In the Meantime
History fascinates me.
Late at night, I love watching documentaries about the British royal family and reading books about Church history. I also love studying the Old Testament and seeing how the events work together and lead us to where we are today.
My mom and sisters and I are doing an Advent Bible study during the month of December. Advent – a time of looking back with thankfulness to Jesus’ first coming on earth and looking forward with anticipation to Jesus’ second coming! Meanwhile, we’re waiting. Much like the Israelites waited to enter the promised land or waited for their Messiah, there is always something to wait for.
During the “400 years of silence” in the story between the end of the book of Malachi and the beginning of Matthew, God seemed to be silent. There were no prophets, no Messiah on the scene, and no new revelation. It’s hard to even imagine all of the generations of people that lived and died during those 400 years.
“During the times in our lives when God seems silent, He’s often working in ways we can’t see or understand to prepare us for what He has next. During the four hundred years before the birth of Jesus, a lot changed. Cultures merged. Both Jews and pagans were dissatisfied with religion. The Greeks, Romans, and other nations were questioning the validity of polytheism. The Scriptures were translated into other languages. Roads were built, and most people were free to travel. When Israel came under Roman rule around 63 BC, hope and faith were low for God’s people. They were convinced the only thing that could save them and their faith was the appearance of the Messiah.” (Advent, page 26)
Seemingly all of a sudden, the book of Matthew opens with a genealogy showing the Jews that what they’ve been waiting for all along is HERE!
In Classical Conversations, our kids have learned a timeline of the history leading up to the birth of Christ: … Judah falls to Babylon, Temple destroyed, Babylon falls to Persia, Jews return and rebuild the Temple, Roman Republic, Golden Age of Greece, Peloponnesian Wars, Persia Falls to Alexander the Great, Roman Dictator Julius Caesar, Caesar Augustus and the Pax Romana, John the Baptist, Jesus the Messiah… (the song goes on!)
At the time of Jesus’ birth, the Jews were ruled by the Romans with an enormous Greek influence. People spoke a common language and travel was simplified. Looking back now, we can see a few of the many ways that God was working to prepare and prime His people for their Messiah. Those things also allowed the Gospel to spread throughout the Empire.
It’s incredible to think of how God was working until the fullness of time had come when He sent forth His Son. (Galatians 4:4-7)
Jack and I are actively waiting for the next step in our calling to West Africa. When Jack and I think about all that has to happen before we get our feet on the ground in Africa, it seems so far away. We are about to start our year in Dallas and then our time in France. We have training and partnership development filling our calendar until we leave the country. Our time of preparation and waiting will not be wasted.
I recently read a compilation of talks that Elisabeth Elliot gave entitled “Suffering is Never for Nothing.” As God has used rough seasons in our past and times of waiting, so He also will use the next two years. Times of preparation are never for nothing.
So, while we work and wait to prepare for our anticipated time of Bible translation ahead of us, we trust that God will prepare our hearts and minds to GO. Just as He prepared the world for His Son, He will use these years in our lives too. We are confident that He has gone before us and will be with us!
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
We have housing on campus lined up in Dallas!! SO thankful for all who prayed with us to figure out this detail! Every little thing is coming together for us to be there in a few weeks!
We had a sweet time with Jack's brother and his wife in VA Beach this past weekend, and were able to meet with two churches and many individuals about our Wycliffe ministry! We're loving this season of Partnership Development more than we thought we would!
Definitely a long term request, but please continue to pray for our kids as we prepare to transition to Dallas. Pray for friends for them and an eternal perspective for the whole family. Pray that their hearts would love God more every day and that we, as parents, would have wisdom to disciple them. We will start up with a new Classical Conversations community when we get there. (We're so thankful for community wherever we go!)
Continue to pray for our growing team of prayer and financial partners! It's all so exciting!!