It is easy to get discouraged in the world in which we live, especially as a believer seeing the spiritual decline of our own culture and nation. The world is under a curse because of sin and the heart of man which as Jeremiah said is “more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick” (Jer. 17:9). So no wonder we are in the mess we are in. But, through it all we still get glimpses of the majesty of our God and the beauty of His physical creation and the wonder of those whose lives have been gloriously transformed by His grace and are “new creatures” in Christ (II Cor. 5:17).
We experienced some of those “special blessings” this past week as we traveled to Oregon to help our son and daughter-in-law and family move to another house in Oregon City. They had initially planned to move mid-August, but their buyer backed out at the last minute. Fortunately they found another buyer and were still able to get the house they had purchased, one that is a bit bigger and in a much nicer, friendlier neighborhood. Since we had driven in September to visit in Oregon–not knowing for sure if the move was even going to happen this fall–we decided this time to make the trip by train from Libby to Portland. Since the train leaves here at 11 p.m. and returns at 5:30 a.m., we traveled at night and didn’t lose two days on the road as is the case by car. We also got to see both a sunrise along the Columbia River on the way to Portland and a sunset on the way back to Montana. Wow, it was totally spectacular! First of all the colors of the deciduous trees and shrubs are at their peak. It was a continuous display of yellows, oranges and reds contrasting to the evergreens and the bright blue skies, as the week was clear, warm and dry. (When we were there in September, we experienced 4 inches of rain over one weekend in the wettest September on record!). On the trip over, as the sun came up it was shining through the fog hovering over the Columbia River which was nearly solid with fishing boats where the Deschutes River enters. The sun gave the fog a rosy tint and created a magnificent picture. It reminded me that, though there is turmoil, chaos, cruelty, and confusion in the world, God is still on the throne. He is the sovereign of the universe and is still in control. He is not depressed, wringing His hands wondering what He can do to straighten out this mess. All is proceeding according to His plan and He continues to give us reminders of the beauty of His holiness.
We had great weather for the move for which we were very grateful. Had it been like the weather in September, it would have been totally miserable and difficult. Also, another special blessing was the two movers that were hired to help with the heavy things. The two men, Scott and Gerard, had only been working together since June, but had already helped with some 300 moves, so really knew what they were doing. They were very friendly and personable and we suspected that they were believers. As the day went on and we had little opportunities to chat with them we discovered that sure enough they are Christians. One had been a worship leader for several years in his church and the other had been a youth pastor. One now owns a music recording studio in Portland and the other is also a singer and musician. They were a very “special blessing.” The move, though lots of work, went well, without incident, thanks largely to Scott and Gerard.
Since we didn’t get on the train to return to Montana until Saturday afternoon, we got to attend our grandson, Luke’s third and fourth grade football game in Canby. He plays wide receiver on offense and safety on defense. His team (Oregon City) was down 28-14 at half-time, but came back to win, in an exciting finish, 29-28! Luke caught two touch-down passes and ran for another TD to help out the cause. Then we went directly to our granddaughter, Lacey’s first-grade soccer game. Her team won 10-3 and she scored a goal and had an assist. Since we miss a lot of our grandchildren’s activities, it was a “special blessing” to get to attend, and again, the weather was fantastic.
I’m very thankful that, in the midst of this messed up world due to sin, God still provides us with many special blessings to let us know He hasn’t forgotten us or lost control of what’s happening. It reminds us that His Word is true and all His purposes and promises will be carried out in every detail. God is at work in all our circumstances, good and adverse, working them out for our good and for His glory. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Ro. 8:28). Corrie ten Boom made a very appropriate observation (especially as you consider what she went through). She said, “When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and get off. You sit still and trust the engineer.” Amen!
I forget to mention another “special blessing” we received this past week. Grant and Arika finally got the key for their new home on Tuesday evening at 5 p.m. Grant had a double header after school with his volleyball team, so we were at the gym at North Clackamas Christian School from 4-8 p.m. after which Grant is also responsible to clean the gym and get it ready for school the next day. Then Grant and I planned to go to the new house to do some painting, knowing it would be a very late evening. The one thing we didn’t have time to squeeze in was food! We weren’t at all sure what to do about supper. Well, God had all that taken care of! We sat at the volleyball matches with Debbie Stark, a good friend of Grant and Arika, who also teaches at NCCS. She asked what our plans were for supper as she had prepared a huge crock pot of stew and wondered what to do with it all as her two children had already eaten. She, her husband Corey, and their children met us all at the new house with a delicious stew and drinks and bread. Praise God for His “special blessings.” And thanks Debbie for your servant’s heart!