Monday, May 23, 2011

To The People of Joplin

Coincidence or Plan? And if a plan, whose?

On the Monday night episode of The Little House on the Prairie, on the Hallmark Channel, a tornado struck the Ingles farm. All the family was safe, including the dog, but not all the farm animals. The house was damaged heavily, as was the barn, but the entire crop was gone. And Charles was devastated. Later, in town, he tells his friends: “Find a buyer for my farm; I’m going home to Wisconsin in three days. I give up.” And he was beyond any of their consolations.

Little Laura goes to church early the next morning and tells the pastor that they won’t be coming to his Sunday service. “Pa says he has to fix the wagon so we can leave. But pastor, I don’t think that’s the reason he’s not coming to church. I think he’s mad at God.” And then the pastor and Laura pray together.

An old man and his wife show up at the Ingles farm and offer to buy it. “We once lived here, and we too were wiped out by a tornado, but now we want to come back. We’ve always missed this place.” He tells Charles he will meet his price if Charles is willing to stay on for a few days to help with repairs – “I’ll buy the materials.” And Charles agrees.

Much of the rest of the episode shows the old couple looking forward to the future, but dreaming of the happy days of the past, while the Ingles family is also considering the future, in fear and sadness.

One night the old man asks Laura if she says her night prayers. Laura answers: “not lately. I asked God to help my pa, but He didn’t, so I figure He’s not listening.” The old man smiles, “Is that really true? I think you were really asking God to help you, so you wouldn’t have to move, weren’t you?” And then Laura slowly nods. “You know,” he says, “God doesn’t mind you asking Him for things, and He may give you what you ask for, if it’s right for you. But He doesn’t like people lying to Him. So why don’t you kneel down now, and tell Him the truth of things.” And she did.

As the days pass, Charles has time to think. He remembers all the good times, and the people of the town. Meanwhile, the old folks remember the past too, and think that maybe they are too old to start farming again. On the last day, Charles realizes he has made a mistake. He also realizes that HE made the mistake, because he made the decision to sell without asking his wife or family.

In the end, the old man and his wife realize they can’t go back, and that the Ingles are making the same mistake they did --- and now regret. So when Charles tells them that he decided to stay on in Walnut Grove with his family, and will start over somewhere else, the old man and his wife look at one another, and say they’ve changed their minds also. Then Charles is happy, but asks: “What about the materials you bought; I can’t afford to pay you back right now.” And the old man answers: “Just make a donation to the church, when you can. We were married there, and we owe an extra thanks to God for all His blessings.”

The moral of the story is that if you don’t give up on life, you won’t have regrets later. You’ll never regret fighting through difficult times, together. Oh, --- and never stop praying.

A tornado, disaster, fear and an easy decision to give up --- and a lesson on the importance of prayer. I wonder if the people of Joplin, Missouri were watching tonight. I hope so.

Was the episode’s airing tonight a coincidence or plan? As for me, I don’t believe in coincidences.

People of Joplin, we will be helping you in every way we can. We’ll be praying for you. Don’t give up.

Do Not Be Anxious.

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