What a week it has been for so many people in my life. Highs and lows–joys and sorrows seem to be increasing in frequency and intensity. I received a call Monday evening from our pastor informing me that a dear family friend had unexpectedly passed into the arms of Jesus. His wife, also a dear friend, is in the midst of radiation treatments for cancer. Adding to their burdens her daughter is navigating her own widowhood with single parenting as well. The natural tendency is to ask all the “why” questions. For them to move to the “why me” questions–where there are really no clear cut answers. I don’t know why her husband and our friend is with Jesus seemingly out of our time, I just know it is a done deal and we are left with the “what now” questions.
When life throws us such a curve ball we can either look up to heaven and curse God, or we can move toward Him with our questions and even our complaints. We can choose to trust that in the midst of our pain, our sorrow and our grief God’s goodness, grace and peace will guide us. Because I have walked in her shoes as a widow, she did not have to explain how she felt. God’s peace is with her. Her confidence is in her God. I am blessed to spend time with her the past few days. I know there are harder days ahead for them all, but I am living proof that they can survive and thrive. When we, personally, go through issues in life–many times it is not about us–but it is about what God wants to do in and through us for others. Widowhood is not for the fainthearted by any means–but neither is raising autistic children, fighting cancer diagnosis or mental illnesses. To clarify–life this side of heaven is hard.
But life is not all grief, suffering and sorrow! We Mentor Moms from our local Mothers of Pre-schoolers group- put on a special English Tea Wednesday for our wonderful MOPS steer team. We wanted to provide a platform to encourage them, strengthen them and simply love these young moms and treat them to real silverware and English bone china cups! But the most amazing part of touching these women’s lives was the opportunity to pray for each one specifically and intentionally. Yes there were tears, laughter and freedom as the Holy Spirit began to move in our midst. The joy of reaching out and loving on these women ministered to all of us Mentor Moms (it truly is better to give than receive!)
Two different emotions–joy and sorrow. Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep are good instructions on how to navigate these emotional events. I want to remind us when faced with others difficulties to employ the power of prayer. What a privilege to be able to pray for our grieving friends. Asking the Lord for His wisdom, direction and comfort is so valuable during these times. I woke up Tuesday morning praying for this new widow for her financial situation–especially since they recently had bought their home. The Lord said to me, “Don’t worry, I have it covered”. As I shared His Word with her it brought peace. Later that day she received some good news from Social Security which is going to be a big help towards her financial stability. Only our God. He showed me a picture of her leaning on the Cross–standing with her arms around it, just leaning–at peace. When I saw it in the spirit I felt like it was called “the Leaning Tree”! God loves it when we lean on Him. It brings Him such joy.
We can lean on Him when we don’t know how to help others. We can lean on Him when we don’t know how to celebrate with others!! Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 40:28-31 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary, his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted, but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. When we ask the “why” and “why me” questions it usually means we are trying to figure it out in our own minds. Trying to get “the it” to make some sort of sense. It is one thing we are not promised.
As I am writing this, a young expectant mom is enduring a painful gall bladder attack. She has endured a lot during this pregnancy, but the end is in sight. To bring life into this world there is usually some form of pain and difficulty, and the same is true of living in this life. One of my friends in the military, is on a ship serving our country while his wife is fighting sepsis. Saturday I will be attending the memorial service of a young 41 year old woman who loved Jesus with her whole heart, but is now in heaven worshiping our Savior. Questions–yes we have them. Do not let your questions separate you from Him, but run to Him. He never grows tired or weary of our oft calling, but welcomes us with loving arms and a listening ear. Run to the leaning tree, my friend–the Cross of Jesus Christ is able to sustain you and bring the peace we need, not answers.