Carl, Buster, and Hoy

I was born in 1959. As such I am old enough to have memories of the vets who fought in World War II. I knew three of them fairly well. All three of them were two generations older than me.  Two of the three were Buster McFadden and Hoy Bundrick.  I met them as connected to the first Church I served in Longtown, South Carolina. The third vet I knew the best was my own Grandfather; Carl Edward Jacobs.

Buster McFadden (John Clyde McFadden) was born in 1920 and my relationship to Buster was as the chief Elder in the first Church I served (Longtown Presbyterian Church). If it had not been for God raising up Buster in my life, it is, at least doubtful, that I would have ever ended up in the Ministry. I had been almost 2 years out of Seminary and all my resumes had been greeted with silence. Then one night out of the blue Buster phoned me and asked if I could fill the pulpit the coming Sunday. The chap who had been filling the pulpit for them (J. Tomlinson) was a couple years ahead of me in Seminary and due to some unforeseen circumstances JT was moving on and JT had left my name with Buster as a possible candidate to fill the pulpit. When Buster phoned I wasted no time responding with a energetic “yes,” to his offer. One week turned into two weeks which turned into two months which turned into a call to permanently Pastor the small rural Southern congregation. There are many many stories here but in this entry we want to focus on Buster.

I quickly learned that Buster was a WW II vet. He had fought in the Italian campaign and like many men who have seen combat he did not speak a great deal about his time in combat in Europe. He had mentioned buddies that had been seriously hurt and killed in a general way. I also remember Buster telling me how he used to get ribbed by this comrades for being a good old Southern boy.

Buster loved Longtown Presbyterian Church. He was the keyboardist for the hymn service even though he couldn’t read a note of music. He played all by ear. It was amazing to me how he could do that. Not only was Buster the main Elder and the Church musician he also mow the large church lawn weekly with a push mower. He would also often go with me when I did Church visitation and even occasionally hospital visits.

More than all this, in order to bring Jane and I and the girls (Anthony was not yet part of the family) out to Longtown SC, Buster arranged with the congregation’s approval to purchase a doublewide home and place it on the Church property as Church’s new Manse. He further provided a glorious front porch, children’s play house, and an out building for storage. Jane and I were convinced we had fallen into paradise. (If you knew where we had been living in Columbia SC, that would make more sense to you dear reader.)

One of my clearest memories of Buster was on a occasion when I was especially discouraged because I had suffered a particular loss in something I was pursuing. Buster, somehow had heard of my struggles and he showed up at the Manse and on our large front porch he addressed me.

“Get up. Get up. You can’t let this bring you down. You must rise above this. We need you here. Get up. Get up. Get up.”

I was shocked. This man of few words cared enough for me and for the Church that he would speak more at that time to me than he ever did at any one time in the whole time I served with him.

Like all of us Buster had his quirks. He always wore brown khakis — shirt and trouser and jacket. He didn’t much drive his brown khaki colored truck much over 45 mph up and down Longtown Road. He could be a real challenge to get around to this or that project that needed done. However, there wasn’t many other doing projects at the Manse or Church and so it is understandable if it took awhile for projects to be attended to.

Like any Grandfather, Buster loved his children and grandchildren and could often be found doting on them.

I can still hear and see in my mind’s eye Buster’s gentle laughter. He was a good man to have as my first Elder. He knew when I came there that I was still working through some Reformed issues in my mind (especially Baptism) but when I told him this he said, “Well, Bret, I will tell you what, if you promise to continue to do your reading and studying on these matters we will be patient with you coming around.” Within two years I baptized my three toddlers.

Yes, I know, from a Reformed polity position this was hardly according to Hoyle but it worked for me and I’m not sure any other arrangement would have worked. I thank God for Buster’s presence and patience in my life.

There in Longtown Buster had a friend named Hoy Bundrick. Hoy was also two generations ahead of me and had fought in World War II. More than once he told me the story of how he was with Patton in Europe and he figured having been with Patton in Europe he wasn’t going to be shy about asking Dot’s Father if he could marry Dot. It seems being with Patton in Europe filled Hoy with confidence.

