Monthly Archives: November 2022

Brighter Days

by Timothy W. Tron July, 2022

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new;” – 2 Cor. 5:17

You know the feeling. We’ve all had them at one time or another. It had been one of those spiritual dry spells where it felt as if God was not listening to your prayers. Reading the word seemed difficult. Nothing seemed to be sinking in. It was as if there was a disconnect between Heaven and Earth. Searching for something, a sign, a voice, anything that would awaken the spirit within, my hand reached for the radio dial and tuned to a Christian music station. The gray morning landscape passed by the car windows – looming mountains shrouded in misty somberness slept peacefully.

Image from

The coffee had yet to sink in when something on the airwaves caught my ear, “I know there’s gonna be some brighter days,”[1] the voice sang.

Within an instant, my thoughts turned toward today’s youth and how they faced a seemingly uphill battle. For some, they have yet to know brighter days. For the collegiate individual, their time has been spent since their youth in scholastic endeavors, some now in their early twenties, still seeking to find themselves in an ever-increasingly dark and bitter world. But, then, at the same time, in a parallel stream, my mind thought of the elderly and how they, if allowing themselves the pity of afterthought, began to dwell on what once was comparing it today, would likewise find themselves seeking brighter days ahead. It was then the comparative contrast of the two was born and how each should hear of the other and be reminded that they are not alone.

And the song continued, “I swear that love will find you in your pain. I feel it in me like the beating of life in my veins. I know there’s gonna be some brighter days.”

When we think about it, we find two vastly separate age groups with potentially similar dismal or enlightened trajectories, depending upon where they are in life. Two distinct paths for each, both similar and both different but for obvious reasons. In each thread, there exists a level of anxiety, or as the song reminds us, pain: the student and the elderly both fear the unknown, but the latter’s eminent destination is far more grave – death. No one can escape it. One’s fear is far less severe than the other, yet each is embraced with equal resolve, or at the very least, should be. Graduation from an institution of learning is a joyous occasion. Yet, we don’t always perceive the graduation to our Heavenly home as such. For some, without a hope of a greater tomorrow, their earthly existence is all there is. When it stops, so does their hope – therein lies the potential for one’s anxiousness. In each graduation, there can be joy, or there can be anxiety. In life, one can find this contrast often. Like most terrestrial encounters, the life experience is almost always an infinitesimal glimpse of what the heavenly experience will provide. In this vain, we continue the comparison and share how the detrimental aspects can be lessened or completely erased when one finds themselves in the preferred spiritual frame of mind.

The melody continued as the dark peaks slowly emerged from the shadows of darkness, “Oh, ashes fall from burning dreams. On, never lived through times like these. Oh, if you’re trying hard to breathe in the dark, In the dark. I know there’s gonna be some brighter days (yes, I do).

Some say age is the great equalizer. Those dreams of fortune and fame fall like ashes from the burning flames of life. Reality begins to set in and childhood fantasies are replaced with the daily grind of existence. Before you know it, you’ve passed middle age and your body begins to falter. In our youth, we recover from ailments more quickly, but as most know, the more advanced in years you become, the slower those muscle strains dissipate – some become chronic, lasting a lifetime. My earthly father had almost all of his major joints replaced with man-made devices. Yet, even after all that, his pain persisted to the point he would say, “I know the day that I wake up, and there is no more pain is the day that I’ll know I’m dead.” His point was in heaven, there will be no more pain, no more sorrow. The body’s ability to regenerate often becomes the distraction to which many become victims. The soul’s health doesn’t seem as important when you feel immortal. But the day will come when all of that youth has passed away, and then, in those twilight years, some become painfully aware of the fallacy of their childish convictions. To make the point, imagine yourself in a stadium at a rock concert full of college-age students. A band is blasting wailing guitars through mountainous speakers, people are screaming, and you can barely hear your own voice. Meanwhile, your best friend is trying to tell you their most intimate life story. All you see are their lips moving and the roar of the crowd. Here and there, you catch a word, maybe recognizing the formation of the lips into something intelligible, but most of what is said is missed. When you leave, your friend feels like they have poured out their soul to you, but you feel little to nothing. There was just too much in the way. In that sense, many of us found religion in our youth precisely like those two in the concert. God was there for us. Maybe a youth minister spoke to us passionately, but we couldn’t hear them for the interference that surrounded our lives; the hormones raging, the chat texts blowing up, the fast times cruising the strip, or whatever led you astray – they all stood as an obstacle to knowing the Father.

