Blarney, Baloney, or Ballyhoo

 

 

 

The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God endures forever. –Isaiah 40:8 NIV


On St. Patrick’s Day, it seems, everyone is Irish.

We love the story of the man who supposedly drove out the snakes from Ireland and used a shamrock, with its three leaves, to teach the Irish about the Trinity.

We do love our heroes, and we do love our holidays, don’t we? But how often do we stop and think about the holiday we’re celebrating? Or do a little research into the real life of the hero?

We associate St. Patrick – and the shamrock – with Ireland.

But in reality, he was actually the son of wealthy Roman citizens who was kidnapped as a teenager and taken to Ireland, where he was sold as a slave. Like Moses and David of old, Patrick spent his days and nights on a lonely mountainside watching his master’s sheep, often in brutal conditions.

After six years, he escaped and returned home, no longer the spoiled and rebellious teenager he was when he was abducted. Instead of assuming a life of privilege as his family expected, he felt called to return to Ireland – this time as a missionary. The rest, as they say, is history. Or legend. Or myth.

Actually, there were no snakes in Ireland for Patrick to banish. Except the snakes of paganism, superstition, petty Irish rulers and religious leaders who jealously guarded their turf. And the shamrock? According to one of Ireland’s leading botanists, “Shamrocks exist only on St. Patrick’s Day. Every other day of the year, it’s known simply as young clover.”

Over time symbolism evolved into story, which we too often accept as fact. But the beauty of the legend of St. Patrick isn’t in the myths we celebrate. It’s in the true story of the transcendent purpose and transforming power of God in Patrick’s life.

You see, it was on that desolate mountain that young Patrick found God ­– and his true purpose in life.

Funny how God uses the hard times to get our attention. And change our lives. And transform us, molding us into the vision He has for each of us.

Are you enduring hard times?

Hang in there and work with God. He has allowed this time for a reason.

My friend and sister-in-Christ Lillie often reminds me of God’s view on our difficulties: “ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

We have to sift through legends and myths to discover the germ of truth in them, but we can take God at His Word.

And that’s no blarney!

Lord, it can be so confusing, living in this world, trying to discern what is true and what is false, what is fact and what is embellished story. Remind me to cling to Your Word in times of doubt, knowing that You never lie. Amen.

Read and meditate on Psalm 19

Read “The Real Story of St. Patrick” here.

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

The Power of Truth

 

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. –Exodus 20:16 (NKJ)

We were driving back to Pennsylvania after a visit with our daughter in South Carolina when it happened: a red pickup truck came rolling off the on-ramp, crossed two lanes of traffic on the interstate highway, and cut right in front of us. My husband swerved left to avoid a collision, but then we were headed for the concrete divider. So he cut back to the right, causing our vehicle to fishtail. That’s when the pickup hit us.

“I never even saw you,” the driver told us.

Fortunately, no one was injured, and we were able, after giving our statements to the police, to continue our journey home. The red pickup truck was totaled. Although two motorists stopped to make sure no one was injured, neither stayed to give statements to the police. The investigating officer determined the other driver was at fault. His insurance company paid for the repairs to our vehicle, as well as for a rental car while the repairs were being made.

End of story? No.

Three months later the insurance company called and told us a witness had come forward and said that we were at fault, that we cut in front of the pickup and caused the collision. When I paid a visit to my insurance company, I read an amended report that put us at fault, yet we never received a copy of that report. Neither did we receive any further communication from the South Carolina State Highway Patrol. No citation. No fine. Nothing. I called the investigating officer three times to find out what was going on, but my call was never returned.

So where, after three months, did this witness come from? And why, after that long, did he come forward, when there were no injuries and the damage was relatively minor? I knew we were telling the truth. I had my doubts about this new witness. But how do you defend yourself against a lie?

By telling the truth and waiting for it to prevail.

And by praying. During my quiet time, God spoke to me through His Word: “A lying witness is unconvincing; a person who speaks the truth is respected” (Proverbs 21:28 The Message).

“Unscrupulous people fake it a lot, honest people are sure of their steps” (v. 29).

“Nothing clever, nothing conceived, nothing contrived, can get the better of God” (v. 30).

“Do your best, prepare for the worst, then trust God to bring the victory” (v. 31).

After giving our statements again, this time to our insurance company, we heard nothing more about it until December when the other driver called our home.

“This has been dragging on too long,” he said, adding that our insurance company had determined not to accept this witness’s testimony.

When King David fled Jerusalem when his son Absalom rebelled and seized the throne, a servant by the name of Ziba lied about his master, Mephibosheth, the crippled son of David’s dear friend Jonathan, telling the king that his master stayed in Jerusalem to support Absalom. That was a lie so he could get in the king’s good graces and Mephibosheth’s property. The truth eventually came out, and Ziba’s treachery was exposed.

“Sin has many tools,” wrote Oliver Wendell Holmes, “but a lie is the handle that fits them all.”

I still feel helpless against a lie. But I’ve learned that lies may travel faster, but truth sticks around longer.

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist” (Ephesians 6:13–14 NIV).

 

When I feel threatened and helpless in the face of a lie, remind me, Lord, that truth will eventually win out. Amen.

Read and meditate on 2 Samuel 16:1–4, 19:24–30; Psalm 119:129–144

(c) 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.