It’s a bit jarring.
It feels as if it’s God being Captain Obvious.
Why would He say that?
And what does it have to do with me? Or with you, Dear Reader?
I’ve been thinking a lot about the seasons of life lately. I think I’m at a point in life where everything is seismically shifting again (not to mention the way the world seems to be shifting) and I’m realizing quite a few things in my life have died or are in the process of dying. And I don’t want the story to end there. I want there to be a, “Now then. . .”
We read in Deuteronomy where Moses has died. He’s buried. The Israelites have mourned his death. Everyone knows Moses is dead and Joshua is their new earthly leader. In fact, Chapter 34 verse 9 says, “So the Israelites listened to him (Joshua) and did what the Lord had commanded Moses.”
And then, oddly, strangely. . .after the burial and the mourning of Moses and after it has been made abundantly clear that Joshua is now in charge, God says to Joshua, “Moses my servant is dead. Now then. . .”
Is it just me, or does that seem odd to say that at that point in time?
I think He said that because sometimes I need to be reminded that “a season” is over. A season in my life is dead. Where I was has passed. It is no more. And now it’s time to move on to the, “Now then. . .”
One of the most haunting conversations I’ve ever had was with a group of parents who were discussing senior banners. Do you know what I speak off, Dear Reader? It’s those larger than life banners of our athletic kids we think are important. I stood in a meeting with a man who got a little bit misty eyed as he spoke about the importance of his child’s senior banner. “Ten years from now, when my son’s senior banner is hanging in my basement, I’ll be able to look back and remember his glory days!” I remember thinking, “Wow. When my child is 28 years old, I certainly hope I’m not still pining for his or her high school days. When my son is 28, I hope I’m living in the moment because I honestly believe the future for my children is better than their past.
But lest you think I’m being critical of that father, oh believe me, Dear Reader, I too am struggling with a few “deaths” in my own life. From the time my daughter and son were born, they have brought humor, laughter, and wit to every family meal. And now, as my son arrives home sweaty from practice and sits down to eat, and has us doubled-over laughing at his take on his school day, I say to myself in my head, “Enjoy it! Appreciate this meal! Next year it’s going to be awfully quiet at this dinner table.”
I would guess both of my children would say they “need me.” But who are we kidding? It’s certainly not as much as they used to need me. I purposely make myself go a day or two without communicating with my daughter at college. I do that because I want her to know, she’s got this without me. She doesn’t need to feel guilty about not talking with me on a daily basis. Her life doesn’t need to revolve around me. And sometimes I miss the days when it did.
I’ve gotten better about it, but sometimes I watch the times of the high school cross country girls at their meets. I sort of chuckle when I see how well my daughter would have run, had she been allowed that blessing. But that was not to be. . .it is over. . .that fun is dead. And my daughter’s athleticism (and now, her glaring inability to simply stand or walk) certainly doesn’t define her in any way, shape, or form.
Moses is dead. So are my “usual plans” for celebrating holidays this year with family and friends. Moses is dead. So are my days with my children constantly by my side. Moses is dead. So are the carefree days of the first 44 years of my life which now feels a whole lifetime ago from these last five years, when I can only ask, “What next, Lord? What next?”
But I guarantee you, Dear Reader, there is a, “Now then. . .”
- Now then. . . Thanksgiving and Christmas won’t look like it always has this year, but my goodness, what a blessing to still have all of those people in my life, even if we do only see each other via a socially-distancing visit on the garage apron, or an email, or a phone call.
- Now then. . . my own children don’t need me like they used to need me, but I cannot express to you the joy I feel as I watch them grow and try to figure out this whole independence thing.
- Now then. . . my time watching my kids participate in school activities is rapidly coming to a close. Yet, think of all the exciting things ahead in their future that I may have the privilege of seeing.
Yep. Moses is dead. God had to remind us to let some things go in our lives. Yet I firmly believe He replaces them with different things, other things, things He has planned for us to continue to grow in Him. New things that will simply fill our lives with joy!
Until the next Wednesday, the Lord allows.