Oct13FriRetrospective #30 October 13, 2017 Randy C. Hicks
Back in the 1980’s when we first became parents I purchased a child’s book from the Trade containing rhyming verse and pictures, comic-like characters, depicting a “Salvation Army Alphabet” – by Cyril L. Kingston.( Not to be confused with the Army Beliefs and Characteristics volumes!) For the intended audience it was a very useful tool and helped parents share “being Army” with their kids.
In our efforts to educate our children we generally start with the alphabet. They learn to recognize the shapes and sounds of each letter. We then start to teach things like “A” is for “Apple” and “B” is for “Ball” and “C” is for? Anybody…come on…you know this one…”Cow!” You got it! (With apologies to those of you who said “Cat” or “Constantinople”) Eventually we teach them the actual word descriptors of these things and point out the spelling of each, then come sentences and so on. This is foundational stuff. This is where we start but we were never intended to stay there. No, we are to grow and learn and learn and grow until we “graduate!” (You may recall from an earlier post that for me, to graduate means to be “Promoted to Glory!”)
Some will say, rather despairingly, that the Army today is “not what it used to be” and it isn’t. I find it interesting that the folk saying such things (and I’ve been one of them) are “not who they used to be.” I’m “not who I once was.” This can be applied to most, if not all, aspects of our lives. I’ve come to realize in many instances when I fondly remember “what it used to be” and begin to reflect deeply - in a manner of speaking - it “never was” what I think “it used to be!” And I am now persuaded that “it’s not supposed to be what it used to be!”
In 1 Samuel 7:12 from the KJV we read: “Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us.” “Ebenezer” – the stone of help! Immediately my mind connects with Psalm 118:22 taken this time from THE MESSAGE: “Thank you for responding to me; you’ve truly become my salvation! The stone the masons discarded as flawed is now the capstone! This is GOD’s work. We rub our eyes—we can hardly believe it! This is the very day GOD acted— let’s celebrate and be festive! Salvation now, GOD. Salvation now! Oh yes, GOD—a free and full life!”
Do I hear a “Hallelujah!”…I’m waiting… “Hallelujah!”
Isn’t that what we did in 2015 as we marked our 150th Anniversary? “Thus far the LORD has helped us.” (NKJV) Yes, we need to give God thanks for bringing us to this place! Yes, we need to appreciate more deeply the cost paid by others in following God’s call in this journey! I humbly realize this more than ever since I’ve been working in this assignment and, while I’m enjoying my own walk down memory lane, I can’t help but feel that there’s more to this than looking back! I don’t know what the “more” is just yet, and what it is for me may be different for you or what it is in Canada may be different than in Africa and so on but I am certain the Lord will reveal to us the lessons and teachings we are to gather from these retrospectives. In the process of discovery no doubt He’ll often bring us back to the “ABCs” as needed and I pray He will also – give us faith, more faith, yes, much faith! The question from the back seat comes to mind – “Are we there yet?” – “No, but we’re getting closer!” Fire a volley! Amen!