"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,
for those who are called according to his purpose.
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son,
in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
And those whom he predestined he also called,
and those whom he called he also justified,
and those whom he justified he also glorified."
There is nothing like coming home.
Before we find our way home we run through an old covered kissing bridge, attempt to shoot a family photo on the timer setting, and finally fill our tummies at the old Cracker Barrel in Amish country.
And he's licking the last of the sweet syrup off his plate (I know, I should be horrified that he's licking his plate! and in public!!), but I'm stopped short at what he says as he puts his plate back down where it belongs. All day, he's been counting down the hours to his birthday (who am I kidding? he's been counting for months).
He turns 8 on the 31st of October. He's been trying to convince us that he'll be king soon, just like the boy he was named after in the Bible became king when he was 8 years old.
He tells us that he knows that there are great battles and on the day that he celebrates his birthday, he knows that there are some who celebrate evil. But he says he will put on the full armour of God because God always wins his battles. And he doesn't need to be afraid of the evil because the Lord is with him.
I really can't stand that he was born on the 31st of October. I cringe at the thought of it every year. It was the only day during the whole pregnancy that I really hoped would not be the day of his birth. But when I woke up just after midnight on the 31st, two full weeks before his due date, I knew that he would be born on the very day I was hoping I could avoid.
On the eve of his eighth birthday, we drive 9 hours, 750 km(460 miles) home. Through and around villages, up and down peaks and valleys in the Appalachian Mountains, through the States and further up and further in a few hours north into Canada.
We pack in like sardines among the suitcases, pillows, parcels, perplexus balls and other activities for the journey. We listen to 'Charlie's Choice', skip through 'Secret Garden', watching only the parts that don't scare the three year old, endure battles of she's too close--he's bugging me--and she smiled at me, make a couple quick pit stops and try to make all cozy as the dark settles and the wheels roll on and the minutes fade and we gain ground on our way home.
We cross the border just before midnight and when we roll into the driveway a couple of hours later we say a quiet Happy Birthday to the birthday boy. Then we all fall into our beds that we had crawled out of four days earlier in the wee hours of the morning to take a small holiday to see 'Noah' at the Sight and Sound Theatre, where the 'Bible comes to life'.
My heart broke afresh when we saw the ark door slam shut and heard the wails of those who were outside of the ark. Only Noah and his wife and three sons and their wives were saved on the ark when God sent a flood to destroy all living things on the earth because the wickedness of man was so great that God was grieved in His heart that he ever made man.
My heart burst with gratitude for the grace shown to those inside the ark.
My heart pondered how those inside of Christ have been redeemed at the foot of the cross and we stand sure in the ark of Christ. Where evil does not triumph and the purpose of Satan to steal, kill, and destroy cannot harm us for Christ's purpose was to give life in all its fulness.
And the journey home, may be long and tedious and even dark at times, but in Christ we stand victorious.
Christ adorns us with His righteousness and we put on the full armour of God and fight battles in this life, endure pain and suffering, enter His presence with thanksgiving, till one day He will take us home to be with him for all eternity and be glorified in Him.
We don't know the hour when we will be called home to glory, but we do know that this is the day that the Lord has made and what He has promised is true. Each and every day, from the rising of the sun to the setting of the same, the name of the Lord will be praised.
The battle belongs to the Lord. Until we become fully like Christ, we will walk this narrow road, letting the light of Christ shine in this darkness, claiming who we are in Christ, all to the praise of His glory.
So my boy-king, will put on the his armour--his belt of truth, helmet of salvation, sword of the Spirit, shield of faith, feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, breastplate of righteousness--and rub shoulders with his neighbours in our community on the night of his birthday and boldly claim that he is a soldier of the King of Kings.
And although I wish we could ignore this day altogether, where some elevate darkness and worship death, we will proclaim and celebrate life, rejoice that God's sovereignty reigns and His providence prevails and the whole earth and all that is in it belongs to Him, and marvel that by His grace we are safe in the ark of Jesus Christ.
As we journey, "we must trust in His love, rely on His grace, we must learn how to rest in His loving embrace"* and long for the day when He will take us to be with Him and we will behold His face and know that we are forever home.
"Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared;
but we know that when he appears we shall be like him,
because we shall see him as he is."
(1 John 3:2)
*lyrics from song in 'Noah'