Tag Archives: sorrow

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Bracing for Impact

Monday I saw my doctor’s replacement doc (as mine was away) to request more iron infusions, and I was surprised to discover my biopsy results were in. The young doctor opened them and without any time to brace myself I adjusted my chair to view the screen.

Gibberish. The page he had opened was full of what I can only assume was technical medical language, that may as well have been Greek. My eyes scanned the document for words I could understand, and I only found three: “GIST” (gastro-intestinal tumor)- which I already knew, “Rare”- which I also already knew, and “aggressive.”

Aggressive. Shoot. I do not like this word.

The doctor admitted this is unfamiliar territory for him and I should contact the specialist to explain.

So I did, and got an appointment for Thursday afternoon, which gave me approximately 72 hours to stew over this word “aggressive,” sandwiched between a bunch of Greek, while trying to maintain my cool and keep it quiet in case I was wrong. No need to stress people out before I had to.

As I’d imagine anyone would, I spent many of those hours bracing for impact. If this was bad news, how would I survive it? How would I get through this without being emotionally destroyed? The Lord knows I have gone about these things in both wrong and right ways before. What had I learned from darker days, that I could apply now?

Did I get ahead of myself? Probably. Yet, the Lord allowed me to have this scare, and even used these ridiculous three days for my good.

So, I will share some of the conclusions I was coming too while I waited:

1. God will do with me whatever will bring Him the most glory. This is a pretty simple, but powerful truth. I think of Philippians 1:20-24:

“As it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.”

Those are some very challenging words, and no doubt my faith would need to grow to make these claims as boldly as Paul. But there is truth here to grab onto- Jesus Christ will be honored, if I set myself to either live for Him or die for Him. He knows which is better for me. He has a plan to receive glory by either my life or death, and that thought is comforting. It gives meaning to everything. If I live, I live for Christ, and if I die, I gain Christ.

2. There is only One whom I must fear. Psalm 34:9 kept coming into my head this week: “Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack!” As I thought about that I realized that if sickness, pain, or loss made me turn away from the Lord, wouldn’t that prove that I feared those things more than I feared Him? But if I feared Him above all else, that fear of Him would help me respond in reverence instead of sin. And what did Jesus say? “But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him (Luke 12:5)!”

People, illness, or disaster can destroy your body, but not your soul. In Jesus Christ, my soul rests safe. I have a refuge in times of trouble, and atonement for the day of judgment. Sometimes, it is those ultimate, overarching truths, that settle our hearts and bring us rest. Continue reading

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Job’s Dark Response

It’s been awhile since I wrote one of my lengthier poems, Job: A Champion of Faith by Grace. I read it again recently and found myself turning back to this great book of the bible. Once again, I was amazed by Job’s response in chapter three. It is so dark, so utterly sorrowful and desperate. Why am I amazed? I don’t think it is because his response is strange. It isn’t strange. In fact, it is kind of what you might expect from a man whose property, herds, servants, and children were just lost and destroyed to two sets of violent raiders, fire from heaven, and wind strong enough to collapse a house.

And then, as if his pain wasn’t great enough, he was smote with “sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head (Job 2:7).”

I mean, this scenario is insane. I would write more about it, but since I already have in the poem and here I will let that suffice. I just wanted to zero in on chapter three.

After seven days and seven nights of silence, and pain which made him unrecognizable to his friends, he finally opens his mouth and starts by cursing the day of his birth. He wishes he had died as a stillborn child, or been miscarried and discarded. The imagery here is graphic and disturbing. He believes that to have died and been at rest would have been better for him than to have lived and suffered this excessive loss.

Then he asks “Why?” as most people who find themselves in suffering do. “Why is light given to him who suffers (Job 3:20)?”

But it was the last three verses of the chapter that stood out to me the most recently.

Job 3:24-26 “For my groaning comes at the sight of my food, and my cries pour out like water. For what I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me. I am not at ease, nor am I quiet, and I am not at rest, but turmoil comes.”

Try that out as a Facebook status.

I’m being cheeky of course, but how comfortable are you with those verses? How would you respond if a friend said this to you? Picture a person too grieved to eat their food, too distraught to sleep, who cannot be quiet, but cries out loud about their woe? Someone who says “there is no rest in me. I have no peace. I am undone.” Continue reading

Come to Christ

Come to Christ

How has the domain of darkness
So disguised its self as light?
There you sit as in the shadows
And the chains of death but yet
The world says “this is life,
And yes what life is all about:
To sit in darkness as if light,
To raise your bound hands high
And shout your freedom,
For you are free to do as much
Of what you’re bound to as you like.”

They say that sin won’t really hurt you
It’s what you want; it’s what we all do,
And so you’ve drunken your full measure
Still empty though you’ve had some pleasure
It hasn’t quite felt worth the cost
Of sleepless nights and devastation
Heart-break and felt condemnation,
Once self assured now feeling lost
It hasn’t quite felt worth the cost.

Where can you turn?
Where can you run?
Sin hasn’t proven that much fun.
And why this guilt, and why such shame?
Isn’t there someone else to blame?
You know the world runs hard and fast
The same way you do but at last
You’re left alone to sit and wonder
Why this gnawing feeling grows
That life is more than this world shows.

Have you been lied to and deceived?
You thought money and looks were all you need
Could it be the advice of fools
To suppress guilt and ignore God’s rules?

You’re afraid but must keep it inside
Alone though in a room of friends
Pretending this life satisfies
But what really happens in the end?

You’re hurt, pretending to be strong
Let down, pretending not to care
How could following your heart have proven wrong
And left you with sorrows beyond compare?

The Lord is the one whom you’ve offended
Yet in love for you He condescended
He has loved you, but Him you’ve ignored
Yet He chose to lay aside His sword
And instead became the spotless lamb
The Son of God, The Great I AM
For blemished sinners was punished.

Dear slave of sin come enter in
You’ve seen now that you aren’t free
You’ve been deceived and have believed
A lie that sin won’t make you die.

Come to Christ oh weary sinner
From Him flows a living river
That wells up to eternal life
And then
He says you’ll never thirst again.

Come leave your burden at the cross
Where once was gain you now count lost
This heavy weight of sin come shed
For under its’ weight Jesus bled.

If you’d repent of all your sin
And trust in Christ He’d let you in
He is the door for all of His sheep
But now be warned because you keep
Turning your gaze back towards sin
If you won’t repent
Then He won’t let you in.
Come to Christ, lose your life
To find it in Him,
Or go on lapping up dust
As if water, satisfy your lusts
Preserve this life but who will console
You when you’ve gained the world but lost your soul.

My friend, I pray this won’t be you
Come to Christ who makes all things new.

 Colossians 1:13 “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

I Serve An Emotional God and I Am His Emotional Follower

God is an emotional God.  His book is an emotional  book.  Yet it would seem to me that there are many professing followers of Jesus Christ who seem to lack emotional responses to Him, to His word, to each other, and to sin in themselves and in the world.  Yet, I have also known those who can jump up and down in a worship service, and weep and wail whenever it seems appropriate, yet they live in unrepentant sin and have little understanding about the God of the Bible.  Continue reading