Browsing Tag

Providence

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Nothing Outside His Control

As Glenn was leaving this morning, he said to me “Some days I can feel my heart pounding harder inside my chest.” 

I think we all have days like that. There are times, for all of us, in which we feel like our days’ activities and responsibilities have sped beyond our ability to calmly overtake them. It’s a feeling of control lost. Sometimes it turns into helplessness, throwing hands up, and sometimes even thinking “Why should I even try?” 

Of course, I’m not thinking I have more deadlines or responsibilities or opportunities than the average Jane. I’m just saying that, for all of us, there will be seasons of busy-ness that are larger than calendar space, times of stolen serenity or even heart hurts that make us contemplate reaching for the proverbial towel to throw in. 

For me right now it’s a basement that makes me cringe each time I go down there to the freezer or the treadmill or the book supply. Why did that other generation (the parents on both sides) have to leave us or move to much smaller quarters and how DID they accumulate this much stuff for which there seems to be no place? And why can’t I find any time to go through any of these stacks of boxes and books and drawers of furniture that are so intimidating to me in this part of life? And will the time not be very short until my kids are wondering the same thing? And shouldn’t I do something about that in a hurry, too? And while we’re needing to do all that, we’re also needing to go and take care of the parents— things they need today in their smaller quarters. And all the tasks that go on all the time—laundry, cooking, church activities ( they’re out the wazoo in a good way right now)—just keep happening. 

Then there’s the heart hurts of people around me —-things over which I have not one iota of control—things that I’ve taken into my own heart. I can release them temporarily in prayer, but my weakness is that I let them creep back in; I cannot master Matthew 6:25-33. Isn’t it interesting that 1 Peter 5:7, that tells us to cast our care on God, immediately precedes that statement about the devil prowling about seeking whom He may devour? Can it be that when I fail to release my burdens to Him, that the devil sees my hurting shoulders—realizes my hands are full and that I might not be prepared to wield the sword of the Spirit against his wiles—and so he attacks at my most vulnerable time?! I think so! May I learn to put down the stuff that I cannot use and pick up the sword!

The Word champions it all if we let it. Listen to the control in this passage I came across this morning in Hebrews 2: 

…or it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere,

“What is man, that you are mindful of him,

or the son of man, that you care for him?

You made him for a little while lower than the angels;

you have crowned him with glory and honor,

putting everything in subjection under his feet.”

Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

I love that the ESV says there that nothing was left outside His control. My Savior who is now crowned with glory and honor has been given sovereignty over all things. Though He will not make me or any human do His will for now, there’s coming a day when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess. There’s coming a day when there will be no basement, no plunder, no furniture, no heart hurts and no devil prowling. That day is, by any standard and for any living person, relatively soon.

I want to be sure that, while I’m waiting for that day, that I never forget its relevance to the little pressure cooker in which I can put myself. May I never let my pride, my possessions, my schedule, my family, or any self-deception keep me from surrendering to the sovereign One every single precious day of this short life. Ironically, when I turn down the pressure cooker and turn up the prayer and study, the tasks start morphing into opportunities, the hurts into growth; the basement starts to become pretty irrelevant. (The kids can clean that up one day, if I never get to it. That’s what we just did for two packed houses and garages, and a barn and a couple of workshops. They might get a turn, too! =))

This life is short. I want to savor every day.  As my Maggie, who’s two,  says “I’m going to fight that ole’ Satan, so he will start running away!”

Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7).

Resist means to set one’s self against. May I put all my weight into that push today!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Waiting on Him

Today, I have just a small moment and a smaller mind to write, but His amazing providence is sustaining. For the past several days, I’ve been living in a senior facility as we transition Glenn’s parents from Memphis, Tennessee to Huntsville, Alabama. There have been some days in which we seemed to hit a brick wall at every turn as we have diligently worked to find a situation to meet all the needs of these loved ones. In the end, the answer came through a sweet 97-year-old sister who lives down the hall from “us” in this temporary place. She remembered another couple in God’s family who were almost in the exact circumstances as were my husband’s parents. She called to refer me to their daughter, the caretaker who knew all the details about this place. Amazingly, this daughter is a sweet friend whom I have not seen in a long time, but she was my suite-mate at FHU many years ago. So very helpful, she gave me details and info that put me in the right place at just the right time. The family that was on the waiting list for the one available room in this beautiful and seemingly perfectly tailored-to-our-needs place had just decided to remove their names for a while from that list and one (only one) room became temporarily available. Another sister came to stay with my favorite mother-in-law and father-in-law while I went to look at this place. And yet another sister invited me into her apartment at the facility (an apartment that happened to be identical to the one in which the Colleys are going to be living and is also the next door down.) Then our Father brought my husband safely home from his gospel meeting in Oklahome so that he could finalize the details about this move for them. 

