Today's Reading

PART ONE

LIGHTEN UP A LITTLE

* I know life can be strange, but imagine being the very first guy to hear a parrot talk.*

I told a joke on the radio about a single lady who specified that at her funeral there be no male pallbearers. "They wouldn't take me out when I was alive," she said, "I don't want 'em taking me out when I'm dead."

On my desk is a three-page letter telling me off. It's beautifully written. But there's no return address. "You're just one more voice mocking single people," it says. Well, actually, I'm not. I'm a guy with close single friends, all of whom find this joke hilarious.

I think some of us need to loosen our shorts a notch or two. Half the population is full-time offended. They have no formal training, just a doctorate from the Department of Offense (DOO) which they received by mailing in two Corn Flakes Box Tops and a self-addressed, stamped envelope. I think they want us to be as miserable as they are. And the future will be mighty cloudy with these people in charge.

I once told of five-year-old Chrissy, who climbed onto Grandpa's knee and said, "Can you make a noise like a frog?"

Grandpa asked, "Why?"

"Because," said Chrissy, "Daddy said that when you croak we can all go to Disneyland."

Someone told me, "There's nothing funny about death. I'm sorry you think there is."

I was speechless. Few people my age have been to as many funerals as I have, thanks to Huntington's disease and cancer and a host of other unwelcome guests. Yet, in the midst of it all, the hope of heaven keeps me leaning forward. Laughter helps too.

But how can we laugh when times are hard and people disappoint? How can we lighten up when storms threaten and anxiety reigns?

May these stories remind us that we are loved unreasonably, that we are in good hands, that God has always done amazing things in the dark.


Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
"The LORD has done great things for them."
—PSALM 126:2 NIV


CHAPTER 1

WHAT TORNADO?

*Do you ever worry? I worry that the guy who invented the singing fish is out there working on something new.*

"Do not needlessly endanger your lives; wait until I give you the signal."
GENERAL DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER

No way! Unbelievable!" Steve yelled, dropping his jaw and a fistful of cherries. He was standing by our dining room table, staring out the northwest window, shocked.

We live on the edge of a quiet town. Population 4,000—if you count cats. Little happens here. Until that June day when our son was visiting. Could it be? A towering tornado appeared to be moving in the general direction of our house. It's hard to tell exactly where tornadoes are headed, so Steve did what any responsible male adult would do. He grabbed his smartphone, threw open the back door, and ran straight toward the beast in hopes of a better camera angle.

The monster touched down a mile from our house and began sucking up dirt and bushes and cows. The cows came raining down on our town, crashing through rooftops. It was a cowpocalypse. Okay, I'm kidding about the cows. But the rest is true. The tornado kept coming. Steve's mother hollered, "Get inside. Think of your wife, your children." But the boy kept calm and filmed on, capturing breathtaking footage.
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