I had a moment this afternoon that reminded me of God’s goodness, his faithfulness, and his ability to turn a setback into something incredible!
My moment started with a good news text from our Ontario chaplain. He told me it had been 574 days since he last set foot inside Queen’s Park. Today, he had a day jammed with meetings with MPPs. After a week of good news, it was another moment to celebrate and give thanks. As I did, I noticed my grandfather’s Bible that lays open on my bookshelf.
My grandfather was a hard-working farmer from Saskatchewan who lived modestly and humbly. He knew tragedy and disappointment, but it did not define him. He knew how to come back from a setback! Most importantly, he was a godly man who modelled faith, prayer, and Christlike character. Some of my earliest memories are of watching him lead a Sunday School open session and, maybe that same day, being sent by my grandmother to find him in the ‘prayer room’ after Sunday night church because it was time to go. To this day, I can remember walking through rows of men in white shirts on their knees in prayer. I eventually found him and told him Grandma said it was time to go. I can still see his tear-streaked face looking back at me as he said he was almost done and would be right there.
Having his Bible reminds me of the legacy of faith that I have received. Flipping through it and seeing what he underlined and wrote notes beside takes me to what was important to him. His Bible is a treasure to me.
I picked up the leaf in the picture on a prayer walk around Queen’s Park with our Board and some friends 13 years ago this month. We launched our work in Ontario on the same week the ‘Great Recession’ started. Within a few months, we had to retreat; what we had started by faith looked like a failure. We waited seven years before we were able to go back to Toronto and begin again. This week our chaplains ‘placed their feet’ in 3 of the largest provincial legislatures in the country, two of our team members for the first time!
The leaf rests on my grandfather’s Bible that sits open to this page on the bookshelf in my office. It’s a visual reminder that ties what I’m doing today with the legacy that has come to me. If you look closely, you’ll see that it frames the verse that has become Canada’s national motto. It’s that way on purpose because it points me towards the rest of our vision. We have chaplains in 6 provinces–we have 4 to go to get from sea to sea.
What we began by faith 15 years ago is becoming sight across our great nation. At different times along the way, I wondered if we’d ever get as far as we’ve come. On this Thanksgiving weekend, I’m hearing my grandfather’s vibrato violin playing Great Is Thy Faithfulness as I reflect on God’s goodness and faithfulness in my life and ministry.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
— Tim Schindel