Ancient Horizon

Me and my brother at Persepolis, Iran circa 1978. Captured by my mother with a Minolta 35mm. Persepolis was built by Persian Kings Darius and Xerxes, friends to the Jewish people. King Darius ordered the continued restoration of the Jewish temple and Xerxes married Esther, who turned the tables on Haman and convinced Xerxes to save her people from destruction.


I hereby give official orders on how you are to help the leaders of the Jews in the rebuilding of that Temple of God:

1. All construction costs are to be paid to these men from the royal bank out of the taxes coming in from the land beyond the Euphrates. And pay them on time, without delays.
2. Whatever is required for their worship—young bulls, rams, and lambs for Whole-Burnt-Offerings to the God-of-Heaven; and whatever wheat, salt, wine, and anointing oil the priests of Jerusalem request—is to be given to them daily without delay so that they may make sacrifices to the God-of-Heaven and pray for the life of the king and his sons.

I’ve issued an official decree that anyone who violates this order is to be impaled on a timber torn out of his own house, and the house itself made a manure pit. And may the God who put his Name on that place wipe out any king or people who dares to defy this decree and destroy The Temple of God at Jerusalem.

I, Darius, have issued an official decree. Carry it out precisely and promptly.

Ezra 6: 8-12

The Waiting

Been thinking about that old Tom Petty song, “The Waiting”. Remember that old tune?  “The waiting is the hardest part”  Tom croaked at us back in the 80’s.  Before I get any further, can I just say that I don’t remember Tom being as young and, I’m amazed to say, good looking, as in this video. My folks wouldn’t pay for cable back then so I missed his early MTV career. I only remember him as an old shriveled rocker in the later years. Sorry, Tom…

Anyway, I have to give it to him, he was right. The waiting IS the hardest part. I think especially so for our generation as we travel through our days at light speed. We drum our fingers on the steering wheel during gridlock, mumble in frustration when the fast food line won’t MOVE, and growl as Internet Explorer sleepily loads a website. (tip: use Firefox, it’s much faster!)

It seems like there’s always SOMETHING we’re waiting for. In almost every season of life, we have a dream that hasn’t come true yet and it can rankle and goad us. If we aren’t careful, we become irritable, bitter, and angry that we can’t get our needs met. Many of us tell God, “Enough is enough!  I don’t believe in you anymore, you haven’t come through for me, so I’m doing this myself since you can’t seem to get it together!” And we go off to make it happen, only to find out later that in our impatience we made a wrong decision…we took the wrong job, moved to the wrong place, married the wrong person.

It’s not that God doesn’t want to satisfy our desires. But He lives in a totally different space/time continuum than we do. He works like the Colorado River that washed through layers and layers of rock and, in time, created the breathtaking Grand Canyon.  That’s the kind of masterpiece He has in mind when He works on us. Through the waiting He is carving out something beautiful from the raw rock of our souls.

What He’s asking us in the waiting is to trust Him…no matter what. That is what faith is all about. As Kerrie Roberts wrote in her beautiful song “No Matter What”…

Anything I don’t have, you can give it to me, but it’s okay if you don’t. I’m not here for those things, the touch of your love is enough on its own.

When we don’t have that kind of faith, our best response is to cry out “Save me! Help me in my unbelief!” And if you’ve never felt the touch of His love, there’s no need to wait any longer for that…