Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Chapter 7: What's the Worst That Could Happen?
The authors words are in red
In the section entitled Nothing New Under the Sun I was gripped by this line " Despite the presence of evil, people are living everyday life as usual". The reason being this, recently my family has endured several tragic events. In the days following I found myself at times overwhelmed with despair. It was difficult to do much of anything. I would sit on the sofa wrapped in a blanket unmotivated to do much more than mindlessly channel surf. Incredulous at the reality of how time marches on. People continue with their lives. My world had come crashing down. I just wanted to scream at times. I wanted the whole world to stop. To stop so I could make sense of it all, so I could fix things. Problem is, evil does exist in the world. Sometimes we live for so long without it really touching us that we forget it's there.
That was me. I recall years ago when a pastor preached about tragedy. He said "Either you are enduring one now, have in the past or will in the future". I have to admit that I really didn't want to hear that. It bothered me. Micca echos his assertion " Each person in some way has tasted the bitterness of sorrow and tragedy". Although, she points out the truth that "God didn't design disease, exploitation, uncertainty, combat, gloom, misery, or death. These are all results of living in a fallen, broken, sin-sick world".
In spite of the uncertain world we live in it is true that "calamity, sickness, world hunger, debt and death are not the worst things that can happen to a person." Just like Parker, I agree that nothing is worse than not knowing the love of God through Christ. For surely without His love in the world we would live in the midst of pure evil and chaos.
How else can Corrie ten Boom's strength and faith be explained? If you have never read "the Hiding Place" I highly recommend it. It tells the story of Corrie's life which tragically includes time in a Nazi concentration camp. When I first read the story I was amazed, I remember shuddering to think of her reality. Back then I thought "I could never have endured what she did". True, but I have learned that Corrie did not endure alone. It was through Christ that she was able.
My heart lifted as I read the scripture reference Micca used Romans 8:35,39 "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril or sword?...nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord"
The reason my heart jumped is that it was that same scripture that God used to show my heroin addicted son that even the evil of heroin cannot, and will not separate him from His love. Brett read that verse in a jail cell. Desperate, broken, seeking God for the first time in years with a truly contrite heart.
Several weeks earlier Brett had come home seeking our help with his heroin addiction. I recall sharing that verse with Brett after he had said to me "mom, you just don't know the things I have done". It was as if there was a heavy veil over his heart and he just couldn't see the truth. I believe now that Brett wasn't ready to let go of drugs, he was ready to let go of the heroin but not the other drugs he had for so long come to depend on. He wasn't looking for God. I was devastated. I continued to pray as I had done for five years. The following day Brett walked out of our home back to a life with drugs. The days that followed were filled with pain, sorrow, and uncertainty. Yet, I sought the Lord and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4.
Two weeks went by before I found myself on the other side of a glass window in the city jail speaking to my precious Brett through a phone. Unable to hug him, I poured every bit of love I had out to him as I again pointed him to God's word. I encouraged him to go to the cross. I told him to look in the Psalms. I shared with him Romans 8:28 and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his purpose. I continued to pray.
God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Our circumstances change as our lives go on but He is the same. Loving, just, merciful, full of grace. Whether we are on a mountain top praising Him for blessings or in a dark pit crying out for His presence He will always answer us. I have learned that while tragedy is an inevitable part of life there is nothing that will happen that I cannot endure with the help of God and by His strength.
The day was February 9th that Brett was granted a peace that passes all understanding. A peace that led him to tell me "I am happier than I have been in a long, long time" in spite of his circumstances. He shared with me how he read Romans 8:35-39 and realized that God had been with him all along, waiting for him to repent and turn to Him.
He also told me that he had received great comfort from Psalm 51. I wasn't familiar with that Psalm so when I got home from visiting him that night I looked it up. I wept as I read it because it was clear why God had led him there.
While I don't know the future holds I am less fearful these days. I have been in a pit, I cried out to God and he lifted me. He has strengthened me, I am walking in faith not fear.