Time For God: June 7

Written by Paul Beckingham

Focus: Genesis 4:9
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?”
A brother is expected to care for a brother; how much more must a father care for his son? In the Bible’s opening pages, in the midst of God’s love for humankind, Cain murders brother Abel.
Nik Ripken (pseudonym) and Ruth, his wife, took their three sons to serve God in Kenya. In their home, an undetected mold was quietly growing. Their second-born, Timothy (16) had a godly presence about him. Loved by friends and teachers, he was the peace within a storm.

For three and half years, severe drought besieged the land. Animals were lost; people starved. At the mission school, Timothy drew students together. They prayed for rain; rains came! In the middle of the night Timothy reacted to the mold and sudden downpour. Severe asthma struck him. His father did all he could. He loaded Timothy into their car to rush him to hospital. Seeing a familiar man, he stopped the car. The man then drove them. Nik climbed into the back of the car to give his son CPR. At the hospital, Timothy was declared dead. Frail hearts cried, “Why?”  

Anguish gripped his family. Grief pulled the Christian community together. Teachers, students, and missionary families stood as one. Tears flowed freely around Timothy’s open grave, dug within the school property. Timothy quietly walked so closely with His Lord. Now he would see Jesus face to face. His parents agonized over their decision to take their boys into danger. They felt responsible for the unforeseen results. Their soul-wound cast them fully upon God’s grace.

After 25 years, Nik and Ruth have written their story, The Insanity of God. It is also a movie. They have travelled to 70 countries telling their story, encouraging others who have suffered in their fight of faith. Should they have gone to Kenya? Reporter Bob Smietana records how Nik has responded, “Don't cheat your kids out of going on this kind of journey," he said. "Don't cheat them out of experiencing Jesus among the nations. After 30 years of doing this, I believe Jesus said, 'go into the world' as much for those who will go as for those who will hear (the Gospel.) Because if we don't go and we don't speak, we will miss Jesus Himself.”

Sometimes being the keeper of our brother—or son—means not holding them back from God.
When has God brought you into tough and tender times? How has His presence spoken into your pain? What do you now know of God’s strong love for you through that deep experience?

God before me, God behind me/ God above me, God below me/ I on the path of God/ God upon my track./ Who is there on wave?/ Who is there on billow?/ Who is there by door-post?/ Who is along with us?/ I am here aboard,/ I am here in need,/ I am here in pain,/ I am here in straits,/ I am here alone,/ O God, aid me.                                
Carmena Gadelica III, 318-9
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