You may be reading this and thinking to yourself, “Well, duh! Of course 3 years is a long time.” Or maybe you are taking a long view of things and thinking 3 years isn’t so long when compared to a lifetime or compared to eternity.
Let me put my statement of fact that 3 years is a long time into perspective. In the last 3 years I have moved 2 states away to become pastor of a different church. I have since added another church and am currently pastoring 2 churches. Also I have had the joy of welcoming 2 new grandkids, 2 bright, beautiful, lively girls were born into our family in the past 3 years. My daughters and their families have both moved, one of them 2 states away and one of them across town, all in the past 3 years. A lot can change in 3 years because 3 years is a long time.
Why am I bringing up the fact that 3 years is a long time? Yesterday I drove my son and 2 of my grandsons to the airport where they boarded a flight taking them to Kenya. Actually they are returning to Kenya. Just over 3 years ago my son, daughter in law and 5 of my grandkids headed to Kenya where they have been serving as missionaries. They have been back in the states for 5 weeks. All of them were with us for 10 days when they first arrived and my son and 2 of his boys were with us for 4 days again. My daughter in law will be taking my oldest grandson to college in a couple of days. Then next week my son flies back from Kenya and I will pick him up along with my daughter in law and their 2 youngest kids. They will be using our home as their base for 5 weeks while they speak at a few churches and see some friends and family. Then they will get on a plane and head back to Africa to begin serving in a brand new ministry in a different county.
The greatest adjustments will be for my son, daughter in law and their kids. They will be scattered across 2 continents and 3 different countries. I have been praying for their adjustments to this new reality. In fact I began praying for their adjustments almost a year ago knowing it would be difficult for all of them.
Yesterday as my wife and I hugged our grandsons there were tears, at least there was in our eyes. As we walked back to our vehicle to begin the 3 hour drive home I said, “That was a lot harder than last time, because now we know how long 3 years is”. You see, I know that 3 years is a long time.
When we dedicated our son to the Lord we committed to raise him according to God’s Word and we agreed to embrace God’s will for his life. We still embrace that commitment. We didn’t know how long 3 years were back then, but we do now. I am thrilled that all of my kids are serving the Lord and I am excited that my son and his family are being obedient, even if it means that they (remember that includes grandkids) are more than 16 flying hours away. But there are moments that are not easy. Yesterday was one of those moments.
The key to all of this is to be obedient. To remember that a commitment to serve and follow Jesus sometimes means that many things change. But God is still God and He is still watching over my kids and grandkids. I comfort myself with the knowledge that God loves my kids and grandkids even more than I do.
But for today the tears are spilling from my eyes even as I smile and I keep thinking, “3 years is a long time”. But I also remember how sweet the reunions are after 3 years.
Here’s hoping that you are following the one who loves you so much that He gave his life for you no matter where it takes you. God is still God and he is greater than 3 years, no matter where you are for those years.