Hoy, like Buster, was a good man. I slaughtered my first hog with Hoy and learned how to “use everything but the ‘oink.’ Hoy was routinely hosting pig roasts. He invited me to my first “Turkey shoot” and took me around the community introducing me to people that needed to be ministered to. Hoy consistently attended our midweek Bible Study, though he was true blue to his “Church of God — Anderson Indiana” connections. By that connection Hoy took me to my first “foot washing” ceremony. I’ve never done another one since.

Hoy loved Jesus and “the Lord” was always on Hoys mind. He would spend a good deal of time grilling me about this or that aspect of doctrine or denominational differences.

Hoy was also generous with his time. I was working two jobs (the Ministry and 30 plus hours a week with United Airlines in Columbia SC) and sometimes I didn’t know if I was coming or going. Hoy would, at those times, step into the gap and do this or that around the house. Hoy would cut the lawn, or fix this or that breakage (Air-conditioning, fans, etc.) in the Manse.

The thing about Buster and Hoy is that even though I was forty years their junior they always treated me with respect and honor. I never had to fight for my place with these men. Maybe it was a Southern thing. Maybe it was a military thing. Whatever it was they made me feel comfortable in my own skin. I did not have to put on pretensions with any of the congregation at Longtown SC. They loved Jane and I for who we were, warts and all.

The third WW II vet I knew was a man I knew the best of all three. His name was Carl Edward Jacobs. He was my Grandfather. Carl was born in 1916 and so when the war broke out he was 25, married, and with two children. Those men were a little lower on the draft board priority list and Grandpa Jacobs didn’t end up going to Europe until a little bit later. However, there was still plenty of fighting to be done.

More than Buster and Hoy, my grandfather spoke more about the war. However, this conversation didn’t happen until the last 5 years or so of his life. There were a couple thing particularly he confided to me in a conversation. I never coaxed this information. It just came in the context of a grandson talking to his grandfather.

The first arresting thing that Grandpa told me was about what happened to him during his time fighting in the Battle of the Bulge. Grandpa was driving with the Big Red One moving men and supplies around. If you remember the Bulge was the last large German offensive push. The German army now was exhausted and depleted of men and as such the German offensive was manned by soldiers who had seen either too many winters or too few. There was German boys fighting as soldiers.

My grandfather had captured some of them. He brought them back to the Commanding Officer to ask what to do with them. Now, if you remember the Germans came within a whisper of breaking through the Allied defensive perimeter and if they had it would have been a new war. As such matters were hot and heavy. This included the disposition of Prisoners of War. Grandfather had these German kid soldiers who were POW’s and he asked the C/O what to do with them. The C/O told him “Take them out back there and shoot them.” Grandpa Jacobs responded, “I can’t do that. I have boys back home not much younger than these boys.”

Grandpa Jacobs also said he was part of the liberating forces of some of the German concentration camps. He spent some time describing what he saw there. It left an impression on him. I don’t know if he realized that what he saw would be the inevitable result of any nation with prisoners who could no longer even feed their own soldiers on the front lines. I don’t subscribe to the modern narrative that the Germans were building death camps that were any more remarkable than the concentration camps of all other combatant forces in terms of attempting to kill people.

Grandpa Jacobs was decorated (Bronze star as I recall) for his valor during the Battle of the Bulge. It seems he helped clear a road for the trucks to get through after a superior officer had told him to “give it up, and turn back.” He was a determined man (some might say stubborn) so it did not surprise me in the least that he cleared the road after some Lewy told him to turn around.

I could never know for sure but I think Grandpa Jacobs wore some of the hardness of that war through the rest of his life. Granted, up to that point he had had a pretty hard life and so maybe it wasn’t the war but just hard-scrabbling it as a child in a really bad family life during the depression.

The man was a workaholic. To this day I’ve never seen a man work harder, morning, noon, and night as my Grandfather. There are many stories down this line that perhaps will be told another. Suffice it to say that being a dairy farmer found him up at dawn to milk, to then move on to the other chores (hay, chopping wood, silage, tending to the other crops, etc.) to be done to keep the farm afloat, to be followed by the evening milking. Today my standard for working hard remains the memory of how that man worked on the farm.