I know I’m on the lookout for His blessings all the time, but really…how can the answers that we need so badly be all wrapped up in His family, except that His tender care is all around His people all the time? I know that we cannot always be sure that the exact answers we identify as Providence are the paths He would want us to choose, but there are times when it seems the ONLY answer is His answer. And it does seem that He wraps up the answer we desperately need in the beautiful security blanket of our spiritual family. His family in this episode of our lives was not from a single congregation either. At least ten congregations of His people were represented in this transition, from those who worked tirelessly to help get their things on the truck to the point of this writing.  Today, I’m very, especially, deeply, and profoundly thankful for the blessings of Providence that lie in the family of God. I’m thankful for the connected prayers of all of those involved to the One who knew the answer from the start. 

I’d also add that the move to the facility that’s not right for our family may have been very providential, too. After all, the time and muscle and 24/7 effort we “wasted” at the wrong facility gave us the week we needed for a space to open up at the right one. 

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love Him dn are the called according to His purpose.”  THIS. I believe Romans 8:28. 

Maybe all this detail is not the most helpful post for you at this time. But maybe for some sister who is waiting on the Lord, the trust that sustains will be resurgent through trials, prayer and the family of God. I know reminding myself of His Providence through difficult days is a medicine that heals a weary soul! 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Providence in Birth Order: The Hanna Family

In the last century, a popular theory emerged about personality and birth order. Developed by Alfred Adler, it just posited that birth order directly impacts personality. More recently, child and family therapist, Meri Wallace, authored a book called Birth Order Blues, in which she agreed with Adler and elaborated on his findings. 

There are other researchers who do not agree, but it seems to me that, at the very least, we’d have to all agree that parents change and mature between births of their babies, and so the parents of the youngest child in a family are different from the people they were five, ten or even fifteen years ago when the first child was born. They know more about what’s really important as more children come along. They know more about effective discipline. (Experience is a great teacher.) They have less and less time and propensity for selfish pursuits (and for the previously-born children). They should be more mature, introspective and wise. My daughter, who recently gave birth to her third child, says to me, whenever a doctor tells her something that’s elementary, or when a grandmother at the supermarket is critical of her discipline, “This is not my first rodeo.”  I firmly believe that the best-prepared parent is the one who’s riding in a repeat “rodeo”. 

It stands to reason that, environmentally, kids in the same families will not always be affected in the same ways by their common parents. I write about Providence a lot and I believe that God’s providing for His own families, His obedient parenting sons and daughters, even in the birth order of their children. 

Take my brand new friend, Honour Able Hanna, who was born last week in Grand Bahama. His dad and mother, Tavaro and Shameika, who work with the church there are among our dearest family members in the Lord. When we first knew them, about ten years ago, they were on a very different trajectory through life than the one they’ve purposefully mapped out during those intervening years. I love talking to Shameika about the conscious decisions that took her from being an all-in career mom (having been brought up to be just that) with aspirations of power in the business world to where she is today: having the full realization of the relative unimportance of money and prestige when compared with the blessings that come with being all-in for Christ. I’ve never personally seen anyone make the transitions so swiftly and completely as Shameika has done. In the meantime, her husband Tavaro has completed preaching school in the U.S. and they have together returned to their native island to reach as many as they can for the cause that directs them heavenward. Genesis was their firstborn. Her name was purposeful and prophetic. She was the Genesis of a spiritual parenting journey through which they were vowing to leave a legacy for the Lord through their children. Thus, Legacy, their second daughter, was soon born and it was not too long after her birth that the little family set their sights on coming to preaching school. This is Genesis:Genesis At the time they came over, the mantra or family purpose statement  using their children’s names was “ The Genesis of a godly Legacy.”

