Don’t know why

cryingwomanseyes

I heard some heartbreaking news yesterday that is still lingering in my mind today—families are suffering great loss and calamity.  Although I do not know them personally, they are still family because we are all connected as part of God’s family.

It’s during times like this that no matter who you are, how long you have been a Christian, how spiritually deep you think you are, the questions arise, “Why?” “Why did God allow such tragedy to happen, especially the tragic death of children? Truth is, we don’t know why and may never know why. We try to give spiritual answers as believers, but I can tell you from personal experience, it does not ease the pain at the time.  The journey from mourning to joy must be traveled by each of us on a timeline determined by our total dependence on the supernatural power of the God we profess as our Healer.

Nevertheless, until we are healed, delivered and set free, the ambush of thoughts is like stray bullets in our mind.  We are unable to sooth the nauseous feeling of sadness when we stare at beautiful pictures of vibrate, happy, smiling faces of children that we dream of growing into adulthood. We try to rationalize, but cannot.

Senseless.

Incomprehensible. 

It hits too hard! It affects Christian believers and of course, nonbelievers, who often use unexplainable events and tragedy as reasons for not believing that a loving God would allow such horrendous things to happen to good people. Yet, no one is able to answer the why questions. Unfortunately, if we seek for a reason too long and do not come up with one, our soul will become exceedingly sad and discontent.  Our inability to rationalize the horrific tragedy along with our emotional instability cause us to sink deeper and deeper into a pit of darkness. It is there in the pit that we are entrapped.  Depression grips our soul with its gnashing teeth and refuses to let go.  Consequently, we conclude we have no hope. It is in this pitfall where many give up and surrender to the spirit of defeatism.  They cannot fight for themselves nor dig themselves out of the deep, dark, cold, pit of hopelessness.

Therefore, the need for intercessors is great!  Intercessors are those will pray and stand in gap (spiritual gateway) and make up the hedge on behalf of those who become defenseless against the kingdom of darkness because the pangs of sorrow have become unbearable.

As believers, let us pray fervently for one another; and resolve that we may never know all the “whys” in this evil world nor understand even if God in His sovereignty chooses to tell us.  But we must trust God to walk with us on our journey from mourning to joy. We must know we are victorious and believe what Jesus said even through our heartbreaking, painful experiences…

 “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33).

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When you don’t understand the “why”

cryingwomanseyesFor Christians, what matters most is learning to trust God regardless of whatever we face in this life even when we don’t like or understand it. Like me, you have probably thought I don’t understand what God is doing. Or perhaps, you have asked, “Why God allowed this to happen?” Whether you thought or actually voiced your issue with God, it’s really not significant.

Truth is, it is impossible for our finite minds to comprehend God’s sovereignty.

Holy Scriptures makes it clear: Romans 11:33-34: “Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways! For who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give him advice?” Also in Isaiah 55:8-9, God spoke through the prophet, saying, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways… For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

In essence, our limitations keep us from grasping things that happen in our personal life and in the world. Therefore, God does not tell us everything nor does He owe us an explanation. Because He is sovereign, all-knowing and all-powerful, He only reveals what He wants us to know as it relates to His purpose and for His glory. Think of it like this: If He told us or reveals everything to us concerning His plan, we would have no reason to believe, have faith in, rely on and trust Him. He wants us to trust Him! He reveals Himself to us on an as needed basis and by our faith. For example, if we need peace and have faith, He reveals Himself as Jehovah Shalom; if we need healing and have faith, He reveals Himself as Jehovah Rapha.

I have learned this: As painful as challenges and events may be in my life and family life, I must trust God and believe His word. I stand firmly on Romans 8:28.

