Monday, August 9, 2010

Roman's 8: 28

My friend Angela was taken into surgery last Tuesday night to take her organs. She saved seven people’s lives. That’s seven families that were able to see the love and glory of God. I just know that others will come to know Him through this. Romans 8:28 says “… we can be so sure that EVERY DETAIL in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”

DJ and family are doing quite well. The peace and comfort of God are CLEARLY covering them right now. I was able to speak with her mom yesterday and give her some verses to look at when she wanted. She is definitely clinging to God and His promises right now. It is SO encouraging for me to see her faith in action at a tragic time such as this. Her hope in Christ gives me hope and I know it will give others hope too. She is the light of Jesus right now, and encourages me to be the same.

I also talked with DJ the other day. He was just asking if it was OK to ask “WHY GOD??” I shared the verse and thoughts that you gave to me the other day, Chris, and I think it was a comfort to him knowing that it was OK to run to God with ALL of his emotions. His attitude in light of everything that has happened to him is truly from God. Jesus’ light is shining through him right now. Everyone who comes to visit this family is getting to see the light of Christ, and I am truly thankful and in awe of this.

PLEASE continue to pray for this family as they take care of details and then begin the long, hard journey of healing. If the past few days are any indication, God is going to carry this family and continue to cover them in peace and comfort. They will see better days, praise the LORD!

Hard to Understand, but I know God is Good

This past week has been one of much pain and heartache. It has also been one full of God's grace, love, peace, and comfort.

Angela Johnson, a good friend of mine and Kyle's, died Monday after being injured in a motorcycle accident. Angela and her husband, DJ were riding together on their motorcycle when a deer jumped in front of them causing them to wreck. Thankfully, DJ was not seriously hurt. He broke his right arm, and has painful road rash on the left arm. Angela's helmet came off during the wreck causing serious brain damage. She was pronounced brain dead Monday night, and was taken off life support shortly after.

I know what is hurting DJ most right now is his broken heart. I have no words to express to him how much my heart aches for him. I know DJ has a hard road ahead, but I know God's love and grace will be with DJ the whole time. I don't know why these things happen... why life can be taken away when it's so young and new. My heart crys out "WHY, LORD??!!?" To be honest, I even get angry. Why is this part of His plan? How will he use this for good? Why now, Lord? So many questions run through my mind...

I must lean on what I know is true: That God ways are not my own, and that my thoughts are not his thoughts. That God DOES use ALL things for good. That is grace and mercy are abounding and never ceasing.

I know that God showed up last week at the hospital. He was shining through DJ, and through Angela's family.

DJ, I know this is the hardest thing you've ever had to go through. But I have seen your faith in Christ, and it makes you strong! I know that you will see better days ahead. Jesus is shining through you right now!

It all seems so unreal.... So unbelievable. I never even knew I had that many tears to cry. While all this is so hard for any of us to understand, I know God is good. I know He is faithful. I know He will bring DJ through the valley and use this time in all of our lives as well.

Angela, my funny funny, friend. You will be missed greatly. You were a light to everyone you were around. You were always making me laugh, and you DEFINITELY kept me on my toes. You were my first friend in Little Rock. I am so glad I got to know you, even for a short time. Thanks for being my friend and partner when we were both new to Little Rock. You have begun a new journey, and eternal journey. I can't wait to see you again n Our Father's House.

Thankful for the Heat

Some thoughts of mine a week or so ago...

Thankful for the heat

I don’t know what got into me today, but as I was driving home from work, I thought today might be a good day to go on a run. Now to some of you, this may not seem like a crazy thought to have. But after a movie watching, ice cream eating, “Facebooking” week, this was definitely a wild thought for me.
I got home from work, dressed quickly for fear of changing my mind (trust me I’ve done it before) and headed out the door. The heat hit me instantly. In spite of it, I began the trek up the first hill by my apartment. The sweat instantly started to pour. About 2 miles into my run I thought “Man! If it weren’t so hot out here, this would be so much better! I would have a much better run!” I longed for some cool water. I passed a nasty puddle on the way back home and actually thought it would feel good it stick my face in it. That’s how hot I was. No wonder people do crazy things when they are stranded in the desert heat! After 3.3 miles, (this is a feat for me so I will tack on whatever I can!) I made it back to my apartment. I headed straight for the apartment work- out room where the water fountain was. The air conditioned room was instant relief. I gulped what seemed like the best, coolest water I’d had in my life from the water fountain. Let me tell you, Dasani had nothing on this water! I walked in the weight room, sprawled out on the floor (don’t worry, the room was empty!) and let the cool air dry the sweat on my face. In spite of being in what seemed like paradise for a few minutes, do you know what thought came to my head? I thought, “I am so thankful for the heat!”
Surprised I thought this, I began to think. I was so thankful for the heat because of how much it made me appreciate the coolness of the air and water once I finished my run. Had my run not been hard, I would not have had nearly the appreciation for the reward. Without the adversity we face in our life, we would have nothing to compare the blessings to. Would we really feel blessed for the good things in our life without the adversity to measure up to it?
Suddenly, thanksgiving overflowed from me. James 1:2-3, 12 says “2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 12Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” I thought about all the things in my life going on that I thought of as an inconvenience or hardship. I could be joyful that Kyle has been away from home so much because I can be sure that God is using it to grow me in Him, and because I could better appreciate the time Kyle and I did have together. I recalled how joyous our weekend together was a few weeks ago after he’d been away. I appreciated that my family lived far away because if they lived closer, our time together would not be as sweet, and we would not appreciate seeing each other as much. The times I have experienced true joy and growth in my life have almost always followed the times I have experienced hardship in my life.
God quickly refined the lesson he’d taught me the very next day. I went out again for another run. This time, my motivation was not necessarily to do something good for my body, or to thank God for the healthy body he’d given me by taking care of it. Today, my motivation was enduring the heat purely to get the reward I’d experienced the day before. I finished my run, and bee lined straight for the work- out room door. This time, I could not seem to get the code to work. I tried and tried until finally I decided to just head for my apartment. I saw that God does not always promise to immediately reward us the way we think we should be. There is nothing wrong with looking forward to the reward, but if our motivation is solely on the reward and not on persevering to honor and glorify God, we are missing out.
Finally, as a believer, I can appreciate the times in my life that produce perseverance because of a reward greater than any found here on earth: “the crown of life God has promised to those who loved him.”
I hope not another hot summer day will go by that I am not thankful for the heat.