While they were in preaching school, baby #3 was born. Her name is Providence, and we watched God provide a path for the family to leave secular work and be full-time in evangelism, starting a congregation and bringing multiple souls to Him. The purpose statement was then “The Genesis of a godly Legacy by God’s Providence”.

Faithful Leigh was next and the family sub-title grew: “The Genesis of a Faithful godly Legacy.”

Finally these four perfect little girls welcomed a brother,  Honour Able to the family last week. Honour is beautiful! Fresh from heaven, he fills what Shameika says, for now, is the last empty spot in her heart—a heart that’s full of a desire to glorify Him. She says the final family word is “An Honour Able Genesis of a Faithful godly Legacy, by God’s Providence.”

Now, back to birth order. God is amazing sometimes in what He is working through parents who are set on honoring Him. In this particular family, four sweet daughters have been learning to be meek and quiet spirits (I Peter 3:1-6), little women of wisdom (Proverbs 31), and little girls who are constantly looking to faithful older women as examples of familial love and service. I remember it was at the birth of Genesis that the genesis really happened. Two parents made a firm decision to do everything within their power to get that little soul to heaven. They made big financial and time sacrifices to get on a path from which they have never looked back. Four little girls followed the Genesis and each came into a stronger and more focused home.  It was the little future elder and preacher, though, that God saved for last. He’s putting Him in a home that is already fully committed, trained and back in the field. He will get to see some things in his early, most formative years, that Genesis, the oldest,  for instance, did not get to see in hers—a preacher’s family in full-force evangelism, a mom and dad who have learned by experience to be amazing one-on-one evangelists, a father who has ten years of nurturing and discipline experience under his belt, a mother who has been forced to drop some things that she thought were priorities before the births of her girls and move some important things to the top of the list, a family who has been having Family Bible Time for ten years….In short, while they were all born into a home of faith and dedication, he has been born into a home that’s been through one of the greatest apprenticeships: the tutor has been experience. So Honour, by His great mercy, has the same parents as the four beautiful girls. But Honour has different parents, too. Honour’s parents are in their thirties; not their twenties. Honour’s Daddy is a preacher; not a businessman. Honour’s mother is a keeper at home extraordinaire and she already has ten years of home-schooling behind her. It’s the same family, but it’s not the same family. God has given this little boy six in-house nurturers, while Genesis had only two. He has six diaper-changers. But, more importantly, he has six people who are going to pray for him every day; four sisters who will be helping him learn his memory verses and remember to take His Bible to class. He will have a smaller portion of one-on-one time with parents, but the huge benefit of close quarters and constant conversation. (I mean really constant.)   He will have six storybook readers! God has given this future preacher a father (a tutor) who is a preacher. He has given him a mission field at the door of the little house. He has given him a  time and place when He will be watching parents react with prowess and protectiveness to a sin-saturated culture. It will not be the same culture at all into which Providence, the middle child, was born. 

Adler posited that birth order molds personality. I posit that, for His people, God providentially and strategically blesses through birth order. I think Romans 8:28 applies as mothers deliver babies. Surely a part of “all things” are those pregnancies, chromosomes, laborings, deliveries, nights up with babies, preacher school choices, people with whom parents interact and from whom they learn and grow. His providence is amazing and, when we view the eventualities of our lives through the lens of His glory, we find constant wonder and awe at the way He works through our families. 

Lastly, I love that Providence is the middle child in this family. Half-way through the birthing order—between the Genesis and the Honour was a full recognition of the wonderful way God was executing His plan though the Hanna family. That’s the way it works. If we have a beginning—a desire to build, through our homes, a legacy for our Father—He, brings us to a place in which much glory and honor (Kabad) can be returned to Him. 

It won’t be too many years before a different birthing order will be happening in the Hanna family. I pray that each child will be born into Christ and in due time, each arrow will fly with precision and providence toward eternity around the throne of the great and providential heavenly Father we serve. 

He’s great in the “working-together” of birth and birth order. But He’s greater in the “working-together” of the new birth that’s by water and blood (John 3). He’s great in family providence. But he’s greater in His provision for us all in the family that will assemble when we cross over to that great family reunion! 

