Ryan & Jordan

with Pioneer Bible Translators

life to the fullest

by Jordee

This post is dedicated to my mom and dad.

Last Thursday we arrived in my hometown, and I drove to my parents’ house after dinner. I found my mom holding a grandfather’s beard tree in her hand. “Oh, I was just going to plant this. I’ll be done in a minute.” I wandered around the front yard with the dogs until she was done. She pointed out all that was blooming and all that had come back from last spring. Whenever I’ve been away during the start of spring, I’m always a little stunned at how much she’s helped to grow. I walked past the zucchini and onions and asparagus. She came and sat down by the fish pond in the garden room, and I sat down next to her. We fed the five fish and talked about how I worried the two had frozen this winter when really they were busy having babies. Mom pointed to the spot on the pond where tadpoles would hatch soon.

We laughed at the dogs digging at nothing next to us until it was time to go inside. We walked to the door and mom spotted a mama bird in her nest. I marveled at how calm she was when we were standing so close to her, taking care of her new little ones. Later that night as I was leaving, I stopped by the door when I heard them squeaking in the nest.

 rosebush

This time of year is good for us creatures. Just when we thought we couldn’t wait any longer, we see new life and brightness. We sigh in relief as our hearts lighten. Winter had worn us until we were dull empty shells, or it had suddenly chilled us to the bone and broken us. But now, the deadness of winter appears so temporary, and our eyes open wide to living Hope.  This Hope seeps into our broken empty places—dark crevices made by winter and bad news, and the Resurrected One lifts up our heads again. He came that we might have life to the fullest.

Even the wind and waves obey Him

by Jordee

The past three weeks we have been riding the waves of one of the worst storms of my life.

My first reaction was pure disorienting shock. We hadn’t battened down the hatches because the waters had been relatively calm, really. But a storm had been brewing, and it overtook us – suddenly, powerfully. It was shock like I had never experienced before, then fear, hope, anxiety, confusion, comfort, humility.

The thing about storms is once you’re caught up in one, you’re powerless. You aren’t going to problem-solve your way out of it. You grip the mast as hard as you can as the waves beat you on every side and fill up your humble little boat with water, and you do what it takes to survive.

There’s nothing like a storm that makes us feel our helplessness. We remember, “oh that’s right, I can’t do anything on my own.” Sometimes the reminder feels gentle, and other times it feels like a hurricane. But even in my powerlessness, the all powerful One is holding on to my family, and He is good. I have learned this, that even in the thunder and rain we can see His goodness. Maybe even especially so. Though my heart is heavy and there are weights on our shoulders, I know Jesus, the One whom even the wind and waves obey.

But even though I know Him and follow Him, my heart still fills up with fear and I try to shake Him awake so that He can see what terrible storm we’re weathering. But He already knows. So by the grace of God I look past the darkness of the waves and I fix my eyes on Him. And I wait for Him like I wait for the calm.

image via pinterest

image via pinterest

Like a Garden

by ryan

Good Friday was terrible to The Eleven (Judas seems to have already killed himself . . . to be or not to be . . . to obey or not to obey . . . ) and probably to Jesus’s mom and the other disciples too. Perhaps they might have called it “Failure Friday”. The Hope of Israel has been slain like a typical rebel against the Roman Establishment. In despair, Jesus’ body was sown into the dark of the earth, in a tomb. What was planted that day?

When we say “hope” these days we often mean something other than how I am meaning now. In Southern California we say, “I hope it snows tomorrow and school is cancelled.” But near the Pacific where I went to high school it only snows about every 10 years, if that, and I cannot recall a time it did not melt immediately when it hit the ground. So when we say, “I hope it snows so school is cancelled”, we still do our homework and make plans to go to school the next morning. We say “hope” to talk about wishful, dreamy, even whimsical ideas. And we don’t have much reason to believe these wishes will come true.

Hope is also a town in British Columbia. I’ve been beyond Hope, in both directions on the Trans-Canada Highway. While being beyond or without hope is not recommended, travelling near or beyond Hope, B.C. is encouraged.

yoho-national-park-river_37164_600x450

This is beyond Hope if you are coming from Vancouver. Photograph by Reiner Harscher, laif/Redux (National Geographic dot com)

 

I’m not typing about a town either. When I type “hope” I mean something else.  The Hope of Humanity is a person, He is the First Fruits of the Resurrection. When Paul said something like,

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. (ESV translation)

he does not mean we grieve like we are the Best Wishful Thinkers, changing the world with our Positive Disney Thinking. We don’t “Wish upon a star.” We know the Star Maker and believe, for good reason, that the One who resurrected the Hope of Humanity, will likewise resurrect us. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, especially chapter 15 is good reading on this.

In glory, he was resurrected in bodily form on the third day. If his body is a seed, how glorious is the plant who is alive?