It is approaching 3 months since my last blog post. At that time I had just given my first sermon and was looking forward to a relaxing Summer... trying to just loosen my grip a little more on the things of life. but less than 2 weeks later the greatest "storm" I've ever experienced in my life (so far) happened. The sudden and tragic death of my oldest son was something that I was not expecting. The blinding white-hot pain physically squeezed my heart when I first heard the news. I was in a daze for the next 36 hours. Then the fog mysteriously lift as I made my way to the airport to fly to New York to deal with the funeral arrangements. What I didn't know at the time is that the news was announced at church services that weekend. 1000 of God's people were praying for me and my family. They prayed for peace, comfort, strength, and the opportunity to share the love of Christ with those who needed it. All of those prayers were answered...abundantly. Way too much to tell in even a blog post.
God is indeed amazing.Then two weeks after that, I was given an assignment that had significantly more pressure and time requirements. That meant LESS time for serving at church. It was brought to my attention that there were some new pension plan changes that would dramatically reduce my pension benefit. (This was on top of the change that the company made in 1999 that essentially wiped out my pension benefit) So not wanting to lose the rest of what little remained (and to keep more time for service), I made the decision to retire from IBM this November. Immediately I thought of our failed attempt to buy a larger, more expensive house last year. There would be no way that I could consider this decision if we had bought that house. So I now seem at least one of the reasons why the "King said 'no' "last year.
God protects us from things that we don't know.And while that is going on, there were some other family decision (all good) that would impact our regular routine.
Plenty of changes and tragedy in such a short time. By God's grace, never once did my faith in the Lord waver. I had to deal with the question, "You preach God's word and tell others to trust in Him for everything, but do YOU believe that?" The answer was an emphatic, "YES!" (there was never a moment of doubt)
I hope that I learned what I needed to learn and grow in the areas that I needed to grow. I'm looking forward to a time of quiet and rest but for some reason I don't think that is going to happen. ;-)