Trajectory

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Art:

This is Ink with Watercolor depicting an aerial view of Asbury Glen in Rosemount, Minnesota where Marj and I moved into our townhome two years ago tomorrow—February 28, 2018.  When entering from December Trail, take the first right. We are the second driveway on the right at 15007 Derby Circle.

Spring through Fall, we look out to the pond and its fountain through our dining windows.  I chose the painting for this week’s Thought—Trajectory—because we often watch the duck’s trajectory for landing on the pond, with its surface a good ten feet slope down from the closest patios. It’s a beautiful artful trajectory.

Thought:

 Fall afternoons in southern Michigan can be gorgeous!  This was a ‘number ten’ day!

Our family of four had just returned from one of Grandma Luther’s great Sunday-roast-beef-dinners. It was our weekly destination, following Sunday School and Church.

Marj, along with our two sons Jim and Dan, were all three down for a well-deserved nap.  I’m seated at our ‘chrome and Formica’ kitchen table, about to have an experience that would change the trajectory for the rest of our lives. I did not see this coming!

This is a short ‘back story’ to the experience I’m about to describe.

September, following high school graduation, June of 1956, I enrolled as a full-time student at Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, Illinois and completed a year and a half. Marj and I were married in March of 1958. I was out of school for four years in business for myself as an aluminum siding & trim installation sub-contractor. We were blessed with our first two sons. During our church’s 1963 Missions Conference, we were challenged to become missionaries, and that I should return to school full-time at Detroit Bible College as a Missions major.  I enrolled.

Here I sat, while everyone slept, attempting to get in a couple hours study before time to attend the Evening Service. I came upon—not for the first time, by any means—Psalm 1:1-3.  God, the Holy Spirit used the last four words, “Whatever he does prospers.” like lightening power from heaven in my heart.  This was my ‘Moses and the burning bush’ or ‘Paul on the Damascus Road’ experience. The experiences of both men changed the trajectory of their lives forever.  How can I make such a bold comparison?  Here’s how.

Moses and Paul were busy following what they believed was God’s direction for their lives. But for both, God had a new direction that changed everything.  As I said above, following that 1963 Missions conference, Marj and I were inspired that missions was the direction God wanted us to take.

While in high school we consistently heard from the Pulpit, that being a missionary was the highest calling a young person could pursue.  This conference enforced that message, and I was back in school.  Where would we serve?  Using my sincere logical thinking, I said, “O.K., If one is called to be a missionary, doesn’t it make sense to serve in the most difficult field you can identify?  We came up with Tunisia, North Africa, reaching a diverse population.  We contacted and met with representatives for Africa Inland Mission.  We began on that path.

The New Trajectory Experience

Then, on his beautiful Sunday afternoon at our simple kitchen table, came Jim Thomason’s ‘burning bush’ or ‘light from heaven’ message in the last four words of Psalm 1:1-3 “Whatever he does prospers.” Along with it, came the clear message that God’s work for us is not dependent on human logic; not dependent on geography; not on a specific vocation in ministry.  It is clearly dependent on the ‘relationship’ between God and me!  It was like He was saying, “You may serve in many different places.  You may serve with different vocational titles. But, I will be with you as you follow my direction ‘palms up’ and I will make the work ‘prosper’ according to My will.  Listen and follow!”

On that September afternoon, I adopted the words of Psalm 1:1-3 as my ‘life verses’ and have written them under my signature nearly every time I write it.  I’ve since served with seven separate titles, in three states and at nine separate addresses these 56+ years.

This trajectory changing experience became one of my most significant of manifold blessings from my Heavenly Father.  Blessed, to be a blessing!

“Blessed is the man

     who does not walk in the counsel

        Of the wicked

 or stand in the way of sinners

      or sit in the seat of mockers.

But his delight is in the law of the LORD

     and on his law he meditates day

         and night.

            He is like a tree planted by streams

      of water,

     which yields its fruit in season

and whose leaf does not wither.

     Whatever he does prospers.

 

Psalm 1:1-3 NIV

 

 

8 thoughts on “Trajectory

  1. Jim, was just reading your latest note. Interesting to note that we were together with you at MBI! We were living in Osborn Hall which was a married couple dorm then, right across from Torrey_Gray Auditorium in our second year at Moody, enrolled in the Aviation Program! I didn’t have a heavy class load, since I had already completed 4 years at St Paul Bible College. We moved out to Wooddale the summer of 1957 to be near the Wooddale Airport for the final two years, but I worked evenings at the MBI Printshop those two years. My supervisor was Dan Redka. He and his wife Lois have supported us for over 60 years, though Dan passed away last year!

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    1. Small world, it is said. Somewhere in my memory I think there was a time in the past that we did see that connection.
      Some of what you just shared sounded familiar.
      Wonderful to hear from you. God bless you! Jim Thomason Ps 1:1-3 !

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  2. If your life is like mine, you’ve had several encounters with God’s Word that impacted you in a life-changing way. I’d be interested in learning some of those other encounters with God.

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  3. Dad! It’s with tears in my eyes (again) that I write these words … so well written and such a great message through story!! I quote you very often in my therapy sessions with people telling them “my Dad is a retired pastor, and he says tell stories, people remember stories” then I go on to tell a story that helps illustrate something we’re working on in therapy. I agree with your other blog follower, tell more stories!!! Love you Dad!!!!

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