Sarah mentioned last week about the passing of our friend Julie. Last weekend we headed to
Julie was a woman who loved her God and Savior. She loved to worship Him and longed for others to share in her joy by knowing Him also. Faithful to who she was, the weekend became one about celebrating and praising Christ, and pointing others to Him.
It sounds so easy to type that, and almost natural, like, “well that is what you are supposed to do…” but it was Sunday morning during worship at church that I was overwhelmed by the foolishness and absurdity of it all. Here was a man (Mark) whose wife of 15 years had just died after a long difficult struggle with and ugly disease. They had been laboring in prayer for years that God would heal her and intensely trusted that He would. He is now left to raise their two young kids without their mom. This seems like the perfect opportunity to become angry and shake your fist at God and say things like, “she doesn’t deserve this… she was such a wonderful woman… why her…you owe me!!??”
I’m not saying Mark didn’t have those moments, but to see him standing there with both arms lifted high to his Father, singing and even shouting loudly “How great is our God…You alone are Worthy… Your Love is better than life…Oh Christ, Be the center of my life!”… I was overwhelmed with emotion. This just isn’t a natural response, it doesn’t make sense, and could even be disrespectful to Julie…. unless…. God is great and good and right and does no wrong, even in the midst of tragedy...unless He alone is Worthy of all honor and praise and worship in all circumstances…unless His love is better than life, and unless Christ was and is the Center of Mark and Julie’s life, marriage, and family. If those are true then a weekend of passionate worship is the only true and appropriate response such a tragic loss. Only in Christ are all understanding, purpose, peace and comfort found. For it is only in His death and resurrection where our hope for victory over death lies.
God give me the faith to praise you and rejoice in your goodness and grace in the midst of tragedy.
May I join with Job to say..”The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, but blessed be the name of the Lord” and Habakkuk who said “…Though the fig tree does not bud…yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. …” and Paul when he says “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord”
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
These two songs resonated in my heart this week as I reflected on the weekend.
---I hear the Savior say,
"Thy strength indeed is small.
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all."
’Cause Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.
Lord, now indeed I find
Thy pow'r and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots,
And melt the heart of stone.
And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete,
Jesus died my soul to save
my lips shall still repeat.
---There's a peace I've come to know
Though my heart and flesh may fail
There's an anchor for my soul
I can say "It is well"
Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead
And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles' wings
Before my God fall on my knees
I will rise
There's a day that's drawing near
When this darkness breaks to light
And the shadows disappear
And my faith shall be my eyes
And I hear the voice of many angels sing,
"Worthy is the Lamb"
And I hear the cry of every longing heart,
"Worthy is the Lamb"