Our family had looked forward to Sky Ranch’s 25th Anniversary Banquet for many months. The move to the East Texas location had proved to be a good one. It was at this banquet the announcement was to be made that Gladys Lankford was giving a chapel for Sky Ranch.
On August 3 I was asked to resign, and was told that Sally Jo and I should not plan on attending the banquet. Soon after I resigned, Glad told Sky Ranch she was no longer interested in giving a chapel.
As August 22 approached, Carla and Jenna asked if they could attend the banquet. They knew that Sally Jo and I had been asked not to attend, but no one said they could not go. They knew many of their staff and camper friends would be there. Our kids loved Sky Ranch and left our home with great anticipation. They returned home several hours later, truly in shock. Sally Jo and I had never been mentioned during the entire evening – seven years of our lives passed over as if we never existed.
Carla’s response to the evening was: “Dad, if Christians would do this to you, they would do anything to anybody”. I had to agree.
I can quote “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” — I Peter 5:7. I believed God cared for me, for my family – that heaven will be fair – but this did not remove the pain of the now!
I can work at “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 4:13-14. But working at this though I did, bewilderment continued!
King David wrote: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent…I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: ‘He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him'”. These words from Psalm 22 also expressed the ache of Jesus on the cross.
If I stop here, either in my thinking or my writing, I further bury myself in despair. King David went on to write Psalm 23. “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
It was six months before I could see, that whereas some people meant what happened for evil, God meant it for good! Living In Partnership With God is hard work, because it requires faith, sometimes a blind, struggling faith, while the world beats us up. We should not hesitate to cry out as did the father of the demon filled son “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” — Mark 9:24.