Tag Archives: prayers

EVOLVING HOUR BY HOUR

I am no longer who I once was,
nor am I this day who I will
ultimately become.

I am evolving hour by hour as I face
new challenges each day.

I have faltered many times, which
has taught me humility.

I have soared to lofty places and kissed
the sweet lips of success while keeping
both feet firmly on the ground.

However, with each new low or high
that comes my way, I am blessed to
have had the opportunity to try.

I know God is with me as I take each
step along the path of my journey.

I am comforted knowing God hears
my prayers even when I am unsure
how to express them.

I am blessed each hour of each day.

Tom Tatum – Author – 2020

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

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SEVEN LEVELS OF FAITH

The Coronavirus pandemic that’s spreading around the world is likely to challenge one’s faith in God. People of faith may even ask, “Why is God allowing this invisible enemy to infect us—to kill people?

Unfortunately, that is the wrong question. It is in times like this that our faith in God should grow even stronger because I believe God sends messages or “prompts” to us via people (family, friends, and strangers), gestures, things, nature, miracles, events, and tragedies. We accept and understand Him based on the level of faith we have, which can range from unquestioning faith (believing without seeing) to nonexistent faith (there is no God) per the following seven levels:

  1. Those who are not aware of God or His messages
  2. Those who say God doesn’t exist, making it impossible for “nothing” to send messages
  3. Those who can neither prove nor disprove God’s existence or His messages
  4. Those who follow a different god than that of Christians for reasons known only to them
  5. Those who think they are too busy and lack the time to listen to God’s messages
  6. Those who hear God’s messages and simply choose to ignore them for whatever reason
  7. Those who understand God’s messages and serve as modern-day disciples through their actions, deeds, and words (written and verbal)

God doesn’t force anyone to believe in, listen to, or follow Him. When a person hears about the God Christians follow, they have the right to choose whether they want to believe in Him and His messages. Christians who follow God’s teachings don’t seek to harm those who deny or choose not to believe, nor do they force their beliefs on others. They accept God’s grace as a gift given to all who choose to believe in Him; they don’t need proof of His existence in order to believe—they have true faith and want to spread God’s word to those in level 1.

Okay, so what’s the point here? It’s simple—each person is in one of the levels listed above. You may even have additional levels to add, which is fine. No matter how many levels of faith we list, no one is “stuck” in any level. We all have the ability to change.

Which level best describes your current situation?

Regardless of which level currently describes your situation, I encourage (do not demand) you to try learning something about those who live in level 7. It may change your life.

What do you have to lose?

John 20:29 (NIV) Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Blessings to all and may your faith grow stronger each new day.

Tom Tatum – Author 2020

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

Author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

AN ANGEL’S MESSAGE FOR GRANDPA

The day was cold, but not as cold as the heart of an old man sitting alone on a park bench with tears rolling down his cheeks. He didn’t seem bothered by the cold temperature, but something more serious had numbed his senses—his emotions were in distress.

After a few minutes passed, a young boy and man came walking along the path near the park bench. They stopped directly in front of the old man and, without any hesitation, the young boy asked, “Sir, are you okay? I see the tears on your cheek. Are you hurt?”

The old man raised his head slightly until his eyes met the eyes of the young boy. “Young man, today is a very sad day for me. I traveled many miles to come see my grandson in the hospital right down the street there. I had car trouble on the way and waited for twelve hours by the roadside before a kind soul stopped to help me.”

“I’m sorry your car broke down,” said the boy. “Have you seen your grandson yet?”

“No, I didn’t make it to the hospital in time to see him. I wasn’t able to tell him…” said the old man as he lowered his head and looked toward the ground.

“You weren’t able to tell him what?” asked the young boy.

While still looking toward the ground, the old man replied, “To tell him how much I love him and to wish him a Merry Christmas. He passed away three hours before I arrived. I can’t believe he’s gone. I’m so…”

“Sir, are you Joey’s Grandpa—his Grandpa Ben?”

A bit confused, the old man raised his head slightly and replied, “Yes, I am, but why did you ask me that? Do you know Joey?”

