Monday, June 27, 2016


(To Our Leaders)

I can not judge your life or what you do.
that power stands with God who looks on you.
I know that you don't fully understand,
that I must follow God, not after man.

And all you see here now one day will pass.
The heart within the clock is ticking fast.
A heart that measures time as cold as ice, 
and steals from us each second as a price.

And when you are no more where will you be?
And will the soul inside you be set free?
And will you find what you were looking for?
And will you find your way inside God's door?

And just what will you see as you pass through?
And will the choirs of angels be with you?
And will you hear the voices you hold dear?
And will you feel the love of God draw near?

And as you pass along upon that day,
the ones you hurt may be along the way.
And will you bear that extra weight alone?
And will He hear you call from His great throne?

And when you finally reach that entry gate,
a million tiny souls will lie in wait.
And as your judgement fell upon them then,
your judgement comes to you as yours to them.

That pill will not block life without a scar,
in her God put life's ocean in a jar.
God's life, between one woman and one man,
you can not keep the ocean from the sand.

I can not judge your life or what you do.
that power stands with God who looks on you.
I  am not perfect, I know this is true,
but I must follow God, not after you.

From "Poems in the Shade of the Tree of Life"  by Dan Strizak

Copyright 2016 Daniel Strizak

Thursday, June 23, 2016

God, My Blind Brother, My Blind Dog and Me

This is a story about some recent events in my life and some lessons that God taught me. It is a story of how God used a series of events to touch several people in different ways.

The first part of the story involves one of my two younger brothers. In the last year and a half I have lost my sister, my dad and my mom. I am left with two brothers and a sister. The older of my two younger brothers lives with my sister in Arizona. I am not on good terms with my brothers and sister due to certain past events but that does not matter for this story. Despite our non communication my wife and I pray for both sides of our family each day. We have done this for a long time. 

My brother and I have argued with each other for years and have never been close. Assured by many self proclaimed prophets about the rapture, he spent 15 or 20 years waiting for Jesus to carry him off. Since this has not happened he has become bitter towards God. Years ago he built his own house, sold it and finally moved in with my sister. Recently he started to grow weak and lose weight. He eventually became blind. He was not a believer in doctors so I was sure he would die. I continued to pray for him daily.

My wife and I have no children, only a niece and nephew, and two small dogs. Dogs are a blessing from God. He sometimes sends his love for us through them. They are always happy to see you, forgetting when you have been mad at them, being full of life, each having their own personality. Holly, the older dog, just turned 15. Early this year she lost bladder control and we took her to the veterinarian and he found she had diabetes. We spent several months trying to control her diet, sugar level and weight. I used all my scientific skills to get her in control but I was not quick enough to save her eye sight. My wife mentioned what a coincidence it was that both my dog and my brother were blind and both had diabetes. I don't believe in coincidences. I prayed and God asked me if he could restore the sight of only one, which would I choice: my brother or my dog. I immediately told him my brother. Then there was silence.

The next week I got an Easter card from my cousin in Arizona. My wife said I should call her so I did. At the end of the call she asked me if I had heard that my brother was taking diabetes medicine and had an eye operation. His health and vision were restored. I told her that this would be a good Easter.

The next Sunday I went to church and while praying the Lord told me to that I should go receive communion, receiving with both the bread and wine. He would "Count it as good for my brother". (Catholics believe that the bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of our Lord.) I told my wife and she joined me. On my way to communion I told God that my brother did not believe in Jesus in the bread and wine, reminding him that you can only receive this for yourself. He laughed, saying as God he would find a way to touch my brother. He also told me to write my brother and tell him everything.

The next week we took the dog to the eye specialist. He said that he would try some medicines but he thought that her eyes would need to be removed to prevent pain and problems. I wrote the letter telling my brother about the dog and all that had happened. My brother had visited us once and Holly had really taken to him. I told him to pray for my Holly. I said God would listen to him since he knew what she had gone through. How clever of me! God would answer his prayer so that my brother would start talking to God again.

