Thursday, July 7, 2011
Simple Trust in Changing Seasons
I will never forget June 2011! I’m not sure that I’ve ever experienced as many significant life events at the same time as I did during the first two weeks of that now very special month. The rising tide of events began with a major, but expected rite of passage for our third daughter Joana – her graduation from Case High School. As we celebrated her accomplishment and began to digest some major changes that would come our way as she embarks on her journey towards independence and adulthood, our other daughters had some major developments in their lives to share with us as well. Our oldest, Coco, was beaming as her husband Mike looked on with an impossible-to-hide-joy. I was pretty sure of what was coming, especially as I glanced at Luz and saw a knowing look. Coco didn’t waste any time, and shared with great excitement that she was expecting and we were going to be grandparents! Even though I was certain of the news she was bringing to us, I found my mind racing to digest it. Grandparents, with a 6 year-old! Oh man! Then, like a late night infomercial, our daughter Maris grabbed our attention and encouraged us to wait because “There’s more!” I also had some idea of where her announcement was heading. She had been dating Steve for over a year and it seemed obvious that their friendship had much more to it. My suspicions were again confirmed as Steve and Maris shared the news of their engagement. At this point, our youngest, Victoria, felt it was important for us to take note of the fact that she had completed Kindergarten and was now heading to the first grade! SO many changes occurring so suddenly! How does one digest so much life in one sitting?
At times like these, I go back to the basic, foundational truths that strengthen, support and define the faith to which I have devoted my life – faith in the trustworthiness and faithfulness of the Lord, Jesus Christ and faith in His great love for not only me, but His love for this big and sometimes uncertain world. Because of the faithfulness I have seen in the past in every kind of situation and circumstance, I can face the coming patriarchal decathlon of grandparenthood, parent-of-adulthood, father-in-law-hood and father-of-the-strongest-willed-child-we’ve-had-yet-hood too!
The Apostle Paul was able to display amazing confidence while imprisoned and to pass on his confidence to his understudy Timothy. When recounting the tests and trials he had faced and when considering the situation that had placed him in prison due to his faith in Jesus, Paul was able to encourage a free Timothy by sharing that he was not uncertain of his ultimate well-being or ashamed of his unusual circumstances.
Paul knew where his strength came from and held Timothy to the same standard of trust by saying this: “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.”
“Keep that good thing!” The Lord cares for us and delights in building our confidence so that we can truly hang on to our faith when the challenges press in hard. Sometimes he lifts us up in the most unexpected ways! On July 4th, 2011 at the urging of our daughters Joana and Victoria and at Luz’s request I conceded that perhaps we needed to experience the Racine North Beach Fireworks. We hadn’t really planned anything special and I was committed to a rather low-key 4th experience until Luz and the girls convinced me that getting out would be a good thing, even though I was rather tired. When we got to the beach, we had our requisite blankets, lotions and sand-castle construction gear, but not much else. I began to think, we have a couple of hours to spend down here, and I didn’t bring any money, food or anything! Not an ideal situation. Just as I was thinking this, a woman approached Luz and me. “Are you staying here for the fireworks?” she asked. “Well, yes.” We answered. She continued, “That’s great! My family and I have another fourth event to attend and we really over planned our stay. We have to leave right now, but want you to have our cooler and everything in it. There’s food, fruit, pop, water chips, everything you need for a meal. We hope you’ll like it!” She opened it up and sure enough, there was a feast fit for royalty. We gave her our deepest thanks and marveled at how much this simple act of kindness had blessed us when we needed a little boost in our spirits! He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him even until the day He comes or comes for me!
This “little miracle” gave us encouragement in the bigger situations we face. We were reassured that just as the Lord saw and met our need in this simplest of ways without our even thinking that He would, He will certainly meet us in the areas of our deepest need about which we ask Him everyday! Are you feeling stretched by your circumstances? Are you feeling tossed about by the storms of life? Don’t forget what God has done, and don’t lose sight of what he is now doing in your life. You will gain perspective, shore up your faith, and you just might gain a testimony that could be useful in encouraging others as well. Until next time…