Friday, October 3, 2014

Another Senseless Loss of Life

I know this  is not a usual entry from me, but It's what was on my mind and my heart.

I am very sad this evening, the last one of a beautiful September. Another young man has chosen a permanent way out of a temporary situation. I know his family. His sister goes to our church. His dad is a cousin of a dear friend of mine. I met this man and his parents and two sisters at another church my son and I attended.

A few months ago, our town lost a professional man who also chose the same way to deal with a few problems. One of the young mothers at church had worked for him for a long time. No one saw the signs that he was depressed.

Right after the first of the year, we received a call that a son of a lady in our area had a son die. This mother had been in the church we were a part of near our home. My dear friend and I really didn’t know what happened until we attended the memorial service. He had a substance abuse problem that caused his heart to stop.

Each of these three men was reasonably young, in their 40’s. When I saw the one who left us this past January, he was cordial and spoke to me. This was one recent summer. He called me by name and I had to tell him, “I’m sorry, I don’t recognize you.” When he told me his name, I felt so silly. We talked a while. I asked where he was living. He was living down the street from his mother. The summer before he died, I took some of our tomatoes to his mother, at that time, he and one of his brothers lived with her.

My heart aches for these men and for their families. Parents should not have to bury their children. Each of these three men left children. Their actions may leave scars on the hearts of those children. Each of these sets of children will continue their lives without the fellowship and the wisdom of their fathers.

A lot of people are not trained to recognize the signs of depression. But we need to read and study what we can to learn to be able to spot that a person isn’t acting as they would normally. Our society needs to learn the art of listening.

Sometimes, all we can do is pray for the families who go through this horrible loss.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Eyes of the LORD

“But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love.”
Psalm 33:18 (NIV)

What does it mean to fear God? I had a friend whose then-husband shared with her that he had told a co-worker that he did not fear God. My friend was upset when she heard this.

My response to her was that to fear God was to have a reverential awe for Him. As I reflect on my answer, I should have gone further and explained that we learn to have very deep respect for our LORD. The Webster’s New World Dictionary defines respect as: “ feel or show honor or esteem for. 2. to show consideration for: as respect his privacy.”

We have earthly friends or church family who drop what they are doing when we need them. We greatly appreciate them for their kindness toward us when we have a need.

When we have gone through something where the outcome could have been very severe but God got us through. We learn how precious He is. We learn we can trust Him for everything; our hope in our heavenly Father becomes stronger.

This past July 4th, I received word of a lady in my Sunday school class was in ICU at the hospital down the street from my home. I felt led to go down there and find her daughter. The daughter invited me to go in and see her mother. The older woman looked toward me but didn’t see me. She recovered and is able to be more active than she has been. She is living proof of someone who God brought through a very serious illness and has experienced His grace.

God is faithful. He doesn’t give up. He stands by us and watches us, alert for when we need His help. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

With You Always

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28:20 (NIV)

Jesus told the disciples these words near the end of His time on earth. We remember the last words people say when they depart from our presence. These were almost Jesus’s last words to the disciples.

What did Jesus mean when He said these comforting, yet challenging words? Did He qualify that thought with conditions? Jesus means what he says—He meant He would be with the disciples and followers. For us in the 21st Century, He says He will be there unconditionally, whatever our need, no matter how long it takes.

I have a friend who has had personal life threatening illness and the illness of her son for several years. When I heard she had to undergo a test due to a questionable x-ray, I sat and talked with her one evening. She is prepared for what she may have to endure because she knows Jesus IS with her.

When I had to go through some of the hardships that the world threw at me, I wish someone would have told me that this passage applied to me and that, especially during those times, Jesus stood by my side.

Jesus stands by our side every day of our lives. He doesn’t always make us aware of it, but His presence can be felt. 

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...