Today we had planned to stay at Heathrow Airport overnight before flying out to Chicago tomorrow. Everything was organized with an action-packed month ahead full of good things. The Evangelical Homiletics Society annual meeting Oct 9-11, sessions working on the Lilly preaching initiative, lectures at Moody Oct 30, 31 were to be interspersed with events on a wild social calendar. Carol, the social secretary, had booked up nearly every day in order for us to catch up with friends - mostly eating together! You can imagine the fun we had planning it all.
The reality hit hard this week as we realized how far short we have fallen of fulfilling these grand hopes. I still have more than two weeks in my wheelchair (with heavy painkillers) until my next X rays which (hopefully) will allow me to start the next phase of recovery of bearing weight on my damaged foot. And, compounding the dour mood, today Carol has to undergo a rerun of the colonoscopy in hospital after a failed procedure last month.
Perhaps inevitably, we have reflected on how disappointing this turn (actually twist) of events has been. Yet, we also acknowledge that coping with disappointment positively is a vital lesson of growing up. Remember how utterly crushed we were by disappointments in childhood? Oh, the gross unfairness and the railing against the world that would never be the same again! I can still remember some of those times. But we also recognize that we can develop the positive progression that Paul outlines in Rom. 5: 3-5. 'suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us'. It's true - such hope does not disappoint us. God's hope always looks beyond, putting troubles we face along the way into kingdom perspective. Roll on, God's solid future!