My wife and I are frequently in Canada for ministry and we both have come to love that nation and its multi-cultural identity. The French influence of Québec brings a touch of Europe to the nation that we enjoy in different ways. The fact is I have always had a strong affection for the Canadian people because I lived every summer of my youth on Meacham Lake which is a public campsite about 20 miles from the border. As a result I had many Canadian friends and several Canadian girlfriends as well. Because of this, every trip we make into Canada brings a warm familiarity that is kind of like going home.
One of the churches that we love and we often visit for ministry is in a place called Thetford Mines. It’s a beautiful community with a strong French influence and several great churches that are growing. On one such visit our host pastors, who are also dear friends, ask us to go with them to visit a woman who lived north of the city and was ill. She as in a deteriorating condition and wanted us to come and pray for her.
As we drove through the countryside to her house, the pastors explained that her husband had just retired. They were both in their mid-sixties and had been looking forward to this time for many years. They now had the time to travel, help in the church and just enjoy life now that work was behind them. When this illness hit it put everything on hold.
We finally arrived at the house and after knocking on the door a younger man, whom I assumed might be the oldest son, welcomed us in. He took us into the living room and there sat an elegant woman in a wheel chair. It was clear she was in her mid-sixties. Her hair was neatly pulled back and there was a refinement about her that the younger man clearly enjoyed. The moment we sat he offered us a cup of tea and then we began a conversation half in English and half in French as the pastor interpreted.
As I looked around the room, something caught my eye. There on the wall was a picture of the younger man standing next to a much younger version this same woman. It was a wedding picture and I immediately thought, “How could this be the same man and woman?” The question just hung there in my mind. I have a Master Degree in Biology and my scientific mind looked at the picture before me knowing the pieces just didn’t fit. How could this be her 65 year old retired husband when he looked to be about 45?
As the man talked about their life together and the career he had, I discovered what the secret was. He had spent most of his life some 3000+ feet underground in a gold mine. Four or five days a week, 12 hours a day he had breathed purified air and drank purified water. He had been shielded all those years from natural radiation, ultraviolet, the suns rays and the pollution that is evident on the surface of our fallen world. Even the nightly news, with its negative slant, could not be picked up so far underground thus his main source of entertainment had been his Bible and the Christian music he brought with him.
The biblical reality that this demonstrates is astounding. Think for just a moment what it means to be in Christ and shielded by His love. Jesus conquered sin, hell, death and the grave by his death on the cross and resurrection. Because of this, nothing in heaven or on earth has the power to break through that barrier and separate us from His love. Just as this man was protected from the natural destructive elements of this world, so we are protected in a more perfect way when we are found in Christ. If we can ever get this reality down inside us, life as we know it will change forever.
May I suggest that for those who feel the sting of death and destruction creeping in upon their lives, there is an answer. Surrender your life to Christ, and once you are found in Him, you are shielded. That does not mean you won’t have problems or that people won’t still act selfishly. What it does mean is that you will have a place of refuge to go when problems do come. Best of all you will have a healer and a savior who really is the lover of your soul.