In the words of Babbie Mason’s song, “Trust His Heart”:

He alone is faithful and true

He alone knows what is best for you

When you don’t understand

When you don’t see His plan

When you can’t trace His hand

Trust His Heart

I have concluded that I may never know or understand the why, but what I am learning to do through life’s challenges is trust Him completely; knowing that if I belong to Him and have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, He will never leave me nor forsake me. I am confident that He will care for and comfort anyone who turns to Him in faith to be their loving Father. It is easy to blame God for the negative and painful things that happen in this life. But it does not change anything—God is still God; He is still good, faithful and true, and if we look closely at the situation, chances are we will find a reason to be thankful.

Recently, I watched Myles Munroe, Jr. make a public statement just three days after his parents’ death in the plane crash; he said with conviction, “Although God may never explain himself, He will reveal himself.”

For Christians, what matters most is learning to trust God regardless of whatever we face in this life even when we don’t like or understand it. However, the tough question is, will we be in a position see Him when He reveals Himself and then gladly receive what He offers to meet us at the point of our need?

Thoughts and Prayers

By Michael Brick and John L. Mone   of Associated Press

By Michael Brick and John L. Mone of Associated Press

 

Once again, grief and sorrow has invaded the lives of families and friends. This time, 1840 miles apart…from Boston to a small town, some may have never heard of–West, Texas.  Although the scenes were different, the pain is the same–immeasurable. Hearts are broken, people died, injuries are substantial and grief is like a blanket of darkness covering the minds of all affected. 

Some will call these explosions just coincidental . Some will dig deeper for hidden messages and spiritual meaning. Yet,  some will write them off nonchalantly as “life happens”.   Unashamed, I’m persuaded to believe nothing in life just happens!   Whatever you choose to believe, the one thing I believe we can agree on is that pain is not prejudice.  And as long as we live on this earth, pain is inevitable. Whether intentional or accidental, the one thing that these explosions, miles apart and different scenarios, has done is bring hope out of tragedy and turned our hearts and mind to prayer and solace in believing others are thinking about the injured and the many who face the pain of separation and grief.

When everything around us seems to explode, once again we are given the opportunity to embrace each other in love, offer words of comfort and pray believing that God hears and Jesus mourns with us, even though “evil” maybe rejoicing.   But in the fullness of His time, there will be no more pain, tears and sorrows.  This life, as we know it, will no longer be and those who believe and receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord will be with Him in eternity. This is our hope in times of adversity and tragedy.

Praying!

 

 

 

Spiritual Olympians

The world is watching the 2012 World Olympics! What an opportune time to motivate and inspire millions to become spiritual Olympians and athletes in the “game” many call life.  The Olympics is a great analogy. Apostle Paul uses the analogy of physical training in his letter to Timothy, urging him to train himself for godliness the same way disciplined athletes train for competition. 

Keywords: Train and discipline. 

Can you imagine the sacrifice that all the athletes made just to be part of the Olympics? Let’s consider one

in particular— Gabrielle Christina Victoria Douglas, aka, Gabby.  Her story is one of sacrifice and discipline not only for her, but for her family as well.  I was moved to tears watching the video about the sacrifice Gabby made to move away from her mom and loving family into the home of a host family some 3,000 miles away to train in pursuit of a life-changing dream. That dream is now reality, no doubt, beyond her expectation. What an awesome achievement as the world witnesses—16 year-old; U.S.A. all around gold medalist in the 2012 Olympics. All of their investments, hard work, discipline and sacrifices paid off.

I pondered the question: Why would someone make such sacrifices and devote so much of their time and energy into training? And then the answer was clear: Because of passion and purpose. It is a passion for something that compels…an innate gift and an undeniable ability that produce perseverance. The heart’s desire to achieve your dream is stronger than the physical pain you will bear, or the emotional pain you will suffer living with regrets if you fail to pursue the dream. And like, Gabby, sometimes the emotional pain can seem more unbearable than the physical pain.  But when purpose is calling someone— a mom, a host family,  a coach— tap into your potential and see the possibilities of a life-changing experience; therefore, they won’t let you quit, but will help you to fight for your dream. Why is that important? Because when the dream becomes reality, others are inspired…you are a witness; you are a model.  I’d even go so far as to say it is a ‘calling’, part of a Divine plan to reveal a greater purpose. In Gabby’s instance, a message of faith, hope, love and unity.  

