March 30, 2018 GREAT FRIDAY and Sunday’s coming!
Family and friends,
Hitting memories of the last 15 months in non linear fashion… The finality of this life has been experienced by many people we have known and loved, some of whom but not all are mentioned below. John and I have read some excellent books on different subjects, and one a New York Times Best Seller, THE BOOK OF MYSTERIES by Jonathan Cahn has revealed fascinating hidden pictures of many OT word pictures and feasts which show their fulfillment in Jeshua, Messiah, whom we celebrate this week. I love the picture of Passover when God’s death angel passed over the homes of the Hebrew slaves in Egypt who had wiped the blood of the lamb on the lintels of their doorposts, and now we once again look at "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world," and rejoice that that this Lamb is the Lord Jesus who bore mankind's guilt and shame and became the sin offering to make possible for us to receive his gift of righteousness. It is a miracle of grace and very undeserved. One of the amazing pictures in Cahn’s book... During the second Temple period a scarlet cord was tied to the Temple doors, and when all had been completed, the cord would turn white. (Isaiah had written, "though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.”) However, the rabbis wrote that at a certain point in history the cord stopped changing color, a sign that the sacrifices were no longer acceptable. They recorded that this occurred 40 years before the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD… Approximately 2,000 years ago today, He willingly let himself be nailed to that cross ...Good Friday, even better Great Friday when he became that final sacrifice! Not only was the inner veil rent from top to bottom when he died but also another barrier was also strangely removed. It was recorded in Tractate Yoma 39 from the writings of the rabbis that another phenomenon took place when the the golden doors of the hekhal, which led from the outer court into the holy place, began to open by themselves, also recorded as happening 40 years before 70 AD. The book of Hebrews encourages those who have trusted in Jeshua now to come boldly into the presence of God. This is Hallelujah news for those who now enjoy a relationship with the living God and have within them the gift of the promised Holy Spirit who indwells his children. No life can experience this completeness, this fulfillment (fullness) until Jesus is embraced as “the way, the truth, and the life.” He came to do just that. I often look at people and wonder how they can go on their ways without this hope and friendship with God. So much of life’s pain is left unexplained as Job himself experienced. It seems that that is where God gets a lot of glory when his people trust Him with the difficult unexplained and go on rejoicing that someday we will see just how holy, righteous, just, and good have been all that He is and has done!
On to family life events.. Our first grandson Daniel Lindquist wed Jordan Anderson
(ABOVE RT.) September 2 with lots of cousins arriving to celebrate the happy occasion In Maryland. More weddings are anticipated for the future which will include Price Gunn and Abby Beck (ABOVE LT) marrying in Quincy, Illinois in July. (They were engaged at our family reunion over the Christmas holidays with a surprise visit from her family which includes 6 sisters.) Next year will reveal the others after the engagement ring publicizes the news. Grandchildren still hold at 31 for us, but my Mother at 92 is expecting her 75th great grandchild due this coming September.
I will not cover everyone, but will start with Dan and Marvi who has had a good report from her doctor but still has diminished energy and some other physical effects of her treatment which add challenges to her busy schedule in Panama and in the States trailing back and forth to see their children there. Tanner will graduate from Virginia Tech this May, and Price graduated last May from Wheaton. Both JD (Marvi and Dan’s) and Paschal (David and Mia’s) will be headed to college next fall. David and Mia and children have found that duty in Hawaii has some real perks if you are an outdoors person with surfing opportunities between school and work. David was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and they expect to be there for a while longer, still making herculean efforts at getting to our family gatherings with wild stories of flying space available. Micah and Dan finally got into their new house after Daniel’s wedding and continue their incredible hospitality to family and friends. Emme is now a freshman at Wheaton playing on the tennis team. Josiah will finish up this May at Taylor University. Farr and Kimberly stay busy with writing and speaking and organizing with now the two older boys at the same private school and finishing up this year with home schooling the girls. Farr was recently honored with the Paul Ramsey award for his work in bioethics…….Howard and Michelle’s septic tank failed recently, and due to the rain they have not been able to have it fixed for weeks! Hopefully this week?! Their homeschooling continues for the younger 5, and Howard has been busy on several boards which keep him traveling along with his other responsibilities at Vanderbilt. John Reid and Laura with their 3 are still in Germantown where, due to the down Bond market, he is finding new ways to trust; in his free time he dabbles in art, and works on some commissioned paintings as well as featuring fishing ventures one can see on line with his Drift Fly Site; Laura continues to help with her organizational skills in different venues. Caleb and Betsy’s Marmilu Farms has been one tough venture with less adventure and more hard work and sleep deprived days than expected. They are wondering how this is to play out for their future. We enjoy seeing the 4 girls and having them for dinner on a regular basis when in country.
Due to a longer recuperation with our hip and knee surgeries we spent less time in Panama this past year, but always look forward to going there seeing old friends, reading, studying, and John’s prayer ministry which continues. My friendship with the women who serve in the Women’s prison has been a source of real joy and fellowship as we watch women come weekly to hear and engage with the claims of Christ, that he can bring hope out of the most dire situations if they will trust and do what he says. I remember when I started going years ago being so very fearful, but now when I enter the gates there is a sense of being welcomed once again. This past February we had the privilege of hosting Manny and Barbara Mills and her father in our home as he came to minister in several of the prisons in Panama sharing the message of his own personal radical redemption and journey of salvation in prison years ago. He now runs his own ministry from Wheaton and encourages local churches to engage those incarcerated with the love of Christ and the hope of the gospel along with the care needed when once they are released. One cannot but be encouraged by his radical love for the Lord Jesus and confidence in our God who makes all things new. I can’t read the word radical without thinking of him. He has written two books which are being used in the prisons to give a vision of hope to those who remain behind bars and then coming out to a new life free to make choices that are life-giving in the power of Jesus Christ.
