Love Pledged


This work is dedicated to my Nephew and Niece’s fourth wedding anniversary. Happy Anniversary Bobby and Mary! Love Always.

Was it only yesterday
that I explored the depth of your
gaze? Or have a thousand
years passed since I gave
my heart away?

Loved ones seated,
quiet sniffles,
as a soft breeze cools
the nervousness upon our brows.

Gently, you brush a wayward
tendril that worked its way from
my hair ornament. I feel the heat rise
in my cheeks as your light touch
sets me aflame. My nervous smile is
reflected by one of your own.

Can it be? Can this all
be more than a dream? Are you
standing so strong and handsome
right here in front of me?

The love held firmly in your eyes tells
me that this is going to be. The words
you have pledged a thousand times before, you
will vow once more in front of
God and all the world.

Please let my legs hold me, he pleads as
he holds firmly onto his bride.
His heart is pounding so hard that he is sure it is audible
to all.

She loves me, she loves me and
I love her more than life itself. I
cannot believe she said yes, but
she did and now she is standing here
just there in front of me.
The brilliance of her beauty is
nearly blinding. I feel my
soul melting into hers as we
vow our eternal love.

Can I be…everything she needs me to be?
Can we be everything He needs us to be?
Will I be enough?
Will we be enough to stand the
tests that are sure to come?
Yes, our love will grow and
strengthen no matter
what lies in the future.

“I do”, she says confidently.
A smile broad and wide tells of her joy
as she quiets his fears with her pledge.

“I do”, he promises with his own joy-filled
countenance.

She and He are now We,
two have become one
flesh.
The very next step they take
upon their journey
will be
…as husband and wife.

An unstoppable team
regardless of strife, for
this love is pure and
comes but once in a Life.

Is Your Child going to Heaven?


 

I beg your indulgence, for something has been weighing heavily upon my heart for a long time so I must speak it. I am a woman, who has never borne a child but who has loved many more than she has loved herself. Once was a time that I was angry and bitter because I lacked the gift of motherhood but now I am rejoicing in much thanksgiving that the Lord blessed me in this way. Once, I accepted his will and opened my eyes then the blessings of his wisdom were plain. I am also a perfectly imperfect sinner and I have no delusions that I am better than anyone else drawing breath upon this planet. Paul said it perfectly, ‘We are all sinners, of whom I chief…’ .           Likewise, the vows I took at my niece and nephew’s baptism weigh heavily upon me. I, knowing the truth of salvation, have the responsibility to help them find Christ and his forgiveness. Nay, all whom I love have the right to expect me to point to Jesus in all things. They also have the right to expect me to screw up and ask for forgiveness because I am human and it will happen. Hence, I hope you keep these realizations in mind as you read my blog today.

Christians should not live by the world’s rules and expectations but should not use judgment bombs to annihilate the spirit of another. Jesus never, ever crushed someone in order to bring them healing and salvation so why do you think you can do it better than he? Or, could you be hiding behind the Cross of Christ to mask your own hate and prejudice? Having said that, it is also important to understand that we cannot project a “live and let live attitude” toward others. We can hold finite truths without tainting them with our own judgmental attitudes, eye rolls, looks of disgust, or hateful posts. Christians, who are truly trying in earnest to follow their  Savior in a Biblical manner will not give acceptance for sin but they should refrain from judgment.

