Chaplain’s Corner: Vol I

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” Psalm 46:1

As we are all going through this dark valley of Coronavirus, I want to share every week a message of hope and spiritual encouragement.

Back in 1980, a man named Bill Rittenhouse was driving through Kansas when he was passed by a loaded station wagon. Suddenly, a suitcase strapped to the top of the car worked itself loose. It fell to the asphalt and bounced to the shoulder.

Bill tried to signal the driver but failed. He drove back and recovered the suitcase hoping there would be some identification inside. He found clothing and a small white box with a rubber band around it. Inside was a $20 gold piece. On one side it said: “Twenty years loyal and faithful service.” On the other side were stamped the words: “Presented to Otis Sampson by the Northwestern States Portland Cement Company.”

After some difficulty, Bill found the address for Otis Sampson. He returned the $20 gold piece with a personal letter. It described his adventures during WWII, his escape from a Romanian prison and calling out to God for help. In fact, he wrote, “I can say that my relationship with Jesus Christ is my most prized possession.

More than a year went by. Bill assumed he would never again hear from Otis Sampson. But at Christmas he received a small box in the mail. Inside was the same $20 gold piece and a personal note. “Last Sunday, my wife and I were baptized…we want to tell you to have the gold piece to carry with you always. Our relationship with Christ is our most prized possession.

In the midst of major changes—like the ones that have been thrust upon us all this spring—we have the rare opportunity to think about what matters most.

What is the ultimate prize in your life? What is the one thing you hope and expect will always be there? The Psalmist reminds us God will always be there through all the changes in our life experience.

Some things we cherish may not end up one way or another on the shoulder of a rural highway, but many things we treasure will slip through our fingers.

What makes trusting God the real treasure? In poverty and abundance and in health and sickness we can never slip through God’s fingers. Not even in this scary time of Coronavirus.

God is our refuge and our strength! Let us never forget that.


Chaplain Ron Naylor