Archive | August 2015

God Whispers

 She [Jezebel] sent a message to Elijah: “May the gods strike me dead if by this time tomorrow I don’t do the same thing to you that you did to the prophets.”  1 Kings 19:2 GNT

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Even if you hide, God know where you are

 

Queen Jezebel’s death threat could not be misunderstood. If I had heard these words while on God’s mission, I might have taken off running too, which is exactly what Elijah did. He ran until he was deep in the desert and collapsed under the first tree that offered shade. Based on his request to God to end it all, I’d say he was depressed and suicidal, but don’t take my word for it. Please read on . . .

“Elijah walked a whole day into the wilderness. He stopped and sat down in the shade of a tree and wished he would die. “It’s too much, Lord,” he prayed. ‘Take away my life; I might as well be dead!”

You see, Elijah had just come from a pyrotechnics display of God’s power on Mt. Carmel in a showdown between the prophets of Baal and the God of heaven. Even if you aren’t familiar with the story you can probably guess who won. One might expect Elijah to be invigorated and excited after witnessing God’s mighty power. Instead, when he received Queen Jezebel’s death threat, his high quickly evaporated, and he ran for his life.

Now Elijah is sitting exhausted under a juniper tree. He begs God to put him out of his misery, but God does not grant his request. Instead, He sends an angel to prepare a meal for Elijah to eat. Famished, Elijah wolfs down the meal, satisfies his thirst, and falls back to sleep.

The angel returns later and prepares another meal. He awakens Elijah, who eats and drinks. Nourished, Elijah walks forty days and nights, all the way to Mt. Horeb, where he crawls inside a cave and falls asleep.

Up to this point in the story, Elijah’s actions appear to be motivated by fear: he ran, he slept, he hid, he was fed by an angel ~ okay, that part would be a bit out of the ordinary.

I cannot compare my experience with Elijah’s, but I have acted in similar ways when depression has descended upon me like a wet blanket. I have felt myself tumbling into a dark, bottomless pit. Fearful, helpless, I have also asked God to take my life. Like with Elijah, God answered me, but not according to my request.

Had Elijah stopped trusting in God? Where was God during this critical time in his life? Had He left Elijah to fend for himself? God was caring for his basic needs by sending an angel. Now let’s read what happens next:

“Suddenly the Lord spoke to him, “Elijah, what are you doing here?”

“He answered, “Lord God Almighty, I have always served you—you alone. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed all your prophets. I am the only one left—and they are trying to kill me!”

Essentially God said to Elijah, “You mean to tell Me, after all My power you witnessed on Mt. Carmel, you turn and run from a . . . girl?”

Poor Elijah. He was scared out of his wits and feared for his life. Was he no longer believing that God was protecting and providing for him? Apparently not. He even told God that he was the only faithful prophet left. God responded by telling Elijah to go stand in the mouth of the cave. He was about to witness God’s amazing power displayed just for him.

“Go out and stand before me on top of the mountain,” the Lord said to him. “Then the Lord passed by and sent a furious wind that split the hills and shattered the rocks—but the Lord was not in the wind. The wind stopped blowing, and then there was an earthquake—but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake there was a fire—but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the soft whisper of a voice.”

Again God quietly asked Elijah, “What are you doing here?”

Elijah recounts how he has been working diligently for God, and now he is the only prophet left who serves Him. God instructs Elijah what to do next and then adds, “By the way, Elijah, you are not alone. I have seven thousand people alive in Israel who have remained faithful to me”(1 Kings 19:18, paraphrased).

I love this story. It keeps me on the edge of my seat. God eliminated the enemy with a force of fire power, and yet when He spoke to Elijah at the cave He did so in a still, small voice. I know this voice. I have heard Him speak to my heart, time after time, when I am overwhelmed with sorrow and depression. And when I am tempted to think, I am the only one, He gently reminds me that I am not.

It is unlikely that you have witnessed God’s power displayed in wind, earthquake, or fire, but you have probably heard His voice whispering to you in the night. Maybe you have called out to Him in your suffering, and He has responded gently to your heart. Maybe you have wailed to God, “I want to die! Life is too empty, too painful without my child.” And God responds with calming comfort.

In the quiet, listen.

In the storms, listen.

In your pain and suffering, listen.

God is loving and caring. He will always supply your needs.

Seek your happiness in the Lordand he will give you your heart’s desire.” Psalm 37:4 GNT 

“Your ears will hear sweet words behind you: ‘Go this way. There is your path; this is how you should go’ whenever you must decide whether to turn to the right or the left.”  Isaiah 30:21 VOICE

~Bible story found in 1 Kings 19, Good News Translation (GNT)

 

                                            

 

                            

 

 

 

 

 

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This entry was posted on August 28, 2015. 2 Comments

The Grand Reunion ~ I Can Only Imagine!

~ Anniversary post honoring our sons & daughters gone too soon ~

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“We who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.”

