Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Tale of Two Autumns

The poetry that is our little lives in the hand of the sovereign, holy, and good God is a lyric filled with beauty and wonder. However, the beauty of God's handiwork/craftsmanship in our lives (cf. Ephesians 2:10) is understood with respect to the whole, the bigger picture, much more than at the micro-level of the moment-by-moment chain-of-events/consciousness of our daily lives (although even there God's work is present if we seek to find Him by faith in hope - cf. Jeremiah 33:3). God writes sections of both major and minor keys into the lyric of our lives, parts that are allegro and some that are largo, pianoforte and pianissimo, staccato and fermata, crescendo and decrescendo, even instances where the simultaneous levels/notes of our lives seem to briefly clash in a momentary cacophony. And yet it is the trust and hope that our lives are being crafted into beautiful and glorious songs and poetry which are "to the praise of His glory" (Eph 1:6) -- and for our conformity to the glory/beauty of Christ -- which ultimately gives us the power to overcome the world's chaotic noise in order to sing our individual parts in the worldwide "chorus of faith" to God through His church (cf. Eph 1:22-23).
This whole reality has been again impressed upon me as I have recently reflected on the work of God in my and my family's life since last Autumn. It was one year ago yesterday (Sept. 25, 2006) that I awoke at 3:00 a.m. to a phone call that my only younger brother Timothy had just been killed in a auto-pedestrian accident in Tucson, AZ. Prior to this, I had lived for 34 years with a blessed (but perhaps naïve) inoculation to death (at least with regard to anyone particularly dear to me). Little did I realize at the time that this would prove to be the beginning of an avalanche, an extended dark, slow, and minor-keyed portion of our lives. Toiling through the next two months of seminary and full-time work with a wife who was 6-7 months pregnant with our second set of twins was an immense strain on all of us. Then came November 30 when Karen had to have an emergency Caesarean-section because our twin girl (whom we named Meagan Brooke) had a critically low pulse. On December 9, after 10 days of hoping and praying, the Lord took her home to be perfected in His presence. The next month until January 7 were spent then finishing up the incomplete assignments at seminary for which I had needed to receive extensions, and all while my wife and I were grieving the loss of Meagan while rejoicing the birth of her twin brother Ethan.
However, by stark contrast, this Autumn things have come full circle. Having graduated from Covenant Seminary in May, 2007, and having sought a call to pastoral ministry all Summer, the Lord is apparently opening a very desirable opportunity for us in Iowa as the pastor of a small but very solid Reformed Evangelical church. I can see that the trials of last Autumn have tenderized my heart and taught me to love more deeply in the midst of distress. I have seen the Lord provide for us in amazing ways which has increased my faith in his persistent goodness to us in every situation. Praise God for this past year, not because it was fun, but rather because it was full of grace. Our God, the Master Musician and Conductor, continues to direct the beautiful chorus of faith which he composed for us before we were even born. His music plays in and through us to His glory and our good. Amen.

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