I feel that I have gone completely silent of late. It’s the time of year: 31 March is the end of the New Zealand tax year, and I, Victor, was up to my eyeballs in dealing with several months’ worth of financial data. That little project is still ongoing, but there was a bit of a time crunch for our Goods and Services Tax (GST) return (for our American readers, this is our version of sales tax, but more like a European-style Value Added Tax). Anyway, I was finally able to pause and draw breath about half-way through this month.
On top of all that, we had to refinance, due to a lame bank that said it would offer us enough funds to build our house and then refused to do so. Apparently, that particular bank prefers to deal with “dinkies” (double income, no kids) like my and Grace’s parents. Having three kids and only one full-time income earner made us into a big risk from their perspective. And policymakers these days wonder why young adults aren’t marrying and having kids the way they did back in the day… but I digress.
In better news, we have finally signed the building contract! Which feels like the end of a very long process and yet only the start of another. Still, we should start seeing real and measurable progress shortly, once the builder has drawn up the full plans (much more comprehensive than the “scheme plans” done so far) and they have gone to the local council for a building consent. It all takes time, but we will get there, God willing.
And speaking of God, it has been good for us to take Easter off, as is the law and custom in New Zealand, and to pause and reflect on what God has done for us in Christ. Again, for our American readers, Easter has the same role, in some ways, as Thanksgiving, being the “other” big holiday (apart from Christmas) and a four-day weekend. Of course, most use the time for general holiday purposes, but for us, Good Friday is first and foremost a day to pause from the stresses and bustle of life, and remember.
1 Who hath believed our report?
And to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant,
And as a root out of a dry ground:
He hath no form nor comeliness;
And when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He is despised and rejected of men;
A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief:
And we hid as it were our faces from him;
He was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows:
Yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities:
The chastisement of our peace was upon him;
And with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned every one to his own way;
And the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
Yet he opened not his mouth:
And as a sheep before her shearers is dumb,
So he openeth not his mouth.
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment:
And who shall declare his generation?
For he was cut off out of the land of the living:
For the transgression of my people was he stricken.
9 And he made his grave with the wicked,
And with the rich in his death;
Because he had done no violence,
Neither was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him;
He hath put him to grief:
When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin,
He shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days,
And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied:
By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great,
And he shall divide the spoil with the strong;
Because he hath poured out his soul unto death:
And he was numbered with the transgressors;
And he bare the sin of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors.