|Home on the Range…
The people gathered around a campfire to have a “launch party” to launch a new project of landscaping and planting some new trees in the county park. As the marshmallows were roasting people began to sing some old, old songs just for fun. Then I heard a song I hadn’t heard in a long time – “Home on the Range”. “Home, home on the range where the deer and the antelope play, where seldom is heard a discouraging word and the skies are not cloudy all day.” I wondered where that song came from so I did some research. I discovered that “Home on the Range” was originally a poem written by Dr. Brewster M. Higley in the early 1870s. Higley was an otolaryngologist who came to Kansas in 1871 under the Homestead Act. He was so impressed and overwhelmed with his new home that he wrote his poem entitled, “My Western Home.” In 1873 the poem was published and music was added by Daniel E. Kelley, a friend of Higley. The song quickly became a favorite among pioneers and cowboys. President Franklin D. Roosevelt claimed it to be his favorite song and the Kansas State Legislature chose it as the state song on June 30, 1947. More recently the song has been used in countless movies, TV shows, and even sung by everyone from Willie Nelson to Porky Pig. Why would so many people be drawn to such a song? I believe because people are looking for a safe place in their lives where they don’t have to hear a discouraging word. The world in which we live is full of discouraging words and everyone gets discouraged. It’s not the same as fear or doubt. When you’re discouraged, you’re literally “dis-couraged.” It’s when a courage that you had previously has been taken away.
That’s what happened to Elijah in I Kings 18. God calls him to confront the prophets of Baal. Without so much as a flinch of the eye, Elijah does exactly that. But Jezebel, the wife of the king Ahab, who was prone toward Baal worship, put out a contract on his life. So he ran. Elijah had mustered plenty of courage to face 450 prophets and have them killed, but he was scared to death of one woman. So afraid, he went to hide in the mountains.
The work of being on mission and ministry can be discouraging at times. It happens because God call us to be engaged in a lost and broken world so loved by God. And there is often opposition from without and doubt and obstacles from within. I have a quote on my desk which says: “If you do anything significant, somebody is not going to like it.” When you have a message to give, a job to do, a person to love, or a task to perform and God is calling you to it, just be certain that you are likely to run into some discouragement. But here’s the good news. Just as God appeared in sheer silence to the discouraged Elijah hiding in the mountains, God will not leave you alone in the midst of it.
God’s answer to discouragement is HOPE. An acronym for hope is: “Heavenly Oriented Practical Experience.” It is when we can get through the muck of life’s disappointments because our live are oriented toward the Lord. Hope is God’s message for the muck. Psalm 42 reads: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” It is no surprise that the opposite of discouraging is “en-couraging,” or having courage put into our lives rather than taken away. That’s the business of the church, the body of Christ, the harbingers of hope for one another and for a world full of discouraging words.
– Wayne Van Regenmorter
5: Meeting/First Reformed Church/ Waupun, WI; Conference Call
6: Strategic Planning Meeting/Beecher, IL; Coaching
8: Meeting/Faith Church/Dyer, IN; Meeting/Naperville, IL
9: Meeting/Calvary Reformed Church/Orland Park, IL
11: Sunday Worship
13: Meeting/Homewood, IL
14: Conference Call
15: Meeting/South Holland, IL
16: Consistory Meeting/Reformed Community Church/Venice, FL
18: Travel to Seattle, Washington/Transformed and Transforming Meeting
Wayne’s contact information:
10088 Prairie Knoll Ct.
St. John, IN 46373
Mobile: (941) 302-1281