This post is written for my “niecers,” Lindsay and Jordan. The rest of you are welcome to read along - DEREK
The “other side” of Memorial Day is the ubiquitous “Family Picnic.” Traditionally, the Florida arm of Rebekah’s family gathers at Joe and Cheryl’s domicile in Orlando.
The picnic typically features siblings Rebekah (Tampa), Joe (Orlando), and Jesse (Jacksonville), along with various children and assorted other relatives and friends. But the BIG DEAL this year is the “two-fer” high-school graduation; nieces Jordan and Lindsay, and the end of an era for “The Second Five.”
- NOTE: “The Second Five” refers to the cousins. Rebekah and her sister Rachel had “The First Five” in a frenzied sequence of baby production from 1981-1986. Later, after a long pause, her brothers Jesse and Joe got on board with “The Second Five,” 1994-2003.
The Second Five have always been “the little cousins.” But this year, with Jordan and Lindsay heading off to Florida Southern and UF respectively, those days are officially done. So they were showered with gifts and love and festivity and encouragement and – most of all – belief.
What I mean by “belief” is the fact that Jordan and Lindsay (and the other three) are being launched into “the world” from the context of a family ethos that understands the nature of providence. And this is the real subject of my post today: providence. What it means, and how it applies (or can apply) to our pursuit of this “Life-Charged Life.”
PROVIDENCE: “Providence” (as defined in GET REAL: a spiritual journey for men, p. 26) is: “A crossroads of sorts – that compelling place where God’s will and our choosing him work together.”
The idea of fatalism supposes that “it is written,” that what’s going to happen is – inevitably – going to happen, and there’s nothing anyone can do to effect the outcome. Whereas providence suggests a relationship between God’s intention for our lives and our obedient response, our choosing God, our saying “yes” to God’s creative plans for us.
Our great opportunity is to seize moments like that, to take Jesus at his word and to step unhesitatingly into the challenge of doing God’s will. When we do, there is no telling where he might lead us. (GET REAL: pp. 26-27)
Our family believes that our two beautiful high-school graduating nieces, resolute in their commitment to follow Jesus, are going to make a profound impact for good in this world, and that it is the context of faith that is going to make all the difference.
We understand very clearly that life does, and will, present huge challenges, and that there will be a steep learning curve over these next few years. Challenge is true for all of us, no matter what age we happen to be, and what context of life we are currently engaging; but the following is also – abundantly – true:
As surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.”For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silas and Timothy—was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. (2 Corinthians 1)
Or, as the last few verses are translated in The Message, “Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus. In him, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God’s Yes and our Yes together, gloriously evident. God affirms us, making us a sure thing in Christ, putting his Yes within us. By his Spirit he has stamped us with his eternal pledge—a sure beginning of what he is destined to complete.”
And that, dear niecers, is what I want you to take with you into the rest of your lives. God’s yes and our yes, together.
Love and blessings, always – Uncle Derek