Week of: September 29, 2014
Sharing by: Pam Crawford email@example.com
Sharing by: Pam Crawford firstname.lastname@example.org
"Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn."
This past week has been a true illustration of the above Scripture for me. On Thurs. Sept. 18, 2014 we welcomed our first grandchild "Peighton Marie" into the world with great joy and excitement. Then, six days later with great sorrow in our heart we found ourselves grieving the loss of our beloved dog of 12 years, Snicker "Doodles" Crawford. And one day after that, we received news that a dear family member had lost her battle with a long-time illness she fought so courageously. I can only describe the latter part of the week as "numbing."
Many of you have had similar experiences. It may be that your week started off well, but today you find yourself asking "what in the world just happened?" As I reflect over this past week I cannot help but be reminded of the brevity of life and how quickly life can change.
As we were experiencing both joy and sorrow in our lives, I am grateful that God brought to mind the suffering and disappointments of others. While we were experiencing joy, some were sitting at the bedsides of the sick and dying. Some were burying their loved ones and some lost jobs. Others had a spouse walk out on them and for some they were receiving a health diagnosis that they are still reeling from. At the same time, when we were experiencing sorrow, some were celebrating with great joy. People were announcing their engagements. They were sharing beautiful wedding and vacation pictures. Some were announcing new jobs and others were beaming with joy over their children's accomplishments. It was all good stuff and my heart took it all in. As I did, I was also reminded how important it is to shift my focus off of myself and onto God. Why? because I know that if I stay focused on my own personal sorrow, I am quite likely to miss some future times of great joy that God has planned for me.
Although my heart is deeply saddened over the losses incurred during our time of great joy; I am so grateful that my cousin and my sweet little Snickers are suffering no more. I will grieve for a season, but I will also celebrate and remember how much love they both brought into my heart.
Life doesn't always make sense. The reality is that we will have joy and there will be sorrow. It is impossible to escape it living in this fallen world. But Praise God that for a true believer in Jesus Christ, this is not the end of the story. Today I allow myself to imagine my Snickers running alongside Jesus; while my loved ones who have surrendered their hearts to Jesus, watch from a distance as He someday comes for me.
Friends, God sees the big picture of our life. We can only see what is in front of us in this moment. Although loss seems cruel, we must always remember that this is not our home. “Believers” are passing through for a purpose that we can only pray to discover. When we lose a loved one who has accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, a loved one who is known by God because He chose them and they responded; then we can truly celebrate and have peace that their purpose on this earth was finished and their victory has been won. We can envision them today in the presence of the Lord. There is no “waiting” for those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:8 “Yes, we are fully confident, even though we would rather be away from these bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord.”
Life’s Application Commentary: "Paul was not afraid to die because he was confident of spending eternity with Christ. Of course, facing the unknown may cause us anxiety, and leaving our loved ones hurts deeply, but if we believe in Jesus Christ, we can share Paul’s hope and confident assurance of eternal life with Christ. For those who believe in Christ, death is only a prelude to eternal life with God. We will continue to live. Let this hope give you confidence and inspire you for faithful service."
It is so important that we talk with our loved ones to affirm their faith in Jesus. If this relationship is not present, believers you have a gift to share with them. Don’t keep it to yourself. You will never have to wonder the destiny of a loved one if you loved them enough to inquire and talk to them about the Lord. Be courageous as eternal life is at risk.
Today can be the day of victory for anyone who has still not placed their faith in Jesus Christ, "the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6)." Because we do not know the day nor the hour (Matthew 24:36, Mark 13:32) it would be wise to step out in faith. This very moment you can ask Jesus into your heart. Determine to make Him your Lord and Savior and begin the journey of allowing Him to transform your heart and mind. Get in a good Bible based church and make Jesus a priority in your life. You will NEVER regret it!
In Christ by grace,
Book suggestion: Pilgrims Progress