I’ve been away from the world of blogging for a while. That’s because on Thursday, October 10th my wife gave birth to a perfect 7lb. 13 oz. baby boy! Cameron was due on the 5th, but my wife was scheduled for an induction on the 10th, should she go past her date. She did go past, and she was induced and delivered on the 10th. That date is special to me. I believe that there are no coincidences, and that there are often extreme ironies and emotional tensions with dates and events.
Jesus died on Passover–an event that Jewish people still celebrate today as a time of reflection, observance, and remembrance of the Exodus event. The Exodus from Egypt was an event of hope in the midst of egregious slavery. Throughout scripture, we constantly find this tension of sorrow and hope. God is present in the middle of our pain. On the thirteenth anniversary of Jesus’ death, King Herod Agrippa I had James, the brother of John, killed. This was a major blow to the church and great sadness ensued on the anniversary of Jesus’ death. Make no mistake, King Agrippa intentionally chose this date to discourage the church. To add insult to injury, Peter was arrested and imprisoned that same day. We are not positive which prison Peter was sent to, but a good guess is the Fortress of Antonia in the northwest corner of the Temple. This is also the most likely place where Jesus was held exactly 13 years prior, just moments before his execution. Peter had to have felt the irony. Exactly 13 years before, Peter stood in this area denying that he knew Jesus. Now he was the one bound in chains ready to die.
But, God took something tragic and brought about hope. That same night, through divine guidance, Peter escaped prison. It was so odd that Luke tells us Peter did not know that what was happening was real. Perhaps Peter, clouded by the fog of grief and despair, could not really imagine anything good possibly happening on that day. It was a marked day. It was a day doomed to death and sadness. Just a few hours prior, his best friend James was murdered. But, after the escape from prison, Peter was renewed. He blatantly saw God show up in the midst of his pain and sadness. The fog began to lift.
October 10th–October 10th marks the anniversary that my friend Les Ferguson’s
wife and son (Karen and Cole) were murdered back in 2011. Sadly, this double murder happened just a few months after Les and Karen found out that their disabled son Cole had been repeatedly molested and raped by a trusted church member–the same man who killed Karen and Cole before taking his own life. In a strange twist of irony, October 10th is also Les’ wedding anniversary. His wife and son were killed on Les and Karen’s 24th wedding anniversary. October 10th–a date that, for 24 years was marked with joy, is now marked with sorrow for Les and his children.
I knew about this date, but didn’t give it much thought until Natalie’s last doctor’s appointment. She was only 2cm dilated and the doctor told her that, should she go past her due date, the earliest they could schedule an induction was on October 10th. However, we were told that there was an 80% chance she would deliver prior to that date. The baby stubbornly held on until the 10th!
My son Cameron, besides for being totally awesome, has a very special place in my heart. I was able to sneak a call in to Les just moments after Cameron was born on October 10th. We didn’t talk long, but I told Les that I love him, that he and his family had been heavy on my mind all day, and that I wanted to personally call and let him know that God still offers hope in the midst of our pain. I can’t begin to imagine how hard that day was for Les and his family. I won’t pretend to know. And I don’t have any illusions that my son’s birth magically took away the pain. But, through his birth, God shows us that grief and joy, hopelessness and hope, can all have a seat at the same table if we are willing to share our burdens and joys with one another.
“If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:6-7 ESV).