Hoy, Buster, and Carl — three men from what is called “the silent generation.” Three men whose lives ended up being bound up with what happened “over there.” Three good men who did not fight and watch their buddies die in order that this country would become what it now is. Were they alive still they all would take up arms again, only this time to overthrow the Communists in Washington and in every state capital in America.

They were good men. Not perfect but honorable and men today are not the men they were.

I thank God that I was given the gift of knowing each one of them.

Remembering My Grandmother Fondly; Eva Doris McAtee (Bower)

I’ve been meaning to write this post for several years now but it always seemed to get pushed out of the way for something else. Now, I am writing about her because I am feeling my own mortality more. I mean, it is not the case that I am having dark premonitions, rather it is a sense that if I don’t write about her, she may well be lost to the ages, seeing as there are not too many left around who remember and of that number fewer even still whose writing habits extend beyond writing out a grocery list. So, allow me to spend a few lines praising my grandmother, Eva Doris Bower McAtee.

Grandma McAtee was born in 1905 coming into the world as the daughter of  David Ezra Bower and Barbara Margaret Bower (born Chamberlain). She was the youngest of seven children being born when her Mother was 40 and her Father was 47. I know absolutely nothing of her childhood. When one is a grandchild one fails to ask those kind of questions and so her past is largely lost to me. I know she grew up in a hard scrabble life as was characteristic of much of rural America at that time. Her mother died when she was 23 and being the youngest she was left at home to take care of her Father who died when she was 31 and likely still at home. I say likely because this period of her life is kind of fuzzy. Her Father dies in 1936, she gets married the same year and she gives birth the same year to her only child, my Father.

So, 1936 was a bellwether year for Eva. No doubt still mourning over the death of her Father, Eva names her son David, introducing him into a home with several half-siblings. You see, Eva married Carl Bernard McAtee who was married to my Grandmother’s best childhood friend, Bertha Collins McAtee. Bertha had died giving birth in 1932 and in God’s providence, of which I know few details, eventually Eva, shortly after her Father’s death, married Carl McAtee and became an instant Mother to a rather large family that very soon included her own son.

I wish I could say that the marriage was a happy marriage but as is often the case with Step-Mothers and blended families combined with Carl McAtee’s reputed fondness for liquor Eva did not have a happy marriage to Carl. Of course, soon enough, the country is sunk in the throes of depression and one can only imagine the struggles of a woman trying to protect her own son from the dynamics of half-siblings that may have reason to resent him and her. There were all kinds of stories that I will spare you dear reader about those family dynamics but I will pass them by except to say that by all accounts they were not good years.

Maybe all of this is why I remember Grandma as being a resilient person. She was able to cope with the vicissitudes of life and did so without me ever remembering her complaining.

Carl Bernard McAtee passed away in 1952 after 16 years of marriage and 47 year old Eva and her 15 year old son (my Father) were left to make it with the help of her widowed Mother-in-law (Lorraine Reid McAtee) who lived directly across the old dirt road that ran between their houses. Grandma-Great was reputed to have smoked a corn cob pipe and lived by observing old superstitions (e.g.; don’t sit in a rocking chair that is moving).

Perhaps Lorraine had a soft spot for Eva, having lost her own husband (Murlin) in 1929 at 52 years of age. I know that David McAtee had a tender spot for his Grandma Lorraine McAtee as witnessed by the rose from her funeral in 1963 that remains pressed in his Bible that was passed down to me.

All of this kneaded grit into Eva. I can remember more than once my Father shouting to his mother (my Grandma), “Damn it Mom, would you quit being so stubborn.” So, my Grandmother was fiercely independent. That reality was demonstrated by the fact that she lived in her small farm-house in Tekonsha, Michigan until appx. 1969 without electricity or running war coming into the house.

