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Reflections from Water Valley

Written by Dr. Bob Hill

The Watermelon Carnival is an annual event in the town of Water Valley, Mississippi. Its origin is rooted in the days when the tracks and trains of the Illinois Central Railroad ran through the town bringing with them each summer's watermelon harvest. The Watermelon Carnival is reminiscent of technology, life, and dreams from another century. To many of Water Valley's returning sons and daughters, it brings back memories of a home and a way of life that use to be; back to the days of the famous engineer Casey Jones, who once lived in the city.

"A way of life that used to be;" how thought provoking are these words! The passage of time is a strange and awesome thing. As the old saying goes, "Time stops for no man." They point to a Biblical reference: "For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away" (James 5:14).

An event like the Watermelon Carnival helps us to slow the passage of time by allowing us to reach back and hold onto those dear, precious memories of home, family, and a simpler way of life. Some people enjoy the event as a delightful, temporary escape from the fast pace of modern life. After the festivities, however, time moves deliberately onward. But, onward to what?

Just what can we say of our brief lifetime? Some remark, "Eat, drink, and be merry; for tomorrow we die." For these restless ones, life offers a series of carnivals. On the other extreme, there are those who have tasted the harsh realities of a world gone wrong. They see little hope in life and have resigned themselves to a more pessimistic view. For these, life is death in slow motion. As the famous author William Falkner wrote, they see life from the viewpoint of the disenchanted one who lays dying.

Thankfully, the Creator of Time has not left us without reasonable purpose or hope. In the pages of God's Word, the Bible, He provides valid reasons why He created mankind. The Creator teaches us that He made someone like you to love and He made you to love Him in return and to enjoy His blessings. Check it out for yourself in Ephesians 1:4-6.

Simply put, God created us to be special for Him. He wanted, and still wants, to love some one just like you. In fact, God loves us as much right now as He did that hour His Son, Jesus, died on Calvary's Cross to pay for our sin. He died willingly in love, in order to offer us forgiveness and grant us His gift of eternal life.

If you are thinking this is too good to be true, you are partly right. The good part is that God does want to accept us and grant us His gift of eternal life. The hard part is that you and I must turn from our self-centered, proud lifestyle and ask the Lord to pardon us; believing His promise that He will - if we will.

God could have created us as robots, but He did not. He knew, if our love for Him was to be meaningful, that He would have to give us a free will, by which we could choose to love and serve Him or not. Knowing in advance the decision we would make, He still chose to love us and design a plan for our redemption.

"Time," someone has said, "is the proving ground for the soul." In His time, God grants life as an opportunity for us to trust and serve Him or not. Those who find God's forgiveness and acceptance through the Lord Jesus Christ, also, find His peace, love, and purpose.

If we are not careful, however, we can miss the best God has to offer, both in this time and in eternity. If we selfishly choose to neglect God, we are left with a meaningless existence and an emptiness of soul. But, this does not have to be the case.

In His love, God has a wonderful plan for each of us. He has a unique and special purpose for your life. Jesus said, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10). You can experience that life. You can know God's special will for your life. Will you not, in genuine trust, accept His offer of forgiveness and new life in Christ?

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