Death and life are in His mighty hands...
(Tim) The past two weeks the Bloomington Baylys have had sorrow and joy. Sorrow in the death of my dear cousin, John DeWalt, who succumbed to a long illness connected with diabetes. He died two weeks ago this coming Monday and some of us were able to travel to Pittsburgh for the funeral. There we grieved, and yet celebrated his homegoing with his mother, Inis (Mrs. Curtis) DeWalt, his sister Beth DeWalt, and his brother Paul DeWalt (along with Paul's wife, Patti, and their three children--Zachary, Sarah, and Jacob).
A week ago today, we had the joy of joining brother David's family in the celebration of the marriage of David's eldest son, Nathan, and his lovely bride, Aleaha (pron. a leah). It was a joyful day.
Then the past three days we've had the joy of gathering here in Bloomington for our family Thanksgiving celebration and being joined by my mother-in-law, Margaret (Mrs. Ken) Taylor. That's the pic you see above. For the record, we now have ten grandchildren. (I apologize to my dear wife, Mary Lee, for the mysterious white-out on her forehead, but otherwise it's the best pic.)
Names? Well, let's do it by families...First, Doug Ummel is the husband of our eldest, Heather, and they're in the middle with Doug, the father of five, uncharacteristically holding no child. Heather is directly above him holding their youngest, Alison. Their eldest, Jonathan, is directly in front of Doug, and their second, Nathan, is to Jonathan's right. Their third child is Josiah, seated to my left on the lap of my daughter-in-law, Heidi (Mrs. Joseph) Bayly. Doug and Heather's fourth, a girl named Bayly, is seated on my wife, Mary Lee's, lap. So that's the Ummels.
Mary Lee's and my second child, Joseph, with his wife, Heidi, are to my left--Joseph directly above Heidi. Joseph and Heidi have one child with another on the way in a year or so, Lord willing. Joseph is holding their son, Joseph Tate Bayly VII.
Ben Crum is the husband of our third child, daughter Michal. Ben is in between Doug and Joseph, and Michal is directly above him--just off the prow of one of John DeWalt's lovely sailing vessels. Michal is holding their eldest, Daniel, and Ben their second, Zion.
Lucas Weeks is the husband of our fourth child, daughter Hannah. Lucas is standing to Doug's right, holding their eldest Abrielle, with Hannah at the end of the top row holding their second, Asher.
Our youngest, Taylor, is The Argyle One. He's standing directly above our much-loved matriarch of the Taylor Family, Margaret (Mrs. Ken) Taylor. And then, of course, there's my beautiful and kind and hard-working wife, Mary Lee, to my right.
Again for the record, our son Taylor is Mom Taylor's twenty-eighth (and last, we believe) grandchild, and Lucas and Hannah's infant son, Asher, is Mom's forty-eighth great-grandchild.
To end on a personal note of Thanksgiving to God: I well remember when our Heavenly Father brought me back to Himself during my time slopping pigs out in California (where else?). At that time I had an Augustine-like experience of opening a Bible and having God direct my eyes; in my case, to Psalm 128:
(A song of ascents.) How blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, Who walks in His ways. When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands, You will be happy and it will be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine Within your house, Your children like olive plants Around your table. Behold, for thus shall the man be blessed Who fears the LORD. The LORD bless you from Zion, And may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life. Indeed, may you see your children’s children. Peace be upon Israel!
Knowing God was speaking to me through this part of His Word, I found myself filled with wonder that He would promise me, such a wicked man, these wonderful things. It seemed impossible. How could I be given the gift of a contented wife and children in a happy home, let alone live to see my grandchildren? And yet, to me it was as clear as day that this was God's promise attending my repentance and infant faith that broken glorious night of grace.
So now, look and see the lovingkindness of God! Every promise He made has been fulfilled. Of course.
Which reminds me to warn you, good reader, that Satan never ever keeps his promises. He's a liar from beginning to end.
But God's Word is truth: from beginning to end, from the masses to the lone man alone in a bedroom ready to die who cries out to God to save him. Bless the Lord, O my soul!
(A psalm of David.)
Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.
The LORD performs righteous deeds And judgments for all who are oppressed. He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel.
The LORD is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.
As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, And its place acknowledges it no longer.
But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children, To those who keep His covenant And remember His precepts to do them.
The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all.
Bless the LORD, you His angels, Mighty in strength, who perform His word, Obeying the voice of His word!
Bless the LORD, all you His hosts, You who serve Him, doing His will.
Bless the LORD, all you works of His, In all places of His dominion;
Bless the LORD, O my soul!