At the Drop of a Shell

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Imagine a crab safely hidden amid seaweed and rocks. Abruptly a seagull swoops down, plucks it out of its secure place, carries it skyward, and drops it on a hard surface.  The crab’s shell shatters and the gull eats the hapless victim.

Life is like that. Events pluck us out of our safety zones and drop us into hard times, hard circumstances. Enemies may even dive into our lives and pick at us while we are at our lowest ebb.

I appreciate the wisdom and intelligence of a seagull. People who believe animals don’t think have never been around animals. A crab has a hard shell designed to protect it from predators. Hungry seagulls figure out how to circumvent this obstacle.

But while I can respect the abilities of animals—like gulls—to think, I personally rebel against hard times and hard circumstances. I don’t like them. Yes, they stretch us and make us grow—but I’d rather stay the comfortable size and shape I am. Still, God is in control. He is too wise to make mistakes and too kind to be cruel.

So as the hard times and circumstances come—for they will, I will hide my heart hurts in Psalm 144 & 145: “Blessed be the LORD my Rock, my high tower and my deliverer…The LORD is near to all who call upon Him.”

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Knife to the heart

There’s no knife to the heart in this short blog about Major Luke Gaines Parker who graduated from the U.S. Marine Corps to Heaven on Nov. 17, 2013 – except for the wound left in the heart of his mother. But there are knives in the story – so keep reading!

Luke isn’t dead. His plane crashed. The outer shell of his body will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery on Tuesday, Dec. 3, but Luke went straight from the sky into the arms of Jesus. So many people have poured out love, support and praise for Luke that I wanted to share a bit of what made him special.

I was raised an atheist. When Luke was four, I had only just discovered Jesus and started reading my Bible and going to church. We had no vehicle and sometimes we nearly missed the bus home from my work. So my four-year-old said, “Mom, why don’t you pray for a truck?” I was afraid to pray for a truck. What would happen to Luke’s faith if we prayed and didn’t get a truck? What would happen to mine? Luke had no doubts. He prayed for a truck. We got one the next day.

Luke read his Bible and believed it. He read that with faith, a person could move mountains. So when he got warts, he asked Jesus to remove them. Jesus did.

When our truck was sputtering and I didn’t think we’d make it home, Luke slapped his hands confidently on the dash and said, “Get the hens, Satan. Get the hens.” Puzzled, I asked him about the hens, only to find that he meant, “Get thee hence, Satan.” God wasn’t confused. The truck made it home.

From snakes and turtles to all things bigger and smaller, Luke loved animals and rescued them. He saved songbirds from bee traps and raised a one-legged baby raven. I found him hanging upside down in a tree one day teaching a baby opossum how to climb. When he ran a marathon in New York City, a bird landed on his shoulder. He fed it drops of water until it revived and flew away.

Luke accomplished everything his heart set out to do. When he wanted to learn to play the trumpet, he did. When he wanted to learn to play the piano, he did. When he wanted to join the Marine Corps and was told he couldn’t because he needed a steel rod to straighten his back, he got prayer for his back. Jesus healed his back and Luke started running up to eight miles a day – every day – to prepare for basic training. He worked his way up in the Marine Corps from enlisted to major. He graduated from college even though he froze during tests. He learned to fly a plane, then bought his own plane. He flew in air shows and preformed aerobatics. But that’s not why I’m so proud of him.

Luke walked with God. When he was in basic training, some of the guys got drunk and tried to get Luke to drink. He refused. When their mocking and taunts continued, Luke got into his bunk and covered himself with a sheet. In the morning, Luke’s mattress was slashed all around his body. One slash had just missed his heart.

When Luke was in Iraq, one of the men wrote in the newsletter, “No matter what we do, we can’t make Captain Parker cuss.”

Luke loved his wife and daughter. He was a great dad to his little girl. He walked with God. The Marines lost a man. I lost a son who walked with God.

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