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Posts Tagged ‘sorrow’

March 20, 2017 marked a day of loss for a very good friend of ours. Her mother passed away. Less than two years ago, I lost both of my parents and so I understand how she is feeling at this moment.

We knew her mother and she was a wonderful Christian lady. There is no doubt in my mind that she is now absent from her body and present with her Lord. I know that the family is as assured of this fact as I am, but it does not take away the sorrow and loss that is being felt right now.

Sorrow and loss are feelings that we all must face because our original perfection was destroyed by our open rebellion against God. Yet God, in His mercy, chose not to leave us in our sinful state, but in His Sovereign Will, would one day restore that perfection.

Until all of creation is renewed, we will be very well acquainted with shedding tears. There is nothing wrong with expressing sorrow over lost loved ones. Jesus himself wept in the Scriptures. There are two recorded instances of Jesus crying. Once over the loss of a dear friend and the second over His beloved Jerusalem. However, Isaiah 53:3 tells us that the suffering Messiah would be “a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.”

Throughout the life of Christ, I believe that he saw tremendous amounts of sorrow and grief. I also believe that because of His love for us, he shed many silent tears.

We are told that time heals all things. As nice as that sounds, I do not believe that. Death is our enemy. We were created to live, not to die. I’m not even sure that time lessens our sorrow and grief over the loss of a loved one. I think it is more accurate to say that we become adjusted to live with the loss. Regardless of the years that will pass, one rogue memory brings everything back, and that feeling of loss will still be there.

First Thessalonians 4:13 is the light at the end of the very dark tunnel of sorrow. That light is hope. So yes, even as Christians we will experience sorrow and grief. Our consolation in this is that we know a day is coming where our hope will be fulfilled in the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

One of my favorite verses in Scripture is Revelation 21:4 which states “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

For now, my family grieves for our friend and her family for their loss. I pray that in the days to come, she will cling close to our Savior and be assured that one day soon, the sorrow will be gone and our age old enemy, death, will be swallowed up in Victory.

 

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Dad, Mom and meToday finds me sitting in a room at a Hospice home. July, barely three months ago, I was dealing with hospice questions for mom. Now I am doing the same thing for my dad.

Perhaps you have been in a Hospice Center before. The room is spacious, has nice windows to look out at the well-kept grounds, a small kitchenette area, low lighting and warm colors on the walls. Everything designed to make a person “comfortable”, though that is the last thing I feel.

January of 2015, dad was living in his own home and taking care of mom as her sole care giver. The doctors do not really have a name or diagnosis for where dad is today with his health. They are calling it “Failure to Thrive”. We are calling it a broken heart.

Due to his rapid decline of his health, I had a health care agency coming to his home four hours a day, seven days a week. We were also going in every day to visit, prepare his medications for the day and monitor his life. One afternoon my brother and his wife arrived at his home and found him lying on the kitchen floor. Staying alone at home was no longer a safe option.

I then found a great assisted living home for him with a caring staff and only five other residents. It seemed like a wonderful solution, but dad’s overall health continued in a rapid downward spiral.

In just one month he had contracted pneumonia twice, fallen once, and had been in the ER six different occasions. The last time in the ER resulted in him being admitted as an in-patient and from there, to a Hospice home.

It is now difficult to wake him up, he no longer wants to eat or drink on his own, he has lost 15 pounds in three months, his overall body pain has worsened, and when he is awake, much of the time he is staring off into space. Two days ago at the hospital, he asked to be shaven clean because he was going to go meet Joan now. (Mom)

The nurses in the hospital were busy with other patients so I got some shaving supplies and went to work. I was very meticulous with the job, out of fear of cutting him, but in the end he looked clean shaven and it made him feel better. He had been sporting a small mustache since mom passed away, but he said that he wanted it shaven off to meet mom because she would not like it. So off it came.

Steve spent last night with him and I got here early this morning. I’m typing this at a table near his bed as I watch him sleep. He is resting peacefully and is in no pain or distress. He just tells all of us that he is tired and ready to go.

When he said his wedding vows 55 years ago, he firmly meant “till death do us part”. Mom was his love and his life while here on earth. Without her, his will to go on alone is completely gone.

How long we will sit vigil by his bedside, I am not in charge of that. God is in control of his life and the lessons for me as I sit here. God has not promised his people a life without sorrow. But he has promised to comfort us in our sorrow and to never leave us to face sorrow alone.

Matthew 5:4  Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

Isaiah 43:2  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

Psalm 46:1-2  “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.

Revelation 21:4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

Psalm 119:50  My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.

Romans 8:18  I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

Psalm 18:2  The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Psalm 23:4  Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 34:18  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Matthew 11:28  Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

John 14:1-4  Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God]; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.

The Bible clearly tells us that God is our comfort when troubles come our way. Dad knows this truth and has taught me this same truth, so that as I sit here and watch him slowly breath, his Savior, and his beloved wife, are waiting with loving arms to wipe away all earthly tears.

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894655_10151462189646236_1553605846_oWith an endless source of life possibilities, how does one choose what to do in life? Our early years are pretty much laid out for us with family and school dictating our time. In college we start to spread our wings a bit to test our flying skills. And then we find ourselves plunged into the working world. If things progress in the natural order, we will spend the next 45 years 887124_10151462469301236_1445459261_oworking for a living, possibly raising a family and trying to find time to accomplish everything we want to do. Then in our senior years we all hope to relax, enjoy friends and family and never have to worry about money.

But let’s say you were given the opportunity to time travel to the end of your life. What would you see when you look back? Joy, sorrow, regrets, or even worse…nothing at all. In a sense, my injury allowed me the chance to read the last chapter first. What I saw was not very pretty. So many things that I would have done differently. I was so wrapped up in always keeping myself happy, that I completely missed the boat on serving others.

894001_10151462191721236_1160386490_oFriday of last week I had the opportunity to briefly share my testimony in chapel at my Alma Mater, Bob Jones University. Two friends of mine, also in wheelchairs, shared similar stories. God is always faithful. The past 16 years in a wheelchair has blessed me with serving instead of being served, and realizing that life is not about what I can get, but what I can give. I’m not sure of the exact number of people I was speaking to, but my guess would be around 2500. As I looked out over the sea of faces, I saw so many different expressions looking back at me. Happy, sad, interested, indifferent and even sleeping. What could I possibly say to have a positive impact on so many young people? Something to make a difference?1363974113299

I wanted to impress on them that what matters most in life, is loving God and loving others. That is what we will be remembered for. So let me encourage you to start writing your history today. A history of love and service. Be smarter than I was, and live your life with a greater concern for others than yourself.

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