I guess you can consider that a long prelude to the topic that has lit my fire today. My responsibility toward my friends and family coupled with my greater responsibility to my human family through Christ’s loving eyes and heart. If we know the truth, and I do, then we are commanded to share it, use it, live it in a manner that shines for Christ. When my niece and nephews were growing up I thought that the only things I wanted for them in this world was to be safe, happy and content. I now realize how terribly shallow and worldly those goals were for each of them. Happiness is Satan’s illusion and temptress, for it cannot be sustained. Being guarded in our words is always prudent but I have learned that keeping one’s opinion to oneself to avoid offense, at times, can lead to major disaster. Disasters that lead to long suffering consequences for many, many people. Worse for me is the heaviness in spirit I feel when I know I should have spoken God’s words, not mine, devoid of my opinion.  While it is certainty true that everyone must make their own life choices and bear the consequences of those decisions it is equally true that those choices never have a singular affect or victim. All of us bear the consequences to others choices and the closer in relation and enmeshment they are the worse it is. The individual may make the choice but they are never the ones to bear the total cost. In today’s society, people actually deny they have any responsibility at all for their choices. Yet, it is Christians to whom I am speaking, for we must take ownership of our actions and choices because we should know that each one affects not only us, our relatives, neighbor, community and so on but more importantly, they affect the Holy Spirit who resides in us. The thought is nearly too much to bear making it understandable that we shrink from acknowledging it. When I speak or act, it affects all around me. When I do not speak or act, it affects all around me. Whether the effect is good or bad  is only partially controlled by our own intent, for it is how they receive it that will determine the positive or negative ramifications.

I no longer pray for happiness for my nieces or nephews. Do I want them to be happy? Certainly but it is not as important to me or the Kingdom of God as if they were abundant in compassion, love, wisdom, generosity, strength, perseverance, joy, faith, discernment, and the ability to forgive. Notice, I did not list acceptance as a forerunner attribute/abilty because there are too many things in this life that should not be accepted. They can be understood, forgiven, rationalized, fixed but never accepted. I want those I love to enjoy life through the eyes, heart, and mind of Christ refusing to be limited to how the world sees and understands. We were not put here for mankind’s purposes. We have a job, which God knit us together in our mother’s womb to fulfill and that is where our focus should be in everything. Every decision we make should be funneled through the filter of Christ’s will for our lives. Some of you may be sitting there reading this and looking at the slice of pizza in your hand and saying, “Okay Jesus, did you want me to take another slice pepperoni or cheese?” Your mocking, condescending attitude aside, your choice to have pizza for dinner or a snack should be filtered through Christ. Sure, it’s not as major a decision as is who to date, whether or not to have pre-marital sex, start a family, vocation choice, marriage, or other such major life decisions but each and every choice we make should be built upon the premises of Christ’s teaching so we do not have to stop before taking a bite of that slice of pie and think in a mocking manner. Instead, the initial choice of whether to purchase the pie would have been develop through the years enabling such a mundane choice to be inconsequential because your thoughts were in line with His every step of the way. EVERY choice you make should be filled with Christ’s will and guidance for your life so that when the big decisions come along you will have the armor of God firmly in place to guide and protect you.

At the start, I said I consider myself blessed for not having children and now will tell you why. Being a parent is an awesome privilege and the most important responsibility in your life. I feel the heavy weight of making certain my nieces and nephews have the tools needed to make their way to Christ. Yes, we must ensure they have the skill sets needed to be healthy, productive citizens of this world but that is so minor in comparison to the responsibility we carry to lead these young folks to Christ. If you bring a child into this world but fail to teach them of Christ then you have had a child to give to Satan. You have had a child, who you say you love, to hand over to the devil condemning him or her to eternal damnation. There is nothing more important in this life that salvation, for we are here are very brief time but there is an eternity to be had. A simple choice separates you from paradise or damnation. Whether these places exist or not does not depend upon your belief of their reality. Whether God or Satan exists does not depend upon your belief of them. By the time you realize your mistake, it will be far too late. Scripture recounts a story of a man, who had received and rejected the message of salvation, suffering greatly in Hell. He looked up and saw in Heaven a lowly man who the world despised in life enjoying paradise. The man suffering from burning thirst begged the heavenly onlookers for a drink but he was told that he had received all his rewards he will ever enjoy while he walked the earth. The man in hell then begged for messengers to be sent to warn his family about this wretched end so they would turn away from living the high life the world celebrated. His request was denied as well. The angel told the suffering man that all people are given the same message of grace and salvation but are not forced to accept it.

