Our Hearts Smile, Even If Our Faces Do Not

We went to visit Nick on Christmas morning. “Visit Nick”—that’s what we’ve decided to call it when we spend time at his graveside. “Going to the cemetery” focuses on the place, not the person, so is too impersonal, too abstract. “Paying our respects” is another option, but sounds too formal to describe going to the place where our son’s body lies. So we “visit Nick,” just like we did on Christmas morning. We sleep in for a while, then eat …

The Death of My Son and the Birth of My Savior

I expect it’s going to prove a difficult holiday in the Challies home. Christmas is usually our favorite day of the year—one of the few holidays for which we’ve developed distinct family traditions. We get up early so the kids can sort through the trinkets in their stockings; then we pause for a breakfast of bacon, eggs, and croissants; then we open gifts; then we relax for a while before beginning to prepare a feast. We’ve developed this tradition over …

Become a Patron

On Following Mediocre Leaders

We human beings have a strange relationship with leadership. We love it, but hate it. We crave it, but resent it. We long to be led, but contend with those who lead us. We witness this phenomenon in toddlers, in seniors, and in everyone between. As soon as we have the ability to shake our fists, and for as long as we have the ability to shake our fists, we shake them at those who lead us. Our tendency is …

Singing in the Dark

“How are you doing?” I’ve been asked that question countless times since my son went to be with the Lord. I never really know how to answer it. While at that exact moment I might be doing okay, it’s possible that 15 minutes prior I was so overwhelmed with sorrow that I could barely stand. It’s possible that 15 minutes in the future I’ll be reveling in the joy of knowing my son is safely home in heaven. I can …

When All Seems To Be Gain, Plan For Loss

A friend of mine was part of a rapid deployment unit in the military. The task of his division was to be in a perpetual state of readiness, able to be deployed at a moment’s notice. When a need for their services arose, those soldiers were to be geared up, loaded up, and wheels up within hours. Because they could not know when a conflict would arise or what manner of conflict it might be, they had to be prepared …

Free Stuff Fridays (Zondervan Academic)

This week’s Free Stuff Fridays is sponsored by Zondervan Academic, who also sponsored the blog this week. They are giving away FIVE 3-packs of Thaddeus Williams’ new book Confronting Injustice without Compromising Truth so you and two of your friends can do a ‘social justice reading group.’ Here is more about the book. Social justice is not optional for the Christian. All injustice affects others, so talking about justice that isn’t social is like talking about water that isn’t wet …

Goodnight Till Then

“Mr. Challies, we want you to know that we have received Nick into our care. Rest assured that he is in the very best of hands.” The message comes as a relief, for it means that Nick’s long, last, lonely journey is complete. Even if he can’t come home, he has at least arrived back in his own country, back in his own town. It is not as we hoped. It is not as we imagined. But it is as …

I Fear God, and I’m Afraid of God

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Not only that, but the fear of the Lord is the beginning of the Christian life. The Bible makes it clear that to love God, to honor God, to obey God, we must fear God. But “fear” is a word with many dimensions, many definitions. In what ways are we to fear God? Much of what I know about fearing God I learned from R.C. Sproul. Looking back to Luther, …

A La Carte (December 3)

I’ve probably already mentioned this, but if not, you can get 50%-70% off ESVs at Westminster Books. That’s quite a deal! Today’s Kindle deals include quite a number of top-quality Christmas-themed books. (Yesterday on the blog: The Beauty of Banff) Ellen Turns A New Page Stephen McAlpine writes about a recent news story. “Elliot Page has presented to the world, and Ellen Page is no more. And history must reflect this new reality. In the same way that statues to …

The Beauty of Banff

In the aftermath of all the trials and traumas of the past month, my family decided it would be wise to take a brief vacation, an opportunity to regroup, to consider the way forward. With most destinations completely or functionally closed to us, we set out for the province of Alberta, one of only four places in the world we could visit without quarantining on the way in or out. We spent most of our time exploring Banff National Park, …