And we know that all things work together for good for those who love Him and are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28). 

I’m glad our Father is a purposeful Provider!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Providence…Matters!

 

I know the Providence of God is more easily seen in hindsight than as it occurs, but the past few weeks brought Providence to an obvious center-stage in the life of my friend Terry Matter. Catholic, in religious background, Terry lived with her husband, Ray, and daughter, Elizabeth on Long Island, New York. Stressed by the fast-paced lifestyle, but mostly by the widespread “politically correct” environment—the rejection of absolute truth, the rejection of “author’s intent” of the constitution of the United States, the resultant pervasion of sexual immorality and the threatening invasion on parental rights—Terry and Ray began looking to move to a place where they would be able to raise Elizabeth in a more conservative (and frankly more sane) community. Terry, having been a leader in a homeschool group on Long Island and a teacher in their church, was excited to exit New York. The Black Lives Matter movement raged violently in nearby New York City and it had extended its protests to the neighborhood where Terry and Ray lived on Long Island. By the day in which the Matters’ activities were actually interrupted by the shouts of protest at the end of their street…when Ray left the girls at home to go and try to talk the protesters down before property on their street was destroyed, it became apparent that it was exit time for their little family. 

 

So Ray, an engineer, found work in Huntsville, AL. (Isn’t God’s Providence sweet?) They came down and put their stuff in storage and themselves in an airbnb. On their very first day to venture out, Terry and Elizabeth went to Indian Creek Park for a nature walk with their Rottweiler, Rosie. Terry clearly recalls the prayer she prayed that morning. “Lord…just two things…Help us to find a good church here and, Lord, help us to find a good homeschool group.” And they were off to the creek. 

 

Get this: Gathered at the creek that morning was a group of moms and kids from the homeschool group that functions under the eldership of the West Huntsville church. The rest is history. 

 

Keep in mind that, if it were not for a wicked virus, our homeschoolers would have been meeting in our building rather than playing in the park. Sometimes out of the most evil eventualities comes a hope that springs eternal. That’s just what happened that day in the life of Terry Matter.

 

A few days later, at a fall picnic at West Huntsville, I asked Terry to study with me. After several in-depth visits, Terry was eager to put on the Lord in baptism. Sometimes when you study with someone, you have some hounding doubts about their propensity to keep the faith. Terry’s determined. I know all of us can be distracted and deterred, but Terry is already doing hard things for the cause and she encourages me with her response of meekness to every lesson she hears. “I’m a blank canvas,” she says. “Teach me.” Terry is a great musician, a music teacher, a former realtor, politically astute and active, but, most of all, she has a humble heart before God. She wants to do right. There are lots of reasonable procrastination “lines”  she could have given on the day she became thoroughly convicted of her need for submission in baptism, but she offered none. There were folks she wished could have been there to witness her baptism. But she said,  “How can I wait? What would happen to me if I died?…I have to do this. I’m ready.”

 

Cindy Colley is learning lots from Terry, too; not the least of which is to just walk through doors He provides. I praise Him for a seemingly regular day at the park that made a difference eternally in the lives of the Matter family and blessed the West Huntsville family in a big way, too. The Matter family is in a good kind of culture shock and they definitely bring to us a renewed appreciation for the family of God that we sometimes take for granted. 

 

A Christian mom (from an extremely northern state) contacted me yesterday and told me that her college-aged daughter is seriously thinking of moving to Huntsville, Alabama —just because she wants to find a strong place where Christians can grow together and opportunities for service are greater. They are coming to visit us and make the plans this spring. I can’t wait to see what God’s Providence has in store for this faithful family.  (They are under the Romans 8:28 umbrella. It’s a promise.) I do not think I have met them, but I can’t wait to know them. Sometimes, one place, one job, one friendship, one contact is a stepping stone in His Providence toward heaven. 

 

Somehow, these encouraging stories are reminiscent of Cornelius in Acts 10. He was unsaved. He was praying…and a God, who could not yet call Cornelius His child, was hearing and being sure there was a way for Him to know truth. The gathering at the creek makes me think of Lydia in Acts 16 who was gathered with women for a good reason at the river where “prayer was frequently made.” I’d say our women prayed that day at the creek. They just didn’t know exactly how much their gathering and prayer that day would mean in one particular life. But God is good that way. 

