June 2nd - our third son is 21 today! So there's another milestone. Liz and I pray for our children each day, never mind that one is 27, the next 25 and the others 21, 17 and 14. It's what you do. They've each got their own 'pilgrimage' to make in life.
I read the story of Joni Erikson, now Joni Erikson Tada (I think that's right). She was paralysed after a dive into shallow water. It used to make me uneasy. She's a radiant Christian. She lives out her Christian commitment, and trusts God; and takes the view that what happened to her was a part of God's plan for her. "In all things God works for good for those who love Him, for those called according to His purpose." But reading about the experience of being left quadraplegic,I hated to think of that happening to me - or to anyone who I cared about. It is a scary thought. It was getting me down. Someone, our church pastor at the time, pointed out that this was HER individual experience, her life journey and was not everybody else's. We each have our own.
That's a very helpful comment, and it should have been obvious, but I still needed to hear it. There are several billion people on Earth, there have been several billion more who lived in the past. They (we) each have our own path in God's plan. And God's plan must have several contingencies built in, to cope with the different ways we cause things to turn out. Some people live to be incredibly old, some die young. It's hard to get your head around, sometimes. The possibilities are endless. It might be brilliant to leave this world the way Elijah the Prophet did, in a fiery chariot. But that was for him, not for everyone.
The plan for each person must include when and where we are born. People sometimes say they wish they had been born in a different time, or place. Apart from the old saying about the grass looking greener over the fence, there would be other problems if we actually were. I'm glad I was born in this age - I like television, movies and having thousands of books. Living in the 'pioneer' age, log cabins and bark huts and all that, might seem quaint but it would have been a bit basic, too. The thing is, some people were meant to be born in that era. There were those who came to know Jesus and lived out faithful Christian lives, under those times and conditions. It would not have been as good if that identical individuals were born into another different age. The same goes for the place we're each born, I'm guessing. Living in England and Australia (and Malta, although I can't remember it because we left when I was two) must be what was right for my brother and myself - and numerous other people who've migrated.
There are some people who's place in life I do NOT envy. That's probably meant to show - we each have the life situation best for us. I could wish I was born into royalty, then remember being constantly subject to public scrutiny would drive me nuts. So the way we've each got it must be for a purpose. That's not to say all problems are easy to cope with. Nor is it to say that we should not interfere, if we can and should help others with their hardships. We're called to help others. It is not the Christian way to ignore suffering and say, that's the person's fate sent by God. What we do need to know, if I've got it right, is that where we are is a God-given thing and part of His purpose. Now having said all that, I'd better pray I can remember it myself and not start grumbling about the life I've been born into.