We visited the eye doctor again and he told us that we would need to remove Holly's eyes. I sent a text to my sister and told her to tell my brother to pray for Holly's eye operation to be a success. She answered back saying both of them would pray.

The next Sunday at church my wife and I both prayed that Holly would survive her operation. We both were upset that she had lost her sight but just wanted her to live. As I prayed, God told me that we should not fear for what may or may not happen but rejoice for what had been give to us. He told me to look at his son Jesus on the Cross. I had only lost my dog's eyesight, now I must surely know how hard it was when he lost his son on the cross. For the first time I saw with my heart what the crucifixion of Jesus really cost. God told me and my wife to receive communion.  He would "Count it for us as Good".

Holly's operation went well and I thanked my brother and sister for their prayers. I thanked God too. He looked at me and with a deep laugh told me that he knew how I tried to trick him into answering my brother's prayer. He said that the joke was on me because he not only got my brother to talk to him but he got my sister to talk to him too. He also said I got my prayer answered. Holly would have her eyes back. He then said that my wife and I would be her eyes.

Holly is a happy dog again. Despite her age, her diabetes and her weak trachea she survived with no pain, recovering amazingly quickly.

Every day I say prayers to God like this:
"I love you Almighty Father" (7 times)
"I love you Jesus" (7 times)
"I love you Holy Spirit" (7 times)

Last week after communion on my way back to my seat I heard God whisper to me:
"I love you Dan" (7 times)
I just laughed to myself with a big belly laugh.

Copyright 2016 Daniel Strizak

Monday, June 20, 2016

Lord of Divine Mercy

Lord of Divine Mercy

Weak I am and weak I'll be,
Lord of mercy carry me.
All strength comes from you I know,
from your heart all mercy flows.

Judge I may and judge I might,
everything within my sight.
If I looked within a mirror,
I would judge myself I fear.

I seek vengeance everywhere,
but for me the mercy chair.
Mercy is not just for me,
showers all from God's own tree.

Turn my eyes from my own self,
and leave my thoughts upon the shelve.
Help me see as you would see,
endless flood of your mercy.

I must drop all that I hold,
seeking mercy for my soul.
Mercy I can't hold in me,
I must pass it on you see.

Thief I am, and thief I'll be,
hanging on my cross near thee.
Though I fall on my own sword,
take me to your kingdom Lord.

From "Poems in the Shade of the Tree of Life"  by Dan Strizak
Copyright 2016 Daniel Strizak

Sunday, June 19, 2016

My Sister, Our Last Dance

This is my first blog. It is about an event in my life that happened in July 2014.  It is bittersweet. I include this first since God’s face was seen clearly to me several times during these events.  It is bitter when I see the temporary nature of the people, places and things that pass out of my reach in this world within the space of a single breath.  It is sweet when I see the hand of God in the small things near me, knowing all is well in his kingdom.

My sister Carol was a former ballerina and she passed away at the age of 58. We had not been very close over the years yet during her last  year we grew very close. Despite the fact that Carol lived in Arizona and I lived in Alabama, we formed a special bond at the end of her life.  I am writing about that bond since it extended strangely beyond some normal means of communication and involved a third party, God.

I  was born the oldest in a family with two younger brothers and two younger sisters.  Both of my sisters had been ballerinas. Since I had always been fascinated by science and math my sisters and myself never had very much in common. Over the years my sisters and I grew further and further apart.  Carol and I were the only one of my siblings married (except for a brief stint by my youngest brother) and God did not bless any of us with children. My sister and her husband always made me nervous since they traveled in some very dark corners. There is no need to go into the details.  Several years ago my brother-in-law died of a lung disease and left my sister penniless. My brother-in-law was probably a bad influence on my sister yet she loved him very much.  My family was glad to see him go and while I felt a certain relief I also felt my sister’s pain. I remember a kindness he once did for me near the end of his life and I prefer to remember him in this light.

