Groan! Cats woke me at 03:00, near enough. Wrestling or something on our bed, on top of me, is not conducive to deep sleep, or any other kind. So I arose, chased them out of the bedroom, closed and blocked the door, lay back down. Wide awake. Spent most of the next two hours in one of those deep conversations with the Lord. I do that, periodically. It's moving and meaningful for me, and has a whole lot of confession and hauling out regrets, but with some assurances. Some straight out of Scripture, some direct at particular issues. I won't list the bunch, it's a deeply personal matter.
Got back up at 05:36 and put out two small tins of the cat food to avoid imminent starvation and claims of animal abuse. (Ha!). Back to bed, door open. Meaning that 25 minutes later, I had TWO cats walking back and forth atop Dear Wife and I, and trying to venture onto the top of the headboard, etc. So I was back up, chasing out cats, and blocking door. Again.
Anyone think this is conducive to sleep? Hardly. Tried. Fell into a reprise of the early prayer and conversation time. Until Wife announced her awakeness, and arose. After, of course, I brewed her a cup of coffee. She's moved to the recliner under blankets and with her still-healing (in the 17th month after surgery) foot elevated. I took the chance to climb into the shower, praying that the floor of it will not give way -- has several long cracks, hoping to survive until spring and then, perhaps, be replaced. Hopefully.
The other thing affecting sleep is the weather. We are in a relatively warm 2 days. Warm meaning high 40's, possible hit 50 even. But accompanied by HEAVY rain storms, with flash flood warnings out all around the area. I'm glad, at least, that it is as warm as it is, otherwise we'd have about a FOOT of snow in just a few hours. Yes, the rain is that heavy, and often accompanies with high winds. Again, not conducive to sleep. Among other things, it makes the cats upset, so they "act out".
Wife is to leave here in about an hour or so, she's "watching" the Great-Niece next door. Niece has to be at work at noon. Niece's husband (nephew? nephew-in-law?) gets off work at 6 pm and when he gets home Wife can come home. So she and the Little One will have some "quality time" together. They both enjoy it. Usually, anyway. Wife is suffering some nasty sinus/upper respiratory/ possibly systemic infection. On heavy antibiotics since Monday evening, so it is just NOW starting to show a little bit of effect. Of course, the antibiotics, combined with underlying conditions, combined with a need to avoid the weekly Humira injection, has meant a relapse of the ulcerative colitis, which means heavy diarrhea. Which, of course, will in itself make one feel lousy. And has.
The day's reading in the Old Testament is chapters 29 and 30 of the Genesis.
Jacob has been sent off to find the rest of the clan, and find himself a suitable wife. He does. That's the good part. The bad part is that he ends up with two wives, sisters at that. And a couple of concubines as well, both nominated by the sisters/wives. Sounds like a recipe for disaster. And there certainly is contention, not only with the "domestic situation", but with the father-in-law and the rest of the family there. Oh, and they're still living in the same compound as the in-laws. Sound good to you? Nope.
But, again, out of that situation, come the twelve sons of Jacob, renamed Israel by the way. And those twelve sons are the ancestors of the twelve tribes that will be a big part of Scripture and the events of the world, right up to today.
The day's New Testament reading is verses 1-23 from the 10th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. Having called His Twelve Apostles (remember the number 12 from the Genesis reading?), He sends them out into the world to proclaim the Good News of salvation, warning that they would face opposition. That part hasn't changed either.
I am struck by two things (actually, more) in this passage. The first is that among those sent out, is Judas Iscariot. Jesus had to know that Judas would later betray him to crucifixion, but He sent him anyway. Sometimes, and many of us have seen it, the Lord uses less-than-great people (like me) to accomplish His higher purposes, knowing the situation in advance. Well, He has to. None of those who seek to do His will are perfect, all have fallen and come short. Remember that? So, perhaps, even Judas Iscariot accomplished some eternal good. It can happen.
The other thing that stands out is He sent them out with nothing but the Gospel. No money, no choirs, no prepared sermons, advance team, none of the stuff that we associate with the large evangelistic outreach efforts. Just the Gospel. Did I say "just"? "Merely"? Perhaps the command to "go and tell others what the Lord has done for you" is what is most needed, and all of us can do that. And are supposed to do that, in fact.