April Fool’s Day, April 1, 2008

“Did you hear our big news?” I asked, allowing for a little build-up. “We’re moving back to Kansas.” Each time I told it, I was greeted with profound silence and looks of utter horror. Lauryn and April were dumbfounded. Zach was struck speechless. Amber and her mom were on the verge of tears. Only Taylor and Emily suspected the truth—an April Fool’s prank. I honestly hadn’t really expected anyone to believe me and almost felt guilty when they did. “Make sure you get your dad,” Gene insisted as Papa retrieved his backpack from the back of the lab. “Oh no!” I exclaimed as we reached the car. “I forgot to go to Wal-mart. Mom had a huge grocery list for me.” I expected and deserved at least a reproachful look. Instead, Papa smiled patiently and answered, “okay” then opened the trunk where half a dozen Wal-mart bags already lurked. “Uh, April Fool’s.” I grinned sheepishly. “Gene told me to.” I hadn’t expected him to believe me, either. I hope this doesn’t mean I’m a good liar.

Being in the girl’s room first thing in the morning is always an encouragement. Even though Shoko was too busy to come home with me tonight, we still enjoyed a good chat catching up in the laundry room while she was supposed to be studying. She always asks what the Lord is teaching me, her eyes eager, smiling. Today I simply shared the story of Joshua and the Lord’s command for courage. I couldn’t have chosen something more appropriate had I studied for years. She is such a delight to talk with, the way she soaks it up and then opens up to share what the Lord’s been teaching her.

In the middle of lunch conversation with Lauryn, a random guy walked up, sat down, introduced himself as “Alan” and began talking to us. To avoid more personal questions we turned to talking about my brother (the very big, very protective one I always bring up), then to spiritual things and finally Lauryn announced, “My food is getting cold. I’m going to go zap it.” Unable to fabricate a good excuse for affecting my own escape, I flung looks of deep hurt and betrayal after her retreating form. Suddenly Zach appeared like a knight in shining armor—shining armor being defined as a Tech Football shirt—and Lauryn’s real plan was revealed. I’ve never been quite so delighted to see him. As others began joining us, our new friend was kind enough to move on.

Jacinda and I had lapped campus in several series of figure eights before she finally commented, “My legs are getting really tired.” “Really?” I chirped. “I could walk forever.” “I know,” came her dry retort. “That’s why I finally said something.”

Out for an evening walk, Papa, Josiah and I met Travis’ wife, Mary, purring up the driveway in her red convertible. “Jump up and down and wave your arms,” Papa told us, so we did. Until I slipped right off the edge and fell down the hill. Grace is Lydia’s middle name, not mine.

Watching the spiritual decline of Israel in the book of Judges causes me to shake my head. Following Joshua’s death, “that generation died and was gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know Yahweh.” Immediately they are doing evil and serving idols and grieving Yahweh—each man doing what was right in his own eyes, just as Yahweh had warned against. God is not a moral relativist. “Whatever floats your boat” is not acceptable before Him. But how did this happen? How could such a victorious generation have given way to children who provoked Yahweh’s anger? In the midst of the victories, the fathers forgot something—they forgot to teach their children Yahweh’s ways, to demonstrate to their sons what it means to walk with Yahweh, even after Yahweh had warned over and over again the necessity of raising children who fear Him. What a sad testimony to the world—and yet one that is often retold throughout scripture and throughout modern Christianity. Spiritual giants giving birth to miscreants. Here I tremble. If even those who so devotedly loved the Lord as to hear his voice as audibly as did Samuel, so failed in teaching their children the fear of the Lord, who am I to ever hope to raise straight arrows? And even now, with the command for discipleship, how do I impart to others an understanding of the work of God, when I barely can grasp it myself?

Only by the power of the Holy Spirit, which is at work in me both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Only by the grace of Yahweh, who shows Himself great when I fail to describe Him.

Just another evidence that all good is His work, even as all His work is good.

Lord, I plead that I may be
A faithful servant unto Thee,
And following my father’s steps
Would show Thee to my children.

That generations yet to come
Would know the glory of Thy Son,
And following their father’s steps
Would show Thee to their children.

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