What a wonderful day we had yesterday. Our area is experiencing the first of the fall season, and even without a change of leaves or a brisk wind, it’s nice to enjoy the outdoors without having to wipe constant sweat from your brow. While the kids were at their art lesson (praise God for the humility to admit that this is not my area before I totally disinterested them in the fine arts), the youngest and I enjoyed a nearby park. We fed birds by the water, picked up sticks, and I watched her climb each set of iron bars and slide down each slide. We don’t have enough of these days, I’ll admit, but it’s so darn HOT, and the mosquitoes have been aggressive enough to pick you up and take you away! A month or two ago, our oldest, who’s surprisingly taking a keen interest in national parks (I say surprisingly because she’s first to confess that she’s not the outdoorsy type), led us to some awesome trails in Big Thicket. What we will do for our children. I thought we were being attacked by the bushes themselves, I had so many bites on me.
On a completely separate note, we’ve been enjoying Susan Bauer’s 4-part The Story of the World series, written at the children's level, to walk through history . We were reading the history of Japan and learning that the country’s doors were closed to Christianity by—get this–a Christian! From the reading, William Adams, a Protestant, hated Catholicism. He used his influence to deceive the Japanese shogun Ieyasu into not allowing Catholic missionaries into Japan. Over the course of years, that seed bloomed into a growing mistrust of any Christians, and an eventual closing of Japan to Christianity. I began to fantasize as to how trivial a decision this might have been for one man based upon his own beliefs, and perhaps his fears and anxieties, but how many millions were affected, then and even now, by his decision. After a satisfactory period of self-righteous indignation, I began to reflect on my own behaviors like a true introvert. Though I’m safe in saying that I’ve not met any world rulers, at least to date, I thought about how many people might have missed the gospel, even temporarily, because of me. How many times have I kept my joy to myself because of my own fears, anxieties, or sheer preoccupation? How many times have I not created an opportunity to be a friend, to share Christ with someone, because I snubbed the package that they came in? (You’ve done it at least once, if you were willing to admit it). God, forgive me for those who’ve not seen You because of me. Let me always be quick to show more of You and Your unconditional love.