Herein is the inspiration and motivation for us Christians.  We must answer the question: What is it that I am so passionate about; that I want so badly in my Christian walk of faith that I am willing to make sacrifices, and discipline myself by training untiringly to achieve it?  “Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).

I know it’s easy to become fainthearted, weary and discouraged when it seems life has dealt you a “bad” hand (Galatians 6:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:13). More often, it’s not a bad hand, but rather, our holding on to the hand of people, memory of places, and danger of  things that keep us from achieving the best that God has planned for us, and wants to give us. It may mean you have to separate yourself from those you love dearly.  

As Christians our lives are on display; we are the billboards along life’s highway. We are called to be witnesses to the world for Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8). Of course, it’s uncomfortable. Yes, there will always be ridicule, naysayers, opposition, and negative opinions.  Nevertheless, we must stand firm and not be persuaded to give up when the going gets tough, especially when people focus more on the minor rather than appreciate you for the accomplishments that make all of us proud. 

In America, athletes are often considered models; being in the public eye has its challenges especially when one is not ashamed to be a witness for Christ. We all need models— an example of how we should live; and how we should pursue our dreams in a godly manner, and then give glory to God when He blesses us to achieve those desires, which He placed in our hearts. 

In 1 Timothy Paul urges his loyal friend to become that model by accepting the discipline and hard work required to be a model— a spiritual Olympians—committed to pursuing a real relationship with Jesus Christ worth more than gold.  Paul admonished Timothy, “Train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come”  (1 Timothy 4:7-8). In essence, it takes hard work and discipline to live a godly lifestyle.  However, what’s more important is that we have the Holy Spirit to help us.  If we let Him, he will lead and guide us. He will teach us how to compete in the race of life and seal our victory as spiritual Olympians—winners of the crown of life in glory.

The world is watching the 2012 World Olympics! What an opportune time to motivate and inspire someone to become spiritual Olympians and athletes in the race of life by being a disciplined Christian.

Grace to handle “it”

My very dear and close friend sent me this word today!  It was two weeks ago (Friday afternoon, June 8, 2012) that I received that phone call about the passing of my only grandson, James, in a single car accident.  It changed not only my agenda for that day, but I believe it also changed my agenda for life.  Like an oversized arrow,  it pierced my heart and left a hole so big that only the Master can mend with GRACE.   This word is so “on-time” for today.  I just had to share it with my faithful readers.  Just as I am being strengthened and comforted by God’s Holy presence, I believe there’s someone else who needs to experience God’s grace too.  We may never understand or even like what God allows to happen that so deeply grieves our heart, but I choose to believe there’s a purpose and plan beyond our comprehension.  And, at the end of the day, I am compelled to say, “Lord, I trust you.”

“HE GIVES MORE GRACE.” JAMES 4:6 NKJV

 

The grace to handle it

          Nancy and Ed Hulzinga were at church rehearsing for the Christmas program when their home burned down. It wasn’t their first tragedy that year. Three months earlier when a friend, a widow with two teenagers, died of cancer, the Hulzingas took her kids into their family. So when the house was destroyed it wasn’t just their home they lost, it was the home of two kids who’d already lost their parents. The following week, as they sifted through the ashes, they found a slip of paper that survived the fire. On it they read these words: “Contentment: Realizing God has already provided everything we need for our present happiness.” God gives you “more grace” when you walk through the fiery trials.

