But now the games are over.
I'm an adult figure skater and a major fan of the sport. I loved watching North Korean pair Ryom and Kim skate to a Beatles medley in the recent Olympic games. I cheered for South Korean Choi Da-bin who finished 8th in the ladies competition with a beautiful skate dedicated to her mother who passed away a few months ago. The South Korean short track skaters took home six medals (three gold) and their long track speed skaters added seven more to the country’s medal count. (I shared the ice with dedicated future short track competitors when I skated in Korea last spring.) South Korea was praised for the way the games ran and the beauty of the region. The closing ceremonies highlighted the South Korean love for technology and K-pop.
But now the games are over.
Did you join us in prayer on Wednesday, February 21? Maybe you didn’t choose to fast or dedicate the day to prayer, but I hope you spent some time holding up this broken nation before the God of the Universe.
I watched the morning news with the pause button in hand, so that I could stop and pray about individual news stories. My instinct was to curl up with a bowl of cereal or stick in a piece of toast as I watched; I wasn’t yet hungry enough to remember I was fasting.
I even found myself thanking the Lord for a stand by President Trump. He is calling for strengthening background checks and a ban on accessories that turn legal guns into assault weapons. So common sense that it should be bi-partisan.
I am currently visiting my daughter and her family in Seoul, South Korea. When I called to say good-by to my dad before leaving the US, he said, “I guess you haven’t been watching the news.”
I am racist.
I think we all are racist. In this world we cannot help but be influenced by the color of our skin. Much as I love my brothers and sisters at Solid Word Bible Church where we worshipped when we lived in Indianapolis, my white skin has given me different life experiences than their black skin. I cannot help but view the world from inside my white body.
On our recent trip west, we were awed by the beauty of our national parks. We fell into bed exhausted each night with little time to catch the evening news. However, we were well aware of the political situation that dominates the airwaves these days. Katherine Lee Bates’s prayerful poem “America the Beautiful” ran continually through my mind, leading me to pause to pray for this country even as I admired the beauty of its scenery.
America! America! May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev’ry gain divine!
My husband and I have recently returned from a road trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Usually on road trips a favorite praise song runs through my head, becoming a sort of theme song of the journey. This time the song that kept returning to my mind was “America the Beautiful.” We saw no shortage of amber waves of grain and purple mountain majesties, but it was not the familiar first verse that ran through my mind so much as the later verses.
America! America! God mend thine ev’ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!
I recently read American Sniper by Chris Kyle. It isn’t great writing, just an ordinary soldier (make that an extraordinary soldier) telling about his experiences. I’m American, but let’s just say this was a cross-cultural experience for me. The book showed up as available on my library app, and I had heard a lot about it when the movie came out, so I thought, why not? “It’s a really good book,” I was told, and I certainly can’t fault it for excitement. Kyle was definitely an adrenaline junkie.
But I found Kyle’s attitudes hard to comprehend. He is a brother in Christ according to his own testimony; we believe the same things about Jesus, see Jesus as the same highest priority in our lives and yet, Kyle finds war fun? He kills people for a living. How can that be?
LeAnne Hardy has lived in six countries on four continents. Her books come out of her cross-cultural experiences and her passion to use story to convey spiritual truths in a form that will permeate lives.