With spatters against roof and window beckoning us, our family was drawn last evening to sit on our front porch and watch together a soaking summer storm. Nothing like the drought here in Indiana with rain's absence to make you appreciative of the cleansing and refreshment it brings. Some of our children laid on the porch with their heads out, enjoying the feel of the rain falling on them. As I watched the rain on my children's faces, it was a reminder of all the blessings that come from heaven above to us through young people.
"Dad, come see! The grasshopper had a baby!" Knowing our youngest one had deposited a grasshopper she had caught into the lizard cage, I was surprised it was still alive, much less that it had somehow multiplied. Yet following her, I did find there were two grasshoppers hanging upside down from the lid on the cage. No one admitted to putting another one in there, and we knew that eggs could not have been laid and hatched that quickly. Soon the mystery was solved. The grasshopper had shed its exoskeleton, leaving behind its shell in perfect form with even the casing of the slender antennas still in tact. This created as much amazement as thinking another grasshopper had somehow appeared. Wonders never cease when we look at things through the eyes of a child. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~<!--more--> A move is in the future for our household, and to ease the pain I promised the kids we would get a dog when we do. A day has not gone by where I have not heard about that promise multiple times. If only I was as fervent in beseeching our heavenly Father regarding His promises. ~~~~~~~~~<span style="text-align:center;">~~~~~~~~~~~</span> My sons, now taller and certainly more limber than I, go at it on the driveway with each other in basketball many afternoons. I want to join them, and sometimes do, though Shakespeare's Queen Gertrude could have had my knees in mind: they "protest too much, methinks." My favorite taunt when I get a chance? "The cagey old veteran scores over the young pups." Theirs? "The young pup stuffs yet again the cagey old veteran..."
Thomas Brooks in _The Mute Christian under the Smiting Rod _teaches the practice of silent contemplation in the midst of affliction, using Psalm 39:9 as his theme text, "I was dumb, I opened not my mouth, because Thou didst it." A difficult practice for all, and one best learned when young. After quoting from Lamentations 3:27 ("It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth"), Brooks reminds us of the lesson taught us by those Hebrew youth in Babylon's oven, "A gracious soul secretly concludes, as stars shine brightest in the night, so God will make my soul shine and glister like gold whilst I am in this furnace, and when I come out of this furnace of affliction."
Want some summer excitement? Go to seven weddings, then have three young people in your home in various stages of relationships, with one just having become engaged. Giddiness abounds. What did Wodehouse say about love? "Some time before, when he had found it impossible for him to be in her presence, still less to converse with her, without experiencing a warm, clammy, shooting sensation and a feeling of general weakness similar to that which follows a well-directed blow at the solar plexus, he had come to the conclusion that he must be in love."
Speaking of weddings, I performed one several weeks ago of two "baby" Christians who have gone through deep waters but Christ has made them whole. A son and daughter formed part of the bridal party, and their youngest daughter was a flower girl. When they came to the vows, both wept as they made them and so did I. Then I experienced a new first. After the pronouncement of the new family, he swept her off her feet and carried her out of the sanctuary. It was a little unconventional, but, then again, will not Christ carry His bride home?
Off now to yet another wedding. I wonder what else the Lord will be teaching me tonight?
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