Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Getting Over It

I spoke with an older woman recently that said she was having difficulty "getting over the death of her husband."

I didn't want to discourage her, but I told her, "You'll never get over that loss."

I know this makes me sound very cold, distant and removed from any supportive ministry, but that's not where the story ends.  If I had left her with those words, that would have indeed been a travesty.  However, my statement to her was shrouded by all sorts of positive affirmation and hope.  My point really was that we never stop loving or missing someone that special to us.  How can we?  And honestly, most, secretly don't want to get over the loss, they just want to get over the pain of the loss.  We never want to stop loving that person we adored while here.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians church, "Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved."  Many scholars feel that "joy" and "crown" have a futuristic view in mind, that Paul is looking forward to their relationship in Heaven.

As believers, we know that relationships don't end here.  One day we will rejoin our believing husband, wife, son, daughter, mother, father and other family and friends.  The nature of the relationship may change some but not the love, devotion or memory.

Life is not about "getting over it."  It's not even about "getting through it."  It's about finding new ways in the Lord to adjust to the loss that we are enduring.  It's about maintaining a hope and a passion for the present and the future.  No, things are not the way we want it right now.  No, we're not happy about what has taken place."  No, we don't want to smile."  I get it and it makes perfect sense to me.

One day you'll be making a very special trip.  When you rekindle that previous earthly relationship, there will be no more losses, no more death and no more sadness.  Hope will no longer exist because your hope will have been transformed into an eternal reality.  Be comforted with these words.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Bottom Feeders

May 13th of this year will be one date not quickly forgotten.  We took my Dad into our home and cared for him for two years–the last seven months of which he was on hospice.  It was the first time I ever declined the services of the hospice chaplain, because I was the hospice chaplain.  I had never refused myself before, which brought a smile to my face at the time I did it.  Dad's death in May was a mixture of relief, sorrow, sadness and joy.

The most difficult aspect to the whole process was in watching him die.   For eight days he had neither water nor food.  Not that we didn't try to give him water and food, it's just that his body was shutting down and he no longer required it.  Every two hours we administered pain medication so that he would be in a comfort mode.  Watching him die was brutal!  My prayer was that it wasn't as painful to experience as it was to watch (and listen).

My thoughts quickly went to Mary and Martha in John 11.  They too watched their brother die with no seeming help from the Savior.   It is true that Jesus did a miraculous thing by raising Lazarus from the dead but we need to understand, it was just temporary.  One day Lazarus would die again.  This raising of Lazarus was more to give glory to the Lord and enforce His Son's Messiahship than to give a family a few more good years.  The Bible is clear that all men are appointed to die.  As long as we are in this sinful flesh, it must die or be changed at the Lord's coming.

We need this fresh perspective–I know I did.  Most of us on earth are what I call "bottom feeders."  We have an earthly perspective regarding death and not a spiritual futuristic one.  We often see death as the end of a relationship rather than the prelude to a great and eternal reunion one day.  My daughter-in-law Kat, once used the phrase, "path builders."  Even though the context was about the family moving out of state one day (one family at a time, each paving the way for the next member of the family to follow), it applies well to the sojourn of a loved one.  I best compare it to a trip.  Our loved one packed their bags and headed out on their journey–not to be forever absent, but just gone for a moment, until we will join them.  Then after the celebratory hugs, embraces and love fest, they will share with us all the wonderful things they've discovered while awaiting our arrival.

Whenever you need to come up for some air from the oxygen sucking realm of grief, think on these thoughts.  It might actually help you swim to surface on occasion, seeing beyond the depths of the sea.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Heaven's Lockbox: Finding Eternal Security in an Insecure World

 I think this book would certainly be a blessing for those who are longing to spend eternity with their loved one or do not have assurance of their salvation.  When we know our eternal future is certain, then we can begin to wholeheartedly celebrate our reunion with our loved one who has gone before us.  God bless.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Answer To Our Suffering

This is a question that theologians have been trying to answer since the fall of Adam and Eve.  The book of Job is riddled with various viewpoints on suffering from Job and his friends.  Amazingly, most of those views are alive and well today.

