God Is Good – All the Time
2014 was a very good year of ministry, but the ending was much different than we would have wished. And yet, in it all God was glorified.
Following Marilyn’s home going in October our five children, spouses, and grandchildren all gathered in our home on Thanksgiving eve. This was to be their first holiday without their mom and grandma. It was a time for family to be together. Daughter Becky and daughters-in-law Wendy and Jessica and Shelby were preparing to make Marilyn’s kitchen aromatic with the normal smells of Thanksgiving dinner cooking the following day. A turkey was brought into Marilyn’s kitchen along with the trimmings, fresh baked pies were set on the counter, salads were put into the refrigerator, sweet potatoes and trimmings were readied for work the following morning.
While we missed Marilyn’s presence terribly, we were glad to be together. We were anticipating the following day in hopes that somehow, in some way, we could experience a whole family presence again and perhaps find God’s deeper joy in a time of remembrance and thanksgiving. But it was not to be. That night our housecaught fire. It burned to the ground. Zeb did not make it out. Those who did had only the shirts on their backs, some with no shoes in minus fifteen degree weather. We lost everything.
Our Thanksgiving day was spent quite differently than we had planned.
Just a few weeks earlier Zeb had played his fiddle at his Mom’s funeral. He approached me at the conclusion of her service and said that when he died he wanted his funeral to be just like his Mom’s -one that glorified God. I assured him that we would do just that, but not to be in any hurry about it. Little did either of us know that seven weeks later we would be fulfilling Zeb’s wishes. God was honored and glorified and the church was filled to overflowing with the people that he had influenced in his life. Many who would otherwise never darken the door of a church heard God’s plan that day
In a home discussion with Zeb just a few weeks ago he had told me that he would willingly die if that caused even one of his friends to come to Christ. Some of the post-funeral contacts indicated that his wishes are being fulfilled.
– In a conversation with his auto/motorcycle insurance agent three days afterward she said that she had never been to a funeral like that before. She said, “Now I get it!”. Praise God.
– A plumber working on our new heating system said, unbeknown to me, that he had met Zeb. He and his family were driving down the highway and stopped to observe a horse and buggy coming down the road. It was Zeb. He had them park their car and gave the whole family a ride. This opened the door for me to spend two sessions sharing Christ with this man.
– A Florida lady wrote us how Zeb had assisted her when her car broke down on the road and she had to spend several nights in the same motel as Zeb awaiting repairs (he was working as a heavy equipment operator on the pipeline at the time). He bought her meals, visited with her, and shared Christ with her. She stated that her life has never been the same since he introduced her to Jesus.
So while hurt upon hurt came upon our family this year, at the same time I’ve never experienced God’s grace, love, and sustaining strength as I have through all of this. Love poured from everywhere. People we did not know honored us with food, clothing, and funds to assist. Furniture and bedding were given for me to equip my living quarters in the south end of our new building, and carpenters and plumbers volunteered their efforts. God has shown that He is caring for us while using this tragedy (in the world’s eyes) to His purposes and glory. I am blessed that He has counted our family as worthy to be used in this manner.
Some have asked how this will affect our Six Seasons ministry in 2015? Our theme verse in II Timothy 4:2-5 gives us the answer: “ Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season….do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” That’s the plan. While Marilyn and Zeb, both who were key participants in this ministry, will be greatly missed, God’s work will continue.
So on February 5th I’m flying to Kodiak Island for a ten day break – while ministering with Ron & Jean Paull in their church in Port Lions. Our spring Six Seasons Rally will be held in Superior, Wisconsin June 19-21. Other dates of ministry are currently being confirmed. Details of these events and rally flyers will be in our following Newsletter. Christian soldiers must march on. The fields are white unto harvest.
As Marilyn reminded me before she went on ahead: “God is good all the time.” INDEED!
May God keep your faith strong and your heart prepared…in all seasons.
When our house burned all of our computers were destroyed along with our Six Seasons records. We have purchased new computers but need to re-establish our mailing list. So if you would please send us your mailing address plus the address of anyone you know who was or would like to be on our mailing list that would help. Our phones were also destroyed and all stored phone numbers are gone with them. If you would send us those numbers as well it would be helpful. You can email these to me at downeyL@centurytel.net or slow mail them to us at Six Seasons Christian Riders. Our address is the same as always as are my home phone and cell numbers.