It has been far too long since the last post. In fact, it may have been so long that no one now cares to read about it because life has surrounded them with so much stuff—both good and bad, both enjoyable and miserable, both wanted and unwanted.
I suppose that there is a danger in writing down your journey while you are on it. Since the Father’s outcome has not yet been revealed, the natural tendency could be to offer judgment. Making oneself so vulnerable opens one up to such criticisms. On the one side you can the skeptics who are looking for the “angle” as to why this is being placed into the public arena. For those who think this way the logic is that there must be something you hope to get out of this. I must agree that there is something I trust to get out of writing this adventure down and placing it in the public arena. It is my hope that real people who are endeavoring to follow a real Christ will both see and begin to understand what that can look like today. There is not a promise of an easy journey in our walk from salvation to a heavenly eternity. There is talk of trials, testings, tribulations, even suffering. To be sure, there is also grace, goodness and glory along the way.
In his teachings, Jesus speaks about seed being sown on four different types of soil, along the path, in stony places, weed infested and good soil. The skeptic can be found in the weed infested soil in that—like the weeds—they choke out the hope and draw out the life of anyone close to them.
On the other side you have the religious ones who cannot easily line up your situation with the Word of God, therefore they must offer a religious reason as to why you are in sin—which is the only reason you would be going through this in the first place. For them your life is supposed to be wrapped up in a neat package of feel good emotions and blessings of comfort. To be sure there are feel good emotions and blessings of comfort to be found along the way. Their religious doctrine teaches them that such discomfort must be because of some unconfessed, hidden sin in their life. In the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life, he tells his disciples how much he desired to celebrate the Passover meal with them before he suffered. In the Evans paraphrased version he is saying to them, “I cannot express to you how excited I am to be sharing this meal with you. Especially in light of the fact that in a few hours I am going to be enduring a whole lot of suffering!” Both the comfort and the suffering are part of the journey.
That being said, the adventure continues. We are currently in Florida on a planned visit—although it has been extended because of extended family issues—my mother has been placed in a nursing home under hospice care. I continue to have sells as well as setbacks in my work. The children have completed school for the year—part of the reason for going to Florida, to visit family. I am able to do business in Florida, so I am able to bring in a paycheck while we are here. There is still no clear direction on the next step of the journey, but there is clearly the hand of the Lord present in our lives. We continue to pray for the Father’s positioning in our lives. Even though we do not understand His intension, we do recognize His provision. The children have been amazing in this trek. I will speak more about that in a bit.
The things that I struggle with during this time deal with both the past as well as the future. I have walked with God long enough, been in enough “life” situations where he has shown up that I find myself wrestling with our current situation based on past experiences. Never has the journey taken so long to come to the testimony of praise. This is when I remember the many stories in the Old Testament where the patriarch’s of old endured things for years. Noah took 100 years to build a boat in a landlocked area all the while asserting that he was obeying the Lord. Abraham walked away from everything familiar to journey to an unknown land because the Lord told him to go. He lived in tents traveling from one end of this land to the other waiting 25 years for the promise of a son to arrive—a promise given when he was 75 years old. When he was around 112 years old, the same God who made good on the promise told him to now offer up his (about) 12 year old son on the altar—Abraham complied because the Lord told him to do it. There is Joseph who was given a series of dreams about ruling. This journey causes him to spend the next 13 or so years in prison. There is David who was anointed to be the king of Israel. It was a journey that took somewhere around 15 years that included cave dwelling and living with the enemy—all because God had called him to be the next king of his people.
It is about this time that the words of Job come rushing through my mind when he responds to his wife’s inquiry about why he is going through this. His words are simply profound. “Should we accept good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” (Job 2)
Okay, so I can go on another day.
The future is the second element that attacks me. It looks hopeless. No matter which way I turn, there isn’t any clear path to take. A recent teaching series that I listened to calls it between a rock and a hard place. At times I struggle with this as perhaps Joseph might have because I/we are here simply because I said yes to something I believed strongly to be the Lord’s direction. There is both no comfort in that and yet great comfort in that. There are times when I feel that there is no way out, perhaps like David in the cave; then there are times went the promise of supplying all my needs according to his riches in glory or I know the thoughts I think of you says the Lord of a hope and future.
So I go on another day.
As I stated earlier, my children have been amazing during this journey. I have seen our oldest son begin to act like a man. This isn’t to say that he has stepped into manhood, but he is certainly well on his way. We continue to have family fellowship times where each member of the family has something to contribute–each leading the fellowship at their appointed time.
The children remain grounded in their faith in God although they have moments—like their parents—when things get to them. We continue to keep an open dialogue about where we are in our journey both praying over matters as well as celebrating the little victories as they come.