Don’t worry – I am not into euthanasia or eugenics and am not about to go round killing old people off! The political issue of how we treat our old and infirm has been in the headlines a lot recently. The Bible is clear that if we don’t honour the fathers and mothers it won’t go well with us in the land (Deut 5v16, Eph 6v2); the God of the generations is looking for inter-connectedness and inter-dependence where our hearts are turned to one another in mutual love and respect (Mal 4v6). Surely our land is waiting for such a movement – just as God promised the actual land of Israel in that extraordinary chapter in Ezekiel – so that there can be healing and wholeness.
‘I will cause people, my people Israel, to walk upon you. They will possess you, and you will be their inheritance; you will never again deprive them of their children… Because people say to you, you devour men and deprive your nation of its children, therefore you will no longer devour men or make your nation childless, declares the Sovereign LORD’ Ezekiel 36v12-14
This is why the generational issue is so important – sin affects the land so the land devours the children; when fathers and children are unreconciled the land is cursed… and, we trust, vice versa! But I digress… 😉
The old must die. What does that mean? Seeds fall into the ground, we submit to the ‘belly of the whale’ and the dark, winter seasons and pruning of the Lord – we learn how to move on from seasons that are past and fire that has become ash. If we don’t, we quickly become religious, propping up our structures and continuing in old habits for fear of change. God is always on the move, always creating new things – do you not perceive it? (Isaiah 43v19). This is the journey of faith and relational dependence, walking off the map, ploughing a new furrow, keeping in step with what the Spirit is saying as She leads us into all truth. You need a lot of trust for that – and faithful companions on the road!
Yesterday was a significant marker day for me: 16th October 2011. I am alert to all the watershed events and signs this year! Someone asked me what I see about 11.11.11, but for me the whole year has been about transition – about leaving one era and entering a new one. We can’t miss it in incredible world events – the Arab Spring, the economic chaos and shift from west to east – and I am living it personally. As I realised afresh while writing yesterday, the prophet has to live out the wider word at a personal level – as Jonah did with both the judgment and salvation God wanted to bring on Nineveh. Just after Jewish New Year I actually found myself holding ERA keys in my hand for the first time, to open the door of Sam’s new house – and if you have followed my adventures with ERA locks you will understand the significance of that moment! And now yesterday’s date lined up as exactly 7 years since the first Mercy Cry prayer event I did in Loughborough – 16.10.04 – which makes ‘Baby Hope’ 7 years old – plus it is exactly 40 months since Sam dropped out of university in such a state: I collected him from TVU on 16.6.08.
Has something finally been completed, through the trials of the past years and the living out of a prayer for the generations? I hope so! The numbers don’t often lie, if you interpret them according to the Spirit… and no I don’t know how God does this and then helps me see it! But as I have said before, I know He speaks my language 🙂 And I am well up for looking for a new beginning, a new valley down the other side of this mountain we have just climbed… but I do have to let the old die in order to do that.
We are grieving: that is normal when there is a death: we are bereaved of things and people we loved. Transition means a period of adjustment: ‘the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another’. The winter, the caterpillar in the chrysalis, all are pictures to us of what must happen – death, burial, resurrection. You can’t have one without the other – and it hurts!
We long for resurrection, of course. ‘We’ve longed to see the roses, but never felt the thorns And bought our pretty crowns, but never paid the price…’ Find me in the river by Delirious. This is that: we mourn and grieve because the old has had to die. But then Jesus calls us to put our hand to the plough and not look back (Luke 9v62) and set our faces like flint for the dawn that turns into perfect day (Proverbs 4v18) – always HOPE, always new things to trust Him for – redemption and new adventures into eternity.
I need lifting up out of the slime and weariness of grief and ashes, pulling back onto my feet on a new shore. I am so glad and grateful for the close companions who help, pray, encourage and walk alongside. Weeping may last for the night – but surely JOY comes in the morning. Whatever the numbers signify, may today be the first day of the rest of our lives!