It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve mustered up anything to write about. There are dozens of topics and issues mulling around in here, all worthy of coverage, some even really important. There’s just no forming up enough to get it together. Well, I have something, actually.
How God has worked out many, many things over the last 37 years.
I look on my pagan life – years, not distant enough, of denying the God of the Bible His right place as sovereign of all things – as the preparation and set-up of that which would come in 2003. Being a good Calvinist, I can’t see how everything just “worked out” the way it did prior to my becoming property of the King of Kings. I always was, just not in the validated, personal, realized way that is only reached by acceptance, submission, repentance and baptism. The Holy Spirit hadn’t flipped the switch that connected me to the kingdom.
I fell in love with a girl. She was absolutely the worst possible choice for me. A Christian kid, too young and too good for me. A witch should stick to his own kind. But God didn’t have that in mind. He drew me right to this perfect match out of the blue. A friend of a friend, letters, a couple of phone-calls and suddenly we were together, in the middle of a bunch of messes from parents to baby-on-the-way. No job, no future, nothing but this man and woman together with their heads spinning. That’s just the start. But the end state was Anika praying for me and God answering her prayer.
From the first time I pondered marriage and kids, I’ve wanted a daughter. Never had much interest in a son. Might be a result of my un-man qualities like despising organized sport, chest-beating, all-things competitive, whatever. So God gave me one. And this daughter was/is the most amazing one. She was the hardest thing I’d ever encountered in twenty two years of life. Molly’s arrival, I think, began the process that broke my back. When Anika and I got Molly, we got a package of life that was incredibly intelligent, capable, endlessly amazing, and beautiful. Only God could have stuffed so much into this brand-new person who suddenly came under our stewardship.
And God worked His redemptive theme right into my life through the arrival of Molly. She wouldn’t have had a Daddy if it hadn’t been for a moment of absolute insanity, a split-second of decision for which I cannot claim credit. God gave us the desire to keep her. That’s how it has to have worked. She needed a family. Sickly sinners don’t make decisions like that on their own.
Then Roen came. Roen had a very messed up leg when she was born. And she needed surgery right away to fix it up. but God put doctors and parents in place for repair work and love this little girl needed; who didn’t deserve a stitch of the hardship she got. And she walks now, bouncy and silly as if there had never been a problem. There’s a scar and a little bit of funny shape to that leg. A reminder of how valuable life is to God, and how He shows mercy and grace on the lame, broken, dysfunctional sinners in this world. Even before Roen met Christ, before I met Him, God was repairing damage, giving life.
Then Gwendollyn came. Almost didn’t. Gwen came out blue and purple, her life nearly snuffed before she opened her eyes the first time because of the tangled mess of cord. But again, the Lord had mercy. She breaths today by God’s goodness and grace. And God has added to her blessing a mind that is tuned to capture His creation in amazing pictures and other art.
And Joscelin. By the Grace of God, this surprise baby wasn’t safe from the curse of this fallen place. But through the capable, loving hands of a crowd of people, God assembled a resolution that turned a girl from isolation, a life scarred by autism into a beautiful, hope-filled, beam of sunshine who talks and hugs and helps and loves.
And to them, all four, He has given His Son. Jesus died for them and they know it. My girls belong to Christ’s church and have a place reserved for them in the new Heaven and Earth.
So I got just what I wanted. Four of them. And they’re, each one, nothing less than God’s grace and bountiful generosity wrapped in flesh and bone. I couldn’t have asked Him for them – couldn’t pray, couldn’t trust or believe. But that didn’t matter so much, because God works His will regardless of people’s opinion.
Had Christ subjected His life, death and resurrection to a vote, it would’ve been unanimously rejected. Nobody consulted with God about the atonement. And so, in a little-bitty way, neither did the Lord need my request or anything else from me to give this gift. Like salvation. I didn’t ask for it, I tripped over it when God put it in front of me. Now? I want it every day. Savor the reminder every Sunday and feast with my Savior at His table. Relish the memory of my baptism.
We don’t deserve all this. We can’t repay it. My girls have a Christ-loving home, however imperfect it is (dismally, most of the time), not because of their parents, but because of the Lord. We are all healthy and alive not because of our care for ourselves, but because of Him.
- Economy crashed? I have a job that sticks.
- Ran out of money? He drove me right into a second job.
- He led us through all sorts of confusion and the misleading modern world to a church that honors Him and teaches the Truth.
- He has preserved us through hurricanes.
- He has kept us warm and safe in a blizzard after wrecking our car on the highway.
- He has saved our lives by parents, Christians, doctors and soldiers more than a few times.
- We’ve been kept safe in planes and ships and cars. From dogs and weapons and thugs and disease.
- He has held our family together through long separations, war, hopelessness and helplessness. For about 15 years now, we’ve grown as a family. No attrition.
- My kids are surviving public school. They have been protected day in and out from the sickly stench of drugs, immorality, vulgarity and God-hating culture. An unhappy side effect is that reminder that we’re still sorely messed up and still in dire need of a Savior, even if He has shielded us from the extremities of Sodom.
Yeah, today is my birthday. I don’t deserve any of this. Gifts throughout the year, every year, have come down from On High. By God’s grace, I’m here. Rich beyond all measure.
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! – Romans 7:25
And… If you survived the really long read, here’s a treat that can only be enjoyed once in a lifetime: