Infinitely Green

Infinitely Green

For a moment 
take me away
from the mottled colors
of autumn,
far from the music
of brass trumpets
and trombones,
for I long to hear the sound
of forgotten
woodwinds —

Huddled pines stand,
upon the splendid mountains,
with balsam fragrance:
infinitely green
this very moment,
before the egrets
of winter

by D. G. Vachal © 2012

*** Photography: Lake Tahoe by Jason Woodcock

“Where is Your Faith”?

“Where Is Your Faith?”

“And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, Master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commands even the winds and water, and they obey him.
Luke 8:24-25

The Gospels talk about a great storm that arose while Jesus and His disciples sailed across the Sea of Galilee. After being awakened by the terrified men, Jesus rebuked the wind and the raging waters, and immediately, there was a great calm.

Jesus was astonished at the state of mind of His disciples in the midst of the storm: He asked them one pointed question: “Where is your faith?”  The Lord’s question seems to imply that He knows they have got faith, but where was it at the moment?  And this question gives us a key to understanding the nature of faith.

Faith transcends ordinary human reaction, and hence it is not automatic, nor is it a result of reflex thought or action; it is not a matter of feelings alone, but encompasses the whole person, which includes the mind, intellect and understanding.   Faith is an activity that must be consciously put into operation. It is a response to truth.

How do we put faith into practice?

The first thing we must do when we find ourselves in extreme difficulty is to refuse to allow ourselves to be controlled by the situation at hand.  Faith is a refusal to panic.  The disciples panicked in the storm,  with the cold, strong winds tossing their craft, the waters flowing in, and they thought they were going to drown and perish. They allowed their predicament to control them, instead of applying their faith and taking charge.

The second step to applying faith is to remind ourselves as Christians of what we believe in and what we know.  If the disciples had only considered that Jesus was with them, the same Jesus who turned the water into wine, healed the blind and the lame, raised the dead, fed thousands, and performed many other miracles, they would not have feared.  Faith grasps on to the truth and reasons what it knows to be truth.

But there is value even in the weakest faith.  With their little faith, the disciples did the right thing in the end.  They eventually went to Jesus, knowing that He was able to do something about the threatening  situation at hand.

Each of us has been given a measure of faith, and should we find ourselves in the midst of trials and testing, let us take it as an opportunity to put our faith into action, to make our faith clearly manifest, to bring glory to our Lord, as we live our lives on earth.

Reference: D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression, Lowe and Brydone Printers, Ltd, Glasgow, Great Britain, 1965, pp. 134-147.

Image: Christ on the Sea of Galilee, Painting by Eugene Delacroix, circa 1854, in the public domain, courtesy of

November Comes, My Love

November Comes, My Love

November, my love
is here again
and you are near
for warmth —

so many storms and seasons
we have weathered,
and now my arms
are leafless poplar
calloused from treacherous
bleached by salty floods
of rising tides —

furrows are sculpted
upon my face,
where streams flow
into endless rivers,
and yet behold,
a multitude of buttress dams
cannot contain
the sparkle of my laughter
above my nighttime

November comes, my love,
and you are near.

by D. G. V. © 2012

The Voice of God

The Voice of God

“Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants.” Genesis 28:12-13

Since childhood, Jacob heard about the God of Abraham and of Isaac his father, and now, for the first time, and at a crisis point in his life, he sets on a journey to leave his home at Beersheba, and heads towards Haran.  When the sun set, he stopped at a certain place to rest, arranged stones on the ground for his pillows, and fell asleep.

Jacob had a dream:  he saw a ladder that reached to heaven, and angels were ascending and descending on it. And he heard a voice at the top that identified Himself as the Lord God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac.

For the very first time, Jacob realized the Presence of God: he had lived over forty years without realizing that God was with him all along. And now, in a deserted place, far from the comforts of home, he hears God’s voice, a voice that assures Jacob: Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.” Genesis 28:15

The son of Isaac and Rebekah discovered that he was not alone: a new life in his soul began when God told him that He would be with him everywhere, to bless him, and to protect him. At that lonely place, the God of Abraham and of Isaac became the God of Jacob. In that strange place, Jacob caught a vision of God’s purpose for his life.

God has been calling us from the very beginning, and we have a way, a ladder, to reach Him: His Son Jesus Christ.  In the words of Jesus to Nathanael: “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”  John 1:51  

Angels ascending and descending, not upon a ladder, but upon Jesus. An open heaven because of what Jesus Christ accomplished by His death on the cross to pay for all of our shortcomings.  For all of our sins.

Through Jesus Christ, we have a perfect link of communication between God and ourselves, and the way in which we can avail of this communion is so simple: it is by faith — that is all.

Reference: Louisa Clayton, The One Great Reality, “The Voice of God”, electronic book in the public domain, courtesy of, pp. 114-134