I was looking at a couple of pictures of my wife earlier today and I realized that they were taken exactly ten years apart! Both portraits were taken at her parent’s house, one outside on their old deck, the other in front of their book shelf/desk area in the living room. In the first picture Piper was nineteen and in the second, twenty-nine. As a teen she was sitting on the edge of the deck on a cold winter day wearing a heavy long sleeve wool sweater… over her bathing suit! Ten years later she is holding our second child in her arms and is sporting her soon-to-become signature long sleeve cotton shirt and green dress slacks.
In the younger picture, we had been dating for almost three years and she is wearing my high school ring on her left hand and has a locket that I had given to her hanging from her neck that contained pictures of the two of us. In her older version she is wearing a diamond with a white gold set on that same left hand and I’m not sure if she is wearing the locket under her shirt or not… but as of today… she is still wearing the same wedding set and the locket is safe and secure in one of her two jewelry boxes on her dresser!
Looking at the two pictures* taken some ten years apart caused me to go down memory lane thinking about many of the varied experiences we had together during that ten-year span, as well as those over the thirty-five years since the later picture was taken. Many of our experiences were just plain fun times, while some were, as we’ve come to call them, “Adventures in Faith.”
There were some financial struggles along the way, the ups and down of family life with four kids being homeschooled, ministry highlights and challenges, a great multiplicity of wonderful experiences with the kids in the Redwood Forests of northern California or the mountain tops in the eastern Sierras near the Nevada border, and the super-special two-night holidays with my sweetie at lodges along the California coast.
I was telling two of our kids who are both on vacation at this time, that I have so many fond memories of our family vacations together… and that I was a little bit jealous of their being on camping adventures with their families! I also mentioned that one of my favorite times while camping was quietly sneaking out of the tent… without tripping over someone’s sleeping bag… firing up the camp stove and perking coffee, while sitting alone in the campground with my Bible before most people in the campground had begun to stir for the day!
I wonder if that is what the writer of Hebrews had in mind when he wrote about the people in chapter six verse five that had “experienced the goodness of God's word and the powers of the world to come?” (God's Word ©) Who knows… the writer himself might have been sitting in front of a campfire somewhere in Israel with pen… or quill… in hand when this book was written!
The word “goodness” in the original Greek gives the image of something that is “heartfelt, handsome, excellent, eminent, choice, surpassing, precious, useful, suitable, commendable and admirable.” It describes something that is “excellent in its nature and characteristics and therefore well adapted to its ends.” (Thayer’s) That’s a lot of good qualities isn’t it!
Think about that for a moment. Every time you study the Word of God and take the time for it to speak to your heart in a special and personal way… and then take steps of faith based on that scripture, you are putting all those wonderful characteristics to work on and into the midst of your particular situation. You are letting go and letting God take control! And that is exactly when “God's peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7 God's Word ©)
As I looked at those two pictures of my lovely wife earlier today, I also began to consider the chronology of our walk of faith from one of our first faith projects with the purchase of a 1977 Datsun 280Z, to quitting Sears to go full-time with my photography business, apartment managing and Youth Ministry, to having kids, to buying our first home… and the list goes on and on!
It's fun to see how our faith has grown over the years from those early days taking portraits of my girlfriend for school projects in the early seventies, to pictures with our kids and lately, with moves all over the country! I find that as my knowledge of God and His Word increases, so do the “faith adventures” that Piper and I embark on! I like having Him in the middle of my world! How about you?
Have a wonderful weekend, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Am I expecting my ‘faith adventures’ to grow in quantity and quality… in pace with my personal interactions with God and His Word?”
*Both of the pictures are posted with a bunch of others on our blog page. Take a peek! pjberruto.blogspot.com/