Third Watch Ministries, NFP Bob & Ellen Bollow
P.O. Box 1283 July 3, 2020
Wheaton, IL 60187-1283
“His works were finished from the foundation of the world.” Hebrews 4:3
Hey Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
How’s the life over by you? Maybe you, like Ellen and I, are gradually coming out of quarantine, trying to remain productive. Or you are in a free state, missing baseball. In 1907 in the New York Evening World, Allen Sangree wrote about Baseball, “As a tonic, an exercise, a safety valve, baseball is second only to death as a leveler. So long as it remains our national game America will abide no monarchy and anarchy will be slow.” So basically you can blame the lack of the baseball season for all the problems we are having with much ballyhooed actors. Fortunately then, Baseball is starting up for a truncated season in July. But many people might be tempted to blame God, who, being in control of everything seems not to be doling out enough “Common Grace” to go around.
When I was a kid someone I knew used to wear a button that read, PBPGINFWMY. I was told then it stood for Please Be Patient God Is Not Finished With Me Yet. I’ve often thought this is true from my perspective about all of God’s enterprises, myself included. God isn’t finished. And in the midst of our disappointment and pain and fears, we are often looking at an unfinished product. I still do a bit of painting, though I have to give myself treatments on my neck afterwards these days with a voltage machine and magnets. In the past, I have had some rather long jobs and some might have taken a few days. Possibly stripping wallpaper in a couple big rooms, then repairing the damage, sanding it, priming and painting it. In the middle of that week someone might have asked you (were I at your house) how the job looked. After a day you could have honestly said, “Well, all my furniture is covered and I can’t see my floor. All the walls in the room he is in are pretty torn up. In fact, Bob has not painted anything yet.” In the middle of the job, though I’d do my best to create some measure of order in leaving that night, it might not have looked like much. In fact there were possibly some unknowns. When people would offer to pay me up front I would always turn it down and say, “You can wait until I am finished and when you are happy you can pay me. The materials are on my credit card and I’m not hurting for them.” Suggesting they needn’t worry during the process then, because as yet they’d paid me nothing. I had a plan and I wanted them to trust me for it. I always got paid, so I guess it worked out. Though I have heard a few horror stories of bad contractors who did not deserve the trust afforded them. Some have worked at my house.
But God is not a bad contractor; He is a good and loving one. In the midst of social unrest and pandemic we know God too has a plan for us and for the church. I guess the question is: What part of the work schedule are we in? Until He wraps up this world, making a New Heaven and a New Earth, things are going to look unfinished. I was at an estate sale a couple weeks ago, and the man who’d lived there had been an amateur astronomer. There was a book I almost bought that was about 60 years old, written by a physicist that seemed to outline many things that might at any moment change the earth. The book jacket threw me off; though I now wish I’d bought it just to have around (I own too many books already). It claimed that a distant star some 50 light years away could explode in a super nova and we would not see it, the light not having gotten to us yet. But 50 years later it could damage the earth with radiation. I thought after reading that much that time might be better used reading elsewhere than disasters that might never happen in distant space. I had enough troubling things to think and pray about concerning events in the present near to home. My guess is nothing that the astrophysicist wrote in that book has come true. Could it be that many of our fears about the outcomes of our present times will not present themselves either? I’ve decided to pray for that end for those we know and love. It was the Obama administration’s Rahm Emanuel who quoted Winston Churchill saying, “Never let a good crisis go to waste”. I know God does this for good, unlike the presumed social engineers of History. They say they want to dramatically reduce the population of the planet, but it is up 3 billion since the Georgia Guide Stone let us know their plan. Our Salvation was a plan (the real plan for everything) not just initiated in a small town in the Holy Land just over 2000 years ago, but from “eternity past” as one pastor of my teen years used to say.
From our perspective things may not be going as well as we might hope. God has the “long game” in mind however—though His game is no con. It’s said, “The mills of God grind slowly, but ever fine.” So Ellen and I wait for a clearer picture of how to proceed with college ministry in the fall. Since it has recently been made public that the College of DuPage is doing only online distance learning this fall, with the campus closed for all but small labs. So we will have the bible study at our house fall semester. If you know any students stuck in Illinois who’d like some fellowship, I’d be happy to invite them (or if their Illinois campus is closed). We are having a weekend get together soon with current and former COD students to get going. I will be looking to do some road trips to other places where on-campus work is possible. If you know of a church with a college ministry near an open campus, here or a state or two away, please let me know. The jury is out on a couple I’ve checked into. Possibly I could contact them and offer to show them the ropes, or simply direct saved kids to their church. I did not plan to spend so much of my time focused on campus evangelism when I began working in college ministry, having started Third Watch with Ellen 15 years ago or so. We trust He has a plan to continue the good work He has begun in us and will bring great fruit in our area second semester. I am getting a clear full face shield (the CDC has sanctioned them) so students can see my mug while I talk to them. Thanks for sticking with us as we wait on the Lord.
May the Lord bless your summer with health and peace.
In Him, Bob & Ellen