Sometimes Life is a Bit Nostalgic and today is one of those days!!
So I am asking the Question…Who Knew????
Who knew ?? that I would be born into a family so diverse.
My Dad- --the son of a Greek immigrant from South Side of Chicago…..the oldest of 5 sons and a man with one of the greatest work ethics I have ever seen, WWII vet and came to Jesus as an adult. He was constantly amazed that he lived to be 95!
My Mom—daughter of Scotch/Irish and English farmers in the UP of Michigan….
Who knew they would meet at a USO, marry 5 months later…..and build a family together.
Who Knew that Donna Ball ---a young friend in Chicago Public Schools in the 1950’s would invite me to, and then introduce me to Jesus at this little church on the South Side of Chicago at the age of 11. It was a girl’s Club like K-Motion.
Who knew that Char---children’s worker at that same little church … Would lead my only brother to Christ at the age of 10 and that his life would be taken in a tragic hunting accident just 5 years later.
Who knew?? that at the young age of 12 my family would move to Sault Ste. Marie to buy a motel, and that I would meet the wonderful man I have been allowed to live with for 49 years, and work with for well over 50 years.
Who knew?? that God would give us so many lessons and situations that we never dreamed were possible …and that some of these lessons and situations would be beyond painful and very difficult to deal with.
Who knew that thru these 48 years we would have dear hurting people come to our door with words like:
I really desperately want to drown my very handicapped baby
I am hooked on Crack—please take my money and hold it for me.
My husband, the son of a pastor, has forced me to have 5 abortions….
My husband is beating me, can you hide me?…
I am an alcoholic—please help me…
I really want to leave my husband and children and become a “call girl”
I don’t believe the Scriptures have the answers for my problems……anymore
I have nowhere to go, can I live here?
And even more difficult
Who Knew?? that some of our most loved and trusted friends would believe, be involved in and spread lies and rumors about their own Pastors and dear old friends….and in doing so, help to tear down an incredible beautiful ministry that God was blessing…..
On the other hand…..
Who knew??— that God would give us so many incredible blessings and teach us so many positive lessons in these 70 years of life and 48+ years in the pastorate---
most of them were extremely encouraging and fulfilling….such as:
1. Giving us 4 wonderful children instead of the 8 that I constantly whined and begged from God.
2. Sparing the life of our daughter Angela at age 5.
3. Giving us incredible spouses for our children
4. Giving us 10 of the most intelligent, KIND and beautiful children on the earth for our grandchildren.
5. Allowing us to love and minister to at the very least 4,000 dear souls over these 48 years in the pastorate. Even around the world.
6. Allowing us to watch people’s lives literally turn in the opposite direction and choose to serve this incredible Master of their souls.
7. Allowing us to go thru two huge building projects and survive
8. Allowing all of our children health and life….we have not lost one to death, which is amazing with how many are now in our family.
9. We have fellowshipped with, and loved and been loved by countless dear brothers and sisters in these 5 congregations and we are so so very grateful…
Who Knew ???? That God would lead this whole church on a journey that we never would have imagined . We were able in 1999 to move into our spacious new building that took at least a year to build. I honestly looked at that building every time I saw it, as an incredible miracle of God and praised Him out-loud that He would have been so kind to have given us such a wonderful place for housing Calvary Church. And if you were not here to go thru that process, what followed probably did not have the same effect on you as it did on me and others who had been in it for the long haul.. WE watched this blessing of God be swindled away by self-focused, thoughtless, entitled people who had no idea of the great sacrifices this dear congregation had made to have such a useful facility. We called it “An Altar of Witness” for the county.” It was built to be a church NOT a School. That was made very clear.
God will have the final say and we must lay it in His hands.
Because, WHO KNEW??? What LESSONS we as a “shocked and hurting” congregation would be able to tangibly learn about God’s incredible provision and protection all this time. We have been living kind of like the homeless, and kind of like in the wilderness for a season…hopefully not for 40 years.!!
So my question has been thru this has been thru this “mini-sermon”….Who KNEW???
And the answer to that is loud and clear??? GOD KNEW and HE does KNOW now…. exactly what is in the future of not only the lives of Bill and myself, as we retire from the formal Pastorate. But HE KNOWS exactly what He is doing in each of your lives and in the life of this whole congregation as a beautiful part of His Body …the CHURCH. And He even knows and is in control of this great USA that we are privileged to live in.!!
I am so grateful for the Scripture that has gotten me thru so many tough points of my life and now when I am aging, I am thankful that I can also look back at all the faithful ways God has worked things out …way better than my plans….as hard as that may have been for me to have seen in the middle of the storms. The truth for me and for CALVARY CHURCH, is that I can TRUST his loving care and strength and peace and wisdom to surround each of us in a very special way.
Please trust Him, and love Him totally, and Serve Him with your very best ability don’t hide your gifts…. And as you LOVE , Listen to and serve Each OTHER remember that HE KNOWS ALL!!! And is in charge of our FUTURE
ONE VERSE TO LEAVE WITH YOU….
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
And whatsoever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Benedictions and Isaiah 40....
IF you doubt that God is in charge and that He does know all....please study Isaiah 40 .you will see Him in all his spendor!!!.......my very favorite chapter. I LOVE YOU!!!