We have now been a part of the membership at Cornerstone for over a year and have found the teaching of Scripture to be some of the best. I don’t want to say this carelessly, but there is a spirit of thanksgiving and care that we have rarely seen and an earnestness in so many who want to walk with Christ in a way that pleases Him.
Deaths and funerals... My Aunt Patty who lived with my Mother, quietly left her worn out body on September 12. We celebrated her life in Memphis with the many who had loved her and been the recipients of her gift for hospitality, especially to the nieces and nephews that she never seemed to mind showing up. Nabeel Quereshi whom I wrote about in last year’s letter was not given the gift of healing, but God took him home unseasonably early in his 30’s. His legacy will still speak through his books and the widow he left behind who carries on with dispersing what he said and wrote. My best friend from High school Renie O’Haver passed away suddenly in her sleep right before Thanksgiving, and our planned lunch date the following week never materialized. I think of the happy memories of our childhood and youth even more now that she is gone. While in Panama Mary Lois, my Wheaton roommate, texted me to inform me that Johnny her husband of 50 years had passed away on February 26 from complications of a stroke before Christmas. This was in the midst of the world wide news of Billy Graham’s death at 99 on February 21 which gave us opportunity to once again listen to what he had preached for over 70 years all over the world. Jesus came to bear our sins and to give us eternal life which begins even in this life to those who will put their faith in who he claimed to be. I read numerous articles and viewed many of those who said their lives had been forever changed by responding to the truth of the message…If you have not seen on You tube, "The Extraordinary Life of Billy Graham," do yourself a favor, and watch it with your family and a friend who may be struggling with life’s “tribulations” of which there are many. I was impressed at the power, the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and his life long humility of not being impressed with who he was. He wanted people, all people, to know of the Creator God and his Son the Lord Jesus and the relationship possible to those who would simply put their faith in Him. I could not but reflect on the difference in the world view of Graham and Stephen Hawking, the famous physicist who died a few weeks later, who did not believe in a “God who intervenes in the universe to make sure the good guys win or get rewarded in the next life.” That was wishful thinking to him. "But one can't help asking the question: Why does the universe exist?" he said in 1991. "I don't know an operational way to give the question or the answer, if there is one, a meaning. But it bothers me.” There were other memorials of lives we have known where we wept and reflected on the hope that awaits his own.
Friends near and far...Weddings, great nieces and nephews being born, grandchildren to be enjoyed, Esther’s (soon to be 96) and Mom’s continued health and the help and friendship of Esther Kang now in her third year with us are other gifts to us, old friends and family members in far away places to visit with and to reminisce over years past, watching our children navigate tests in jobs and training children keeps us on our knees and creates great rejoicing when as a family we share each other's burdens and rejoice in God’s provisions when he lets us see many of the answers to our prayers, Learning to wait is never easy, but it seems to be part of God’s child training, even to us old ones. John and I wish we had more energy to be with people we enjoy and love of both family and friends, but we are definitely aware of dissipating strength as there are a lot more cat naps in the evening.
Final reflections...Life described at the time of Noah was"eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage.” This can include work and the difficulties of making a living, sometimes with a lot of sweat of the brow. Caleb has experienced this for the last 5 years, and there is another kind of “sweating” when the bond market goes south, and federal laws do not protect one’s conscience in the practice of medicine, or the nervousness at times of risking one’s career for standing up for what is right and good according to God’s clear purposes defined in the Scriptures...Living with cancer and considering options of treatments, waiting to hear if one is accepted or has received a needed scholarship in order to go to school, whether to keep pursuing one thing or another with one’s time and energy, where to spend and give one’s money…This is what faces many of us, and will until our earthly lives are over.
I wish I could give the joy of reading to everyone I know as one is never bored, and it can be such a source of truth, often correction and encouragement. I am grateful that since I was a young girl I have had a hunger and joy to know God through his Scriptures in deeper and more intimate ways. This continues. Mornings are a source of feeding on the written word for both John and me and experiencing what Jesus promised, more of his living water. I am sad that so many of the next generation seems to have lost this amazing desire to encounter God incarnate through the Scriptures who reveal him.
With death on my mind a lot and also heaven (which is no dream), I think of what this week meant over 2,000 years ago for all of mankind (though not fully understood by many at the time)… The Promised One came and willingly laid down his life so that his own disposition in the gift of the Holy Spirit could be given to any who would receive it, is mind boggling. No one knows what this year will bring in the way of sorrow and joy. The news is filled everyday with victims of someone else’s anger and its results perpetrated on people going about school and work. One day this will come to an end. There is only One who will solve it perfectly, and for that happy day we await his Return!
IT IS NOT DEATH TO DIE (song sung on Palm Sunday at First Evan in memory of those congregants who had died this last year) I end commemorating those we have loved who have finished their pilgrimage.
It is not death to die, to leave this weary road
And join the saints who dwell on high,
Who’ve found their home with God.
It is not death to close the eye long dimmed by tears
And wake in joy before Your throne delivered form our fears.
O Jesus, conquering the grave;
Your precious blood has power to save.
Those who trust in You will in your mercy find
That it is not death to die.
It is not death to fling aside this earthly dust
And rise with strong and noble wing to live among the just.
It is not death to hear the key unlock the door
That sets us free from mortal years to praise You evermore.
With that I can say, "Amen."