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Just Between Men
Take it to Heart
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The Treehouse
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PatienceHis Name is Near
By Darlene Hight

It had been a long hard winter for my soul. The wind whipped furiously, threatening to steal all warmth and extinguish the tiniest spark of hope. At times, I couldn’t remember spring. I longed for the robins to return. Yet, the only birds that I saw, like me, had to break through the ice and snow; struggling just to meet their daily needs. It was dark but not dark enough to cover and give rest. Rather, it was a bleak, heavy, dusky time. The days hung low blocking the bright rays of sun. The world trapped in a frown. My heart cried "When?" as my eyes scanned the horizon.

How did I get through? Why did I face another day? My mind said, "Go back to bed it’s Monday." Something forced me to rise. Was it an undying hope that spring would come again? Or some pieces of joy captured from spring past, like butterflies of promise? Maybe a ray of the sun’s glow provided just enough warmth to break through the frigid chill of winter? These things were there and a comfort, but they weren’t enough. It was he. Without him, I wouldn’t have made it. He sat silent, but he was there. Like a soft pink rose resting in a champagne glass, he was there. Saying nothing but speaking beauty, hope, joy, comfort and peace into the fibers of my soul like the breath of spring. He was there, always there, my Savior, my Lord, my strength, my hope. His name is Near.

The seed fell on soft, rich, brown soil. Tiny, oh so tiny; barely visible and yet, he knew just where it lay. He guarded it from pecking birds. He warmed it with the sun. The gentle rains broke away its hardened shell. He hedged it round about and caused it to take root. He guarded it from trampling feet, protected from choking weeds. He braced its tender shoots, poured strength into its limbs. When at last it stood young and tender but straight and tall, he blocked it from the mighty winds. He shaded it from the searing sun. Watching, waiting, helping, protecting and nourishing until faith in tiny measure grew to mighty oak. His name is Near.

The storm raged around me. The lightning split the sky in a jagged tear. Deafening thunder roared in my ears. Torrential rain swept the earth from under my feet. Terrified, I reached for something to cling to, lest I too be swept away. Reaching I found a familiar nail pierced hand. It held me unwavering until the brutal tempest had past. Like a lighthouse holds a wind-tossed vessel, his name tethers me safe though crashing waves and mighty winds. His name is Near.

Standing among the rubble looking out over the shambles of everything that I held precious, my legs buckled and I fell as surely as the timbers that lay strewn around me. Until, He lifted me gently to my feet. He placed a hammer in my hand then placed his own roughened hand over top of mine. We began to build. Together working rebuilding all that was lost and more, his mastery was evident in every cut, in each nail that was driven. The process, though long and tedious, with him by my side seemed light – labor an easy burden. Finally as the last nail was driven, I looked in awe at the new-fashioned, glorious structure. I recognized the Carpenter. His name is Near.

Whether winter is long, faith is tiny but a seed, storms howl or world is torn apart, His name is Near.
Darlene is a writer who faces all weather and circumstance with the help of the Savior. She resides in Southern Ohio with her husband, Mark. You can write to Darlene via the Your Letters page of this Magazine.

LIFE LESSONS FROM 2004:
I'm learning, slowly, that what I see as failure can be success in God's eyes. Poverty can be limitless riches. And no modern idol -- television, career, money -- can satisfy like God. (Al Boyce)

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