. It was sad. Living up a hollow in a trailer, he suffered from Alzheimer's disease and did not know us.

I recounted several stories about our experiences to Nick but he could not remember. Then, I asked if he remembered what his Dad said the night when, in his youth, Nick accepted Christ. He did not remember. I did. I'd heard old Nick tell the story many times.

In those day parents slept in what was called the "front room". Mom and Dad did. Among the other blessings, it was where the fireplace was located, the only source of heat in the house, excepting the cook stove which was used sparingly to save wood.

When Nick came home from church and told of his conversion, his parents were in bed. His Dad turned to his Mother and said "Do you suppose it will stop him from cussing?" It did. I asked Nick if he remembered the rest of the story, I'd heard him tell it so often over the years.

He brightened up in remembering as he said "Even the old mule knew I had been saved." From that point of the visit Nick, who was well into his nineties, remembered us and several of our adventures together. It ended a happy day for all concerned.

The point? Faith, the unseen, brings about great changes for good. This is but the most simple of examples. By Faith I took my package of Old Gold cigarettes out of my pockets and never smoked again. No, Mr. Obama, I did not chew Nicolette gum. My faith sustained me.

It is so easy to grasp at flimsy stories, such as the one about NASA and the missing day. It may be difficult at times, but real stories of faith abound.

By faith my eldest son, Mark, left a source of great wealth to become a humble servant. He is now an ordained minister struggling to start a new and different church in Mansfield, Ohio. By faith, he is pursuing a second Master's Degree, this one in Religious Philosophy at the Ashland Seminary.

By faith my youngest son, Todd, also an ordained minister, retired, after what may have been 30 years of being a pastor. Todd has no obivious source of income at age 50 but he lives well by faith. and the results of being wise and frugal for 30 years. He, like me, is also blessed with a good wife who works. Amy is an art teacher.

While I was the first in my extended family to graduate from high school, by faith my children and all my grandchildren have graduated, or will graduate, from college. By faith my grandchildren, Jillian and David, are taking spouses this summer. Faith abounds. It abounds at the little, country church I attend, the Easton United Methodist Church established by faith in 1877. It certainly abounds in this office and at this keyboard.

May the life of the friend who thoughtfully emailed this story to me be blessed by her faith.

May your life be blessed with faith.

God Bless!

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