“Yes, sir,” replied the young boy. “I’m Zack. Joey is my new friend and he told me all about you.”

“He did what? When?” retorted Grandpa Ben.

“Yes, sir! Just a few minutes ago, Joey asked me to tell you how much he loves you. He wanted me to wish you a Merry Christmas. He said to tell you he is fine and in good hands.”

“I don’t understand. What? That’s impossible! How did you talk to Joey?” snapped Grandpa Ben.

“Joey is sitting on a park bench like you are now. He’s talking to Jesus,” replied Zack.

With that, Grandpa Ben lowered his head toward the ground thinking about what Zack just said. He wondered why Zack was talking such nonsense. Without raising his head, he asked, “Zack, how do you know he’s talking to Jesus?”

Several seconds passed without hearing an answer to his question. Grandpa Ben looked around and Zack was nowhere in sight. Instead, the only person standing in front of him was the man who he saw walking with Zack.

The man leaned down toward the old man and said, “Sir, are you alright? I couldn’t understand what you were saying. Can I get some help for you?”

“What? Where did Zack go? He was just standing right there talking to me. The two of you were standing together in front of me. Who are you?” the old man asked.

“Sir, my name is Sam Jones, but no one was with me today. I’m alone just as you are,” said the man with an air of concern for the old man.

“I’m very pleased to meet you, Sam. My name is Ben. Zack was just standing there beside you talking to me,” replied Ben.

His eyes swelling with tears, Sam managed to say, “Ben, I’m not sure what you’re trying to do to me, but my son, Zack, was killed by a drunk driver on this date three years ago. It happened at the intersection right over there. I walk here each year and remember the good times we shared. It’s my way of feeling as if Zack is walking with me. I miss him so much.”

Totally confused, Ben stammered, “I’m so sorry, Sam. I didn’t mean to… I was just… I mean… I… Zack was with…”

++++++ FOOD FOR THOUGHT ++++++

  • Do you have faith and believe in Jesus?
  • Do you think angels are capable of sending messages to us?
  • Do you think angels walk among us?
  • Have you ever experienced the presence of an angel?
  • Have you ever felt the presence of God in your life?

If your answers to the above are no, you should ask Grandpa Ben what he thinks.

Blessings to all who have lost loved ones. I hope this short story helps you feel the warmth of their presence during this Christmas season and that your heart is full of joy and happiness knowing they are nearby.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Tom Tatum – Author – 2019

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

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WHEN PRAYERS COLLIDE

WHEN PRAYERS COLLIDE is possibly a topic you have never thought about before, but it may actually have an impact on how a prayer is answered—or not answered. It’s definitely something worth considering.

Those of us who have faith and believe in God are prone to pray. It’s how we communicate with Him. Whether our prayers are spoken or unspoken, God knows what’s in our heart. We pray to ask God for help in times of need and to give thanks for the many blessings we have received. Many of us probably have occasions when we pray for God to comfort others who are experiencing difficult times.

Philippians 4:6-7 clearly teaches that we are to pray to God in every situation:

However, I think it is important that we should always be mindful of what we are praying for God to do for us. Let me take a moment to expand on what I mean by prayers colliding.

Hurricane Florence provided a good example when the prayers of many people in North Carolina and South Carolina collided. I’ll be the first to admit that I have more questions than answers regarding our prayers colliding with the prayers of others.

As Hurricane Florence made her way toward the coasts of the Carolinas, many Christians who believe and have faith in God, and maybe even some non-believers, did a lot of praying. I certainly did. My prayers were asking God to send Florence away from land and not harm anyone. With each new weather forecast update, I prayed even harder asking God to turn Florence harmlessly back out into the Atlantic Ocean.

After a few days of increasing anxiety, it became obvious that atmospheric conditions necessary to send the bad girl harmlessly out into the Atlantic were nonexistent. In fact, conditions were perfect for her to make a beeline path toward the Carolinas. The question became, “Where was she going to make landfall—North Carolina and/or South Carolina?”

