Category Archives: Hawaii

The Joy of “Hope”

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“Hope deferred (or delayed) makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12 (NLT)

“Miss, can I talk to you in private?” asked Hope.  Over lunch period, Hope poured out her heart.  “I don’t know what to do.  I am so scared!”

Hope was a beautiful young lady, a student of mine.  She was gregarious, pleasant, fun-loving  with many friends and respected among teachers.  Her future was bright from all indications…until I shockingly found out otherwise as she proceeded.  “I have just found out that I have cancer” she lamented.  “My world is falling apart!”

Stunned as I tried to comfort, I was wrestling with the tragedy that confronted this sweet girl.  What future awaited?  Was she going to be ravished for the remainder of the year as she began treatment?  How would she cope with this, school work, her social life?  I thought and prayed for her often.

Years later during Open House, I recognized Hope as soon as she walked into my classroom.  Her radiant smile, vivaciousness and joy of living was bubbling from within.  “I am doing just fine now” she said.  “I have a son and life is great!”  Hope had triumphed and was living her dream.  She had started her own family tree with a son, the joy of her life!

Stately palm trees look regal but when strong winds come, the fronds bend, clustered together.  Especially was this apparent during Hurricane Iniki as the winds buffeted Hawaii and pelted it with rain.

When tragedy happens, it is easy to give into despair, depression and with many questions to even God.  “Why did this happen?  What have I done wrong?  How can you get glory in this?  Where do I go from here?”  When faith is shaken and sleepless nights long as I feel such winds of adversity and feeling as though I am bowling over, how do I proceed into calmness and peace of mind?  Do I pray for strength no matter what the outcome? Does God really care?”

Yes, He cares.  The Word says, “They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season.  Their leaves never wither and they prosper in all they do.” Psalm 1:3 (NLT) Situations may not change, but I am changed within as peace reigns.

Let me be resilient, Lord, in this life You have given me; ever looking to You from where my help comes in any and all situations.  Your leading is perfect for me!

Trade Winds of Hawaii

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The wind blows wherever it pleases.  You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.  So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.  John 3:8 (NIV)

After our family lived in Hawaii for awhile, we became accustomed to two opposing wind patterns.  Most common were the trade winds from the north and east that generate cooling breezes, acting like a natural air conditioner.  Occasionally Kona winds from the south occur that bring remnants of the Kilauea active volcano in a form of volcanic fog (Vog).  The air becomes hot and sticky  with a plume of smoke winding up the island chain that saps the body’s strength.

So, too, is our spiritual strength depleted when our problems seem overwhelming.   We may suffer the consequences of stress, racing thoughts with physical repercussions.  Irritability and worry cause a cloud over our days as we cave in on ourselves, robbing our minds and bodies of fresh perspective and lightheartedness.  Our relationships may be marred and our entire frame of reference becomes inward rather than outward in our relationships. A heavy fog that clouds our life descends, often causing sleepless nights and tiring days.

As the desired light and refreshing trade winds that blow across the islands bring joy to all those there,  so likewise does the Spirit flow from His heavenly source.  He brings life and beauty of God’s presence to hurting, restless hearts and minds suffering under the repressive forces of darkness.  The Holy Spirit calms our minds and bodies with His glorious  presence flooding over and in us.  The focus becomes what God can and wants to do.  We breathe with His fresh thoughts and perspective that lend new insights and often problem-solving techniques.  We live the abundant life that invites our family and friends to interact positively.  His presence blows the hot, sticky air away and replaces it with His very own fresh air so that I now breathe with His strength.

Holy Spirit, You are patiently wanting me to enjoy Your journey for me over mountains and valleys.  Let me remember it is in the valleys where I can feel the God-given breezes of mountain-top experiences past and present.  You be my Life Guide and I shall willingly follow you in this path You design for me!

Buried Treasure

“We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7 (KJV)

I  had accepted  teaching Ancient Hawaiian Studies among other social studies courses in my certification area  at Lahainaluna.  I hardly knew Hawaii, or its proper pronunciation of Hawaiian words, its history or culture. I learned with the gracious help of a Hawaiian staff member tutoring me during  lunch hours on pronunciation.  Another teacher friend loaned an invaluable resourceful book.  My classes chuckled at my attempt to teach them but my aim was to present unknown facts to expand their knowledge, too.  By the end of the year we were all enjoying aspects of a rich Hawaiian heritage.

Fascinating was that Hawaiians of old sometimes buried their dead in sand dunes with such skill in positioning the bodies, that tides would never hinder their placement. Loved, honored and revered through succeeding generations, they were never forgotten. Oral histories of bravery and honor followed them along with their genealogy.

We, like the Hawaiian people, see death as the end of a journey and also a crossing over to a life not yet lived in a new world, a new place.  This earthen vessel which is laid to rest still houses the treasure placed by God within.

There is a story in the Bible referring to a burial scene and it is the first and only time that the word coffin is used throughout Scripture.  It is the story of Joseph having come to the end of his life’s journey and it reads he was embalmed by the Egyptians and placed in a coffin in Egypt.  The beautiful part of this is found in the interpretation of the word ‘coffin’ which means a hope chest.  To the bride, the significance of a hope chest is invaluable for in it is contained all those precious things that will become part of her new life in marriage.

The beautiful part of death to both the Hawaiian people and ourselves is the anticipation and preparation for a rich and fulfilling afterlife.   We have this treasure contained in an earthen vessel which also like that hope chest will be opened when we stand in the presence of our beloved bridegroom, Jesus, our Savior and Lord.  Remember Joseph’s request was not to be left in Egypt but to be taken with his family when they entered the Promised Land.  According to Exodus 13:19 (NIV) “Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the Israelites swear an oath.  He had said, God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up (to the promised land) with you from this place.

I can’t wait for you to come and gather us to Yourself in anticipation of the words You promised that we will be prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.   Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus. What a beautiful plan of making Your family complete.