Thought for the Month (March 2009)

Dear Friends,

A long time ago an American President called Benjamin Franklin once said that there is nothing certain in this world except death and taxes.

I will leave the latter for now but of the former most of us have a view. The Christian view is that for ourselves it is not to be feared, since our trust and hope is in the Lord, who is faithful to all His promises. However, we know from experience that the parting from those we know and love is often hard and painful, and God knows and understands this.

In Jesus Christ our Saviour we have the complete revelation of God to His people and when Jesus lived on earth He did all He could to help understand what life and death are all about. We are told that Jesus taught His disciples in parables, little stories from life to illustrate what He meant.

Many years ago the Free Churches in England appointed a man to be a full-time evangelist for them. His name was Rodney Smith but known by all as Gipsy Smith. When telling stories from the gospels, Gipsy would illustrate them with tales from the countryside.

One such story, although not one of Rodney's, is the story of the mysterious journey.

A long time ago, the dragon-fly grub was living at the bottom of a muddy pond. He was curious. He couldn't help wondering what happened to the frog when he went upů. and upů.and out of the top of the world. He decided to find out for himself.

Most of the time the little grub spent grabbing things that floated by and trying to eat them. But the little grub noticed that amongst the creatures that live in the pond was a frog. Sometimes he was around, sometimes the frog just disappeared. The little grub asked his brothers and sisters "Where does the frog go?" "We don't know and we don't care", they said. "If you really want to know, go and ask him yourself." The little grub was a bit shy but plucked up courage and asked the frog "Where do you go, frog, when you go out of the top of the world?" The frog laughed at the grub. "Do you think this muddy pond is really all the world? Why, it's only a tiny part of it. The real world is up there; that's where the sun and the light is, and air and trees. That's where I go."

"What's light?" asked the little grub. "You know", said the frog, "where it isn't dark, and air is where there isn't any water."

"But there's water everywhere" said the grub, looking around. "Only here" said the frog, "but not up there."

"Come on", said the frog to the little grub. "I'll show you. Climb on my back and hang on". But as they got to the top of the pond, just as the frog jumped out of the water, grub fell off.

It was almost as if an unseen hand had fished the little grub back into the pond. "That frog tried to kill me", he said to himself. "This pond is the real world. There's only death up there."

Soon the frog was back in the pond and said to the grub "Why didn't you hang on tight?"

"I fell off and nearly died" said the little grub. "Dear me" said the frog. "I am beginning to understand."

"Do you remember? - he said to the grub - that brother of yours who said he wasn't feeling very well, how his head hurt and his legs ached?" "Yes", said the grub "I thought he was going to die."

"Well", said the frog, "I saw him climb up out of the pond, and this is what I saw. When he rested on a leaf in the sun, his brown skin cracked open and from inside a new creature with beautiful wings crawled out. He opened his wings and flew up and away. And that's where one day, little grub, you will go."

The grub passed on to his family and friends everything frog had told him. It seemed very good news and he further promised everyone if it happened to him, he would come back and tell them all about the world up there.

In time, the little grub began to fell unwell. He felt an urge to climb out to the top of the pond. "I will be back" he said to those around him.

Finally, little grub made it out through the water into the sun, and indeed he found he too had developed wings. He soared up into the air and sun. It was truly wonderful. But he said to himself, "I must tell my friends." He dived into the water, but an unseen hand kept him from going under the water. Flying around him were old friends who had gone up out of the pond, and he knew why no brother or sister had ever come back. Flying over the water, he called to his lonely waiting brother below.

"I can't come to you, brother. But one day you'll come to me."

Hope you liked the story. It was probably better than writing about taxes.

God bless,

Pastor Richard C. Blackwell

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Tunbridge Wells United Reformed Church