If you are a parent then you know the bittersweet mixture of love and frustration it brings. It is the hardest and most important job that God has ever called anyone to accomplish. If you fail to teach your child about Christ then you rob them of hope, peace, strength and wisdom. The world will fail them whether they have Christ or not but if you love them then why, oh why, would you send them into a viper’s pit unarmed and unaware? I have seen and worked with more broken children than I care to think about and my work barely scratched the surface of the brokenness out there. The majority of my clients did not teach their kids about God or Christ and those are the ones who were in the most danger of being lost as they had no anchor or foundation. They could not count on their parents or relatives to be the responsible adults so they had no one of permanence in their lives.

Hence, whether you made the conscious decision to have a child or not, they are here because of you and your spouse (paramour). The common response, “Well God wouldn’t have let him or her be born to me if it wasn’t His will.” My response, “Yeah, and that should SCARE THE HELL OUT OF YOU, literally, because God expects you to raise that child for HIM!” That “God’s Will” line is used as a cop out of responsibly when it is actually a brand of duty! Parents, especially Christian Parents, need to make certain that the most important thing in their child’s life is Christ, period. You are preparing him or her for the battles of this world but also for all the spiritual battles around him or her.

Satan has been trying to destroy me from the very womb and has never relented a single day; therefore, if I had been denied Christ in my youth I would have fallen to the prince of evil long ago. I know his wicked power, I know his tactics and how he revels in human pain and misery. I know how he enjoys seeing a Christian fall so imagine his delight when he can convince the parent of person, who was created to be a warrior for Christ, not to teach him or her about the savior. Satan has won many future battles by taking out one weak Christian from the start. Could the child eventually meet Christ? Absolutely, for God’s plans are never thwarted but how many are lost due to the delay? What if that child’s message was meant to change the heart of a kindergarten teacher who then affected all of her students, who then went one to affect thousands upon thousands of others? It never happened. Those thousands were lost for eternity because Christ was not the most important focus in your child rearing toolbox because you failed to realize Christ is the toolbox and everything else is useless. Are you right with Christ? Can you call yourself a godly parent? Yes? Great! keep striving to walk in the Lord. No? Then get right with God, now because you chose to bring a life into this world so make certain he or she has the tools necessary to make his or her choice for eternity.

So, to my nieces and nephews (whether by blood or ‘adopted’ into my heart), you can consider me the crazy religious nut aunt all you want. You can consider me annoying and irritating and a fun-time kill joy but I do not care. I love you and I want to see you beside me in paradise someday. I do not want to see you looking up from the fires of hell begging for relief that I have no power to give. This is not directed at any of my friends or relatives but it has been a heavy burden on my heart and spirit. I have learned to listen to the Spirit because ignoring or deafening yourself to his whisper brings nothing but pain and agony. You young bloods may consider me nosy, intrusive, pushy, judgmental, out of touch, Bible thumper, etcetera but it matters not. I am not interested in your happiness. I am not interested in your pleasure with me or my opinions. I am interested in your salvation and, if you have children, in your children’s salvation.  You cannot give them salvation but do not deny them access to the road where they can meet Christ for themselves! I say these things in love and concern and I pray you take them to heart and think. Look at your child and think what you should do. Hold your child and think where you want them to be when everything around them has turned to dust.

As we are in advent season, it is a perfect opportunity to get the introductions started and provide your little one (even if they are 99) the key to joy and contentment, the path to hope, the road to eternal salvation. Everything in your life and their life should be pointing toward Christ, everything. The only thing under the Christmas tree that you should honor and give praise for is the meaning of the nativity. Sure, the newest toy and gadget will bring monetary happiness but nothing else has the power to bring salvation except Christ.

Give your children the most important, love-filled gift they will ever receive, introduce them to their savior and then work together to keep yourself and them on the path to his Kingdom. Always, in Christ’s love I leave you with these thoughts.

“Eloi, Eloi, Lema Sebachthani?”


“My God, My God, Why have you forsaken Me?”, Jesus cried in his final moments on the cross. Although beyond our mind’s comprehension, it was not the physical suffering our Christ was lamenting. To be certain, he suffered greatly but that was nothing in comparison to the moment his Father had to turn away from him. It was the moment that Christ bore all past, present, and future sins of humanity…alone. The absolute agony of being separated from God is unbearable, soul-devouring, spirit crushing, horror.

