God's Redemptive Work in Our Midst
The messiness and brokenness of our lives can sometimes hide the redemptive hand of God that is constantly at work, similar to how the turbulent clouds hid the solar eclipse from view. What’s going on in the foreground may cause us to miss the powerful forces at work behind the scenes. Let’s face it: we live in an atmosphere that is constantly clouded with our own sin and the sin of a broken society. This perspective can cause us to doubt whether God is really up to the task of redeeming this world.
Sometimes, however, the clouds clear to give us an obstructed view of redemption at work. On August 21, 2017, a newly married couple celebrated the alignment of the sun, the moon, and the earth as part of their honeymoon in Lincoln, Nebraska. The path of two families became one in what appeared to me as an extremely redemptive act of God. Jill Louk and her two girls joined with Lincoln Eekhoff and his two boys to form a new family together.
Both Lincoln and Jill suffered the deep grief of the death of their fathers when they were young. Lincoln and the boys suffered the added pain of divorce. In working through that pain Lincoln had drifted from God, but God’s hand brought him back toward trust. As a young lady Jill entered into a bad relationship that proved extremely difficult to leave. By God’s grace she did finally break free and has been steadily bringing herself and her girls into a more peace-filled relationship with God. Through the mentoring of Jane Kramer and the influence of Bible Study, she and her girls started worshiping God regularly.
On Sunday, July 23, Lincoln and Jill shared their testimonies and their desire to join our congregation. On July 30, in the Iowa River, both pledged their love and allegiance to Jesus Christ through baptism. On Saturday, August 19, they pledged their love and allegiance to each other. Jim Kramer officiated a simple and beautiful service in our church sanctuary. If you talk to Lincoln or Jill, you cannot miss their genuine humility and sincere gratitude for God’s grace in bringing about this redemptive turn in their lives.
As witnesses of Jesus Christ, such humility and gratitude should mark us all. Humility and gratitude are the appropriate response to a true awareness of how Jesus has redeemed us and how his redemptive intentions continue to affect us and others. Despite the clouds which, on occasion, may still completely dominate our view, we know in faith there is a steady force for good dependably working out a cosmic plan of redemption for our broken lives, bringing them in alignment with God’s grace and love.