At this point, the prayers of many likely shifted to, “God please protect my family and friends from harm.” Unfortunately, many folks in North Carolina and South Carolina were also lifting prayers for God to do the same for them. Simply stated, our prayers were creating a situation where we were asking God to do completely opposite things—our prayers were colliding. It became obvious Hurricane Florence was going to make landfall, but not everyone was going to weather her mighty forces safely.

Unfortunately, our prayers were unintentionally asking God to spare “me and mine” by sending the wrath of Hurricane Florence to ravage others. We were asking God to take sides—them or us. This is certainly not the “love thy neighbor” lessons the Bible teaches us to follow.

The subject of prayers colliding made me think of a life-lesson I learned from a baseball coach when I was nine-years old. Please allow me to share my experience with you at this time.

+++ PRAYING BEFORE A BASEBALL GAME +++

We were about to play our second game of the season. As we did before the first game, Coach asked the players to form a circle around him. We removed our caps and took a knee. He then told us we were going to say a team prayer.

As we bowed our heads, Coach said, “Lord, please protect all of the players, coaches, and fans from injuries and help us play our best tonight. Amen.”

Bobby, our shortstop, then asked, “Coach, you said that prayer last game and we lost. Why don’t you ask God to help us win this game?”

I have to admit—I was thinking much the same way as Bobby, but I didn’t have the courage to open my mouth as he did, or maybe I was wise beyond my years—not likely the case!

Coach looked at each of us and replied, “Bobby, see that other team over there—they are our neighbors, and Jesus teaches us to love our neighbors. If we pray for God to help us win, in a way, we are also asking God to make the players on the other team lose. That’s not what Jesus wants us to do—that’s not expressing love for our neighbor.”

“But Coach, if they ask God to help them win and we don’t, we’re gonna lose this game too. God’s gonna help them win,” replied Bobby.

Coach paused, smiled, and replied, “Okay, boys, listen up. If both teams pray for God to help them win, which team do you think God is going to choose to help? Why would He choose our team? Does God love us more than He loves the players on the other team? I want each of you to think about that.”

All the players, including me, just sat there looking at Coach and not one of us said a word.

Coach continued, “You see, God loves the players on both teams. I don’t think He is interested in choosing which team wins a Little League baseball game. God is busy taking care of sick folks and many others who are facing difficult situations. God blessed each of you with the ability and opportunity to play baseball. It’s okay to ask Him to help you play your best because that’s what He wants you to do—give your best in everything you do. God smiles when you give your best. He’s always there to help you if you ask Him, but it’s up to each of you to give your best—on and off the field. Don’t ever pray for God to help you win because, if you do, you’re asking Him to make someone else lose—someone who may have as much faith and belief in God as you do—someone God loves just as much as He loves you.”

Coach then told Bobby to go ask some players on other team if they prayed for God to help them win the game. Bobby wasn’t very thrilled about Coach’s idea, but he did as Coach asked him to do.

Bobby returned and said, “Coach, they asked God to help them win.”

Coach replied, “Okay, guys, I hope you understand what I’ve told you tonight. Now, I want you to go out there and give your best, and we’ll see what happens. Let’s play some baseball guys, give your best, and remember, have fun tonight!”

Guess what—we won that game by playing our best. We didn’t ask God to choose our team to be the winning team. Then again—maybe we won by not praying for the other team to lose—our prayers didn’t collide.

Coach taught me a valuable life-lesson that day and I still do as he said—sixty-one years later. We need to be careful when we pray for God to help us. We should not ask God to choose to support us at the expense of others. Remember, we are to love our neighbors. We may not like some of the things our neighbors do, but we should not wish them harm either.

By the way, Coach—I called him Dad when weren’t on the baseball field. I’m thankful he helped me see the light when it comes to praying.

+++++++++++++

I count my blessings that Hurricane Florence didn’t harm my family or my property. However, the same is not true for many others living in North Carolina and the upper parts of South Carolina. Folks in those areas suffered in many ways—property damage, injuries, and some even died because of the storm. Flooding reached record heights in many areas, yet my family and those who live in the Charleston, SC region were spared—Hurricane Florence “decided” to make landfall near Wilmington, NC.