When we would go to visit her, I have boyhood memories of the inside pump that would have to be worked to draw the water and then how we would have to heat up the water to do the dishes. One pan of water to wash the dishes in and one pan of water to rinse those same dishes before drying them and putting them away.

Grandma McAtee, being widowed, had to work to keep life and limb together. My vague memory recalls that she retired in the late 60s from an orphanage in Coldwater, Michigan. As I recall she worked in the kitchen as a cook but that memory is hazy.

I remember visiting her frequently. We live approximately 45 minutes away and it seems that many weekends we would go for a visit. She would always have the old archway cookies waiting to be generously distributed. As any rural grandmother from that generation she knew her way around the kitchen and visits to grandma were always characterized by a table full of food. My memory of her is often in this context as she puttered about the kitchen and dining room in her full length apron carrying this or that plate of food. When the food was finally set upon the table there would be a table prayer. A table prayer is so foreign to 2023 American families but in the late 1960s it was still something that was part of the furniture.

Speaking of meals, Eva spent a good deal of her time cooking wild game. Her farm house was surrounded by woods and fields wherein squirrel, rabbit, pheasant and deer were often harvested for the table. I can remember many a meal of squirrel and dumplings, or pheasant or venison cooked with perfection. She prepared them all and was involved a good many times in the pulling the pinions off the pheasant after being dipped in the hot water and paraffin mixture.

After the meal and clean up there was the inevitable family game of aggravation. She always used the white marbles. I miss those family times united around the throw of the dice and the movement of the marbles across the board punctuated by laughter and the sighs and giggle accompanying the progress of the marbles across the board moving home.

Grandma was a big Detroit Tigers baseball fan. I still have memories of listening to the radio with her as the Tigers battled the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1968 World Series. To this day I remember asking her what a RBI was and feeling like I had learned some deep secret that none of my friends would know when she told me.

Like most Grandmothers she never missed a birthday and on my birthday, without fail, she would put in the card she would send me in the mail her widow’s mite. Then when we would see her next I was sure to get a gift of pajamas for my birthday. At least that’s what I recall. I remember thinking at that time that I would never run out of pajamas.

Having lived a hard scrabble life, she was frugal with her money and so there was little excess associated with her spartan life. In 1980 I was hard put to meeting my rent obligation while living off campus during college. When she found out she sent me enough money to pay my rent with wise counsel on how important it was to be careful with my money.

I don’t think I ever heard a harsh word come out of her mouth. Maybe that was from being beat down so hard in her life. Maybe it was because she was just a kind person. Regardless of the reason, I was a child who needed to be around an adult who could only speak kindness and because of that I remember her, now almost 40 years since she passed with fondness.

Later in her life (appx. 1969, I think) at 65ish Grandma remarried to Floyd Persail. It was an adjustment to address her now as Grandma Persails as opposed to Grandma McAtee. Though remarried, I never felt like any of her affection diminished towards her McAtee grandchildren even though she inherited, via marriage, a passel of Persail grandchildren. She showed her humility when her new husband put up a large photograph of his former wife who was deceased in the middle of her tiny living room in the tiny house in Tekonsha. So far as I know she never uttered a word like, “What the blue blazes are you doing putting up the picture of your dearly departed wife so as to find it front and center in our home?”

It’s really kind of humorous because for years I would stare intently at that photo when visiting Grandma and wonder, “Who in the world is this woman who suddenly showed up covering most of the wall in Grandma’s living room?” It was only years later that I would learn that that was Grandpa Floyd’s deceased and honored wife Hazel. I’m now in my 60s and I can’t tell you that I would recommend this as a course of action for second marriages.

Grandma got to meet Jane circa 1981 while we were dating. She told Dad about Jane that, “I better be smart and not lose this girl.”  So, you see with that comment she had good people instincts.

In 1982 I moved away from Michigan. Before moving I had been able to help her with a bit of a crisis when Grandpa Floyd landed in a hospital with a clot problem. She needed someone to chauffer her back and forth to the hospital and as I was sitting out college for a semester because I was broke, I was able to aid her in those trips and in sitting with Grandpa Persails in the hospital. During that time, she was as steady and stable as ever. I don’t think I ever recall her being unnerved or worked up about anything. Straight and steady. Neither too high nor to low.