In our youth, we don’t have the life experiences from which to draw. When we are young, the consequences of our actions are buffered by our body’s ability to recover from them if they are minor enough. Yet, in advanced age, those ailments become burdens. On the opposite end of the spectrum, those worldly pleasures are enhanced by our body’s youthfulness. Desires of the flesh are much more gratified by the hormone-induced will than that of the geriatric patient who barely has feeling in their extremities. One can’t help but to want to sin in our youth, while the elderly becomes numb to its sensation, allowing for the reception of the more spiritual aspect of life to become more significant. Here in this comparison, we can find how much more easily an elderly person might become a follower of Christ than a young person. Here too, we can see how much more unique and beautiful it is when we find a young person that is a faithful follower of Christ – because they have found, through God’s Grace, the ability to overcome those earthly temptations with the aid of the Holy Spirit. This is, of course, not meant to diminish the elderly believer’s faith. Likewise, some have lived in sin their entire lives, and to finally in old age, to realize that their whole lives were lived in darkness. Is this not just as monumental? Finding Christ in their later years is indeed as much a blessing as those young folks who find Him. Which brings us to this revelation: Regardless of age, salvation is priceless.

Either way, the act of regeneration of the body and soul is not easy at any age. As Paul wrote to Timothy, “Thou, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”[2] There will always be struggles when one seeks to become a follower of Jesus. The graduate must learn to balance starting a new career while daily reminding themselves who they serve. “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”[3]

Everything is a new frontier, a new challenge waiting to happen. Like those potential college graduates, the future has much to hold. Like the believer, the one who knows that when they pass from this life to the next, there will be an experience waiting that has no comparison. As a believer, the things of this world take on new meaning, new purpose. Again, these are only minute snapshots of our eternal home. We’ve read throughout the Bible the various prophecies of heaven and all that it holds, but in truth, no one on earth knows. Like those students with whom I recently asked about what their future would be like when compared to an elderly person, they could only see it from the bright side of youthful optimism. In essence, both are saying, as scripture tells us, “Death has no sting.” Christ defeated death on the cross so that we may have eternal life.

Physically, dying is hard. Even if the pain is removed, the eventual separation from our loved ones, that departure, is brutal. To some, the anxiety, whether from losing a loved one to the loved one going on to glory, is by far the greatest of all sufferings. In our own pain of loss, we often wish those that have died to come back, to return into our presence so that we can go on living as before. How selfish is that? C.S Lewis described wanting his beloved wife, Joy, to return from death like this. “What sort of a lover am I to think so much about my affliction and so much less about hers? Even the insane call, ‘Come back,’ is all for my own sake. I never even raised the question whether such a return, if it were possible, would be good for her. I want her back as an ingredient in the restoration of my past. Could I have wished her anything worse? Having got once through death, to come back and then, at some later date, have all her dying to do over again? They call Stephen the first martyr. Hadn’t Lazarus the rawer deal?”[4]

Herein lies the perspective from the opposite side of the coin. When one doesn’t have the gift of salvation, when all they know is only what this world has to offer, there is a genuine and foreboding sense of dread when facing the end. Whether it’s the end of the college career or the end of life alone, we often feel inadequate or helpless. Some mask their fears with an overabundance of optimism, only to cry themselves to sleep in the loneliness of a long dark night. Through the pandemic, we heard stories of depression and abandonment. Suicide rates skyrocketed as many who based their lives on the secular world’s existence became abandoned, castaways in their own homes. Even the believers who could not fellowship with others felt the pain of what it was to be like Christ on the cross when God seemed to abandon him. The separation from God is a fate worse than death. And so, we can find that without Him, we are nothing. There is no hope, no future, nothing beyond this life. Those who ignore the calls to join his flock, to become a believer, are like those students who quit and give up and find themselves forever regretting their decisions. While their choice to drop out of school is not for an eternity, and some do recover and have a successful life, their choices early in life affect the remainder of their earthly life. However, unlike a career choice, the spiritual decision has much graver consequences. The choice we make here in our short time on earth will impact our eternal life – damnation in hell or eternal bliss in heaven.

Finally, the song concluded as the sunrise broke through the clouds. As I parked my car, the morning’s glow reflected in the lake nearby. The words to the song matched the beauty of the scene before me, warming my heart with a feeling only God can provide. “I know there’s gonna be some brighter days, I swear that love will find you in your pain, I feel it in me like the beating of life in my veins. I know there’s gonna be a brighter day.

In the end, no matter the age, God’s love is there for us. We only have to accept him into our lives, confess our sins, believe that he died, rose from the grave and now sits at the right hand of the Father, and we too can know Him.

Your salvation is up to you.

There is no age limit. Yes, there can always be a brighter day.

Thanks be to God!

