Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Father's timing

Today’s Reading: Acts 1:6-7 (NIV)

6 So when they met together, they asked Him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 [Jesus] said to them, “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority.”

Good morning!

It is hard to understand the Father’s timing.

During World War II, my grandparents experienced great emotional anguish as all four of their boys left the country to fight overseas. They had lived a simple and peaceful existence as cotton pickers in the Mississippi back woods. There was a great celebration when two of their sons returned home safely. My mother remembers the day officers arrived at the front porch of their farm, bearing the grim news that her oldest brother was held as a prisoner of war. The news was almost more than her family could bear; and then, just a few weeks later, they learned their youngest son had also been taken captive. Grandmother walked away from the uninvited guests on her front porch and headed toward the clearing at the end of their property line. She sat down, and stared into thin air. When Grandpa finally found her, it was nearly dark, and she was in a state of physical and emotional shock. He had to fetch the wagon and have help lifting her, just to bring her home. She didn’t speak or move for weeks. Grandpa thought he had lost her too. The first words she said were uttered to her Methodist preacher, who came and sat with her every day and read the Scriptures out loud. Grandmother looked him squarely in the eye and said, “Preacher, when will God bring my boys back home?”

My Uncles survived a nightmare most of us cannot begin to imagine. They suffered cruel and inhumane punishment. They watched helplessly as many of their friends died in prison. Both men were freed after the war ended and they returned home, forever changed by the experience. Rhe lives of all who knew and loved them were effected. We knew first hand what war can do to families, countries and the world. My grandmother knew that two of her baby boys were in harms way and there was nothing she could do to save them from it. She was able to lay this burden down at the foot of the cross where Jesus picked it up carried it for her.

The Disciples had seen witnessed the atrocities of life under Roman rule. They could not stand to see their people suffering the same torment they had endured for thousands of years. Jews believed in the prophecies of old; there would be one who would rise up – He had the Father’s power to change everything and would restore the kingdom once and for all. It was their promise just waiting to be fulfilled. They asked the Lord, “When will God save us? When will we live in peace and harmony again? How much longer do we have to wait to see His promises fulfilled?”

In our greatest adversities, we cannot begin to know or understand the Father’s timing. Like the Disciples, we stand in line and ask the age old question, “How much longer, Lord?” Jesus said, “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority.”

We wait for the day when all suffering will cease; when humanity will live in peace with each other. Christ will return to redeem His people and restore His kingdom on earth. It is this promise that we rely upon. This is our time to wait in faith, trusting the Father’s timing even when we do not understand it.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO


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