Why not me?

ID-100180787Last night, my husband had a really bad headache.  He does get migraines, but this was different–just a bad headache.  It started at supper and he took a pill. Later, after picking up kids in the church van, leading Wednesday night prayer meeting and taking kids home, we were watching some TV when I looked over to see him holding his head. The pain was worse, so I got him another pill. I decided to sleep in the guest room and went there after kissing him good night, leaving him there all curled up in a pathetic ball with the covers over his eyes.

It’s now 4:19 AM and my brain is in overdrive. What if he… I should go and check on him, but I don’t want to awaken him, but what if he’s…

Such a morbid thought, but isn’t it possible? Why not me? The hurricanes just snuffed out lives–someone’s husband or father–why not me?

What would I do? More morbid thoughts, but it may be true, or will be true, someday. I hope it’s not today. He’s only 59.

An amazing statement came into my life recently and I can’t give credit, but this morning, in the wee hours of the day, sitting at his desk, they have new meaning:

God doesn’t give us grace for our imaginations.

I can’t even imagine what I would do. Tom and I may be weird, but we play these things through our minds every once and a while.  He, like most men, always says that he’ll die first and he’s probably right.

I think these thoughts are haunting me because –

  • We just remembered 9/11 this week. Sixteen years ago.  That doesn’t seem possible, but I’m sure anyone who lost a loved one on that day feels something different about the day.
  • 9/12 is the anniversary of my own father’s death. It’s always a hard day, mainly because I don’t want to ignore it but I’m never sure what to say, especially to my mom. I write the date on a piano student’s practice notepad and think, what’s today’s date? Oh yeah, the twelfth–the day my dad died, but I don’t say anything.
  • We went to a funeral this past Saturday. It was an untimely death even though his grandmother was 74. Less than a year ago she was healthy. Then the dreaded news came–cancer. Her husband is quite a bit older than she was and he probably never thought he would be facing that day. As I came to him during the viewing, he asked ME how I was doing! And then, after I asked him how he was doing, he said, “Good.  What are you going to do?  It’s how it is, and you just have to accept it.” WOW!

So, I’m heading back to bed. I may slip into our bedroom and just listen. I’m sure he’s OK…

… but if he’s not, I know only one thing, but it’s a really, really, BIG thing:

God’s grace will be sufficient for the day, no matter what it brings. He’s already taught me that. We carry burdens and heartaches. We have scars from past wounds. We’re made of tough stuff, although the bottom line is that God created us from dirt and when under pressure, it crumbles. But …

God’s grace will be sufficient.

I’m thankful that I can’t speak from experience on this one, but don’t we believe that faith is the substance of things hoped for, THE EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN (Hebrews 11:1)? Can you believe this wonderful, precious promise and the One who promised it for whatever you are facing today? Will you let the strong arms of Jesus carry you through?

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, 
Stand in his strength alone; 
The arm of flesh will fail you, 
Ye dare not trust your own.

Bart Millard

 

 

 

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“What’s Your Problem?”

ID-100122418We may have heard this phrase or even used it in a harsh, accusing way, but I’m asking it with a heart of concern. What is your problem? You may say, “I don’t have a problem.” Good for you! Or, you may say, “Where do you want me to start?” Then others might smile and say, “Nothing. I’m good,” with a smile that tries to cover a breaking heart but doesn’t quite get to the eyes. You know what I mean.

I’ve recently discovered something: God’s grace. How does that really work? I’m learning that it only works when we do several things:

  1. Speak the truth in our hearts.  He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart (Psalm 15:2).”
  2. Turn our cares completely over to God. “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5: 7).”
  3. Stop trying to salve the hurt with other things. “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Corinthians 12: 9).”

How do you deal with hurt? So often we turn to other things for our comfort and don’t even realize we’re doing it! Like…

  • Hobbies – We get busy with a craft or exercise at the gym or parties
  • Home – Ladies, we clean fiercely, or cook extravagantly, or spend lots of time redecorating or rearranging furniture
  • Work – We throw ourselves into our work, spending long hours away from home, especially if the problem is at home
  • Internet – We fiercely display all our pent up anger, hurt, disappointment, frustrations, or whatever on a social media page. We vent.