Warm sunshine beckons. It’s long, shadowy fingers draw me back to a piece of ground we consider our own. The trees are bursting with buds in all shades of pink, heralding spring’s arrival. It’s time to play outside. It’s also time to put flowers on my son’s grave once more, reminding me that I still have this small task I can do in his honor.

I’m no different from you, dear reader, if you, too, are outliving a child, especially to suicide, which we know adds another painful dimension to our grief. We know the difficulty of carrying on. Some may never set foot in the cemetery where their child is buried. Others may keep their loved one’s remains close by or do other special things to create important memories going forward. Setting out flowers during the warm months centers me, reminding me that life is moving forward. But there is something coming, and I can hardly wait for it to get here!

I am expecting the granddaddy of all reunions ~ the great Grand Reunion in the sky! I have read 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 over and over, comparing various versions and allowing the words to sink deeply into my being. They warm my spirit and fill me with hope and longing. Let’s read them together, allowing the energy to capture our imagination and charge our batteries for what is to come:

“On that day, with a command that thunders into the world, with a voice of a chief heavenly messenger, and with a blast of God’s trumpet, the Lord Himself will descend from heaven; and all those who died in the Anointed One, our Liberating King, will rise from the dead first. Then we who are alive and left behind will be snatched up together with them into the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. This is how we, the resurrected and the living, will be with Him forever” (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17 VOICE).  

I don’t know about you, but for me, this is very good news! I can only imagine!  

It’s okay if you believe differently. Your comments are welcomed so that all readers can be encouraged by our individual pictures of this Grand Reunion. Much of what I have pictured in my mind comes from the above two verses and ignites my imagination. Of course, as a feeble human, I have nothing of such grand scale for comparison. But it helps me visualize this awesome event and long for it . . . to long for it with greater intensity than any planned vacation. I can only imagine!

Please allow me freedom to express that I believe my son is in a deep sleep, referred to as the sleep of death (Psalm 76:5). He is unaware of anything going on above ground (Ecclesiastes 9:5). He doesn’t know who’s President, how the stock market is doing, or who won the Masters this year in his favorite sport. He has no thought or memory (Psalm 146:4). Once he drew his final breath ~ borrowed from the Life Giver ~ he returned to dust. This is the exact reversal of the creation process: God formed man from the dust of the earth, He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and Adam became the first living being (Genesis 2:7).

It astounds me to realize that I have been on this journey almost ten years now. I actually didn’t think I could survive a week after my boy died. Many of you are new to your grief journey, and your hearts are raw, fragile, and heavy. I know your pain, and I am so sorry for your suffering. It’s hard to keep moving forward. I know. My desire is for this piece to provide hope, encouragement, and be a reminder that time does pass. With all the mayhem occurring in the world today I think we don’t have much longer to wait. Any day now Jesus could return. I can only imagine!

Should He delay, perhaps I will go to my rest, but if not, I can tell you what I will do: I will drive about two miles down the road, make a left turn into the cemetery, follow the winding road back to a line of trees, and arrive where my son is buried. Maybe I will pitch a tent nearby, camping out in anticipation. If the heavens start to rumble, and the air becomes supercharged with energy, it’s time for me to dash to my son’s spot. I can only imagine!

Will this be a quiet event? Absolutely not! There will be shouts and thunder and trumpet blasts in the skies. The pandemonium undoubtedly will reverberate around the world, since every eye will see Him come (Revelation 1:7). And not only that, for the first time ever, cemeteries will be the grandest, happiest, busiest, noisiest places on earth. Families like ours will gather in eager anticipation. My heart will be pounding out of my chest as we wait in breathless excitement for our precious son and brother to pop up out of the ground. In fact, his dad had better take a step or two back from where he is standing (in the picture above), for our boy could shoot out of the ground like a ball out of a cannon! Or, maybe “Gabe,” his guardian angel who was by his side all of his life, will give us a huge grin before he reaches down into the ground, grabs Greg by the hand, and pulls him up out of there! I can only imagine!

Whether I get my first hug on the ground or in the air does not matter. I can hardly wait! As our feet leave the ground, we will keep our eyes fixed on the sky, which will grow brighter and brighter as Jesus Christ, crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords, surrounded by billions of heavenly angels, draws closer and closer. The colors, the strains of beautiful music, and the angels singing in the skies, will be unlike anything I have ever seen or heard. Can I absorb it all? Can my eyes and ears take it all in? My heart will be full to bursting with my arms clasped tightly around those I love and have missed for so long. I can only imagine!

I close my eyes and try to picture what it will be like. Whenever I become discouraged and think this reunion is taking too long to arrive, I hit “start” and replay my reunion “video” over and over in my mind to encourage me to hold on. The great Grand Reunion is coming! I can only imagine!

That is what the Scripture means when it says, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT 

 “And then there will be one huge family reunion with the Master. So reassure one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:18 MSG

I can only imagine!

This entry was posted on August 14, 2015. 6 Comments