He begged his Father three times (Mark 14:36) to take this burden from him telling his friends to keep watch as he prayed saying, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death, “ (Mark 14:34). He wasn’t distressed about the physical trial to come even though he knew it would be brutal beyond compare. No, it was his spiritual separation from the Father that filled him with revulsion and terror. He chose to obey, he chose to suffer, he chose to become separated from his Father. Why would he do this? He did this for you.

You may argue that he was fully God  and could endure much more suffering than a human ever could. You may argue that he only suffered for three hours on the cross and you have suffered all your life with this or that. You may argue that he could have stopped it all and destroyed evil then and there. Your arguments are permissible, but not valid, because as you just read, Christ asked his Father the soul wrenching-question that can be so destructive, WHY. Doubt is not a sin, it is an expectation just as is the drive to find the answers. God tells us to seek him, pursue him, love him with all our heart, mind and soul. Why would we have to pursue a God we believe in? Isn’t that an endeavor for the unbeliever? Oh no, not at all. Once you believe you have a Father who created you for a purpose and  who sent his son to pay for your sins then that is when the pursuit of our Creator truly begins.

As unbelievers, we are in stark rebellion just floundering like a fish out of water but once we chose to follow Christ then that is when the journey becomes difficult. Hence, it is not a sin to ask our Father why something has happened or is happening. Understand, you may never get an answer to your specific question until you breathe your last but if you pursue the answer then you will learn much along the way depending upon who you allow to steer your rudder. If you allow Satan to embitter you then your search will end in depression, self-loathing, self-pity,  rage and a flaccid faith. You will get stuck at that moment of suffering neither going forward nor backward. If you allow Christ to lead you then you will likely still experience all these things but you will not get stuck in that place because he gives us the strength to move beyond the pain and suffering of the current life crisis. Just an added thought I cannot let hang open, Christ was also fully human too so he experienced everything throughout his life just as we would have.

Strength and Suffering

Do you consider yourself a person of great strength? What do you consider to be strength? Are you physically fit and strong? Are you financially strong and secure? Do you have a strong moral code or belief system? Do you have a strong intellect? How about a strong faith?  We humans measure and define strength using variable measuring sticks according to what we value in life; therefore, your answer may be far different than another’s. Nevertheless, how you define strength becomes very important when you are faced with losing it. I argue that you cannot lose your strength entirely if you allow it to transform into another and likely more durable manifestation of our surrendered weakness.  If you consider yourself a to be a weak, helpless person then that is another issue, or set of issues, entirely that must be saved for another day. This writing is about the burden of strength and the blessing that can be experienced within it.

Burden of strength? How could strength be a burden? Most consider being strong a great asset but there are different aspects and perceptions of strength that can become a stumbling block or an unsung badge of survival. When you meet a person of great emotional and more so, spiritual strength then you are also meeting a person who has endured great and overwhelming suffering. Those people are the closest to understanding how Christ felt when he uttered his words of agony, “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?” It is that moment of Christ’s agony, which none can offer comparison is where the remainder of this writing will focus.

Physical, financial, social and intellectual strengths are all illusions of strength because they are insecure. All of them can be lost suddenly or through a lifelong deterioration and each of them can serve as a major stumbling block to our relationship with others and with God.  Christ warned against relying upon our own strength when he said that it was “easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mark 10:25). Many point this verse in scripture to condemn the wealthy but Christ was talking about anyone who depends upon their own strength to traverse life because they think it is their own skills, talents or attributes that have gained all they have in life. These types of folks never acknowledge that it was and is God who has supplied them with those gifts that they have used to exploit their time on this planet. Some give lip service to God but when a crisis hits or when their strength begins to ebb then that is where their convictions are truly revealed. Now, everyone is going to endure a grieving period when their strength is lessening because it challenges their core beliefs, who they thought they were, where they thought their life was heading, what they thought God’s plan for their life was going to be. The common denominator here, our thoughts, our perceptions, our ability to reason things out and that is where we stumble.