 

We know that Romans 8:28 applies in the lives of God’s children. That’s huge to so many, right now. It is huge to me today. But God can also bless those who are searching, but who have not yet named His name. There are those in your circle of influence who may be praying the very prayer of Cornelius even now. It takes just a few seconds to say “Would you study the Bible with me?” Asking that question is certainly nothing worthy of accolades. But the answers God often gives through his natural Providence are worthy of all the glory we can give Him!

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Curbside-Pick-up Lessons

I’m not adept yet at grocery pick-up, but I’m on the curve. Today I did the Kroger pick-up and then ran through a drive-through to get a sandwich. Needing badly to be outside, to see people and to feel that there’s a whole world out there–a world that’s not wholly sick, but still thriving in key ways, I parked under a tree to eat that sandwich. When I finished, I walked around to the back of the SUV and opened the hatch to get a banana for dessert–a banana for which I’d really been wishing for about three days. (In fact, I’d wished for bananas so badly that the girl who was putting my groceries in my trunk said “Wow! Your family must really love bananas!” She was right. I had lots.

As I grabbed that banana (which was mostly green, but I really wanted a banana) I knocked a half gallon of milk out of the back of the forerunner. I really wanted milk, too, but there it ran, down the little incline and over about three more parking spaces. But since I really wanted that milk and I knew how difficult it would be to replace without actually entering a store,  I put what was left of that slit carton in three plastic Kroger bags and put it in the passenger seat beside me. I got the diaper wipes out of the console and cleaned up the mat in the back as best I could (because, do you even know how rank spoiled milk smells?) and came home as, at last, I ate that green banana.

In my driveway, I realized that those three bags had not really fully contained that milk from the bursted jug. The passenger seat was a pretty big mess. And now my driveway was and my sidewalk, too. So I went inside and got the top to a Tupperware cake-taker and went outside and poured the remaining milk from that jug into the Tupperware. I took my big trash can from the kitchen outside to put those heavy wet Kroger bags into the trash. Then I went inside with my bowl of milk, got a jar and a funnel and poured the milk from the Tupperware into my jar. I got just a little over a quart, for all my trouble. It would have been easier to go down to my neighbor’s farm and ask if I could just milk a cow, for that quart. But, like I said, I really wanted some milk.

That’s pretty much how my week’s been going–about a quart of satisfaction per every gallon-worth of trouble…and a big mess in three different places at the same time.  I know some of you can relate.We’re innovative and independent, but we’re also incorrigible in our routineness. We’re inertia-driven, struggling to stop those routines and find our grooves in what seems a surreal stay-in-place pandemonium. We fight anxiety–about the sickness itself, about political extremism, about people from whom we are disconnected, and about the economy. We worry about how we will ever make up all those cancelled appointments and engagements and events once we do start having schedules again. I’ve wondered many times lately how people do quarantines without prayer and the Word. Knowing there’s no place to go now would be extremely hard if there was no ultimate place to go…for eternity.

But there was also this other moment; a moment that also happened while I was driving to that curbside this week….

My friend, a relatively new convert, called to ask me if I was okay and to encourage me to pray. She said, “We all have to pray. God will give us what we need if we just pray and pray.”

I knew she was right (Matthew 6:33), but I wasn’t sure exactly where she was coming from as we started talking. She related to me that some of her unbelieving friends were in a bad situation in a local hospital. She said to them “You need to let me pray for you. God can help you.” And so she did. Her prayers were answered in God’s great timing and this family is now open to Bible study.

She went on to tell me how very hard she has also been praying for her unbelieving husband. “I believe he is coming around to the point of believing in God,” she said. We talked further and agreed on a book that I’m ordering for her study with him. Then we talked about my friend’s job changes lately.

My friend has, for many months, been working in a restaurant. I encouraged her to tell the management that she could not work on Sundays during worship. She did tell them that, but, in spite of their agreement, they kept scheduling her so that she had to miss worship. At last, a few months back, she told them she would have to leave their employment if she could not faithfully worship. So they let her go; essentially, they fired her. She was seeking first the kingdom and, as she did, the Lord, in Matthew 6:33 fashion, provided another job, working with elderly people in a nursing home. My friend loves this work. Its pay and benefits are what she was looking for all along.

