Saturday, June 8, 2024

A Tribute for My Friend

I want to pay tribute to my friend, Diana, who has passed away. "Gone to glory," as my grandma would've said. 

I didn’t know Diana well.  We were friends and classmates in our high school class of 1972, but I came to our small town late, in my junior year of high school, and so did not have the lifelong connection and friendship with her that the other 20 members of our class may have enjoyed. However, when you graduate high school with a group of people, the tie can remain close, as it has done for our class.  My connection with Diana remained through class reunions and occasional conversations over the years.  

When Diana moved back to our hometown and then had to endure cancer treatments, I had the opportunity to get to know her better.  I can only say that her calm acceptance of her multiple cancer diagnoses was an inspiration to me.  I was offering my support to her one day when she said very matter-of-factly, “I know the Lord, I know where I’m going, and if I die, I die. Cancer is really no big deal.”  She threw around that “C-word,” cancer, without flinching.  And often, in my interactions with her during the past year especially, she would end up encouraging me.  You know how when you decide to reach out in Christian love and charity toward someone and when you get home you realize you were the one who was helped?  Diana was a calm and encouraging counselor for me regarding my fears of medical procedures.  “It’s really not so bad,” she said, when I confided my fears of having an MRI.  “You’ll be fine.”  


We can have peace regarding Diana, because she is now resting safe at home with the Lord she loved. We can feel happy for her while we reserve the right to be sad for ourselves, and we will continue to lift her sweet mom in prayer, along with her brothers and their families.  We pray for them in their grief.  I would encourage Diana's mother to continue to enjoy her life, the taste of good food, the camaraderie of friends, and the activities she so enjoys, at peace in the knowledge that Diana is safe at home and that she will see her beloved daughter again.  That assurance belongs to those of us who have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior; we don’t grieve as those who haven’t placed their trust in Him do.  


The idea of death is frightening to most of us and the death of a beloved friend or relative brings us uncomfortably close to the awareness of our own limited lifespans. But when we waste time fearing how we might die or when we are leaving out an important truth.  I believe it was Charles Spurgeon who said that we aren’t given dying grace until we are actually dying.  All other imaginings about death are made apart from the grace we will be given when it’s actually our turn to walk through the Valley of the Shadow.  I was privileged to see that wonderful peace and grace in Diana, to understand that she had been given dying grace on the journey she made through sickness and finally, on Wednesday afternoon the 27th of May, to the release of her mortal flesh as her spirit flew home.  As Christians, death is not a location but a passage; we only pass through the shadow and immediately into life again.  For those who have professed belief in Christ as Savior, God has set His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing the life to come.  


Diana, I am grateful to have known you and am happy that I will see you again.  So glad you made it home safe!  


God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

John 3:16

Monday, February 19, 2024

Thoughts on Not Getting Out Much

I woke up today feeling upset about the seclusion of infirmity. 

I am so crippled by profound exhaustion and various  conditions that ebb and flow with uncomfortable symptoms, that something so mundane as a routine eye appointment becomes a trial, a dental appointment is an ordeal requiring intercessory prayer, and the prospect of something like a vacation is an impossibility.  Vacations take so much energy that I do not have.  

It comes to me that sometimes, the solution is to wait upon the Lord.  This entails living with the uncertainty and unease of all that has happened to me and seeking medical treatment when appropriate without going on a grand quest for answers doctors probably can't provide. I trust that my times are in God’s hands, and that He will give me, as Matthew Henry says, not the expectations of my fears, but the expectations of faith.  

The solitude of infirmity is disheartening.  And yet I’m equipped for it, enabled, and for the most part I have peace with it.  

I am not unwilling to take risks, in fact, I’ve been aware that the Lord goes ahead of me to spring the traps of foolhardiness.  I am too prone to give way either to the judgments of human beings or, at times, to my own restlessness, and thus I become vulnerable to paths of action not of God’s choosing for me.  His word to me has been an assignment to keep my heart content in Him in this solitude that is not of my choosing.  The battles are with loneliness and self-discipline, the rewards are intimacy with God as I seek His face and an increasing ability to follow the Holy Spirit’s direction.  When other voices are silenced, God’s voice has the opportunity to be heard more clearly.  This has been a blessing, a great blessing of this time.  

God is my advocate, healer, and provider: my comfort and help in every heartache.  He is the Lord, my healer, and I pray for healing.  

I will trust Him for the timing of the healing I believe He has promised.  

The Don Moen song says, “I am the Lord that healeth thee…” But sometimes, ahead of the healing, He is the God who sustains us through suffering.  Resting in His goodness even in the uncertainty of infirmity is a step on the healing path…I confess I am healed, in the name of Jesus.  I can rest in not knowing the timing of my restoration because I am resting in Him.  Some wounds aren't healed until Heaven--and isn't that something to anticipate with joy? But others are healed while we are still here, and I do hope to "...yet see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage, and wait for the Lord" (Psalm 27:14).  

“But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord, I say, “You are my God” My times are in Your hand…”  (Psalm 31:14-15a).

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Past, Present, and Future


Surrender Your Schedule


Love God Love Others


Head to Heart


Love Is a Weapon


Dy to Your Own Desires


God Gave Us Jesus


Focus Upon Jesus


He Won't Let Us Fall


Child of God


Praise Him!


Make an Exchange


Our Sin Doesn't Stop God


If You Love Him, You Will Obey


Partake Before Work


Walk in Beauty


Love Them Even When They Are Wrong


He Is Strong


Shape Me According to Your Will


Abiding and Obeying

Nothing Has Changed: You Belong to Him


The Outcome Depends on the Lord


Willingness To Be God-directed


Act in Your Own Best Interests


Trust Him Where You Cannot See


All the While He Loved Us


Fully in Christ