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?

Trusting His Heart

By Michael Brick and John L. Mone   of Associated Press

By Michael Brick and John L. Mone of Associated Press

There is so much devastation and destruction going on in the world today—bombings, explosions, tornadoes, murder, violent acts against each other—all kinds of criminal activity. If you’re honest, like me, you have probably said, “I don’t understand why God allows these terrible things to happen.” 

I’m not writing this in an attempt to defend God; no one can come to His defense, nor does He need anyone to defend Him. Trying to defend God would be absolutely ridiculous!

I am mainly writing to help myself and encourage you to learn to trust God completely when it comes to dealing with life’s challenging difficulties that we cannot understand.

Like Apostle Paul, here’s what I have concluded:

“Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!” (Romans 11:33 NLT).  

Tornado damaged home in Moore, Oklahoma (WQAD Photo)

Tornado damaged home in Moore, Oklahoma (WQAD Photo)

Truth is, God hasn’t told us everything. He reveals only what He wants us to know on an “as needed basis” and we have to trust Him for the unknown. 

Our finite minds and limitations keep us from fully grasping some things that happen in our personal lives and in the world.  If God told us everything, we’d have no reason to trust His sovereignty and His faithfulness to carry us through our darkest days of grief and sorrow.

I admit, I have a tendency to be totally independent and do things my way rather than God’s way.  To be honest, most of the time, I don’t like God’s way of doing things. That is because I can’t see the “big picture”—the end from the beginning, as He does. From life’s experiences, I’m learning to rely totally on Him as my Source,  my Strength and the Lifter of my head. Above all, His grace is sufficient for me.

The greater the calamities in life the better I can understand to some degree Job’s ordeal.  The end of Job’s story gives me consolation and hope that just as God restored Job’s losses, He is able and willing to do the same for us who believe.

I have learned this:  As painful as the challenging events in life may be, I must trust God’s heart.  Babbie Mason’s song, “Trust His Heart” says it best:

God is too wise to be mistaken

God is too good to be unkind

 So when you don’t understand

When you don’t see his plan

When you can’t trace his hand, trust his heart.”

With God’s comfort and peace this song got me through the toughest experience in my life—the sudden tragic death of my 9-year old grandson.

May I encourage you to join me in trusting God’s Heart?

9/11: Lest we forget…

Photography by: Pool, Getty Images

Lest we forget that day that we mourned together as a nation, we may never learn to celebrate together as a nation.

So every year on September 11th, we are reminded that pain is not prejudice and sorrow does not segregate on basis of national origin, color of skin, ethnicity, religious beliefs, or gender.  If that day we mourned together as a nation has taught us anything, it should be that we are all human beings, frail at our best; that life is sacred, and we can be here today and gone within an hour.

And lest we forget, we must be reminded that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

It is my prayer that we as Americans will rise above petty differences, and pessimistic perceptions; put an end to polarizing political views, and outlandish promises to get elected; stop racial ratifications, and repent of immoral and illicit behaviors; seek God’s forgiveness, and accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and live in peace and love with one another as brothers and sisters.

Photograph by: Spencer Platt, GETTY IMAGES

I pray for those who suffered such great loss on that day eleven years ago.  I pray that they are healed and restored, and they are able celebrate the life of their loved one and friends each year with happy memories that will give comfort and peace.

May God continue to bless America, and shed His Grace on her.

“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.

Bittersweet

The year it really hit me that every minute you have the opportunity to spend time with someone that means the world to you, you’d better seize the opportunity.  It was  December 17, 2003 that the last chapter of life spent with my mother, Mr. Deva Mae Franks Horn, ended.  My mom’s will to live could no longer stand up to the overpowering cancerous cells that finally invaded her organs, took control and left her physical body too weak to fight. Immediately I knew this would be the last opportunity to spend time with her before she transitioned to that place of eternal rest. She fought the good fight of faith. She’d outlived her prognosis, and she touched the lives of many who admired her dearly.

This time of the year is always bittersweet. I still miss her.  Yet, I’m grateful for the miraculous comfort and peace of my heavenly Father, which enabled me to go through the grieving process. Knowing the reason for this season, and the hope it brings gives me consolation when I remember her faith, hope and love.

Therefore, I do not grieve like others who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14). As she believed so do I. I believe that Jesus, the Son of God was born of the virgin Mary, died on the Cross and was raised to life on the third day, and we believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.  Although the pain of separation is still difficult, the hope of our reunion gives me a reason to rejoice in this season.

December 26, 2003, she transitioned from this earthly realm to her heavenly home in Glory to be with her Lord.