The last few days have been filled with tremendous amount of joy and also a lot of pain. The prayer breakfast last Friday was awesome. Being in a huge roomful of women praying for our leaders, our nation, our soldiers and our own families is humbling to say that least. The Lord's presence was pallitable.
Saturday morning brought a different occasion, but still the presence of God was upon us.
Last month a dear prayer warrior friend of mine, Diane from my church, was preparing for a family reunion to celebrate her and her husband's 50th Wedding Anniversary!They were excited about the prospect of seeing their entire family together again. Her husband hadn't been feeling quite himself of late and reluctantly went to the doctor. They quickly discovered cancer, and he was gone in very short order. He died on April 7, one month shy of their 50th anniversary. They had decided to postpone his memorial service until this past weekend because everyone in their family was planning to come anyway to help them celebrate their 50th. This was an unexpected change of events. But, was God in this? You tell me?
The service on Saturday was the "greatest" funeral I've ever been too. That might sound strange to hear, but it truly was a wonderful celebration of his life, not a mourning of his death. The service was longer than most - it lasted about 1 1/2 hours but it was filled with so much love. The first two pews of the church were filled with family. Our pastor made it clear that the family wanted to celebrate Tom, not mourn him. His brothers got up and spoke quite lovingly about their brother and told stories of who he was and how he impacted their lives. His niece sang a beautiful rendition of "Look to Jesus," that left us all in tears. But, the most poignant thing for me were his granddaughters, who got up and talked at length about their endearing relationship with Gumpa (I think that was their name for him) They almost put on a little skit, which was so entertaining and really helped us get a clear picture of this man and how he related to his family and the world. It made a tremendous impact on all of us, and through this service we could see this man Tom, who was very quiet and kept to himself most of the time, in a totally new light. Jesus was shining through this entire family to all of us in that church. Tom was gone, but Jesus was there. They were in pain, but Jesus was there! Praise be to God! Yes, I could see the Lord in all this, very clearly.
I was thinking about how God works. Only the Lord knows how all the pieces fit together in this giant puzzle we call life. He knew when he wanted Tom home. He knew his wife and daughters would all gain tremendous strength by being together. Unfortunately, Tom and Diane did not get to celebrate their anniversary together, but I think many people were impacted through Tom's touching celebration of life service. They were talking about the service and how wonderful it made them feel. I have a hunch that many lives were impacted from Tom's service and maybe Jesus deeply touched the hearts of some of those that attended. Thanks be to God for His Glory!
I have another dear friend, who has been battling stage 4 esophigal cancer, just found out that the cancer is back. She had been going through quite an ordeal since last August, much chemotherapy and a few months ago, they declared her cancer free! She has had thousands of friends and family members praying for her and supporting her through her Caring Bridge website. We were all celebrating her healing with her, but now, sadly, the cancer is back. Beth is a unbelievably strong woman of God, but I know she has to be discouraged at this point. Please Lord, be with her and give her your peace. Heal her body and soul. You are bigger than cancer, and all disease!
I just got off the phone with my Mom. She is down about my Dad. Pop is back at the nursing home, after another operation, but sleeping most of the time. She is worried about my brothers and her grandchildren, who have never seen their grandpa like this. We prayed together.
I think that God gives us all a tremendous amount of strength in our suffering. He brings people in and out of our lives to help us through the tough times. I have learned that over the years, living with MS. God has always provided the right people at the right time. I totally rely on Him for everything. What a blessing that is :)
I pray that my family members and my Pop will have God's strength to get them through these difficult days. My Dad has been through an abundant amount of sickness these past few months, but only the Lord knows how long he has, not us. Pop is still here for a reason, and we don't know what that is, but our Heavenly Father does.
I can feel the Lord's presence here in the middle of all these joys and difficulties. Can you feel the presence of your Creator upon you when your life take a wrong turn and things go upside down? It happens to everyone of us. He's there, right beside you all the way, if you can only slow down and see Him. He can use your darkest hours to build your faith and let you be a light for Him in this world. How will the world see you as you face the adversities of life?
My verse for today is from Hebrews 12:2-3
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who, for the joy set before Him, endured the Cross, scorned it's shame and sat down at the right hand of the Throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful man, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."
My prayer for today:
Thank you for these past few days and being able to recognize Your Hand in the occasions that have taken place. Lord, I pray for my friends Diane and Beth and their families. I pray you will be with them during these trying days. Give them strength, help them not to grow weary or lose heart.
I pray for my Pop. Thank you for His life and the wonderful legacy he has given all of us. Heal my Dad if it is Your Will to do so and let us all trust in your faithfulness and goodness. I pray for my Mom, my brothers, and all of my family in TN. Give them your Peace that surpasses all human understanding to help them through these difficult hours. Only you know what is going to happen and when, but we are thankful for any days that you give. Help me to be Your light in this world, always.
In Jesus Name I pray,