Lori Lynch-Divine 


(Read) Daniel 5:1-31

The first time I visited my grandparents for an overnight stay on Deer Island I was about 4 years old. I remember feeling like I was going on a very exciting adventure. Everything was great until bedtime. Then I was frightened to think about lying down to sleep in a house where neither of my parents nor any of my brothers or sisters could be found.

          Patiently, Grammie said that since we were on an island, there was no way to take me home that night. She explained that the ferry only ran during the daylight hours and only if someone on the island was actually in need of getting to a hospital would there be any possibility leaving the island at night. But… she promised that if I still wanted to go home in the morning, she and Gramp would take me. Then she told me that I didn’t have to be afraid because “The Lord” was watching over me just as closely on Deer Island as He did when I was at our home in Pembroke, and she prompted me to say my prayers before she turned out the light of that tiny bedroom in their humble, but noble, little farmhouse. I didn’t know who “The Lord” was, but suddenly I believed it was safe to go to sleep.

The next day in the bright sunshine, all was well. I played and forgot about those things that I had been thinking about the night before when fear loomed large. Later that night, I became anxious again and we went through the same process as we had the night before.

On evening of the third day, just as the sun was about to set, I was riding with Gramp in his car back to their house after accompanying him on his regular  jaunt over to “The Cove”, that is-Lord’s Cove- Deer Island, N.B. That’s where their post office was, as well as the little general stores, where proud grandfathers  took their grandchildren to buy them ice cream cones and introduce them to their own friends and neighbors. 

Driving back to their house in the diminishing light, Gramp pointed out a local landmark.  It was an enormous wall-like rock which was embedded in a hillside along the road. What made the rock interesting was that there were three distinct vertical gashes in it that gave the impression of a hand mark. Or, not so much a hand mark, but rather a claw mark. 

Gramp said that the island legend was that those marks appeared on that rock wall because the devil had been up to mischief on the island one day and “The Lord Himself” chased the devil off,  as the devil ran away from the Lord he tripped and falling down, he reached out to catch himself and in doing so clawed those gashes into the rock. Gramp’s story gave me comfort then. It gives me comfort still.

Rightly so, our rational minds demand reason alongside of faith but we may overestimate the importance of reasoning since the point of a story is really not  about the “fantastic” details.  The point of my grandfather’s story was essentially the same testimony of faith as was revealed in the Book of Daniel.

People of the faith believe that there is a God who created life, who sees and knows all things. We believe that this God not only can- but does- transcend time, space and matter- however, whenever and –if- He so chooses. Naturally,  we want to reason God right down into a box that our minds can easily accommodate, forgetting that if we could to do that, then by definition He’d have to be a relatively small god. 

Who needs a god that is no bigger, no stronger than the best (or worst) of human minds? Give me the eternal, enormous, frequently mysterious God of Scripture- “The Lord”, our God, who consecrates vessels- both human and otherwise-for the purpose of revealing His good will and intent toward the world. I praise the Lord God who ultimately prevails, who promises a day of reckoning for unrepentant evil done against goodness . Pray and sleep well.