This morning, I sat in the waiting room of a surgery center while Andrew had a brief surgical procedure performed on his thumb. For several reasons, all this brought back a number of memories from the distant past, when I was even a few years younger than Andrew is now.
For starters, I had much the same problem with my right index finger than Andrew had on his right thumb. Years ago, when I was about twenty-five, and before we had even moved to Indiana, I had to have what appeared to be an internal cyst removed and it was all done under a local. Unfortunately, after my finger was injected to deaden the area, the surgeon proceeded right away and I about went through the roof as the scalpel cut through my flesh before the lidocaine had taken effect. Noticing that I was in excruciating pain, the doc waited for several minutes until things settled down and then removed what appeared to be a small mass in my finger. No problems – it was all over before I knew it. Recovery was quick and I forgot about it. What’s the chance that something like that would ever happen – and now I here I sit while Andrew goes through almost exactly the same thing a generation later.
But there’s another memory that comes to mind while I was sitting in the waiting room. Five years ago or so, Janet and I waited while Andrew had another surgery that was potentially very serious. After several weeks of waiting for biopsy results, the mass they removed was found to be benign, but Janet and I have never spent as much time worrying about one of our children while we waited for the results. That year I preached on Good Friday and the message of the death of Jesus was never as real to me as it was after our experience with Andrew. To this day, I can’t begin to fathom the pain the Father must have experienced knowing that He was sending His own Son to die for all of us.
Additionally, the surgery center was located right next to the building that housed the bank that we used back when we moved to Indiana back in 1982. I have so many memories of those early years when the kids were young and we struggled to make ends meet. We never had enough pull with the bank to make things easy and we were always having to answer to a loan officer or somebody else each month when we submitted our financial statements. There weren’t many fond memories.
Oddly, throughout most of my career, things have remained pretty much the same. I am sure that most of you will attest that the banks are only really easy to work with when you don’t need their help – otherwise, when you are in need, they make you jump through hoops to accomplish your goal. In a way, I am really glad those days and memories are far behind us.
One of the blessings that has come from writing these posts for so long is that I never know what will come to mind from the past. Each day I patiently wait to be prompted to write something meaningful that will connect with our audience. And I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times that I have had some recollection from the past that ends up on the pages of TBTB. That happened again today with the memories of Andrew, myself and also the bank in the early days of our Indiana experience.
The verse for tonight connects the present to the past. We are told by Paul, in Rom. 15:4, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” It is much the same with our life experiences. One of my favorite places in the country is Colonial Williamsburg in Williamsburg, VA. Long ago, I noticed that their slogan states that their mission is to create an atmosphere where “the future can learn from the past.” Isn’t it the same with us and the personal memories we have? The future is in large measure governed by the things that we have learned from the past.
And notice that the things of the past teach us about hope for the future. That’s my encouragement for you this evening. And my prayer is that the relationship you have with Jesus will only get stronger as you remember the steps of your faith journey and realize that you have an eternity to grow closer to God and His Risen Son. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…