For instance, throughout the ages, there have been many ancient peoples (including ancient Rabbis), who believed in Prenatal Sin.  Notice John 9:2, "And His disciples asked Him, saying, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind?'"  Even Jesus' own disciples fell back on old ways of thinking.  There was a predominate belief that babies could even sin in the womb.  As crazy as this sounds, it was a very common understanding (even though false).

When we try to manufacture different viewpoints to address God's allowance of suffering, we come up sounding empty, hollow and devoid of understanding.  In the book of Job, God doesn't answer the Why questions but rather tells Job to trust in the Who.  You see, the solution to our pressing questions is not found in a long alphabetical response but in only one answer.  God tells Job, "I AM the answer!"  That's all we need to know!  If we trust that God knows what's He's doing, knows all and sees all, and loves us; we then respond with trust and then trusting in His understanding and not ours.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Book Review on the book, MICAH, by Dani Ramsey

This is a rare jewel of a story covered with tears, joy and sobering faith. From the heart of a mother whose sole aim is to honor Jesus, remember her son, and heal the broken hearted.  From the wilderness of loss to the joys of spiritual celebration, a mother's heart is on display for the world to see.

This book is a stirring presentation that pain is real, hope is a roller coaster, and God is on the throne.  There is a difference between playing a Christian and being one.  Through all the maze of hurt, sorrow and sadness, a brighter picture appears.  Micah and his family show us that God's faithfulness is greater than our sadness.  

As I was digesting the inspiration of this book, I cried, prayed, and praised The Lord!  I also thanked Him for Micah's awesome family who guided Micah's salvation experience. How blessed Micah was to be surrounded by godly conversations, solid spiritual values, and a Christ-filled family.

Don't be afraid to buy this book, but rather, run to it with open arms, praising Jesus for every valley and mountain that you discover.  After reading this book, you will not remain unchanged.  You will also gain the understanding that in this life, we are just passing through.  Micah, thank you for leaving us an example to follow.  Our reunions in Heaven will forever be changed!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Grief's Untold Stories has enriched my life.  Writing the book was exciting and an adventure with the Lord.  The Holy Spirit directed my thoughts and I became a mere typist.  It was such an exciting ride through faith and discovery.  Several have shared with me the peace that they've experienced after having read the book.  I just praise God for the honor and pleasure to be a part of it and be taken for the spiritual ride of a lifetime.  


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Curse God And Die

"Curse God and die!"

This looks like a strange title for an article.  Has the writer gone mad?  Has he lost touch with spiritual reality?  If you are familiar with biblical history, you will recognize that statement.  I see it as one of the most profound statements in the entire book of Job, with the exception of God's responses.

The irony of this whole thing is this statement wasn't even made by as righteous a person as Job.  It was made by his wife.

On the surface, it would be extremely easy to derail this person and write her off as bad seed, and be done with her.  That would be our first mistake.  Over the years I have discredited her and compared her unholiness to Job's holiness.  I have heard a lot of other pastors do the same.  But there's something missing in this story.

Where's is the bolt of lightening from the clouds that pounds her into sawdust?  Where's the negative review in the Job Daily Times?   There isn't one.  Why isn't there at least a smack-down, given verbally by God and her husband?  How has she escaped the scrutiny of the angelic host, and mankind?  What's going on here?

God has driven right past her shop of blasphemy, as if he were driving too fast to see it, and take action.  But God knows and sees all.  He is the I AM.  He is always in the past, present, and the future. He didn't miss anything.  He just turns his head and doesn't take disciplinary action?  Did God really turn his head?  Not at all!

What God doesn't say is as impacting as when he does speak.  First, the Holy Spirit leaves her comment in the Bible for the whole world to see.  Also this text illustrates God's compassion.

No construction crew is enlisted from "Haman's Gallows Construction," to build a wooden execution platform,  "free rope included."

God is silent.  What does his silence show?  We see God's compassion for the grieving heart.  His grace is like a sponge that absorbs the negativity of grieving heart before it reaches him. 

You may be going through your own series of losses.  You may have said things that you wish you could take back.  Maybe, you are still angry at God.  Don't fear, God's love for you is greater than your anger against Him.

This is a part of your journey.  I know it is not a journey of your choosing.  You would have gone back and changed things in a heartbeat.  God wraps his arms around you even when you push him away.  He gets it!  he understands.

One day your anger will merely be a landmark on your spiritual journey.  Where we are faithless, He is always faithful!