Empty Nesting

Sunday, Aug 7, 2022
Jim Sutton

I write this a few days before the last of our children leaves the home nest for a distant college. Rachel and I are left with a collection of pets that represent an era of time when our children discovered the joys of responsibilities of providing for something other than themselves and the joys of having that care and love returned - a great lesson that it seems all of them have taken to heart in various ways. But more than the visible reminders of days gone by in the form of beloved pets, we have precious and enduring memories of each child through the years and the privilege we had to walk with them closely through life for a short time.

In addition, Rachel and I also have a treasure in each other. Certainly we treasure the love for each other that has grown each year to blossom in such a rich manner these last few years as we have learned how to share and discuss our thoughts, feelings, doubts, regrets and dreams with each other in a safe environment we have built for each other. We also treasure a common faith that rests on the foundation of faith in the belief that God is faithful in His promises to those who believe God exists and loves them. Our fundamental shared beliefs concur that God has prepared an eternal home for us where every tear will be wiped from our eyes, not because of anything special in our abilities, but because we have received and continue to trust in God's grace through the substitutionary life and work of Jesus Christ. We believe that every question that remains elusive here on earth will be revealed in the light of what is true according to God's nature. We humbly admit that we don't have "proof" of our beliefs to satisfy every skeptic, we have come to realize that no one has this type of knowledge for any belief system through the type of rigorous testing that science demands, or logic can ascertain, or philosophy can postulate. We do, however, believe that the reality of the world He created for purposes known only to Himself for the time being will be made evident to all in the end, even to those who have dismissed His rightful authority over their lives. "Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord".

That treasure of belief we hold together speaks life to our future and health to our souls. Belief is not the essence, however, of our unity as we enter into this next phase of life. For belief by itself can be erroneous and lead down twisted paths when one's morals and worldview has stolen the place of authority from its rightful owner. It is the object of that belief that reveals one's destiny and purpose here on earth, and our eternal state as we currently understand through our own evaluation of Christ's truth claims. With that understanding we embark on this next phase of life, saddened by the loss of the daily interaction with those we have been privileged to carry to adulthood, yet thankful for the memories we were able to share along the way and also thankful that they have daily interaction with those they have chosen to walk alongside and love. We are grateful for each expression of love we can impart and receive from those who have lived in our home, trusting that God will work through each of us to more perfectly express that love that comes through knowing the One who loves each of us perfectly. "Perfect loves casts out all fear..."

Love has an expansive quality to it, exactly opposite of the nature of sin which has an unquenchable appetite that wars against our souls. So we are thankful that our children have found a measure of shared love with other people and in some, the expression of an ancient and established form of love through the sacrament of marriage. We rejoice in their ability to make friends and be the blessing that they were destined to be for this created world.

Now it is time for Rachel and I to expand how we interact with this world God created. While our family group will always be a priority insofar as we are given that privilege, we now have increased time and opportunity to deepen our walk with our Creator and with those who share the faith that moves mountains and overcomes all fear. "Who will separate us from the love of Christ...I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:35 - 38 in part, NET translation). Where will that love take us now? We are all in for that journey.