All of these things, except the last one, are not bad things.  They may even take away the pain for a while, but in the end, we’re right where we started: dealing with a situation that we cannot change.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.

 

This poem has long been a favorite of mine, so much so that I put it to music way back in high school! Its simple truths continue to circle back into my life.

When we turn to other sources of relief, we are like a child with a splinter.  We squirm and cry and dramatize, making it more difficult, if not impossible, for the “splinter-remover” to do his or her job! Is that why God had David write Psalm 23? “He MAKETH me to LIE DOWN… He LEADETH beside…”

He knows what is best. We can’t fix it. We can only rest in His grace, allowing it to soothe when nothing else will soothe. Only He can calm the soul. Only God and His grace give peace.  Is it a “once and done” thing? No, my friend. When the problem continues, so does the possibility for angst and the need to once again sit at the Master’s feel and sense His sufficient grace!

Homosexuality: Grace vs. Law

bible-lovingkindnessIn the past week, I’ve been hit with this issue four different times.  It’s not something that I would choose to address; however, God had other plans!

With every ‘sin’ issue, the real question is: What does God say about this?  As  believers, what do we do with God’s statements, like:

“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” Leviticus 18: 22

“Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves” Romans 1:24

These are just two of the fourteen chapters where sodomy is mentioned.  God is not silent on this issue; in fact, He is very clear about the matter.

So how do we face these issues?  WE FACE THIS JUST LIKE WE FACE ANY SIN ISSUE: WE CAN ACCEPT WHAT GOD HAS COMMANDED OR REJECT WHAT GOD HAS COMMANDED.

The Life Application Bible has a wonderful comment on the verse above in Romans:

Homosexuality (to ‘change’ or ‘leave the natural use’ of sex) is strictly forbidden in Scripture (Lev. 18:22).  Homosexuality is considered an acceptable practice by many in our world today – even by some churches.  But society does not set the standard for God’s Law.[emphasis added]  Many homosexuals believe that their desires are normal and that they have a right to express them.  But God does not obligate nor encourage us to fulfill all of our desires (even normal ones.).  Those desires that violate his laws must be controlled.”

When homosexuality enters our lives as the face of a loved one, it becomes more difficult to make Biblical stands.  This is true for all sinful situations; however, we will never help anyone by encouraging or condoning their sin.  So many aspects of today’s society fly in the face of God’s Laws:

God says, “Thou shall have no other gods before me.”

               Man says, “I am god.”

God says “Thou shall not make unto thee any graven images.”

               Man worships every successful entrepreneur, singer, athlete and movie star.

God says, “Thou shall not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.”

                 Man even shortens it into an abbreviation!

God says, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.”

               Man chooses to do EVERYTHING but attend church on Sunday and keep it holy or set apart for God.

God says, “Honor thy father and thy mother.”

               Man teaches his sons to rebel before they enter kindergarten.

God says, “Thou shall not kill.”

                Man says, “A woman has the freedom to choose to murder.”

God says, “Thou shall not commit adultery.”

               Man erases every perimeter of marriage to satisfy his lustful desires.

God says, “Thou shall not steal.”

               Man is so numbed to this thought that he will order ‘water’ but takes soda instead!

God says, “Thou shall not bear false witness.”

               Man turns the truth in to a lie and a lie into truth!

God says, “Thou shall not covet.”

               Man fuels his economy on covetousness.

These are God’s laws, we cannot ignore them; however, there is grace!  Grace – God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense – forgives us when we break God’s laws.  Grace forgives, but it doesn’t excuse or condone sin!  If I was a kleptomaniac before finding salvation by grace alone, then my sin is forgiven; however, I forsake the sin and move towards sanctification or Christ-likeness.  I no longer practice my kleptomaniac ways!

So, homosexuality is not the problem, neither is other sexual sins like living together or premarital relationships.  The problem is whether we will believe what God said about sin and live our lives accordingly, or will we be duped once again by Satan’s very first lie to mankind: “Yea, hath God said?”