THE OLD DUSTY BIBLE
He was the wisest man I have ever known; he never spent time in a formal classroom—the land needed care and feeding. At the end of his life, he had little earthly possessions but was rich in blessings and wisdom. Stephan knew painful toil and sweat under the summer sun in choking dust would put food on the table. He placed all his trust in the prophecies and promises of his tattered Bible. Grandpa was a poet; his timeless words were simple and elegant, truthful and wise, always soft and caring, never rushed. Stephen’s wisdom was God-given; it is evident in his poem, “The Old Dusty Bible.”
We are in the middle of a move back to our Home in the Turtle Mountains of North Dakota; somewhere within one of those boxes is a copy of “The Old Dusty Bible.” I gave up looking; I can summarize his message because I have lived them out. His testimonial lyrics were born of the earth but fueled by the Kingdom of Heaven—
“By the sweat of your brow, you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it, you were taken;
for dust, you are
and to dust, you will return.”
The solution to a hopeless condition was simple to Grandpa; when you think all hope is lost, you turn inward and upward—you get the “Old Dusty Bible” off the shelf and read God’s message of hope. Stephen lived in perilous times that spanned two centuries. His youth was living in a sod house burning cow pies and buffalo chips for heat in the dog days of winter and sweating behind the plow in the sweltering heat of summer. Grandpa persevered through: two world wars, the great depression, and droughts and storms aplenty. He was a man of the dirt, a poet farmer; he was a pragmatist, his shield against the cruel world was common sense, and the discernment graced to him from God. Grandpa had a walking stick, his staff he called “Moses”—it was his reminder of forty years in the desert, and the Red Sea hope the promise of God. His Bible never sat alone to gather dust; the pages were torn and curled from use.
We have become weak and needy since the days of hard work to survive. America has grown soft in our hunger for happiness—we do not understand happiness comes from the sweat on our brow. Happiness is earned, not found. Happiness comes from persevering against all threats and placing all of our Hope in Jesus. It is time for America to dust off the Bible and get back to where we started—“In God We Trust.”
Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. ~ Philippians 4:11-13
The morning air is chilling and refreshing in October in the Dakotas—I sit with a hot cup of coffee in my car, awaiting the morning reminder that God is in control. Never fear with God on our side who can be against us.
The sun is rising—Time to capture the moment and share it with everyone–