ROOTS

It was a sunny Saturday morning in the autumn of 2013 and I was visiting a country cemetery full of familiar family names, standing in front of my grandparents’ graves, near the village of Raritan, Illinois, population 123—my agrarian roots. My wife and I were in the midst of our 6.5 year Isaiah 6:3 Tour of America in an RV and were “home” for a few days to love on friends and family who still lived there. We had parked our home on wheels at Uncle Jim’s farm on the very spot where grandfather’s house used to be, the site of many happy memories. It was near this cemetery, as was the farm where I grew up. It was a milestone moment. Here I was, now an old man come full circle, who left the farm at 18 and went away to college and had traveled the world and done things my grandparents never dreamed of and saw things they’d never imagined. But the same Sovereign God who guided my grandfather back and forth in the fields of his farm all the growing seasons of his life guided me in a warplane in the unfriendly skies of Southeast Asia, in the frenetic financial centers of the USA and Europe, and in our wondrous RV wanderings. Our joy in the Lord and destiny are the same. Dust we are and to dust we shall return. But that is not the end for the children of God. In due time He will reunite their moldering bones with their eternal souls now in heaven, in a body that will be perfected in a new earth beyond what the mind can conceive. I sensed the nearness of God in the morning stillness, as I stood there meditating on His amazing grace. Then I looked up at the tree-shrouded skyline of Raritan just across the creek to the north, with the Reformed Church steeple rising majestically above the grandeur of the fall foliage (in the masthead above). It was pointing to the One True God in whom we have our being, and in whose Son we have our salvation, the realized hope for my grandparents and my eagerly anticipated hope. God was communicating through my eyes to my heart a deeper reality! Gospel hope is assured hope—while their bodies rest assured in the grave I rest assured in His grace, without which my soul is a dungeon of darkness. In that most moving moment on the hallowed ground of the dead I was reassured, not for the last time, of my abundant life in the LORD, the securest peace in my passage through paths of mercy to everlasting joy. Our God reigns!

For I know that my Redeemer lives,
    and at the last he will stand upon the earth,
And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
    yet in my flesh I shall see God,
whom I shall see for myself,
    and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
    My heart faints within me!  (Job 19:25-27)

See you in church.

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