Now, let’s visit the second part of this topic regarding prayers colliding. What happens to our faith when our prayers collide? As stated earlier, I have more questions than answers about this, so I’m looking to you to help others by sharing your thoughts.

++++++ FOOD FOR THOUGHT ++++++

Consider a few questions that may or may not have answers, but they should help us think about what happens when we pray.

  1. Do you think God creates events such as Hurricane Florence to punish some people while sparing others?
  2. Do you think God spares some people because they prayed and punishes others because they didn’t pray?
  3. Do you think the faith of those spared from harm will grow stronger?
  4. Do you think the faith of those who suffered harm will become weaker?
  5. Do you think anyone blames or praises God for their particular circumstances?
  6. Do you think God sent Florence to punish those who were in her final path for reasons we don’t have the ability to understand?
  7. To your knowledge, have any of your prayers ever collided with the prayers of others?
  8. Do you think God hears the prayers of nonbelievers? If you think He does, do you think He answers their prayers favorably, unfavorably, or does He ignore them?
  9. Are we even supposed to understand the answers to such questions or is that what faith is all about—trusting God to be with us at all times?

If you have thoughts or comments about such questions, please don’t hesitate to share them—some folks, including me, would like to know what you think.

May God’s blessings be upon you each day and may your prayers never collide with those of others! I encourage you to pray often and have the patience to wait for God to answer your prayers—in His perfect timing.

Tom Tatum – Author – 2019

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

THANKSGIVING LOVE AND PRAYERS

A TIME IN LIFE to be thankful for family and friends, but most of all, to give thanks to Him each day for the love and grace that He gives to those who believe and have faith  in Him. To God be the glory, great things He hath done.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL

AND MAY YOU BE BLESSED!

Tom Tatum – Author – 2018

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

GOD’S MIXING AND BAKING SOMETHING FOR YOU

When God doesn’t answer our prayers quickly, we may become anxious and wonder why He’s taking so long. We may even wonder if He listened to our prayers. It is during such times that we must be patient. We must also understand and accept that God’s answers may not be what we asked of Him.

However, one thing is for sure—we can always be confident knowing that God’s “mixing and baking” something for us. We must have faith in God’s timing—it is always perfect.

My friend, John Kneece, shared the following “down to earth” prayer from a Facebook post by Justin Cross. Although we don’t know the name of the original author, the message it presents is certainly on point.

+++++

One Sunday morning at a small southern church, the new pastor called on one of his older deacons to lead in the opening prayer.

The deacon stood up, bowed his head, and said, “Lord, I hate buttermilk.”

The pastor opened one eye and wondered where this was going.

The deacon continued, “Lord, I hate lard.”

Now, the pastor was totally perplexed.

The deacon continued, “Lord, I ain’t too crazy about plain flour. But after you mix ‘em all together and bake ‘em in a hot oven, I just love biscuits.

“Lord, help us to realize when life gets hard, when things come up that we don’t like, whenever we don’t understand what You are doing, that we need to wait and see what You are making. After You get through mixing and baking, it’ll probably be something even better than biscuits. Amen.”

Author Unknown

+++++

Thanks to John and Justin for sharing this reminder to be patient while God is mixing and baking His answers to our prayers.

May God’s answers to all your prayers be “something even better than biscuits.”

Tom Tatum – Author – 2018

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

WHAT DO YOU SEE?

What do you see in your mind’s eye when you pray or talk to yourself during difficult or good times in your life? I bet you see something, even if it’s total darkness—you still see something, but likely do it without thinking about what you see.

I know it’s a crazy question? In reality, it’s an appropriate question for everyone, regardless of their spiritual preferences or lack thereof. Whether you pray and believe in a power greater than yourself, don’t pray because you believe you possess superior intellect over all things, or fall somewhere between the two is a choice you have the right to make. Whatever your situation, you probably do talk to or pray to “something” when facing difficult situations in your life—it’s called thinking. I’m not trying to change or challenge your beliefs at all. I simply want you to consider all possibilities…

It’s probably a question you have never been asked or even considered before now. You’re not alone because most people haven’t. In fact, I may be one of few people on earth asking the question.

