I don’t quite know where to begin with this today. I will start by saying that that the weekend in Glen Rose was glorious. Hopefully, I will get around to blogging about that on my Other Blog later. We have pictures to share, as well. But after we got home, it was the same old thing. Rachel graciously stayed at the house with Stephanie while we were gone, and was doing some testing for school on her when we got home. As soon as we got home, the trouble started. Instantly, Stephanie didn’t want to cooperate any more. We got her to, though, and she finished the tests. But then an argument started over what time she was going to leave to take her to “Echo,” the Sunday night church youth meeting. Rachel was going to drop Steph off on the way home. Stephanie had told us it started at 6:30. At 5:45, she started asking what time they were leaving. We all looked at the clock and said, probably around 6pm. “But everyone starts getting there at 5:45!” “Well, you told us 6:30!” Somehow, we managed to jump from that argument to another one about school. When we went to pick her up at 8pm, that argument continued. She’s stressed out about school. Now she’s talking about quitting altogether. Granted, we had threatened her with withdrawal if we had to leave work to pick her up again, so I’m not sure why it bothers me that she is thinking dropping out. And I’m not sure why I feel like a failure if my kid drops out of school. It’s certainly not doing anything for her, and, even if she stays and graduates, she won’t have a “high school” education. Needless to say…we are very down this morning. The thing that has us boggled the most, I believe, is that week before last was nearly perfect for her at school. We’re not sure what has happened. We need serious prayer.
Today’s Bible readings:
1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11; Jeremiah 15-16; Proverbs 21:16-23
The passage beginning in Thessalonians 4:13 describes the second coming of Christ. Paul is encouraging the people by assuring them that, when Christ comes, those who have already fallen “asleep” will be raised first. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (vv. 16-18) I’m not convinced that this is describing anything other than Jesus’s second coming. Many people see this as something called the “rapture” (a word the Bible never uses…), but I’m not sure I believe that. One reason is that, in chapter 5, Paul calls this thing he just wrote about the “day of the Lord.” When Scripture uses that phrase, it is referring to the final coming of Jesus. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. (vv. 2-3) Paul encourages the people to be ready, so that they are not surprised. Jesus, himself, even cautioned his disciples to be ready, because we don’t know when this will occur.
I want to include something that I underlined in the weekend reading from Tabletalk Magazine. The reading was called “Blame It on Babylon.” Essentially, the author says that we all live in “Babylon,” which is not a place so much as it is a cultural influence. At one point, he provides a possible solution for the Church. “It’s being supremely relevant to a dying world by smashing the idol of relevance. If you want to always be relevant, you must deal with the things that touch eternity, and if you are dealing with eternal things, you always seem a bit irrelevant.” The reason this quote resonated within me the way it does is that, for many years, I have believed that one of the biggest enemies of the Church is “relevance.” The modern (or “post-modern”) church has bowed down to the “idol of relevance” to the point that it has made itself irrelevant to the Kingdom. In order to have a true impact on our world, the Church must smash that idol.
Father, I look forward to the day when you come back to take us home. Right now, I am so weary of this battle. There seems to be no end to it. It doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy life, because I do. But I know that the life that is waiting for me is infinitely better than the one here. I pray that I am ready. By your Holy Spirit, I pray that you help me be alert and ready when Christ comes, should I be alive still. If not, I will rejoice with all the rest of the saints when our bodies are raised to live with you for eternity.
I pray that the church can be “relevant” without falling prey to the “idol of relevance.” The only way to be truly relevant is to preach your word with no alterations; with no clever marketing schemes; to understand that there is nothing that we can do to make you more beautiful than you are.
Father, we pray desperately for some help with Stephanie. I think I can truthfully say that we are at our wits’ end. If she needs to drop out of school, then so be it, but I pray that you help Christi and me to not feel like such failures if this happens. Help us to find our value in you, not in the achievements (or lack thereof) of our children. We have tried to do the best we know how with them, and that’s pretty much that. Sure, we made choices that weren’t ideal. We could have done better, we acknowledge that. But the way we feel right now, Father…we feel like we’ve been “sucker-punched.” We need some affirmation from you today. I pray that we have a good day at work as we go back after this “vacation.”
Grace and peace, friends.