(Warning – my thoughts ramble through this post, but I needed to write it.)
Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.”
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
II Corinthians 4:7-9
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
I needed these verses above this week. It was a rough week this week. A friend of mine in Oregon lost his 20 year old daughter in a car accident. Too young to die. His email said that he wished everyone could walk through this type of a trial and at the same time he wished no one ever had to walk through this type of a trial. These tragedies heighten our awareness, reminding us how fragile life is. For me it reminds me how carelessly I can live my life, taking for granted I still have years upon years to live. Maybe. Maybe not. It is always a wake up call to live your life in such a way that there are no regrets, so that others hear the main purpose in life is to know God and serve Him….there’s so much to process when we go down this road.
And also this week – we attended the funeral for some good friends whose 22 year old son, Andrew Scott, was tragically killed last week in an oil rig accident. Andrew and his family are strong believers. They were a testimony to many at Andrew’s celebration service. What struck me the most was as people were sharing, the common thread in all of the stories about Andrew was that he desired that everyone should know Jesus personally. He pressed on in his life with purpose – to make sure other’s had the opportunity to have a personal relationship with Jesus. Thanks, Royal, Judy, Wendy, Brett, Verla, Jeff, Tyler, Seth, Kayla and the rest of Andrew’s family for ministering to us through your pain!
I don’t understand “why” these things have to happen and I never will. But I have learned so much from these types of tragic situations…it is always a constant reminder to me of what is really important in life.
What I am learning to do, especially over the last decade, is not to wait for a tragic circumstance to live my life more clearly for the Lord. I suppose that this is the gift (the hidden silver lining) in having to walk through dark valleys. I remember my brother, who beat me home to heaven over a decade ago, said to me during his hospice care, “Carol Ann, the bottom line is this…you never know…life is fragile…so keep short accounts!” That was the piece of advice that resonated deep for me….KEEP SHORT ACCOUNTS. If you’ve had a disagreement, be the one to make amends first and do it quickly. If you’ve hurt someone, reach out and ask for forgiveness quickly. If you weren’t on your game and added to other’s discouragement that day, be the one to acknowledge that and take care of it quickly. Each day is a special gift. Your stamp on that day can be positive or negative – both have consequences, choose wisely. Remember, not to be morbid sense, but your parting words to someone may be the last words they hear from you. Do you leave every conversation with parting words filled with grace and encouragement and pointing them to Jesus? I am learning this myself.
As I drove away with my good friend Jennifer from Andrew’s service, we were lost in our thoughts and very sad. On the one hand we were filled with hope knowing that because of Andrew’s faith, he is in heaven, right now, with Jesus, forever. On the other hand, so much sorrow is still present for those who loved him and have to learn to live here on earth without him. Again I was reminded that in our deepest sorrow and our heartfelt confusion, the ONLY CONSTANT is found in Jesus Christ. In a God who has experienced far greater pain than we can ever relate to. Only in Him is there peace that passes understanding. Only in Him can we feel true comfort. Only through Him can good overcome evil. Only in Him can we rest our weary souls. That brought me joy – and as we drove back to our work and responsibilities, we popped in the new Passion CD and praised Him together at the top of our lungs…..
Oh, Lord, you never let go! Thank you for the gift of Praise.