Okay, so exactly why am I asking such a question? Well, it’s simple—I enjoy thinking outside-the-box. Obviously, there is no right or wrong answer, so don’t be concerned. There will not be a pass-fail test given at the end of this post. I just want you to think about the question based on your personal situation, so please keep reading. It will only take a few minutes, and I promise it will not harm or judge you in any way.

What do you see…,” is a question I ask when I speak to groups. I get some interesting facial expressions and responses cover a broad spectrum ranging from total darkness to detailed images. All answers are interesting, but one that does give me pause is, “I don’t waste time praying to a fictitious character.” I acknowledge the response, but I never push my personal beliefs on anyone. I simply inform, observe, and recognize that everyone has the right to choose how they cope with life. However, that particular response is a suitable topic for a whole different discussion.

Let’s get back to the point of this post. When the shock of my question wears off, the initial responses are typically, “I’ve never thought about it before,” or “I don’t see anything.” When folks think about it for a moment, the answers tend to become a bit more descriptive. To be fair, it is somewhat of an unusual question and not likely to come up in general conversations with friends. Therefore, I invite you to think about the question in private for a few moments. You may be surprised by what you actually do/don’t see or you may start visualizing something in the future. Either way, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

When I started thinking about the storyline for my first novel, I did a lot of soul searching. When I asked myself the question, I realized I was actually seeing the same thing each time I prayed. It was an image from long ago when I started attending church as a young boy. Although buried deep in my subconscious, the image of a stained-glass window formed a lasting impression on me. This image allows me to feel as though I’m having a private conversation with a friend—albeit a very special and most powerful friend.

So, what exactly do I see when I pray? Well, first I visualize the stained glass window from my youth—an image of Jesus. As I continue praying, I usually see the faces of those for whom I’m praying and revert back to the stained-glass image as I finish my prayer. The image itself is surreal for me and puts my mind at ease. It works very well for me.

Stain Glass Jesus Picture 2x2

Whether you see an image or total darkness as you pray or talk to “whomever,” the important thing is that you do it. You may not receive the things or results you ask for, or even understand the answers. You may even feel as though your prayers are going unanswered, but I believe God hears all our prayers. He will respond in His time, and in His way. He knows what is best for us, so we must be patient.

For those who do not believe in God, He still “hears” your thoughts. I wish you the best in whatever way you cope with life’s difficulties. As I said in the beginning, I will never brow-beat you to do as I do, but I will still pray that you come to know Him someday.

By the way, I see that same stained-glass image when I give thanks everyday for the many blessings I have received.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Tom Tatum – Author – 2017

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

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ANGEL AND THE SILVER DOLLAR

There are times in life when we find ourselves in situations that we can’t explain while it is happening. I experienced such a moment when I was a young boy. It wasn’t life threatening, but it was certainly surreal. It was a special moment—one I can still visualize it as if it happened yesterday. However, it occurred fifty-six years ago.

So, what brings about such moments as this? Well, it’s simple when we understand that sometimes in life there are forces far more powerful than ourselves helping us accomplish feats that are beyond our abilities. Allow me to explain the moment I experienced.

When I was a youngster, I was very shy. I never liked being the center of attention—NEVER! I just wanted to do my own thing without any fanfare from others.

At age eleven, I had the honor of being one of fourteen players selected for the 1960 Orangeburg Little League All-Star baseball team. That in itself was a major milestone for me because there were many talented twelve-year olds who also played during the regular season. I was very fortunate to have some of the coaches recognize my ability to play baseball. However, unknown to them, their confidence in me set in motion the unusual event that was about to unfold.

allstarteam1960

What I didn’t know at the time was that this was going to be a defining moment in my life—both athletically and spiritually.

I was the starting centerfielder in the first Little League All-Star game in Barnwell, SC. To say starting the game surprised me would be an understatement. Anyway, I took the field with butterflies flying around in my stomach to the point I felt as if I was going to hurl my lunch before the game started, but, thank goodness, I didn’t.

