I’m struck with the term “living as Easter people.” First-century Christians and twenty-first century Jesus followers. Those who walk the sorrowing-beyond-comprehension road to the cross, endure the darkness of what I call Silent Saturday(s), and begin joyfully—but with yet unanswered questions—obeying the “go” command of the risen Savior.
Just when I thought our lives were full with an unrepaired (unrepairable??) car, hospitals, doctors, financial challenges and unaccomplished tasks, I received the following email from friends (“Joe and Kathy”) ministering in Europe. With a bit of editing for security reasons and to preserve their identity and that of their friends, here’s the letter. (Underlining is my own emphasis.)
Where do we begin? Six months ago in a freak windstorm, a 50-foot blue spruce was uprooted in our yard narrowly missing the house but destroying the patio.
January 19: Flying home from B, Joe left his passport in the plane. While trying to retrieve it, get through security and still catch our connecting flight home to B2, Kathy’s glasses fell off her face. (Unrepairable—new ones a four-week saga—major expense.)
February 13: After ministry trips to S, C and A, we took well-meant advice and decided to stay in S2 for a relaxing weekend to celebrate Kathy’s birthday. After a good night’s rest in our B and B, a shower, some breakfast . . . A phone call . . .
Friends from our small group went over to check on things at our house… “My socks are getting wet!” was their exclamation. A small tube to our water filter (newly replaced ten days before we left and working fine) came apart and flooded our kitchen, dining room, two guest bedrooms and a bath. They cleaned up the water, we thanked the Lord for friends, and continued with our birthday celebration.
Next morning another phone call informed us that water had dripped through all the floors into the basement rooms, including the garage (Joe’s workshop). Three inches of water is standing in the basement and the ceiling is dripping with water.
Four weeks later: we have had six dehumidifiers running continuously. We have thrown out stuff, started boxes for a garage sale, had insurance adjustors, painters and floor experts here to give us repair estimates. European walls and ceilings are made of 13-inch clay bricks filled with holes, then poured over with concrete. How much water do you think each of these bricks can hold?? And how long do you think it takes for them to dry out? Answer: 1) Lots of water, 2) weeks and even months. We just passed the one-month mark.
Since then our newest fan quit working, the heating element on the dishwasher went out, and Joe’s computer crashed with no access to its data. Kathy tripped on a step collecting a few bruises and a fat lip. The thermostat on the furnace quit working, and we have no heat nor hot water and today it is snowing here in B2!
How is this affecting us? We have been overwhelmed, discouraged, depressed and tired. Short term we have had to cancel one (ministry) trip to B in order to be present for repairs and work. It feels like a diversionary tactic of our enemy. We choose to believe with faith that God is working in these events, in our hearts and in B in our absence.
Pray with us that we can get our two guest rooms back where people can stay and be refreshed. Pray that the basement dries out, we can get tools back in place and working, and create some order out of the chaos. More importantly, we need God’s wisdom to understand His will and discern His voice for all the many decisions, when not everything makes sense. This has not happened without His knowledge. We desire to walk with Him even in the midst of messes and disruptions and reflect His character to one another and those around us. We have sensed His presence and been encouraged knowing that you are praying for us, which has prompted us to… “…take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” (Ephesians 6:16 NIV)
In addition to the recital of events, what struck me most was Joe and Kathy’s outward/ upward look: they “choose to believe that God is working in these events”; they want their guest rooms ready for others and their heart’s desire is to walk intimately with the One they trust.
I know this couple. They are not pie-in-the-sky, praise-God-anyway people. We have laughed together and grumbled together. They are real life followers of Jesus who—in the midst of being overwhelmed, discouraged, depressed and tired—just keep following. They sound like Easter people.