I wanted to write today about personal struggle and the storms we go through in this life; and how in the midst of those struggles and storms, He is there, walking beside us, walking us through them to the end.
I know of many folks in deep distress for varying reasons. Mothers have lost sons, there are those struggling with terminal illness, and those struggling with health issues that are not terminal.
There are those overwhelmed by the destruction of their families because of divorce, or rebelliousness. The list of trials in this life is long. And nobody is immune.
We live in a very fallen world, and the effects of that fall surround us.
My heart skipped a beat this a.m. when our sweet pastor told us at prayer time of yet another abortion doctor who murdered babies born alive. And this case, here in Texas, may be worse than the case with the man, Gosnell, who was recently convicted of murder!
Sin hurts. It effects us all deeply. It shakes us to our core. But God.....
It can seem, surreal living in the world, in International Adoption. Many are called, but few are chosen to walk some paths of life. Some have answered that calling and gone over seas, bringing back with them, children, who's lives, sinful man has tried to destroy and eliminate!
Not much different than the abortion doctor's work here in the U.S. or the work of Dr. Josef Mengele, in Auschwitz; our children have suffered the unspeakable. It is hard to speak about it. It is hard to bear it sometimes. It is surreal.
Our children's lives are changed. There they were laying there without hope, and now, there is hope. There is also great damage. There is emotional damage and physical damage. But there is also great joy, for their future.
When we walk down the street today, our beautiful daughter's beside us, some might see girls with handicaps. But they will have no idea, that these girls were left in dungeon type dying rooms, left to rot with no hope or respect. Yet, it seems that both of them, though at times they despaired, had a spiritual depth to them, that was very alive.
Erika often spoke of the Lord visiting her. I believe her totally! She bore up under unbelievable conditions, and while she wasn't removed and rescued from those conditions as an infant, she was not alone! I don't pretend to understand. I just know that the Lord is close to those who suffer.
I can think of several older children who have come home from Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria and China who lived like Erika did. Yet, each parent has a precious story of hope and children who have endured much. And they are so full of love. God sent a family to get each one of them.
To be that family is like living a dream, each day, waking to the joy of a child who is living life to the fullest, and wasting no. more. time.
Our God is a God of true Miracles!
Some of us though, live in families where Trauma was not so extreme.....
If you are living in a family situation where a child is stuck in rebelliousness, it hurts. It causes you to struggle.
If you are living in fear and doubt. It hurts terribly and can cause us to despair.
Even Christians can have times of doubt. One of the best sermons I heard on this was from our pastor Justin.
He said, (christie's translation) :)
"When a Christian doubts, they will continue to seek the truth until their hearts are satisfied."
But the doubt of the unbeliever , is one that tries to disprove truth. They are not seeking truth, but seeking to disprove what they doubt. Seeking vs. disproving are two very different things.
And still, there is forgiveness.....
The scripture says that our tears are precious to God. In Psalm 56:8 it says "You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your Bottle. You have recorded each one in your book."
One thing that we share with our Lord, is tears and sorrow. Jesus was a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. He shed tears over Jerusalem; he shed tears on the way to Lazarus's tomb before he raised him from the dead. He was overcome with emotion.
Jesus understands our sorrows and our grief.
But in Luke 6:21, he said, "Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh!"
There is comfort.... In Christ.
There is a time to weep. In Ecclesiastes 3, made famous by a group called "The Birds" when they sang, "To everything sing sing sing" ..... a time to be born a time to die, a time to laugh a time to weep.....
scripture clearly states there is a correct time to weep.
But should our weeping be hopeless? Why are we weeping? Are we weeping from compassion for others? Are we weeping because we are feeling sorry for ourselves? Are we weeping because we are not trusting? Are we weeping because we are angry at our circumstances?
I was thinking about the times that Jesus wept. He wept over Jerusalem, and how they were lost and without a shepherd. He wept out of compassion for Mary and Martha on the loss of Lazarus, and then He raised him from the dead! It was not a weeping of hopelessness, it was a weeping of compassion. He wept in the Garden of Gethsemane.
God wants to bring us comfort and hope. He does not want us to remain without hope! God does not want us to live in sorrow.
There is Hope.... In Christ!
Our source of strength comes from Christ! Jesus bore our sorrow and grief. He bore our sin upon Himself.
God wants us to walk in Faith and in Victory!
So while there is a season for sorrow, we are not to remain in sorrow. We should rest in the Lord and rejoice that our sins are forgiven! We should rejoice with great joy that He walks us through difficult times.
Our circumstances may not change, but our outlook in Christ can certainly change how we view those circumstances.
There is peace!...... In Christ...
When we know Christ, deep within us, there is an unspeakable joy in the midst of trial. There is a communing and walking closely with the Lord that sometimes can be had no other way but through trial.
I remember listening to a speaker about suffering in the church. He said, "persecution is good for church!" "But don't pray for persecution, it is scary!" He had been through great persecution, yet in the midst of his fear and sorrow, he was filled with great joy!
There is joy!..... In Christ!
I remember a long time ago flying on a plane with 4 little boys into an unknown future. It was a fearful and sad time with great stress, yet I remember those years being full of great joy! The Lord was walking with me and I knew it!
Here I was in the midst of a situation that for the most part was a big fat mess, caused by sin, yet God in His great mercy, had His hand on my family and walked us through that time, bidding me to follow Him; trust HIM.
While I would never want to walk through that period of time again in my life, at the same time, I am thankful for the lessons learned and would not want to avoid that period of time either. There was much value walking through that very, dark valley.
There is Mercy! In Christ!
As I rejoice in Christ my Savior... I also mourn for those who know not Christ.
His Love is eternal, everlasting, and brings about change in us.....
His Love NEVER Fails... NEVER.. EVER!
“I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me.”
― C. S. Lewis
― C. S. Lewis
I believe in the sun even when it's not shining. I believe in love even when I don't feel it. And I believe in God even when He is silent. (quote found on the wall of a concentration camp)