Straight Paths


Loren Hardin


   Larry was relatively young when he enrolled in our outpatient hospice program; relatively young from my perspective; only 55. Larry and his wife, Terry, lived up a narrow winding country road and ministered at a small country church next-door. Larry was calculated, deliberate and a little private. But when talking about his faith he was enthusiastic.

   Larry reflected: "Shortly after I was diagnosed with cancer me and my family went on vacation at Cumberland Lake. We rented a houseboat there every year. I withdrew from everybody while we were there. I needed to be alone to sort things out. But, I finally got to the point where I trusted God with my life and I was able to go on. But as time went on I started worrying about my family. I worried about my children. I wanted to make sure they were all saved before I died. I worried about how they would do without me. Then one day God asked me, ‘Larry, you’ve trusted me with your life, but why don’t you trust me with your family’s life?’ Then I said; ‘Yes Lord’, but not out loud. My lips weren’t moving, but my heart and mind were. Such a peace came over me." Tears filled Larry’s eyes as he lamented, "It took me all those years! I wish I’d trusted Him sooner." 

   I told Larry, "I wish I’d met you and we’d had this conversation sooner."

   Larry’s divine revelation and personal encounter with God, reminds me of a story from Pastor Jim Cymbala’s book, "Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire." He wrote: "Carol and I went through the darkest two-and-a-half-year tunnel…Our oldest daughter Chrissy…not only drew away from us, but also away from God…There were many nights we had no idea where she was…I tried everything. I begged, I pleaded, I scolded…But the more I pressed the worse Chrissy got…I knew I had to let go of this situation…One cold Tuesday night during the prayer meeting…An usher handed me a note. A young woman…had written; ‘Pastor Cymbala, I feel impressed that we should stop the meeting and all pray for your daughter…32 hours later…as I was shaving, Carol suddenly burst through the door... ‘Go down stairs…Chrissy’s here!’…As I came around the corner, I saw my daughter on the kitchen floor… rocking on her hands and knees, sobbing…She grabbed my pant leg and began pouring out her anguish. ‘Daddy—Daddy—I’ve sinned against God. I’ve sinned against myself. I’ve sinned against you and mommy. Please forgive me…Daddy…Who was praying for me…Daddy, tell me the truth—who was praying for me Tuesday night?’"

   Oswald Chambers wrote, "He comes where He commands us to leave…Are we playing the spiritual amateur providence in other lives? Are we so noisy in our instruction of others that God cannot get anywhere near them? We have to keep our mouths shut and our spirits alert… Wait on God and He will work, but don’t wait in spiritual sulks because you cannot see an inch in from of you! Are we detached enough from our own spiritual hysterics to wait on God? To wait is not to sit with folded hands, but to learn to do what we are told. (Utmost for His Highest, August 1)

   I don’t know about you, but I’ve had "trust issues" all my life, and still do. It’s challenging for me to take people at their word, even God sometimes. I can identify with the father who brought his son to Jesus to be healed and then cried out, "Lord I believe; help my unbelief," (Mark 9:24). 

   As a father and husband, I’m coming to realize that there are two things which are merely illusions; control and protection. I’m not The Father, I’m not The Son, and I’m not The Holy Spirit. God is omnipresent; He is where I can’t be. God is omniscient; He knows what I don’t know. And God is omnipotent; He can do what I can’t do. And He loves my family even more than I do. Therefore, in light of who He is, and what I’m not, you’d think I’d pray more and worry less. 

   "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and he will direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones," (Proverbs 3:5).

   Loren Hardin is a social worker with SOMC-Hospice and can be reached at 740.357.6091 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can order Loren's book, "Straight Paths: Insights for living from those who have finished the course" at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.