April 15, 2006

Neosho, MO

 

"....in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist" (Rom. 4:17, RSV).

Christians everywhere are celebrating Resurrection Sunday (Easter), which some believe is the "most holy day" in the Christian religion, but in fact, everyday is Resurrection Day in the Kingdom of God. It came to me just this week, that God calls life out of death every day in the life of His sons. Our Father challenges each of us to see through the circumstances which present themselves, and view the unpleasant, scary, or otherwise disturbing events which seem to constantly befall us, as a divine "gift" to help us see Him more clearly.

Many of you reading this know that Lenny suffers from seemingly unremitting arthritis and fibromyalgia pain. He had asked the Lord to provide the means to allow us to spend the winter in Sky Valley Park (outside Desert Hot Springs, CA), where he could enjoy the benefits of the hot mineral spas and the warmer weather. The Lord graciously surprised us with the means to do just that. We really enjoyed the time away from our routine, and especially the opportunities to be with our daughter and her family and Lenny's brother and family and many friends. We left our little retreat the end of March and drove home to Neosho, arriving April 4th.

When Lenny turned on the water, we discovered to our dismay, that the pipes in the 5th wheel where we've lived for the past 7.5 years were leaking in 4 or 5 places, up, down, and all around. Water gushed out underneath and up through the carpet in several places. Lenny observed, "Only God could do this." I added, "It means He has something better in mind for us." Our old 5th wheel had many defects, including a broken refrigerator, windows which no longer stayed open without a stick to hold them, and a temperamental septic system, that no amount of "metamucil" would regulate. Before we left for CA in November, I had said, "Father, it would be nice if we could have a 5th wheel with a working fridge, at least, when we return." We've not lived under the same roof as our refrigerator for about four years, which means that we had to go outside and through the raindrops, snow, sleet, or whatever, to the barn where we had a used fridge that works well, but is a little inconvenient to get to when the weather is inclement. When I would be tempted to feel bad about this, I reminded myself that women in Afghanistan and other third world countries would be thrilled to have running water in the house and any kind of refrigeration device at all. Still, it did wear on the nerves after a while. We had not planned to buy anything right away, but take our time with it. God knows how we are, and He had something in mind that we didn't know about.

We drove to an RV dealership in Carthage, a neighboring town, and told the salesman what we needed, and most importantly, what we could afford. He had exactly one 5th wheel that fit our specs. We looked at it and liked it. There's another RV place right next door and we drove over there just to say we'd done our homework, but the first one we saw was the one we felt led to buy.

Meanwhile, back on the farm, our dear friend Connie who had been checking in on my mother while we were gone, getting her mail and feeding her birds, said she wanted to buy the old one. We told her we couldn't take any money for it because of the shape it was in, but she was welcome to have it. Her husband can fix the plumbing and the 5th wheel will fit into their immediate plans nicely, which God knew, of course. Her husband Ed and their daughter and son-in-law, and oh yes, a grandson, came over and helped Lenny pour a cement slab to sit the newer 5th wheel on, something we've needed for 8 years, as the old one sat on dirt. When it rained, the ground was muddy, and when it settled, the trailer was no longer level, meaning some doors wouldn't stay open, among other inconveniences. Connie's family blessed us with their labor and skill, which we appreciate so much as Lenny no longer can do the things he once did so well.

They delivered the newer 5th wheel on "Good Friday" afternoon. It's 3 feet shorter than the older one, but it has a slide out, which makes the inside appear and feel much roomier. As we drove to the farm from the motel where we'd been staying, it occurred to me that yet again, that our Father has turned sadness into joy and brought life out of death.

He does this on a regular basis, for Christ IS our life, and we are IN Him. I confess that Lamentations is not one of my favorite books to read, but I was thinking of the phrase, "He is new every morning," and when I looked it up, lo it was in Lamentations. Here's the passage: "The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him." The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him" (Lam. 3:22-25).

We hear from brothers and sisters in Christ who are facing much more serious traumas than ours: life threatening illnesses, troubled marriages, insufficient finances, and worst of all, insecurity as to their relationship with the Father. To them and to us, Paul the Apostle wrote words which inspire us to look to Him, not to our own abilities, and dare to HOPE that He who does all things well, will bring life out of death one more time, and one more time, and still one more time, until all doubt is swallowed up by His grace and unconditional Love.

"If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died, more than that, who was raised to life, is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us" (Rom. 8:31-37).

It's no surprise then, that when angels encountered men and women in scripture, more likely than not, their message was, "Fear not." Perhaps it was because coming into the presence of the divine is an awe inspiriting event, or maybe it is simply that when God is present, His love drives out all fear. Think of it this way, without scary circumstances, we might imagine we could roll along without God, but once He touches us where we live, we get it, we understand that only He has control; only He has the power to call the things that are not as though they were.

Lenny and I bid you a Happy Easter, and invite you to celebrate the resurrection miracle with us every day, not just once a year. As the Holy Spirit comes upon us, we are impregnated with the Holy Seed of God, the Seed which died once and went into the ground, never to die again. He cast off the grave cloths which bound Him to earth, and walked out of the tomb, bringing us with Him from death to resurrection, from being servants to sons, and carried us on High with Him to present us to the Father of Lights from whom we all came.

Father, we thank You for being. We fall on our faces before You in worship and praise, honor and glory, singing hosannas to the King of kings and Lord of Lords. Flow in us and through us, and make us a blessing to Your creation. May all that seek You find You now, Father. In You, we live and move and have our being. Amen. Jan Antonsson

Jan and Lenny Antonsson

17178 Highway 59, Neosho, MO, 64850 (Snail Mail)

The Glory Road

We would enjoy hearing from you!

 

jantonsson@aol.com

This writing was uploaded to the web 04/15/06,

by Jan Antonsson, webmeister,

and last updated 10/04/08.