One Bible teacher says: “Our perspective changes when we catch a glimpse of the purpose of Christ. Take that away, and it’s nothing more than a bitter, terrible experience. Suffering comes in many forms, but His grace is always there to carry us beyond it. I’ve endured a sufficient number of trials to say without hesitation that only Christ’s perspective can replace resentment with rejoicing. Jesus is the central piece of suffering’s puzzle. If we fit Him into place, the rest begins to make sense.” Donna VanLiere writes: “When life blindsides us…and the diagnosis, abuse, foreclosure, broken marriage, death, or financial collapse brings us to our knees…grace says there’s more love after infidelity, more joy after the diagnosis, and more life after financial ruin…grace is real…an indomitable gift with power to change your life. But it comes with one condition – like any gift, you have to reach out and take it.”

 Bob Gass

The Word for you today.

 

Thank you, Bob Gass for this timely word!!!

“Grandma, I’m okay.”

James Charles Phillips

I am writing from my broken heart that’s leaking a steady stream of tears as I try to awaken from this nightmare.  I didn’t know that our time together on Memorial Day, May 28, 2012 would be the last time I’d see him light up a room; or that it would be our last grandmother and grandson time together.   I didn’t know that 11 days later he would be gone… so soon.   Yet, I am confident that by faith, this too shall pass—the heaviness that weighs on my heart, the queasy that has set up residence in my stomach, and the uncontrollable sobs that give way to emotional outburst when I reflect on the fact that he has transitioned from this earthly life to life everlasting.

Of course, I would say, his life was cut short too soon.   But  I remember that our days are numbered and only God knows the exact length of time here on earth.  So what’s short or long by my measurements cannot be in alignment with God’s timeline.   I am convinced that there are no surprises with God. He knew on March 2, 2003 that James’ last day here on earth would be June 8, 2012.  He knew all the details of the horrific accident that claimed James’ young life. He knew the pain that would pierce our heart due to the sudden tragic loss of James’ life.  He saw the accident…He saw what really happened although witnesses would say differently. God knew everything that would take place that day at that time—there came a day. It was the day that a moment in time darkness engulfed our family and tried to snuff out the light that shines through faith in Jesus Christ. 

However, I choose to trust God; to take Him at His word.  I choose to follow the Light of Hope that one day I will see James again. But until then, I will listen attentively as I have these past three nights, to his little voice speaking to my spirit saying, “Grandma, I’m okay.”

A grieving grandmother, but not one that grieves as if there’s no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

Visit Facebook: Finding Comfort after Loss: James C Phillips Memorial Page

Thankful for the Memories

In Memory (1932-2003)

Today is Wednesday, and that day is almost here—Sunday, May 13, 2012, MOTHER’S DAY! It is still a bittersweet holiday for me.

It has been 9 years since my dear mother transitioned from this earthly life. I can’t believe it’s been that long. Yet, there’s not a day that my loving memories of her vanish as the years are quickly passing. For that I’m thankful.

Her sense of humor, confidence in me, and the joy that filled her heart are my inspiration as I pursue purposeful living without her.  Although her prognosis was overshadowed by the inevitable, she chose to live by faith every day.  She believed that her attitude about life and her hope in Jesus Christ made the difference in her timeline.  She chose not to give up, but to fight the good fight of faith even as the cancerous cells fought ferociously against her.  However, they did not overpower her will to live; she did not retreat in fear. Although her body was weakened, her mind was stronger because she fed her spirit daily in the Word of God and prayer.  Therefore, her short-numbered days were extended to years.

As I embark upon this next journey in life, I’m comforted in knowing she’s cheering me on now just as she did for as long as I can remember.  The pain of separation was greater than I could have ever imagined, but on December 26, 2003 I experienced the comforting presence of God.  I learned that His grace is sufficient in weakness, and that He gives strength to the faint-hearted.  I am convinced that the Lord Jesus Christ will carry you through the tough times until you’re strong enough to stand and walk again.

To everyone who has suffered the loss of a mother I pray you are comforted by the good memories and times you shared.  May the God of all comfort console you as He did me (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

And when all you have left are memories, you learn to be thankful for the memories that bring laughter as well as sadness.