Tuesday, August 9, 2011

still learning

I was fortunate enough to have a week of unplugged learning this summer.  We spent a week camping at a Family Camp in Michigan.  Each evening was a worship service.  The kids had Bible classes during the day, and while there were things offered for adults, I opted for reading and being alone during those times.  The things God taught me during this week were incredible.  I will attempt to share them knowing that my recollection of the supernatural will pale in comparison to the presence of God that was upon me during the week.

The week began with me reading Heaven is for Real.  I in no way want this post to be a book review of all the things I read, but God spoke through the words and the order in which I read, so I have to share some of the details.  This book is about a little boy that undergoes a surgery and has a trip to heaven during the experience.  His story is AMAZING, but for me it was difficult to read.  I mean painful really.  I was so angry as I read the words of this family's experiences with hospitals, fear, crying out to God, and healing.  I even found myself throwing temper tantrums and the book a little in my anger.  Why in the world could God save their little boy whom they loved larger than life and He didn't save my child? A question I never in a million years thought would enter my mind.  A life experience I never saw myself having.  Even hearing someone across the room describe "the Browns, you know that family that adopted twins and one of them died" doesn't sound like us, like our life.  Sounds more like the local church prayer chain that I have spent my entire life hearing and praying for.   There were times in my reading that I had guilt.  Guilt because while I didn't want their little boy to die, a part of me felt that would be more fair, even.  I would have liked the book better if he died.  It would mean that God didn't love them more than He did me.  It would mean that He listens to my prayers and my heart as much as He does their's, right?  While I know the answers to those questions, they still went through mind!

Simultaneously, and by no coincidence, I was reading the books of Matthew and Mark in the Bible.  Reading of Jesus' life on earth.  I was again angry.  Angry about all the healing passages.  Angry that God chose to not reveal His power of healing in our family.  Fleeting thoughts of God doesn't heal anymore, He doesn't respond to prayer.  While my head told me that my emotions were ridiculous, that God is sovereign, God healed Gaby by giving her the best reward of all--eternal life RIGHT NOW--my heart and spirit were saying but that isn't fair, poor me, and why did God let me down?

The next book I picked up was The Same Kind of Different as Me.  This one was easy.  It is about so many things, but basically is the story of 2 men, a homeless sweet man named Denver and a wealthy man who serves at the mission that Denver lives at.  This one brought about the passions that are close to my heart...that God loves us all, that He desires for us all to have a purpose in our lives that brings Him glory.  This one has the death of a spouse.  While bringing sadness, it was easier to read...this guy could get it because He felt the loss and the disappointment in God.  His story somehow made mine easier.

And of course the last evening service we attended brought me full circle.  The sweet pastor was sharing something, I don't even remember what, and it hit me that there was my friend's dad standing up there, a man who had lost 2 daughters.  He had lost children.  His wife sitting over there had lost 2 daughters.  2 waves of grief as parents.  They went through the pain that I did.  Only he did it twice.  And I was filled with hope as I heard Him proclaiming God's grace, His sovereign will, and His forgiveness while acknowledging the pain He still feels through the emotion in his voice.  The worship song to close the service pushed me right over the edge and I began the all so familiar and embarrassing act of bawling like a baby as the Holy Spirit convicts.  As I felt the guilt of my distrust in God through the week, the strength of His forgiveness and love, and the hope of my life with Him.  His presence telling me I am still here, I do still heal, and I always listen to you.  Keep trusting in me and know my love for you.

And did I mention the theme of the week was Radical and I was finishing up reading that book by David Platt.  If you haven't yet had the privilege of that challenge, GET READING IT and then go live it!  I put that book on hold while we were camping and finished it up when we returned, and of course was thrown back on track even more.  There are SO many hurting and needing Jesus.  I am commanded to share, tell them, to go, to love them through being with them and knowing them.  God didn't send a check, He sent His Son.  Going matters.  It speaks volumes to those we visit.  That we are willing to come, to live among them and to love them where they are, regardless of the amount of time we are blessed to do so.  And my head and heart got back on the same page, there are things to be done.  God needs them to be.  He commanded us to radically live for Him.  Anything less is not for me.  While my salvation is all about Jesus and me, my life is all about others and Jesus.

Dying for Him daily is what I want to be all about.  And I don't just mean figuratively.  If He chooses to end my earthly life for His glory, bring it on.  Jesus was a risk taker.  Lets face it there is risk in going places we don't live now, risk in loving on others that have diseases we don't now, risk in giving sacrificially not out of our abundance, risk in telling Jesus you will do anything He asks.  But with great risk, comes great reward.  Death is the reward.  For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.  I want to live those words.

Needless to say all this was draining.  But it was filling as well.  A special time that I am thankful for and hope to lean on when I doubt again.  A time that God knew I needed as we headed into this week.

No comments:

Post a Comment