Before I moved away from Michigan to Maine in 1982 I visited with Grandma. By this time she had been diagnosed with a cancer. She was clearly distressed by that news and by the fact that her son had recently moved to Florida. With my Dad’s move to Florida and the news of her illness it is my conviction that she was feeling alone. Dad had always been there as a kind of extra layer of protection since his military duty had been completed in the 50s. I remember our last conversation. She said she had done some things that she didn’t want to recently but she felt like she didn’t have any choice. To this day I have no idea what she was referring to.

I was married to Jane in 1983. She could not come to the wedding due to the advance of the cancer. I know she would have given anything to have been present. A few months later in the winter of 1984 Eva Doris McAtee — my grandmother slipped this mortal coil. I wish I could have been near to visit her during her dying season. Not having her son or grandchildren around her as she fought cancer is still something that haunts me about her dying time.

Another of my regrets was that the Methodist Church she attended with their female “minister” was already far left. I don’t know how much exposure my grandmother had to Biblical Christianity. At this time I was Arminian and so while I could identify the leftism of her local church I wasn’t much good besides that.

As a wife, mother, and grandmother during some very hard times she lived a very courageous life. She was an important person in my life and as such I’d like folks to know a wee bit of her before she, and eventually I, are lost in the sands of time in terms of  the memories of the subsequent generations.

These are my 4-6 decade old reminiscences of my grandmother. Others may remember otherwise. Others may and should think it proper to correct where my reminiscences are not accurate. However, this is my attempt to honor my (grand)Mother.

The Totalitarian State & Its Wreckage on Community

“The totalitarian state … wages war against the community, because the community is a powerful rival government. It works to weaken the community, the family, the church, and vocation in order to strengthen its own power.”

R. J. Rushdoony
Inst. of Biblical Law Vol. II – p. 82

Whether it is sodomite marriage, the encouragement of trans-genderism the exploitation of our children, or the pushing of pedophilia, you can be sure that the tyrant state is behind it all pushing the destruction of community, family, and church so as to be without competition in the matter of ruling and governance. It is in the interest of the tyrant state to pursue a social order that maximizes atomistic individuality for where there is atomistic individuality there is no other corporate or covenantal entity which can challenge the god-state.

The pushing of multiculturalism fits in this agenda. Multiculturalism destroys previous community boundaries leaving the individual naked to understand and identify themselves only as against the backdrop of the God-State. Likewise postmodernism and post-postmodernism pushes this agenda for if there is no unifying transcendent truth then each man by their autonomous self decides what is truth for them. This destabilizing of the concept of stable transcendent truth thus feeds into the climate that demands the atomistic individual.

If you believe in family, church, and community the State is your enemy. Not only that but everyone who works for the State is your enemy inasmuch as they keep the beast operative.

This problem now though is complicated by the fact that the Church in the West is just as compromised as every other of our Institutions. Further, the clergy, exceptions notwithstanding, are likewise part of the problem and not the cure.

The flip side of the RJR quote is the necessity to build strong families in strong churches and so being a contributing member to strong communities. This of course requires a shared Christian faith as the adhesive that glues the family/church/community together. There will be no resisting the degenerating and dissolving work of the State or Corporate America or the Lugenpress without a shared faith informing these covenant entities. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “Either we hang together or we hang separately.”

In the context of all this remember you are going to be a minority. If you want to fight against atomistic-individualism as coming from all comers in the culture you’ll have to determine you’re going to do it as a member of Gideon’s small army. The fact that they we’re outnumbered by the Normies should not concern us and should only serve to strengthen our brotherhood and reputation in the future.

Keep in mind the well-known lines from the rousing St. Crispin’s Day Speech given by the king in Shakespeare’s Henry V;

‘We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.’ 

Ever wonder why the Father gives away the Bride?