After Carol lost her husband she was suddenly left alone with a large part of her life missing. Because of this she carried a heavy weight, pressing on her heart and soul. I remember this same emptiness before I found God, before I was given a wife to share my joys and sorrows. My wife and I both understood what Carol was going through.  Carol was also left with the further burden of our siblings judgement of her lifestyle, a judgement she could not escape. Carol was very near emotional and physical bottom and wanted to change. She had fought hard and abandon many of her old habits at a great cost to her health. One of her last battles, an unexpectedly tough one, that she was waging was to quit smoking. On three separate occasions she almost died from the medications the doctors gave her to help her quit.

The year before Carol died she told my wife and me that our mom was on the edge of death and we decided to visit her. Before our trip I continued to say one of my favorite prayers called the "Divine Mercy" prayer.  This prayer is a special one asking for divine mercy from God the father in his son’s name, thanking him for Jesus’ passion and death. The prayer can be summed up in a short phrase: “Jesus I trust in you”.  The prayer is said in times of  any need, but especially for anyone facing death.  It has been known to call down special graces from God displayed as a spiritual and sometimes physical effect.  Shortly after my prayers Carol called and told me that our mother had, according to the doctors, miraculously recovered.  The prayer itself is not magic, just a way of expressing our love to God and grabbing hold of him during a very hard time.  This recovery was an answer to my prayer, but also to the prayers of many others. God can answer multiple prayers at once.

We then visited my family, including Carol.  I learned that, unknown to us, we had arrived on the day before the anniversary of her husband’s death.  Both Carol,  my wife and I understood that God had arranged this meeting. I spent time telling Carol how I had found God, talking of how I saw his hand acting through so many people, places and events. I told her how he had strengthened me and I  started to teach her how to pray.

We returned home but I now started to keep in regular touch with Carol. I shared with her some prayers I knew and poems I had written about God’s power.  Then as the months slowly stretched forward I could see Carol changing, growing closer to God.  I watched and knew that there were dark forces near her, seeking to retain their power over her. I warned her of this and we all kept praying. The tide seemed to be turning against her. My dad suddenly developed serious health problems so Carol had to take care of both of them, taking care of their checkbook and the bills. Eventually my dad had to be placed in a care facility which she helped arrange.  Then her health turned and the years she had abused her body took their toll. She grew weaker and weaker and many of my siblings believed she was just being lazy.  Deep within my heart a still small voice told me she was dying.

As I entered the last week of my sister’s life we slowly began our dance.  This was our last dance, a scientist and a ballet dancer, dancing together over a thousand miles apart, talking daily on the phone and by text messages.  When the phone rang I would dread more bad news, yet when it didn't I would dread not receiving any news. Her spirits would sink and I would try and lift them, yet sometimes all I could think to say to her was “Jesus I trust in you”.

Carol was checked in and out of the hospital several times during that last week. I could hear her voice grow weaker and weaker, as if the dance was coming to an end. Then there came the end of the dance.  On that last night I was awakened in the middle of the night, my heart pounding, a voice inside telling me to say the "Divine Mercy" prayer for my sister.  I  finished that prayer,  another prayer and then my phone rang. It was my other sister telling me that Carol had just died. The dance was over.

I don't believe in coincidences. God had touched my heart and had me say that prayer at the exact time just before my sister died. I know it is a common thing for people to believe that anyone who dies is in heaven. I believe that we are either moving towards God through the power of His son Jesus or turning our back on him and moving away.  Just as I can not look straight into the face of a God who created creation, I can not know my sister’s fate.  I can believe, however, that it was God that had me pray. I can believe that he did this for a reason, perhaps more for me than for her.  I believe she is with him. 

I will leave you with one last thought. The Sunday after Carol’s death my wife and I went to church, as always, and kneeling before God I was deeply moved with sorrow.  I then went and talked with the priest, asking him to pray with me. When we finished I went back to my seat with a tear in my eye. Looking at the seat in front of me, I saw a small newborn infant.  My tear of sorrow immediately turned into a tear of joy. I looked into that tiny face and I knew I had seen the reflection of the face of God. God had winked at me and showed me that he would now be dancing with my sister.

“Jesus I trust in you.”

Copyright 2016 Daniel Strizak