Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I am Thankful for Grace to Overcome

I often say I have no greater joy than to know my children serve the Lord. Life is rich and full when I reflect on their love for God. I would that their lives were chock-full of ease and happiness, but I pray their lives are full of the love, joy and peace that comes from the presence of God. The two images of abundant living are not always compatible. Happiness is but a veiled reflection of the everlasting joy that flows from the throne of God. Ease is a pitiful substitute for the rest we have been promised.

The path of all who would live Godly in Christ Jesus includes sorrows beyond imagination, private tribulations where no one but our Redeemer can walk beside us. Only the Spirit who searches the deep crevices of our souls will know and feel the pain, wrestle with the uncertainties of our innermost being. I will not be the one to comfort my children as they anguish in the dark nights of the Heavenward journey; But thanks be to God, the Comforter has come. I cannot protect them from harm or shield them from trouble, but praise the Everlasting One, His shield will be their salvation. I can be their friend but my greatest legacy for them is to trust and believe all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purposes.

It is the calling of the Christian parent to live with and for their children in the land between the past and the promise. We trust and hope and wrestle with uncertainties. The hidden trials of our journey foreshadow their certain fate. If we knew the depth of our parents struggles it might discourage us, but by God’s grace we focus instead on the patterns of their lives and their victories in times of trial. And so I profess, I have fought a good fight; my girls will fight it better. I have endured; they will be more than conquerors. I have been faithful; they will abound in faith.

These thoughts are triggered by an encounter with a Christian couple this past week-end. Their lovely, spirited, fourteen year old daughter was run over and killed at her school bus stop just eight weeks ago. Their grief filled the air of the Bed and Breakfast they operate. Cheryl and I listened and grieved with them as they shared the story of their loss and efforts to trust God. Due to their witness, over sixty people have made professions of faith or rededicated their lives to Christ in the aftermath of the tragedy.

As I listened, my thoughts were not on my greatest joys but rather on my greatest fears; how could I survive the loss of a child? I recalled my sense of helplessness as a young parent, my fervent prayers for God’s protection over their lives. I became thankful I have seen Alethea and Karisa grow into beautiful young women who are making an impact on the world as they care for others. I know I have not been so blessed because I am better than the couple I met; I was humbled by their faith in the face of despair. I just know I have been blessed and I am thankful.

Orlando, Florida
(General Assembly)
July 26, 2010


Anonymous said...

Once again you have spoken well. I believe our time at the B&B with the Overcash family was ordained by God. Your ministry to them was, as usual, full of wisdom and compassion. You are right. There is no greater joy than knowing your children serve the Lord.

Anonymous said...

You said it well. We have been bless. I told someone that I always thought I understood God's love and gift to me through His sacrifice of His Only Son, but it wasn't until I had Ryan that I could only start to understand. I can't imagine the pain they feel.