Her next statement was rich. ” Here I am, as an essential worker now; working, getting paid to do something I love, and eating right through this pandemic, while the people who fired me, as restaurant managers , are out of work.”  Can you think of a more practical illustration of Matthew 6:33?  I’d be hard-pressed to come up with one.

See, in a few of the little things, we may look at a quart’s worth for all of our trouble and get discouraged. But, in the big eternal things, let’s be sure to notice that, for our quart’s worth of seeking, our needs are repaid in gallons. Your prayer may not always be answered in exactly the same way or with the same immediacy that my friend’s is being answered. But mark it down: When we seek the kingdom first, the result, even when we wait till heaven to get it, will be fourfold (and more) blessings.

I know another family who was in the midst of trying to buy a home in a new city to which they were moving just last month. Their house sold, in the thriving February American economy, before they even placed it on the market. Finding one in their destination city was proving harder, though. It was a seller’s market there, as well. Many homes were simply snatched up before this good family had a chance to travel to see them. In one case, this family even placed an offer on a home sight-unseen, becoming pretty desperate to find a place to live. Every house they tried to buy, though, was not negotiable to their price range or was sold before they could even take a look. This little family kept praying and serving the Lord and, then, the pandemic hit. That’s when the market flipped. Suddenly, people were no longer buying houses and, just like that, this little family’s dollars would go much further in buying a house. They were able to quickly find a house and negotiate the price in a way that would have been impossible only a few days prior. No one in this scenario was happy, of course, that a pandemic had reached America (or even existed, of course.) But, at the same time, this couple could look back and recognize that, in their former disappointments, God was providing something better, as they continued in His will.

It’s often just like that. Providence can be seen so much clearer in hindsight. And, even in situations that were destructive and for which we would have never wished or prayed, for His people looking back, there was Providence…good things coming from difficult things. Blessings in trials.

Am I saying that God’s always going to fix all the problems for us, as His faithful children? Yes. I’m saying He will. I’m just not saying when. For some of the trials, heaven may be the fix. We may struggle with some hardships for all of this lifetime, as His grace is sufficient for us (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). But Paul’s thorn in the flesh, whatever it was, is “fixed” now. Let’s live in the shadow of Matthew 6:33 and patiently wait for the fourfold blessings, whether they may come in the blessed here and now or in the sweet by and by.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

 

 

 

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Digging Deep Israel: Next Stop–Abraham’s Gate at Dan

I love antiques. As I write I’m sitting in an old Windsor chair at a table Glenn built from wood from his grandparents’ old log cabin. My computer backs up to an old embroidered Valentine doily that boasts old blue Mason jars repurposed as candle holders. 

A few months ago, Glenn found an old rock chimney he was able to purchase from which he made me a stone fence around a little kitchen garden area. We spent some months of diligently looking till we found an old iron gate to make an entranceway through the stone wall. I never thought about the difference an old iron gate would make in the nostalgic feel of that little spot. 

An old gate. I may have thought I had an old gate outside, but in the Canaanite city of Laish, there’s an OLD gate. This ancient part of Tel-Dan was founded about 6000 years ago and the gate of the city has been unearthed, having been preserved well by a rampart having been erected over it in a later war.

The thrilling thing about this gate is that it seems almost certain to me that Abraham passed through it when he went to rescue Lot in Genesis 14:14. This is the location of Abraham’s travel with the 318 servants that were born in his own house. The gate’s common name today is “Abraham’s gate”.

As I looked at this gate, which is currently undergoing some restoration, I thought about Uncle Abraham going to rescue Lot, for whom he later made the sacrifice of the best land and who ultimately was father to two Canaanite nations that would plague the children of Abraham for centuries: the Moabites and the Ammonites (Genesis 19:37-38). His likely passage through this gate was just a passage through which God was working His own plan for the conquering of the Canaanites, the settling of the promised land, the ultimate birth of the Redeemer in a nation that had passed through the fire of enemy nations and been humbled because of their conformity to those nations. It was a passage through which God was getting us to our promised land around His throne. 

The term “old” is relative, for sure. This is an old gate.