There the groom stands. There is no Father to give away the groom because in keeping with Scripture the groom has left father and mother. The bride, however, has not left the home and should not leave the home until given to another covenant head. The Father still rules over the bride as her covenant head. The groom is then presented a bride by the Father in acknowledgment that the Father is transferring authority over to the groom. This is a picture of the Heavenly Father giving the church as bride to Christ — the son.

One addition here. The modern habit in weddings now of answering the question, “Who gives this woman to be married to this man,” with “Her Mother and I,” or a joint parental response of “we do,” is a Lilithization (feminization) of the husband and father. The traditional habit of the father alone answering, “I do,” recognizes the father’s proper place as the covenant head of the family and of the bride being presented. Men, if you include your wives in answering that question you are communicating that covenant headship is equal in the husband and wife and are screaming Lilithism at the new bride and groom.

Also, on the subjection of marriage, anymore it is the case that scarcely would anyone believe that a marriage contract is between two men, a father and a husband, regarding a free man and free woman’s capacity to marry. Before there is a marriage covenant between man and wife there is a marriage contract between father and prospective husband.

Being “free” is important. Being free provides testimony and agreement whereby both parties are clear of all bars to a lawful marriage. We aren’t helpless against Lilithism, Fathers have to get serious about this stuff. If fathers would get serious there would not be a need to try to artificially create “courtship” and all that kind of stuff that too often backfired in the homeschooling community. Should fathers of daughters step up and provide the protection of their daughters needed than artificial constructs like “courtships” would not be necessary.

Holy Matrimony is between the husband and wife – the actual covenant entered by vows, solemnized before witnesses, officiated by a minister of the Gospel, recorded in the family Bible and in the county court house after being published.

Done in such a way marriage is both under the jurisdiction of the family while the Church gives its imprimatur and all without the jurisdiction of the civil governments. That’s what self-governing Christians did from “time immemorial” of white Christian Anglo-Saxon people that lived in America and Europe. We have this rich, meaningful history and legal heritage of strong, bold, courageous people that didn’t live like lemmings.

Reason For Recent Low Volume Entries On Iron Ink

On 23 December 2022, I had a heart event. I did not have a heart attack. I did not have myocarditis. I had and have pericarditis. Now, the cardiologists tell me that in their field this is not uncommon to see. I suppose that piece of information was intended to make me feel better. You know … a case of bad news, good news. The good news is you don’t have this really really bad thing (Heart Attack). The bad news is you have this kind of bad thing (pericarditis). And one has to admit there is good news found in not having the really really bad thing.

However, this kind of bad thing is bad thing enough by itself but when combined with a  heart condition they reckon I was born with (aortic stenosis) it can begin to get disconcerting. Not to worry though because they also tell me that this is not that uncommon for Cardiologists to see as far as weird things being present in a human being.

On top of that one gets the random cardiologist who thinks that everything that has gone wrong with you means everything will go wrong with you and begins to tell you of the prevalence of aortic aneurysms with this condition as well the glories of open heart surgery and how easy the recovery from open heart surgery can be. My eyes were glazed over after that consultation.

It’s been quite a recovery ride and I suspect it may well continue to be quite a ride. They pretty consistently tell me that it will take at least 3 months to recover from this pericarditis. Some have even said 6 months. As I look back over the last month I would say that there is undeniable improvement from day one but I am impatient. I keep trying to push myself to do more than I should be, in order to prove to myself that I am getting better. (At least I have the excuse of one Cardiologist telling me to push through my exercise limits — a piece advice we learned later that is not shared by all Cardiologists.) As such, the last couple days finds me dialing my walking routine back from the 4.50 miles I was doing up to that point.

I have learned all over again about Doctors and Doctors offices and PA’s and NP’s and hospitals and how the WOKE agenda is affecting all that to the point of making me contemplate whether it is worse to deal with all the WOKENESS in the medical field or whether it is worse to have pericarditis. I can salute the cardiologists at the hospital as they refused the temptation to stick a needle in my chest to drain off the water from the heart that arises from pericarditis. They raised that as an option but counseled against it, believing that the water would subside on its own. I’d throw back a shot of whiskey in your honor guys except that pericarditis doesn’t like whiskey.