The game had gone great for our team and we had a one-run lead in the bottom of the last inning. Then, momentum swung to the other team and they had men on second and third base with one out. I stood in centerfield with a lump in my throat and prayed, “Lord, please don’t let the batter hit the ball to me.” That’s not exactly what an “all-star” player should be thinking at such a time.

Unfortunately, for me, God didn’t respond to my innocent-childlike prayer the way I had hoped He would. On the very next pitch, the batter hit a hard line-drive straight toward me—the most difficult trajectory and direction for an outfielder to catch the ball.

I ran toward the ball and caught it just above my shoelaces for out number two. The runner on third base tagged up and headed toward home plate. If he scored, it would tie the game. If my throw was off-target, the runner on second base could also score and we would lose the game. Without hesitation, I reared back and fired the ball toward the catcher. It was a perfect strike, and the runner was out by two strides. It was a double play, and the game was over. We won the game!

I couldn’t believe my eyes! I had never thrown a runner out at home plate from centerfield in my life. The fans went wild and cheered louder than I had ever heard before. As I ran off the field, my teammates gathered around me and celebrated the moment—the victory and the throw! Though there were not thousands of fans in the stands that night, it sure sounded like it to me. To say the least, I was happy for what happened, but I also wanted to hide.

I was shocked by what I had just accomplished. The moment was truly surreal. I thought, “Did I really do that? Was I dreaming? How did that ball leave my hand and hit the catcher’s mitt for a perfect strike from centerfield?”

That’s when I paused and said, “Lord, You didn’t answer my prayer the way I wanted, but thank You for blessing me with an angel to guide my throw to home plate.”

After the game, the father of our pitcher came over to me and congratulated me for my unbelievable throw. He said, “That was a great throw, Tatum! An awesome play like that deserves a reward. This is for you.” That’s when he placed a silver dollar in my hand—the only money I ever received for playing baseball.

silverdollarcoin

I’m sure you can imagine the joy I felt that night, but I knew I didn’t make that throw on my own. An angel assisted me on the field that night, and yet, I received a silver-dollar reward for “our” effort.

It is the special moments in life that make you smile, and this moment has put a smile on my face for over fifty years. Have I ever told my grandchildren this story? Sure, I have! Many times, and I smile every time I tell the story. In fact, I’m smiling right now!

Here’s the amazing finale to the story. I tried throwing a ball in similar situations at practice more than a hundred times and never made that play again. Without any pressure of a real-game situation, I couldn’t repeat the “magical” throw.

I’m sure the Lord has more important concerns than helping a young boy throw a ball to home plate, but I also know I could never have made that throw on my own. Then again, what if…

Jesus looked at them and replied, “This is impossible for mere humans, but for God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26

So, what do you think happened that night? Did I suddenly have powers far beyond my abilities or did an angel assist me? No one could be that lucky.

I’m sure you have also had similar moments in your life. Would you care to share one of your special moments when you accomplished something beyond your capabilities?

Blessings to you and yours, and have a great day!

Tom Tatum – Author – 2017

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

SAFETY MESSAGE FOR ALL

When both of my daughters were teenagers, they felt I was too overprotective. I can’t imagine why!?! Yes, I had some simple “rules” I expected them to abide by—okay, many rules. Hmmm, maybe I was a bit overzealous in performing my fatherly duties, but I was only thinking about their safety.

It was a time in life long before cell phones existed. One of my simple rules was that anytime my daughters were traveling, they were to call home when they arrived at their destination. Back then, I thought it was a simple request; I still do! The way things are in today’s world, it’s probably even more important now for parents to make such a request.

The saga began when our older daughter, Leigh, came home from college to visit one weekend. Due to a little strife, it wasn’t one of our better weekends together. When she left late that Sunday evening, as usual, I requested that she call home when she arrived. The call was to make sure she arrived safely. I got that look—you know—the rolling of her eyes as if to say, “Gimme a break Dad! It’s only a forty-mile trip—nothing is gonna happen to me!”

