Hopeful Assurance

Wednesday was Silas’s 11th birthday, and the day before his birthday, a memory popped up on my phone from the day before he was born. Marsha’s parents, her sister Amber, and our niece Emery were visiting us in Istanbul in preparation for Silas’s birth. Surprisingly, Silas was a few days overdue, and on November 23, 2010, we decided to visit a famous attraction – the Rumeli Fortress – along the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul. As you can see in the pictures, this 475-year-old fortress has a lot of steps, so we did a lot of stair-climbing that day.

Over nine months pregnant, Marsha did not sit out the adventure either. She joined us, climbing those steps, and there were some in our group who wondered aloud if that was very wise. “What if she goes into labor while we’re up on one of these towers?!” Well, she did not go into labor then, but it was just hours later, early in the morning of November 24, that labor began. Silas was born a healthy boy, and perhaps that hiking adventure helped ensure his birthday was not after November 24. God only knows.

When we were well-over an hour from the hospital and climbing those steps on November 23, 2010, there were certainly no guarantees that Marsha would not go into labor. Of course, I was confident she would not, and more importantly, she was confident she would not – at least not so quickly that we would not have time to get to the hospital. Based on her understanding of her body, having given birth to two sons already, and how she was feeling that morning, there was enough assurance that we could safely explore Rumeli Fortress. Okay, perhaps I remember things slightly differently than Marsha, but all went well.

Still, no guarantees. In thinking through all of that this week, I was challenged by what I will be preaching on this coming Sunday, Lord willing. As we begin the Advent season with Richland Baptist Church, I hope to talk about the “HOPE” that only comes in and through a relationship with Jesus Christ (looking specifically at Luke 21:25-36).

Everyone wants hope. We all need hope. We long for hope and assurance, especially regarding things as important as the birth of a child. Yet, we are unable to assure hopefulness in most things. Only the Lord can do that, and He secured that hope by taking on flesh, living a perfect life, dying on the cross for our sins, and rising from the dead for the salvation of all who call upon His name. One day, He will come again – His Second Advent – to bring to completion the salvation of all who know Him.

Jesus said, “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is near!” (Luke 21:28).

Are you looking forward to that day with hopeful assurance? If you have surrendered your life to Jesus Christ, you can and should and will. Without Jesus, though, that will not be a day of hope but rather a day of fear and devastation. Be certain of hopeful assurance by turning to Him today.

We cannot be certain of good health, safe deliveries, smooth circumstances, etc., but we can be certain that God never fails to keep His promises. Like only He could, Jesus declared, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away” (Luke 21:33).

Happy 11th birthday to Silas Stephen Drake!

Birthdays and the Beach

We always enjoy our time at the Sea of Marmara!

Zoe isn’t quite walking yet but enjoys the sea.

Levi is never short on cheesiness for pictures.

Now that he is six, Levi thinks he’s pretty cool.

This is the first girley cake in the Drake home.

Zoe waiting patiently to dig into her cake.

Zoe has learned much from her brothers…

Time to dig in to the cake. Yummy in my tummy!

“My hands just aren’t feeding me fast enough!”

This was more fun for the rest of us than for her.

Silas provided plenty of help in opening gifts.

The paper alone was enough for Zoe.




Highlights from our STAYcation

We had a great time as a family this week taking “vacation” in Istanbul. Sometimes sleeping in your own bed each night makes for the most relaxing and enjoyable vacation. Still, we did our share of fun stuff, and here are a few picture highlights. To see more pictures, please click HERE.

We had a great time at Aqua Dolphin!

HOT weather made the pool great.

Ice Age 4 was a blast.

Great time watching dolphins, seals, walruses and a beluga whale.

Silas could hardly get enough of the show.

All the animals were impressive, but the dolphins were probably the highlight.

Catching up on Pictures

Since I end up using my phone so often, I just realized this morning that we had over 80 pictures on our camera that I had yet to upload. Well, here I am catching up. Just click on the links to see pictures of Noah’s birthday, of our time with Brother Jim and Jason, and a few extras of the boys.

As for our little baby girl whom we are adopting from Ethiopia, we continue to get updated pictures of her. She is cute as ever, and we are as excited as ever! Until our court date in a few months, though, we are not allowed to post pictures Online. Sorry! 😦 Please continue to pray for God’s hand on our adoption and for our little girl’s health and development.