Friday, October 30, 2009

Sorrowful Blessings and Peace That Surpasses All Understanding

Wednesday night and into Thursday, I had the privilege of sitting in a hospital room as a man from my church, one of the best examples of consistent faith and love for God I have ever known, Stan, was brought home to be with God. There is nothing like the passing of a Christian. The combination of joy and sorrow. (1Thessalonians 4:13-18) Knowing that this person you have come to know and love, who has helped you to grow and to understand God and His will, and has made such an impact in the lives of others is not going to be around anymore. It is sad and sorrowful and yet joyous and beautiful to know that this same person is now with God. (2Corinthians 4:14-18 )He is face to face with the Saviour and can finally shed all the trials and struggles of this world and is like Him, because he can see Him as He is. (1John 3:2) I also had to give a little inside laugh and a smile as I heard my pastor pray, " we confess we are a little jealous."Because I had been thinking the same thing. And, I thought it many times after my mom died. How happy I was that she was there, and how much I wished I could just join them, and yet what a great joy and privelege to have opportunity to be used by God! I am so glad God has given us verses like these (2Corinthians 5:-9). I marvel at the wisdom of God. The amazing way He intertwines sorrow, joy, and peace. In our times of ease and prosperity we can and should give thanks and praise to God(1Thessalonians 5:18), and it is precious and gracious and beautiful that God allows us, sinful as we are, to praise His name. And yet, how much more amazing and precious and beautiful to see a person who has just lost the most important person in their life in the middle of their sadness and grief and tears, give thanks to God for that life. To acknowledge and praise His wisdom in both giving this life and in taking it away. I sat in that room and watched and listened as Connie, Stan's wife, talked about God's timing and power and how God was giving her peace (Philippians 4:7). As she sang with sincerity and peace about how God is not only God in happy times, but also sad, and how God makes the bad things in life good (Romans 8:28). I also witnessed this wonderful Christian woman as she stayed with her husband, despite exhaustion and lack of food. All the while encouraging the rest of us in the room to go lie down or eat something. The love God gave her for others overflowing even in her sadness (John 13:35). If you would please be in prayer for Connie, and the people around her as we grieve with her (Romans 12:15), and as we pass on our comfort to her (2Corinthians 1:3-4) And pray that God would use Stan's death to bring glory and honor to His name, just as He was gracious enough to do with Stan's life. 1Peter 1:3-9 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will no fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.

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