Monday, December 17, 2012

God is Still in Control

I have a student that needs your prayers.  He was diagnosed last week with stage 4 cancer.  The exact type of cancer has not yet been determined [as of the end of the school day on Friday] nor do I specifics on prognosis, treatments, etc. I do know that my thoughts have constantly been on him and his family.  I cannot imagine, especially as a parent, being told, "Your child has cancer."  My mind won't even let me go there.

I remember asking sweet, sweet Mickey Heyward about a student who had been diagnosed with a brain tumor [and is currently a sophomore in college and doing very well :)]  about what I should pray for: should I ask for healing or not to suffer?  Mickey's answer stuck with me [as did so many other things Mickey said], "You pray for God's will to be done.  He will be healed ~ either here on Earth or in Heaven ~ but he will be healed." So my prayer is for healing because I know God's plan is perfect. Isaiah 41:10 says, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." [I am so thankful for Pastor Mickey.  Ultimately, he was healed upon entering heaven and I know he's having a very good time!]

God is still in control.

I was glued to my television this past Friday evening as the events in Newtown, CT unfolded.  Speechless.  I  was [and still very much am] dumbfounded.  The whole entire scenerio seemed unfathomable yet I was watching the news reporters talking about babies being shot...twenty of them.  School employees being shot.  I felt my own heart creeping into my throat.  I felt Emma's tiny hand holding mine.  Then, the one thought that kept pushing to the surface, no matter how emphatically my brain screamed to keep it hidden in darkness, came bubbling out: What if that had been my child? 

There is nothing that could [or should] prepare any parent for the nightmare being thrust upon these people in Newtown, CT.  The absolute senselessness of such a horrific act of violence is hard enough to comprehend [and I doubt anyone will ever fully understand] but to know that children, Gabe's age, were targeted is just heart wrenching.  Evil.  Pure evil. 

God is still in control.

Psalms 147:3 says, "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."  I know that my Jesus has never left the side of the mother who is mourning the loss of her child.  He's been there with the firemen and police officers, the medical examiners, and the survivors who had to witness such horror.  He is holding the father still asking why. 

God is still in control.

Today will be different at every school in America.  School will never be the same.  Lockdown drills will be practiced.  Students will ask questions with answers that seem to sting every time they leave our lips.  Teachers will cringe as they survey their classrooms and pray, "Please Lord, keep us safe  today."

Psalm 27:1
The Lord is my light and my salvation
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

When the wicked advance against me
to devour me,
it is my enemies and my foes
who will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident.
One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord

and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.

Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the Lord.

Hear my voice when I call, Lord;
be merciful to me and answer me.
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!
Your face, Lord, I will seek.
Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.

Do not reject me or forsake me,
God my Savior.
Though my father and mother forsake me,
the Lord will receive me.
Teach me your way, Lord;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.
Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
spouting malicious accusations.

I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.

God is still in control.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I Saw Jesus

I returned [at 8:30 am after an ALL night ride in a small bus, pulling a trailer through NJ, Delware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, DC, West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina] on Sunday and I must say this was one of the very best experiences of my entire life.  I would absolutely go again if given the opportunity.

I learned how to tear out sheet rock, rip metal corner braces, remove linoleum, take up sub-flooring, break and tear out ceramic tile, and remove insulation like a pro!  I learned that a nail can be removed with a little persuasion and elbow grease.  I watched a toilet get squished into about a thousand pieces by a front-end loader.  I carried a ton of wood [no exaggeration] to the curb. 

My greatest job of the entire trip was being a front row observer as the men from our church were Jesus to so many.  I knew this was a wonderful group of men to be working with but I witnessed, first hand, how God worked through them to help these desperate people.  They worked hard.  They made me want to work hard.  They worked in the rain.  They didn't complain.  They drove the bus, even when tired [and dealing with the crazy NJ traffic patterns and drivers] without complaint.  They were patient when the women of the crew needed guidance or instruction.  They never complained.  

More than the physical work, they prayed for and with these homeowners.  They stories of the floods...stories of the memories from house ...stories of the things that were ruined.  They, with the utmost care, lifted pictures and picture albums that were still dripping with water, carefully into bags for the homeowner.  With kindness and compassion, they encouraged her to get the moldy and water logged furniture out of the house...they shoveled the mud and memories into trashbags.  I stood beside them as they laid hands on and prayed for a father, with 6 children and not enough insurance to cover the damage to his home.  I listened to their heart felt prayers for comfort and peace. 

I am very thankful for the opportunity and thankful even still, that God made a way for me to be a part of such an amazing group. 


The people of New Jersey and New York need our prayers.  They need to feel that hedge of protection around them as they face insurance and rebuilding and financial issues.  Please pray for them.