Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Now We Are Five

For the record, I tried pawning this one off on both Bernie and IC. No luck with that, so here goes ...

Five years and 1,837 posts ago, December 11, 2013, Bernie published a little online meditation entitled “Making Straight Paths” under the unlikely sobriquet of “Statweasel”.

Whatever he had in mind at the time, I’m fairly sure it wasn’t this — or at least it wasn’t exactly this.

That’s one of the beauties of collaborations: they have the potential to be more than the sum of their parts; the results often surprise everyone involved. Another is that when you throw your back out, somebody else is usually on hand to step up and shoulder the load. A third is that when you are accused of speaking out of turn, there is always another potential scapegoat available at whom you can point the finger if you need to: “IC made me do it!”

In any case, against all odds this particular collaborative effort turns five years old today. We shall make our toasts with something fizzy and non-alcoholic out of deference to our friends who teetotal. (Yes, that is actually the verb, as bizarre as it sounds.)

Scripture is not exactly loaded with references to “five years”. Unlike seven and its multiples — and especially forty — the five-year period does not seem to hold any exceptional spiritual significance in the word of God. Those references that do exist to a period five years in duration seem to skew a little on the dour side. For instance, Joseph correctly prophesied five years of famine still to come. Hopefully that is not an omen. Worse, Mephibosheth was five years old when he was lamed by his fleeing nurse. We are best to stop right there.

Did I ever mention I hate writing these anniversary things? I do. Still, milestones are always worth mentioning, if only to remind the writer that there is much for which to be grateful. And I have a great deal for which to give thanks.

First, I have a remarkable work arrangement. Many things about it are suboptimal and almost everything about it is unusual. Friends who hear the details often shake their heads in disbelief. I suspect a few months of it would make many people apprehensive or stir-crazy. All the same, my job has afforded me a unique opportunity to occupy myself productively all or parts of seven days a week in reading and studying the word of God, catching up on Christian literature great, awful and everywhere in between, praying, meditating, writing, editing and trawling the internet for useful illustrations. One day that will surely change, but I remain immensely thankful for the abundance of available time with which I have been blessed.

Second, I have been remarkably healthy for six blissful years after sixteen years of being varying degrees of unwell, the final six months of which had me in bed more than twenty hours a day. Every time I meet a more diligent servant of God working with a more compromised physical package — which is most of them — I am overcome with a sense of appreciation for the undeserved. The grace of Christ is always sufficient for us, but we are often insufficient to the grace we receive.

Third, I have a pair of wonderful brothers in Christ who continue to make this project hum along. IC has provided us with almost five years of reflective, entertaining, spiritually uplifting and occasionally edgy pieces that consistently call us to greater discernment, obedience and commitment. Bernie takes care of all the technical issues, foots the bills, offers the occasional comment online, talks me down whenever I get in a lather, and is probably our greatest word-of-mouth promoter. Both are an endless source of encouragement and wisdom.

Finally, to our regular readers: Your comments, personal notes, emails, polite corrections, consistent encouragement, sharing of our posts on social media and willingness to put us over with your fellow believers are a great source of joy and blessing. We thank the Lord for you all.

And we thank him for five years of being yet another in an endless line of testimonies to his greatness and grace.

Love in Christ,

Tom

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