I have had my iPad for over 5 years. Over those years it has been used and abused, and dropped multiple times. I have had the screen fixed at least once, and have been functioning with a shattered home button for as long as I can remember. On Memorial Day I finally gave in and went to the Apple store to see about getting it fixed. They informed me it was beyond repair. My options were to continue using it as I had been, to pay a sizable sum to have it replaced ... or, for $30 additional, to get the most recent model. I now have a brand new, 8th generation (or is it the 6th?) iPad. I was hoping for something in-between.
Our conversation at Tuesday morning's FHL gathering was energizing - the perfect way to re-enter life after a long weekend. But in the afternoon I started to drag. It was a good thing I did not have anything planned for that evening. I found myself falling asleep on the couch as the Tigers' game started. By 7:30 I had crawled into bed with my clothes on. The next thing I knew it was 10:00 p.m. I brushed my teeth and went back to bed, and slept soundly until 5:00 a.m. That was nearly ten hours of sleep for a guy who lives on seven per night. And I had hoped to use the evening to get a few things done.
Wednesday morning I was on the freeway a little after 6:00 a.m. The drive was extremely easy. We were going the speed limit ... until just after 12 Mile. An accident southwest of 8 Mile had I-94 totally closed, and I crawled until I turned onto Kelly from 10 Mile. I had eleven appointments on my schedule for the day. The first at 6:30 a.m. (I was late). The last at 8:30 p.m. (I was early). As the day went on, three were cancelled, one more was added, and multiple phone calls and texts were woven in. The age spectrum of the people I met with went from mid-90's to 2 months, and the topic/purposes of the meetings were just as varied ... though they all had something to do with God in Christ at work in our world. On the way home I filled my car with gas, and once home I had enough energy to watch the Tigers' twice rain delayed game end around 11:00. Talk about extremes!
My thoughts went to the last words Jesus spoke before his ascension. "Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28.20) That "always" includes all of the extremes in our lives, and everything in-between. His timing is not always ours (I think about the unemployed and childless for whom I am praying). His thoughts are not necessarily our thoughts (I think of those who have buried their children or other loved ones). But his promise is clear - he will bring all things together in his time.
Whenever I find myself doubting this, I think back to the people of the Old Testament waiting, century after century, for the Messiah to appear. It was not until "when the time came to completion, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons." (Galatians 4.4-5). Yet, even then, he did not come as the people expected him to come, nor did he do the things people expected him to do. Or, as the Gospel of John tells us, "He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, he gave them the right to be children of God." (John 1.11-12)
If (or should I say when) we find the pendulum of our lives swinging from one extreme to the other ... and whenever it seems to be stuck at the wrong extreme ... we are called to remember "The Spirit himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God's children, and if children, also heirs - heirs of God and coheirs with Christ - if indeed we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him." (Romans 8.16-17)
We start out dead - rebels against God, children of the devil bound for eternal condemnation, and then in our baptism we are made to be Children of God and heirs of eternal life. Through every mood swing, failure and angry thought that follows, he hangs with us. And then we spend eternity with him in paradise. Now that's a pendulum swing I can live with ... forever!