God's little gifts of hope

Brenda Cannon Henley

This has been a tough weekend for any true Texan, and especially for those who make it a regular part of their lives to attend church, synagogue, Mass or other form of planned worship. Who would ever anticipate a gunman dressed in tactical gear, fully armed, walking into a small Southern Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on a beautiful Sunday morning?

Neighbors say the church near San Antonio normally has about 50 people in attendance. In my work with The Sword of the Lord ministry, I have visited literally thousands of small churches exactly like this one across our nation inviting the staff and members to attend conferences, women’s meetings and training classes.

We are told that the gunman opened fire, reloaded his weapon, and emptied it a second time killing at least 26 and wounding two dozen more. The pastor of the church and his wife were away in Oklahoma for a speaking engagement. Their 14-year-old daughter was in her place at the family church. She was killed.

I don’t have any fluffy or flowery words to write today. I honestly do not know why it happened or how anyone’s heart could be that cold, calloused, and centered on evil. If this does not frighten or trouble you to the core, it should. Parties, travel, alcohol, drugs, possessions or fame cannot wipe out or lessen the loss felt in our state and nation today. Hearts are hurting, and we can all say, “It could have been us or our church.”

So how do we go on living in this troubled world? Do we just give up? Bury ourselves in a foxhole of our making? Live unto ourselves? Become more bitter and begin to plan retributive ideas? No, we dig dipper into the Word of God, pray often, protect our families, homes, schools, businesses, and yes, our houses of worship now. And we trust God.

As I was mulling this over in my mind and with tears rolling down my face, I happened to walk by a little table I had placed in front of the window. I had put two old pots of flowers on the table to catch the afternoon sun.

I noticed this little pink bud and it is absolutely amazing to me. I thank God for it. It is not time for the greenery to offer new buds. This “Christmas” cactus has quite a story. My husband Ted bought me two of them (one pink and one red) while we lived at the beach before Ike so that has to be 2008 or earlier. Both have survived two hurricanes, several storms, several moves, undue neglect, lack of water, and at one time, loss. Since Ted’s death, they each bloom on Thanksgiving, Christmas and again at Valentine’s.

However, this year, it is not even Thanksgiving and I see pink. Of all the years if my life, I needed encouragement and hope in my heart. On that very sad November Sunday afternoon, I needed to be reminded that God is still in control. It is now Monday morning, and guess what: I woke up to three new buds. Don’t waste your time giving me your scientific explanation. I already have mine and I am grateful. God bless America.

Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788 or brendacannonhenley [at] yahoo [dot] com.