Sunday, September 5, 2010

Lead Me to the Cross

I was tired, exhausted and overwhelmed emotionally, physically and spiritually. It was during the time that I found out after planning for many months in my mind the trip to Belarus that I can not go. I was confused, angry and distant. A dear friend of mine one Sunday morning asked how things were going for me and I lost it. Tears streamed down my face washing away my mascara while I was sharing my heart with a friend. She hugged me and suggested that during my quite time I should read the book of Job.

I was familiar with Job’s life and wondered what I would learn from reading it again. But I took my friend’s advice and read several chapters each night. My heart was breaking for Job as I watched him lose everything (children, livestock and had to deal with his mean wife) without knowing the reason behind it. God however had a bigger picture when He gave permission for devil to test Job’s faith. God knew ahead of time that Job would not turn away from Him. I didn’t feel that God was speaking to me through the beginning chapters of the book, until I came to almost the end of the story. God spoke to me when He revealed Himself to Job and pretty much asked why Job questioned Him instead of trusted Him.

God’s response didn’t settle too well with me. “Lord, don’t you want me to come to You, when I am confused and not certain why I am going through the valley? Don’t you want my honest heart, instead of a pretense response that everything is OK, when it is not? Don’t you want me to be real with You? All Job was doing is wondering what did he do to deserve it. You know that we are made of flesh and it is very hard to sometimes accept the situation without knowing the outcome” I said out loud while letting God know that I didn’t like that He was not gentle with Job. That night I went to bed upset.

Several days have past and I shared my heart with Daniel’s mom (Karen) over the phone. I told her that God came across with His response very stern, like a grandfather figure instead of a friend. Seriously, Job was in so much pain from awful sores on his body and God didn’t even comfort him. Karen listened to me and asked me to go back to the very beginning when God took away the hedge of protection over Job and allowed devil to test him. It clicked to me that God knew at that point that Job would not turn his back on Him. Even though Job would not understand the reason behind his “valley”, God wanted Job to trust Him. He was molding his character. In the same way, God wants my worries to be gone about not being able to see my dad and trust Him that everything will work out according to His ways and in His time. He knows the future and I don’t. His will is perfect.

But God’s teaching through Job didn’t stop here. Not only did God reminded me to trust in Him, but He also showed me that He is full of grace! When Daniel returned from a military camp, I was reading his journal. Since we couldn’t communicate with each other for 3 weeks, we wrote letters to one another. One day Daniel shared his thoughts about missing his granddaddy (Ted). As I was reading the deep thought’s of my husband, I was hurting with him. I have never lost a close family member, thus I couldn’t share in the same pain that Daniel was experiencing, but in one way I can sympathize with him, because I miss my mama and daddy. I can’t call them when I want to, I can’t hug them when I want to and the big ocean that is between us doesn’t help the situation one bit. So Daniel missing his grandpa was hurting me too.

For anyone who met Ted would say that he was a man of God. Ted was a preacher and oh boy, he loved God’s Word! Every time I would ask a question related to God, he would pull out the Bible and feed me God’s Word. Needless to say, I never left hungry, just thirsting for more. So you can imagine that it was a total shock for all, when we learned that Ted was diagnosed with cancer. Questions rushed through my mind wondering “Why, Lord?” But Ted never asked that question, he was fine with whatever the outcome God had for Him, because he knew that he was going to a better place. But to those around him, it was difficult to watch Ted during his last days suffering in pain and not to wonder.

After Ted passed away, month or so later when I learn of another preacher’s tragic death, I questioned God again. “God, why would you allow someone to die so painfully after they have served you all their life?” I asked out loud. He brought me to Matt 10:39, “He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.” I understood that day that Ted’s life has just begun, when he met Jesus face to face. I see Ted’s life somewhat parallel to Job’s in that God didn’t give the reason for the valley to either of them, but all He wanted for both to do is to trust His sovereign will. Ted did just that.

One like myself may look and wonder why someone who lived all their life for the Lord has to die with cancer, while someone else lived their life with their back turned to God, yet live a “good” long life. This statement has crossed my mind several times and I always left confused until today. Because that someone, who is living their life with their back, turned to God are my parents. When Ted took his last breath, everyone was certain that he was meeting Jesus and will spend his eternity in heaven. But if something was to happen to my parents today, I don’t have that comfort. If one asks is it still fair that they are alive living a “good” life? The answer is grace, God’s grace! Oh, how I am thankful for that grace. Why is that someone still here? Because God’s Word says, in 2 Peter 3:9 , “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” Grace, God’s grace! He extends grace to the “lost” and it is my deepest desire that one day my parents will be “found”. Grace, God’s grace!

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