Sunday, October 30, 2011


I am sitting in a familiar place in an unfamiliar setting of life. I arrived in Grand Rapids, Michigan a few days ago to visit my mom who is in an assisted care facility, connect with my brothers, and help close up my mom's home for the winter season. I stopped in this Starbucks - for the WiFi - to update my blog and check email.... Except for a few decorating differences, most Starbucks look and feel pretty much the same. Sitting here I could have been back in any of the Starbucks back in Tucson. The sameness is comfortable and in some sense masks what is outside the doors. What lies outside the doors is anything but sameness - it in constant change and bears an elevated sense of uncertainty. This week has been a reminder that my own family is in the midst of change. My mom is  in a really nice but unfamiliar living situation. The "family home" with all its memories is closed up for the long winter. Unlived in, it will soon be covered in snow drifts. My dad has passed away and his car now sits unused in the garage. My brothers and my sister and I are at at different places in our lives as we watch our kids grow up and move out and begin establishing their own lives. Much of the change is good and normal, much of it doesn't feel so good at the moment.

Immutable - what a great word - God never changes! All of His character traits have existed in all their fullness for all time and beyond time. His glorious nature does not grow or increase because it has always been full. God has been the fullest expression of goodness - always has been - always will. The Scriptures tell us that Jesus is the same - yesterday, today and forever!! As change sweeps over us there is an awesome, wondrous, ever working, never changing God that sweeps us up into Himself ... there in that place He shapes us in the change, He reassures us in the trial, He gives glimpses of His future paths which are always full of wisdom and life. Hiding from the outside change in the soothing confines of a Starbucks shop is only for a moment - the great promise as that we are hidden with Christ in God and as we walk, run or crawl through the changes - there is one unshakable place - in the arms of Jesus

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


With the death of my father I have been considering the relationship we had. There was always a certain security in that father son relationship - the sense that dad was always there and available. Of course, over the years, that relationship has changed from adult and child to adult and adult, yet there was always a remnant of still being a child and the security of having a father. It was a good feeling - something that strengthened me as an adult. With death, that has changed. Dad is not there to look to - I am the adult and not a son in the same manner as before.

At 53 years old you would think that I would finally be grown up ... truth is we are always in a process of growing up. Ephesians 4:15 calls us to "grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ." It appears the growing up is a life long process and along the way there are always new, different and surprising areas in which we discover another way (all aspects) to grow up! A dear brother in Seattle once told me that there are certain lessons that you only learn in certain decades of life. That truth freed me from feeling like I had to figure out all the ways I needed to learn and grow and just focus on those areas that God had chosen for a particular time. It seems that this is another time to grow up - learn a new lesson about finding my security and dependence and trust in my Lord alone - to give thanks for what I had in my dad but delve deeper into the better things we have in Christ.  I guess this makes sense - the Bible calls us children and as children, there is always more growing up to do.