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Relatively speaking, yesterday just wasn’t so good. Before you go thinking I’m ungrateful, let me say I know I am drowning in blessings every single day. But, still, some days just seem a little problem fraught. Yesterday, the wedding plans (my daughter’s getting married) just didn’t fall together like I thought they would. The post office was closed when I got there. Two eggs were broken in my refrigerator drawer. Something was wrong with the scanner in my line at the Dollar General. And then I took my husband, who was quickly getting sicker and sicker, to Urgent Care and he was diagnosed with Lyme disease. (You know, you get it from a tick bite and it feels forevermore like the flu.)
This morning wasn’t much better as I got ready for worship. My husband was too ill to go with me. My son was loading his SUV to go to camp right after worship. Massive piles of wedding stuff he was delivering for me to relatives who would be at camp and camp supplies were on the loading dock as we readied for worship. We were stepping around big piles of laundry, some still with the distinctive smell of Ukraine and that mission was accomplished a week- and-a-half ago. (I hate when he finishes the jet lag before I finish the laundry.) My daughter woke us up at 4:30 so she could drive across two states to surprise her fiancé and hear him preach (in a state that’s in an unfortunately different time zone). My house looked like a cyclone had hit it (still does) because I was determined to have my daughter’s birthday party last night even after the Urgent Care visit. (I filled prescriptions, served supper, baked the cookie cake, decorated it, had the party, and made a pirate costume for my son to wear at some camp shindig…all after the evening Urgent Care visit.) After all that, who had time or energy to clean up all the messes involved in it all? So it was a messy-stressy Sunday morning. My kitchen clock stopped and cruelly fooled me into thinking I had plenty of time. Then, late getting into my car, I was overwhelmed by the smell of gasoline. Glancing in the rearview mirror. I saw that my husband had loaded a generator and a gas can in the back of my SUV for some reason. I knew I’d need to take the curves a little slower. By the time I got there, I was sprinting down the hallway to make it inside the auditorium before they closed the doors to the foyer. (They will open them for you, but don’t you just hate being officially late for church?)
I made it. I was a stressed out, panting, hormonal mess, but I was there! Once inside I paused in the back of the auditorium to catch my breath. Then I saw Clare coming toward me. Clare is the sweet girl with whom I’ve been privileged to study the Bible for the past few weeks. Clare saw me walk in and made a beeline for me. I thought, “I guess something’s up and Clare is going to have to cancel tonight’s study.”
And then the lights came on in my world. Clare said, “I’m ready.” I looked a little puzzled, I think, and she continued…. “I’m ready…to be baptized.” And, suddenly, it was all good. I suddenly became oblivious to any of those tiny irritants. Nothing was wrong in my world. God had just given me the amazing opportunity to go to one of our good elders and tell him this great news. Then I was blessed to witness as my son, who was filling the pulpit for his ailing father, ask Clare if she believes that Jesus is God’s Son. I heard her confession. It was wonderfully clear and unfaltering. I got to walk her back to the baptistery and help her down the steps into the water. I got to watch Caleb baptize her in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I got to be the first to hug this new sister as she came out of the water. Nothing but nothing was wrong in my world.
I love how God sometimes slaps me providentially in the face with his goodness. Just when I start to let tiny problems dominate my thoughts…just when I’m getting in the mood for a meltdown…just when I’m worried about a dirty house or a cluttered room, God shows me a soul He can cleanse and a life He can de-clutter! And suddenly, nothing else matters.
This morning a soul contacted the blood of Christ (Romans 6:3,4). As I stood beside the water, I realized that, I was reverently standing about as close to the cross as you get in this lifetime. This morning a soul put on Christ, the Son of God (Gal. 3:27). This morning, Clare’s name was written in the Book of Life (Rev. 3:5) in the Hand of God, Himself. This morning, as I hugged Clare, angels in heaven rejoiced right along with me. This morning, something I was doing back there in that little baptistery area with Caleb and Clare and my friend, Lynn and our good elder, Arnold—something we were doing in that old building on Evangel Drive— was affecting eternity.
Now what was all that about laundry and broken eggs and pirates and the post office? I can’t remember.