THIS IS AN EMAIL THAT WAS FORWARDED TO ME ALREADY TWICE TODAY BY 2 DEAR OUT OF TOWN FRIENDS... YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE...
THANK YOU SO MUCH TO YOU 2 THAT SENT IT TO ME (I HAVE BEEN SO REMISS IN GETTING IN TOUCH WITH BOTH OF YOU, I WANT TO, BUT WANT TO HAVE THE TIME TO REALLY CHAT:) ... MY HEART IS HURTING SO DEEPLY TODAY... HOW DID YOU 2 KNOW THAT? I KNOW YOU KNOW... IT IS HURTING EVERYDAY.
LAST NIGHT AFTER CHURCH, I WAS A MESS, THE RETIRED PASTOR'S WIFE (WHOSE FIRST BABY WAS STILLBORN OVER 40 YEARS AGO) GAVE ME A HUG AND SAID IN A COMPASSIONATE, UNDERSTANDING VOICE, "IT WILL ALWAYS HURT , THIS WOUND WILL ALWAYS BE THERE"
SHE IS A HUGE EXAMPLE TO ME THAT I CAN SURVIVE THIS AND THRIVE... SHE EXUDES THE JOY OF THE LORD... I JUST LOVE IT.
I HAVE FELT LIKE I HAVE BEEN WRESTLING WITH GOD SO MUCH LATELY... ASKING THOSE DEEP QUESTIONS THAT ARE KNOCKING AROUND IN MY HEART, MIND AND SOUL. MY DAD REMINDED ME A FEW WEEKS BACK THAT IT IS FINE TO WRESTLE OUT YOUR FAITH... TO ASK THOSE HARD, BRUTAL QUESTIONS I NEVER IN MY LIFE THOUGHT I WOULD HAVE TO ASK, TO WRESTLE WITH GOD... HE THEN REMINDED ME... I WON'T WIN. (YEAH, I ALREADY KNEW THAT DAD:)
I KNOW THAT, AND I AM NOT SURE MOST PEOPLE WOULD GET IT, UNLESS THEY ALSO HAVE HAD A SIMILAR EXPERIENCE OR EXPERIENCED LOSS IN THEIR LIFE. I WAS TELLING GREG TODAY THAT THERE ARE TIMES I FEEL TOTAL JOY OVER SOMETHING ONE OF THE KIDS DID OR I LAUGH A DEEP BELLY LAUGH... BUT YET THERE IN THAT SAME MOMENT, IT IS TEMPERED BY THE PAIN IN MY HEART. DOES THAT MAKE SENSE TO ANY ONE OUT THERE? JOY AND PAIN AT THE SAME MOMENT? BLESSED CONTENTMENT WITH MY FAMILY, YET SUCH LONGING I CAN'T EXPLAIN AT THE SAME TIME? THERE IS SUCH A CONFLICT OF EMOTIONS GOING ON INSIDE OF ME.
HERE IS THE DEVOTION...
Where was God?
10 Dec 2009Lysa TerKeurst"But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 'Look,' he said, 'I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.'" Acts 7:55-56 (NIV)
Sometimes things happen in life that are so horrible our minds have a hard time processing them. Even our souls don't know quite where to place the horrific. So, we pull out our trite Christian answers and hope they are good enough to keep the honest questions at bay.But somewhere deep inside us a question bumps around our heart. A question so honest we Christians feel we couldn't ever possibly ask it.
Where was God?
Where was God when the students were shot?Where was God when my sister's 18 year-old friend had a headache one day and died suddenly the next?
Where was God when my friend's baby wrapped the umbilical cord about his leg and he died days before he would have otherwise been delivered perfectly healthy?
Where was God when that precious girl was taken, and found a few days later in the trash dump?
Like I said, things so hard we can hardly process them. Sometimes we'd rather make an excuse for God than be brave enough to actually go to God and ask.
I've been guilty of this. I've tried to make excuses for God. And I hated the feeling of faking my way through with plastic answers just to gloss over something my God is certainly big enough to answer Himself.
For years, I asked God to help me wrestle with this hard question. And finally an answer came tucked away in Acts 7:54-60, the stoning of Stephen. It's easy to read the words of the story and miss the reality of what's really happening. Stephen is being brutally murdered. Stephen is living the horrific we can't process. Yet, in the midst of his most desperate moment, Stephen is absolutely not alone.
While I hate - absolutely hate - what is being done to Stephen's body, his soul is experiencing something completely separate. And what I discovered when I dared peak inside the horrific was a miracle that makes me weep with relief.
God was there. Jesus was there. And my Jesus wasn't just sitting by observing. No, He was standing. And please forgive me for daring to make an assumption here but because I know Jesus, I have a picture in my mind of what He must have looked like in this moment. With tears streaming down His face, full of the purest compassion ever known, Jesus makes sure Stephen sees Him. Locks His eyes on his. And from what I can tell, Stephen never took his eyes off of Jesus. In the midst of chaos and screaming and the most vicious of acts, Stephen's soul talks with Jesus. His body falls as Stephen cries out forgiveness for all who dare to hear. And with that, a merciful sleep takes Stephen away.
I know this is hard to process. I know just reading these passages doesn't answer every question. And might I encourage you to wrestle with this and pray about this and ask God the bold questions that knock around your soul? I'll be posting a little more on this topic on my blog today and I'd love to process this with you further. But, let me assure you I won't be offering cookie cutter answers. These are hard questions with no easy answers.
I don't understand why Stephen had to die this way.I am still horrified by all of the events I listed above. And while I don't have all the answers, there is one thing I know for certain. I do know where God was. He wasn't too busy. He wasn't cold and heartless. He wasn't caught off guard. He was there. And I'm convinced with holy tears dripping in the midst, He is grieved over how sin has broken this world. And He walks to the edge of eternity and reminds us He will avenge, He will redeem, He will make all things right.Especially those we can't possibly understand right now.
Dear Lord, it is so hard to understand the horrific events that happen. Thank You for this reminder in Stephen's story. Even though we may never have answers on this side of eternity we can still stand on the truth that You are good even when life isn't. But Lord Jesus, please pour out Your loving comfort and reassurances. Our hearts need Your touch in those deep hurting places. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
WELL THIS IS JUST WHAT I NEEDED TO HEAR TODAY, WHAT I NEEDED TO BE REMINDED OF, GOD WAS THERE THE DAY SAMUEL DIED, HE HEARD OUR WEEPING, PLEADING, AND MOANING. HE WAS WEEPING WITH US... HE WAS COLLECTING OUR TEARS... HE STILL IS, NOT ONE GOES UNNOTICED BY HIM. THE PAIN THAT SIN IN THIS WORLD HAS CAUSED DOES NOT GO UNNOTICED BY HIM EITHER.
HE WILL AVENGE... HE WILL MAKE ALL THINGS NEW...I CAN'T WAIT FOR THE DAY WHEN THE ENEMY IS DEFEATED ONCE AND FOR ALL. THE DAY WHEN THE DEVIL WILL QUIT PROWLING AROUND LOOKING FOR SOMEONE TO DEVOUR. THE DAY WHEN EVERY, YES, EVERY KNEE WILL BOW AND EVERY TONGUE CONFESS THAT JESUS IS LORD.
AHHHH. IT GIVES ME CHILLS JUST THINKING ABOUT IT...
COME LORD JESUS COME!