I played racquetball at the Bethany gym twice this week – this morning with Joe, and a couple of days ago in a round-robin with Joe and Simeon. For both Joe and myself, this was our first time playing since Joe broke his ankle in December. It was good to get back into action. The physical exertion is very satisfying. For me, it is one expression of loving God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. It’s also a good way to connect with my son.
After racquetball I did some Bible study and had a good discussion with Simeon about some of what I was reading. I find it incredibly satisfying to be able to learn from my children, especially when they share with me what they’ve been learning about the plans and purposes of God. This is a great blessing.
One of the things we discussed was the clear evidence from the words of Jesus that God’s people should expect to go through a time of intense trouble and persecution before the Lord returns. In fact, persecution has been part of the experience of Christians in many nations of the world throughout the last 100 years, as the message of freedom through the cross has come into increasing conflict with political ideologies and Islamic and Hindu fundamentalism. No-one in their right mind looks forward to suffering, but it does have the benefit of revealing the true condition of our hearts. It’s easy to say we trust God when things are relatively easy – but the proof that our faith is real is how we do when we are going through painful trials.
Will my granddaughter see the painful trials that are predicted for the last days? My children? My wife and I? Although not even Jesus knows the Father’s timetable in detail (and our choices will influence the timetable to an extent), I have reason to believe that the birth pangs that precede the great Day of the Lord will intensify during my lifetime and that of my children. Lord, unveil our eyes and prepare our hearts so that we can stand.
Supper tonight was great. Usually Heather and Simeon eat at the Bethany cafeteria because meals are included with their rent for ministry interns at BHOP, but this week they’ve been cooking and eating at home with us. Tonight we had chicken pot pie and Simeon was in his glory. He loves Heather’s cooking. So many good things come from sharing meals together – laughter, conversation, good food. Afterwards Sophie had her bath in the sink – to the delight of several proud spectators. It is good to enjoy these everyday pleasures. There’s an important balance here – enjoy God’s blessings while we can without apology, but be ready for tests when they come without shrinking.