“When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”Luke 21:28
The year of 2020 has been a rough one for the world, and for my family. Katie’s father’s diagnosis of stage 4 pancreatic cancer on February 12 and his death on February 24 were a shock to her and our family. We traveled back to be with him on February 16, hoping and praying for a miracle, and that he would at least make it the 2-3 months that the doctor had given him. While I could not stay that whole time, Katie and the girls were planning to, as they could do homeschool from the states, and also spend time with Grandpa. After his quick passing, they stayed in the US when I returned to Lebanon on March 10. Since then, the world has changed very quickly due to COVID-19 and the subsequent economic crisis. Since then, this virus exploded around the world infecting more than a million people and killing over 80,000.
Therefore, last week and the week before Katie and I were earnestly praying for God to open the door for our family to be reunited. We hoped they could return to Lebanon, but with predictions that the worst is still to come in the US and in many places around the world, it seemed unlikely that they could return to Lebanon for an extended period of time.
God opened a different door for us, as the US Embassy arranged a flight for citizens who wanted to return due to this crisis. Due to the uncertain situation and the uncertainty of when Katie and the girls would be able to return to Lebanon, I made arrangements with my supervisor Pr. Darron to use annual leave and to take this opportunity to reunite with my family during this global pandemic. I returned to the US on Sunday, and it’s been wonderful to be with my family again. Looking back at last month, I wish Katie and the girls would’ve returned with me to Lebanon on March 10. But at that time we had no idea the world would practically be turned upside down within a week or two.
We hope to return to Lebanon as soon as safely possible. I will be doing some work from the US, so feel free to contact me as needed. Email and WhatsApp are the best way to reach me.
For those who are following the reading plan in order to make the most of our time at home, I know you’ve been blessed. Here’s one hope-filled paragraph from Sunday’s reading:
Christ is coming with clouds and with great glory. A multitude of shining angels will attend Him. He will come to raise the dead, and to change the living saints from glory to glory. He will come to honor those who have loved Him, and kept His commandments, and to take them to Himself. He has not forgotten them nor His promise. There will be a relinking of the family chain. When we look upon our dead, we may think of the morning when the trump of God shall sound, when ‘the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.’ 1 Corinthians 15:52. A little longer, and we shall see the King in His beauty. A little longer, and He will wipe all tears from our eyes. A little longer, and He will present us ‘faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.’ Jude 1:24. Wherefore, when He gave the signs of His coming He said, ‘When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh’”Ellen White, Desire of Ages, p. 632
Church family, just a little longer and we will see Jesus coming, and there will be a great relinking of the family chain. Let’s be watching and working earnestly until that day, as Ellen White eloquently appeals to us, “Those who watch for the Lord’s coming are not waiting in idle expectancy. The expectation of Christ’s coming is to make men fear the Lord, and fear His judgments upon transgression. It is to awaken them to the great sin of rejecting His offers of mercy. Those who are watching for the Lord are purifying their souls by obedience to the truth. With vigilant watching they combine earnest working. Because they know that the Lord is at the door, their zeal is quickened to co-operate with the divine intelligences in working for the salvation of souls” (ibid., p. 634).
As we think of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection this weekend, I appeal to you to spend extra time in your Bible and in the Desire of Ages as we have outlined on the reading plan. Spend less time on social media and watching the news, and spend more time with Jesus. I am confident you will not regret it.