[1] “Brighter Days” by Blessing Offor,

[2] 2 Timothy 2:1-4 KJV

[3] Colossians 3:23-24 KJV

[4] A Grief Observed. Copyright © 1961 by N. W. Clerk, restored 1996 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Preface by Douglas H. Gresham copyright © 1994 by Douglas H. Gresham. All rights reserved.

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A Moment in Time

By Timothy W. Tron, June 2022

C.S. Lewis wrote about the holy spirit, “It is quite right that you should feel that “something terrific” has happened to you (It has) and be “all glowy.” Accept these sensations with thankfulness as birthday cards from God, but remember that they are only greetings, not the real gift. I mean, it is not the sensations that are the real thing. The real thing is the gift of the Holy Spirit which can’t usually be—perhaps not ever—experienced as a sensation or emotion. The sensations are merely the response of your nervous system. Don’t depend on them. Otherwise, when they go and you are once more emotionally flat (as you certainly will be quite soon), you might think that the real thing had gone too. But it won’t. It will be there when you can’t feel it. May even be most operative when you can feel it least.”

But to those that receive it, “And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred. And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick?For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.”[1]

If we were to interpret the holy spirit as a sensation, then it would quickly dissipate. Jesus even explained the action like this, “And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.” While some say this is speaking of the gospel’s truth, it can easily be seen how it also applies to the receiving of the holy spirit and, with it, the truth. For one cannot have one without the other.

Considering these scriptures and words from Lewis, thoughts, or rather, questions, began to form in my mind. How to encapsulate a testimony in so few words that it could be conveyed to a stranger passing on a twisty, root-covered mountain trail? From that momentary interaction, the planting of a tiny seed begins. How then can something more than a sensation, a feeling, be transferred in that split second of enternity?

 Those are the questions that arose.

The struggle with these thoughts were fully born the other night when my wife and I went to our favorite local ice cream shop for a treat. As we sat on our favorite bench across from said eatery, watching humanity pass before us, a young man and his daughter walked by. The father was dressed in familiar bib overalls, something that is second nature to my heart in clothing. A pair of worn but serviceable bibs with a t-shirt underneath is probably as close to heaven’s robes that I will know on this side of glory. That was the first thing that caught my attention. The other was his intentional stare. It seemed that he noticed something about me that also drew him in. As he slowed to get a better look, our eyes locked, and it was then I realized I knew him from somewhere. My mind raced through the fog of mental cobwebs trying to place him. It was as if we were in a duel, seeking the past. Finally, the young father stopped walking. He had proceeded so far past our point of rest that he had to awkwardly turn his head to continue staring. Then, as if neither one of us could not take the not knowing anymore, he smiled and said, “Don’t I know you from somewhere?” With that, he turned to face us. The little girl with him turned around and came back toward us, wondering who her daddy had found in a town so far away from home that he knew.

Benny Greenhill on fiddle, Max Burns on mandolin at Sharpe’s Store, Feb. 2010.

“Sharpe’s Store,” I replied in question, “at the music?”

He grinned a little bigger and turned to face us. “That’s right. It’s been a couple Sundays since then.”

“I’ll say.”

 “Are you still playing music,” he questioned, still trying to put the pieces back together.

“Some, in fact, they have a jam up here on Saturday mornings that I go to sometimes.” A vague recollection of him playing banjo seemed to fit

My mind was trying to recover names or faces that he might know, but it was as if my head’s fuel tank had run dry, and nothing would come. He seemed to be doing the same when he brought up a couple names or instruments that they played. But nothing seemed to trigger the right neurons, and so we left it at that and started talking about what brought him to town. He was obviously there on vacation, so we went over the usual suspects of destinations. He was leaving to go back to Bonlee the next day. By this time, my mind was frantically trying to pause time. As I looked upon him, it was apparent that he hadn’t physically changed much at all. He was still slim and clean-shaven. His children, whom I didn’t know he had any, were now old enough to enjoy walking with their daddy down main street in Blowing Rock. While I was still trying to drink it all in, he said, as if to reinforce my look of doubt, “The last time I saw you, you said you were starting to write a book.”

That last statement sent my head reeling into dates so long ago that it seemed multiple rivers had flowed beneath my proverbial bridge. It was over twelve years ago that something like that might have been uttered from my lips.

So much had transpired. It was almost beyond comprehension to put into words how much had changed. In other words, it was impossible to tell him that he was looking at the new me. What he didn’t know, nor do most people in my life, was that the writing of that book changed my perspective on life and my walk with God. It placed upon my heart an urgency, an impetus of motivation born from those ancient ancestors that gave their lives to share the Gospels.

Seven years ago, it had become too much. There was a frustration level in my soul that couldn’t be quenched by serving God just part-time. It was time to take the step off the proverbial cliff and devote all of me to Him. It was an immersion that would take my family and I hundreds of miles away from the only home my children had ever known – our Chatham county farm. My instincts were drawn to the mountains, both physically and spiritually – to a higher calling, if you will. The first year was one that I felt would break us, both financially and emotionally. It was our Israelite forty years in the desert phase. We learned to do without and to suffer. But we learned something much greater through all of those trials – that we couldn’t do it alone. We needed God even more than ever before. But how could I convey this to Matthew, a person who had almost entirely been lost in my memory?

But there, in those precious few seconds, there wasn’t enough time to tell the whole of the story. There weren’t enough seconds to convey what God had done in not only my life but in the life of those around me. Suddenly, as if the breath of life were about to be removed from my chest, an urgency came upon me. If it weren’t for this chance encounter, this momentary pause in time, we would have never seen one another again. There was an instant of longing to want to find a way to spend time with him and his family, but he said they would be leaving on the morrow. There was no way to reach out to him technically because, like so many where he came from, they have spurned those so-called advances, and for many good reasons. It was a finality of a missed opportunity that stung the most. There was so much to show him and his family they would have missed.

But then, if we are true to our faith, isn’t this a feeling that should possess us every day?

The feeling that we sometimes only have a moment in passing a person on the trail, walking past someone on the street, or even meeting someone only briefly in our daily life, to reach out to them to share with them the gospel of Jesus Christ. The sense that time would slip by before we could tell them how their salvation depends on the way, the truth, and the light of Christ descended on my heart mightily. This spirit of urgency began to drive me to seek wisdom and direction from the Word. And with it, a determination to seek out those who are lost, not by their own accord but through lack of hearing.

It was in this mindset of fleeting chance encounters that lingered when the sunrise beckoned, and it was time to go to the Bible Study on Tuesday morning. Dan, our teacher for the day, walked us through first Timothy, chapter four. He was enlightening as always, and for that, we were grateful. But the moment which is always desired, but rarely seen, happened after the meeting had concluded. My friend Richard and I had planned to go hiking and were about to head out after all the bustling of departures had ended. But in my heart, that lingering pause, that feeling that we should rush out just yet lest we miss something, seemed to loom over my earnestness to depart.

The chance encounter occurred when one of the elderly men, named Jim, came over to my table and began to share with me the enjoyment of reading that book Matthew had alluded to the night before, “Bridge to Heaven.” He started to ask questions, and as is usual, they brought back the flood of memories, emotions, and spiritual awakening that had transpired through its writing. As we talked, another friend of mine, Richard, joined us. It was just us three in the restaurant’s dining area at that point.

Jim began to open up about his own personal walk and how that very morning, his dear wife had shared with him her point in life when she came to Christ. She told him that he needed to know it because it was something often mentioned at funerals, how the believer came to know Jesus. Tears began to well up in his eyes as we could feel our own heartstrings being pulled.

As he continued to share, his own emotions began to flow down his cheeks. He then said he wasn’t sure if he had ever truly received Christ into his life. We both could hear the despair in his voice. Then, without warning, he continued. The tears of sorrow flowed from his eyes like rivers of relief as my friend, and I felt that moment open, like the clouds after the rainstorm parting and the sun breaking through.

“Do you want to come to Christ right now,” Richard asked.


“Then let’s do this,” and Richard began to pray over Jim, asking God to come into his life and give him the gift of eternal life through the salvation of his Son, Jesus Christ. When Richard was finished praying, he then, with head still bowed, said, “Jim,” as if to say, “take it away, you know what to do.”

With head bowed and heart in deep contrition, I was blessed beyond measure to hear our friend Jim pray to God, seeking his forgiveness, thanking him for his Son, and asking him to fully come into his life, once and for all. He battled through his flood of emotions so much that we began to embrace him through his change. The Holy Spirit began to flow, and that shaft of sunlight seemed to illuminate that little room until all three of our hearts would almost burst with joy. For a moment, time stood still, and the love of Jesus Christ filled us to overflowing.

Grace for grace became our measure.

As I sit here this morning, the day after, still reflecting on all that transpired in the past couple of days, it is with profound, heartfelt sincerity that I want to share how important it is that we seek those chance encounters. In those brief moments of time, we must find a way to stop time and speak into another’s life. Be always prepared to succinctly and as abundantly tell someone about the gospel of salvation, the story of Jesus Christ. And even more importantly, allow them time to come to Him in their own words.

It is truly a matter of life and death.

Thanks be to God.

[1] Mark 4:20-22 KJV


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