All of this, of course, has brought me to the place of being very intimate with my own mortality. When this condition was at high tide I was definitely beginning to contemplate my end. Now, I’ve had a couple close calls with death in my life and I’ve spent my share of time in hospitals in years past but not as from anything that was quite like this. This one brought me up short and shook me good — and I’m not easily shake-able.

The only way that I have been able to navigate the embrace of my own looming death (whether next week or in 20 years yet) has been to remind myself that my times are in God’s hands.

Psalm 31:15 My times are in Your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me. 16Make Your face shine on Your servant; save me by Your loving devotion.

I have had to remind myself constantly that;

That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (who of nothing made heaven and earth, with all that is in them;1 who likewise upholds and governs the same by His eternal counsel and providence)2 is for the sake of Christ His Son, my God and my Father; on whom I rely so entirely, that I have no doubt but He will provide me with all things necessary for soul and body;3 and further, that He will make whatever evils He sends upon me, in this valley of tears, turn out to my advantage;4 for He is able to do it, being Almighty God,5 and willing, being a faithful Father.6

Heidelberg Catechism 
Question/Answer 26

I have also learned that it is acceptable to be sad about and so mourn these kinds of events. Of course, very few people — even saints — want to die.  Most people desire to continue on with kith and kin. Some people want more life even if only to continue to being a thorn in the side of the enemies of Jesus Christ. As such, being sad at the possibility or likelihood of death is not necessarily sinful;

“It is not sinful to be sad . Blessed be God for that! Jesus wept. Tears have often been the food and drink of God’s people day and night. Sorrow is natural to men. It may become sinful, but it is not necessarily sinful. In fact, it is often a blessing, and does more good than gladness itself. Hear the wise man: “Sorrow is better than laughter; for by the sadness of the countenance, the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.” The day of desperate sorrow seems to be reserved to the wicked (Isa. 17: 11). To saints, no night is without its morning. Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Blessed is he who has the hope of salvation to cheer him along!

William S Plumer 1802-1880

I have also learned again how selfish I am. When being ill my selfishness becomes easier and easier to identify. Everything is about me. My health. My comfort. My recovery. My desires. And this despite the fact that I know of many cases around me where people are in desperate life situations who desperately need prayer and support. Yet, despite that, all I want to do is think about me. Even this blog post testifies to that. Here I am writing about me. Irony much Bret? 

It has been the greatest of comforts during this time to remind myself constantly that I am owned by Jesus Christ. It certainly is the case that the Devil does not (and has not) relented at times like this. He seeks to advance to plant doubts about the Father’s care. He does all he can to make me doubt Christ’s faithfulness and then my faith. He reminds me of my sin and all my various failures. (And there is plenty to be reminded of.) He is good at throwing us into any slough of despond he can find.

But at the end of it all I return to the Scriptures and the faithful exposition of my catechism;

Question 1: What is thy only comfort in life and death?

Answer: That I with body and soul, both in life and death,1 am not my own,2 but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ;3 who, with His precious blood,4 hath fully satisfied for all my sins,5 and delivered me from all the power of the devil;6 and so preserves me7 that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head;8 yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation,9 and therefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life,10 and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto Him.11

I want to live to be a Joshua/Caleb type of old man. However, there are a good number of things in life I have wanted that, in retrospect, would have been disastrous for me to have gained. Long life could be another one of those things. I don’t know. However, the Lord Christ knows, and whatever He gives to me as my Captain and Redeemer — as my great Liege Lord and great High Priest, whether long life or abbreviated, faith requires me to say;

“It is well with my soul.”

I would ask for prayers for Jane, who is on this ride with me. And of course I would ask for prayers for recovery. I am thankful to God for the leadership at the Church I serve as well as God’s faithfulness in providing Rev. Sam Perry in filling the pulpit here while I have been out. My heart could not take being out of the pulpit if I knew some typical hack clergy was in the pulpit mucking up the thinking of God’s people here. Rev. Perry has been a godsend and all of us here thank God upon every remembrance of him.

The Lord Christ has been faithful and for that I praise God.