It’s In Pop’s Pocket

by DanWolgemuth on April 17, 2014

I’m not exactly sure when I became a “handkerchief guy,” but that’s what I am.  Nearly everywhere I go I carry a carefully folded white cloth in my pocket.  I suppose this might have been initiated when my growing collection of whiskers made the flimsy tissues disintegrate into my mustache.  Unaware, I would then proceed through my day, only to be horrified when I caught a glimpse of my upper lip in a mirror… often hours later.  Enter cotton.  Enter solution.

With the introduction of grandkids into our lives, I’ve added to my handkerchief inventory.  With the escalation of potential noses to wipe and tears to swab a reputation has been earned.  When the tears flow; when the pain swells; when the heart breaks… Pops has the handkerchief.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)

But my handkerchief is just a preview; a sample; a snapshot of what awaits all those who embrace God as their Father.

When I open my handkerchief for action I don’t chastise or criticize; I wipe.  When I’m swabbing tears or blood or… I’m not critiquing or coaching; I’m wiping.

I don’t give my handkerchief away; I don’t hand the cloth to my grandchild; it’s my hand that holds the comfort; it’s my hand that offers relief.

Proximity matters.  I can’t wipe without being close.

God shows us the way.  It is His hand that will wipe away every tear.  It will be His voice that assures us that death will be no more.  It will be His handkerchief that carries the residue of my life.

One last time.  Our grief will subside.  Our pain will disappear.  At the hand of our Father.  Into the handkerchief of my King.


Compassion… North Dakota Style

by DanWolgemuth on April 4, 2014

A North Dakota fishing spot and a relationally-engaged Youth for Christ staff person provided the perfect conduit through which a memory could be forged.  Justin was hungry for an experience that involved both adventure and companionship; and in a single day he got both.

Some simple instruction and a few well-equipped guides provided the fertile ground for the unforgettable.  A northern pike proved to be the payoff.

Dennis, our YFC staffer, offered to clean the fish before Justin took it home, but Justin insisted on a fully intact trophy.  The wheels of Dennis’ car were barely stopped before Justin bolted to the front door of his house.  Within a few minutes Justin’s dad entered the experience.  The results were devastating.  Through a half-drunk and curse-infused eruption Justin’s dad screamed, “Get that thing out of here.”

Tears swelled in Dennis’ eyes as he continued to relate the story.  This kind of urgent need has fueled him in North Dakota for decades.  “Justin needs more than a drunk dad.”

Dennis’ tears were now my own.

And my tears had long ago been the tears of my Father.

Compassion is the gift that God gives us to enter the brokenness of others.  It’s the key that unlocks the door to pain and hope.

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”  (Matthew 9:36-38)

North Dakota was not on the way to anywhere… except to the heart of God.

When our heart breaks for Justin we understand more clearly why God rescued us.  He was less interested in rehabilitating a self-sufficient people group… He came to interrupt the inevitable; He came to ransom the captive; He came to break the cycle of destruction that leaves Justin at the door of a half-drunk dad.

God cares and a heart that swells with compassion is a tribute to His love.

Compassion connects us to the character of God.  Compassion in action connects us to the life of Jesus.

Justin needs more…

The harvest is plentiful.

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