I hoped Leigh’s eye-rolling gesture was right, but I had a strange feeling about this particular trip. Is there such a thing as father’s intuition? I’m not sure why I had such a feeling, but it probably had something to do with the contentious atmosphere that clouded her visit. Again, having to make a simple call didn’t seem too outlandish to me.

The trip to her dorm normally took about an hour. An hour and a half passed and she had not called. It was now dark, but I wasn’t too nervous at this point. Delays happen sometimes. When my wife called Leigh’s room, her roommate answered. She told us Leigh had not arrived yet and my anxiety began to rise. After the two-hour mark passed, she still had not arrived, and my anxiety level was now hitting the red-zone level. Where was she? Could something be wrong?

My wife and I decided to drive to the university. I feared the worst and hoped for the best. Along the way, we stopped at every ravine where a car could have left the road. I searched each area with a spotlight, hoping I wouldn’t see anything—especially her car. I never realized how many ravines there were in that forty-mile stretch. Trust me, there are bunches! One by one, each area I searched revealed nothing. We breathed a momentary sigh of relief each time, but our fear of the unknown still lingered.

We completed our search of the backroads and stopped at a gas station to call the roommate again—Leigh still had not arrived. It had been three hours since we last saw her. We continued our search on the interstate highway, checking each ravine as we continued our fearful journey. Another hour passed and still no sign of Leigh.

As we continued along the interstate, the reflections of a car’s taillights were visible on the side of the road. I eased up behind the car as my heart pounded—it was my daughter’s car!

Taillights3

I dashed to the driver’s side and there she was—scared, trembling, and crying her heart out. She jumped out of her car and gave me the tightest hug I had ever received from her. The three of us stood there speechless with tears of joy flowing like rivers. Leigh was safe and our worst fears did not come true. Praise the Lord! She told us many cars, including a patrol car, passed by but no one stopped to help.

So, what happened? Well, the car’s gas gauge indicated half full, but in fact, it was a faulty reading; the tank was empty.

Although Leigh never had the chance to make the call because of her circumstances, several positives came out of that night. First, my daughters learned the value of honoring my simple request to call us. From then on, they never failed to call us when they arrived at their destinations. Secondly, Leigh’s no-call alerted us to a possible problem, which prompted us to start searching for our lost sheep. Finally, the days of my daughters viewing me as an overprotective father seemed to vanish. I’d like to believe they actually thought I was a wise-old man, but that would probably be stretching things too far. I was grateful for Leigh’s safety and pleased that both daughters learned some valuable life-lessons from the experience that ended well.

I hope you insist that your family, friends and loved ones make a simple call letting you know when they arrive safely at their destinations. Cell phones make doing this so much easier today. It is not being overprotective to request a call. Take it from a father who knows—it’s better to receive the rolling-eyes of “how ridiculous” than it is to live with regrets for not requesting a simple call.

Matthew 18:12-14 (NIV)

What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.

Luke 15 3-6 (NIV)

Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’

Tom Tatum – Author – 2015

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor  LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

1000 Year Storm – #SCStrong

#SCSTRONG #2015Flood

The beauty of nature is normally breathtaking, but when Mother Nature unleashes her awesome power in a storm, the results are devastating. Never have I seen such destruction caused by water alone, and it is not over. Flood waters from upstate will raise the already-high levels of waterways in the low country causing additional flooding for the remainder of the week.

May God bless the thousands who have lost property and priceless possessions, but more importantly, may He hold those who perished in the palm of His hand and give comfort to their families and friends. Bless all those who are helping other during this crisis and in the days to come. Amen!

Please lift up all the people of South Carolina in your prayers. We are #SCSTRONG—we are proud—with God’s help, we will rebuild!

PrayForSC

Please click the “Back Button” on your browser after viewing the following YouTube video of some of the damage the 1000 Year Storm caused in South Carolina over the weekend, so you can share your comments and prayers.

The scenes are heartbreaking to say the least, but they only represent a small portion of the full damage experienced.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CuzC3cez3o

May God bless you for caring!

Tom Tatum – Author – 2015

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels