Drawing Near

A Pastoral Perspective on Biblical, Theological, & Cultural Issues | The Personal Website of James B. Law, Ph.D.

Monthly Archive: June 2021

Saturday

12

June 2021

0

COMMENTS

Family Affection

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World Magazine shared the story of Ernesta Wood several years ago which captures the beauty of multi-generational faithfulness to the gospel. Wood, who at the time of the article was 88 years old, displayed “photos of her 53 descendants, nearly all Christians. Once a week for the past 16 years, she has sent them letters—777 in all…filled with stories.”[1]   Some of her accounts are dramatic:

Her blind grandmother miraculously saw Wood’s grandfather minutes before he died. Other stories cultivate a sense of God’s presence in less dramatic moments: Once, her parents’ pet birds escaped but returned to their cage before dark, just as her mother had prayed. Another letter told of how Wood stayed safe and her car remained intact as she was driving 65 mph down the highway without realizing she had a flat tire. 

The letters testify about tragedies as well. Wood’s first husband, Clyde, was a pastor and a pilot in training. He died in a plane crash when he was 54. Wood remembers sending her children to school that morning and praying, ‘Lord, help us to accept whatever happens to us today as from your hands.’ Then came a phone call: The plane was down, and one of the pilot’s legs had burned. She assumed the other pilot was hurt and drove to the hospital to pick up her husband. There she learned he was dead. Wood stayed calm and wrote about the comfort of knowing her early morning prayer had been answered amid the family tragedy. 

After her husband’s death, Wood moved in with her parents, then traveled as a teacher with the Jesus Film Project. She lived in Russia for a year and wrote to her grandchildren that the exact amount of money needed for her to live overseas that year, $27,000, miraculously came the day it was due. She wrote about new converts, prayers answered, and joy. Wood also visited Mongolia, Cambodia, South Africa, Croatia, and other countries. She hated flying, especially after her husband’s death, but she embraced the adventures and chronicled stories of God’s worldwide work. 

In 2007, Wood, then 76, married Cliff Wood, 80, five months after their first date. More than 700 guests attended their wedding, and two grandsons served as the officiating pastors….While giving a tour of the grandchildren’s photos hanging on the walls, Wood laughs at a photo of her and Cliff, two octogenarians, rolling by the White House on Segways. She remembers blowing past another elderly lady in a wheelchair who shouted, ‘You go, girl!’ That could be Wood’s refrain, as each of her weekly letters quotes Psalm 118:17: ‘I will not die, but live, and tell of the works of the Lord.’”[2]

May her tribe increase!

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Saturday

5

June 2021

1

COMMENTS

Presenting Ourselves to God For Supernatural Living

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Timothy S. Lane and Paul David Tripp have written a helpful book entitled Relationships: A Mess Worth Making.  In one of their chapters, they ask the question, “Why bother?” Of course, they are asking, “Why bother with relationships at all in light of how they are often painful and troubling?” Lane and Tripp argue strongly, and biblically, that instead of calling for a détente on all relationships, we should see them from this perspective:

“God wants to bring us to the end of ourselves so that we would see our need for a relationship with him as well as with others. Every painful thing we experience in relationships is meant to remind us of our need for him. And every good thing we experience is meant to be a metaphor of what we can only find in him.”[1]

Not only do we have to deal regularly with our own sinful attitudes and tendencies, which makes life hard, but we have to work through painful relationships in the course of living our life as a follower of Christ.

God’s plan is not to avoid problems, but to work through them by his grace and for his glory. The relationships in a local church become the training ground for all believers to learn to love as Christ loves us (Ephesians 4:31,32).  We are prone to speak in generalities about loving others. We prefer to love people from afar where they can’t mess up our comforts and preferences. Truth be known, the following describes us well,

To dwell above with the saints we love, Oh that will be glory; But to dwell below with the saints we know, Well, that is another story!

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