Encountering people of faith and those who reject God as they struggle in this life reveals many things. Admitting weakness is almost insufferable to both populations. We do not like to appear weak or concede that we cannot handle or deal with anything that is thrown at us. The largest obstacle to anyone walking this planet is not their upbringing, their poverty/wealth level, their intellectual capability, their lack of opportunity, or their health status. What then?

You are your biggest obstacle. ‘But…but…but I have played by all the rules, I have done everything I was supposed to, I am a good person so how could I be my own biggest obstacle?’, you might query. You trust in yourself, which is akin to trusting the strength of a water balloon constructed of tissue paper. There is a big difference between being confident in the gifts and talents God has woven into your being and relying upon them as if they were your gods. Nothing you have and nothing you can do is sustainable by your own efforts including your very next breath. This is highly evidenced in multiple instances of situational irony played out in the real world like the health fanatic who believes he/she is doing great then suddenly drops over of a heart attack while a man who has drank and smoked heavily is still living strong at 92.  Neither person in this example is being put forth as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, only examples in real life judged by human criteria of “living good” and “living hard”. You are not in control of tomorrow regardless of your physical, financial, intellectual, or spiritual ability.

So does that mean we just throw our hands up and say,” chaos rules,” and we are not able to control anything? Of course not, God is a God of order and purpose but he is also the person who gave us Free Will. Our choices are often the road that brings suffering to our lives but not always. However, our own sin nature is not the only force we have against us but it is the one that invites the destructive forces in. Satan is very real and very active in creation. His rage and jealousy against humanity is documented in scripture as is his desire to destroy God’s beloved children. Therefore, when Christ told his apostles to expect hardship, pain and suffering  he was trying to support the men who he called friend and brother as he knew what they would face on account of him. Be assured, anyone who chooses to follow Christ is going to suffer because we are fighting our own sinful nature atop the world that revels in sin and Satan.  The odds are not in our favor and it is an impossible task unless we admit our weakness, our lack of strength, our inability to be victorious if we depend on our own skills, talents, gifts (strength) alone. It is not achievable unless you give it all to Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to work through you. Allow Him to use your pain, tears, heartache, confusion, righteous anger and weakness to lead you and others toward a closer relationship with Him.

Our human mind rebels against this idea and we fight it, actively fight it because we believe if we surrender whatever is causing us misery then we will be weak. However, the longer we hold onto something we were not meant to carry alone in the first place then the more suffering we will endure. Not that God is causing it or “turning up the fire”  but because we are trying to solve our problem with a small percentage of the full picture. When we try to stand alone, we are at our weakest and we will fail. Yet, what few recognize or understand is that our choices directly or indirectly affect all whom we love. Some of the connections are blatantly obvious but others are masked by the perception of strength. Here are a couple of examples to illustrate this concept.

Sofia, a single mom of two, is holding everything together. She has a job, is going to school, raising her children in the Lord and doing her best to provide for all their needs. She is perceived by the world as being a strong woman, a functional citizen and a good mom. However, Sofia is barely holding on emotionally, spiritually, financially, and even physically. She refuses to let anyone help, she would never ask for help and she is very private about her feelings. She will not shed tears in front of her kids or anyone else for that matter because she does not want anyone to think she is weak or cannot take care of her kids. She feels to do so would invite criticism of her ability to parent. Yet, she feels as if she is being eaten from the inside out. She has a luke warm relationship with Christ. She is devoted to teaching her children about Christ and makes certain they all attend church every Sunday but she feels dead inside. Her fears of criticism are valid but her healing will not begin until she surrenders her pain to Christ. He knows exactly what she is going through and He never intended for her to traverse her journey alone. Satan continues to whisper her worthlessness in her ear and the feeling that the world and, more specifically, her children would be better off if she were dead.

But it is not that easy, you say. People cannot be trusted . People are going to hurt you. You are going to be betrayed, used, rejected. Yes…yes, these things will happen to you and each time you are hurt you will need to make a choice, several choices actually. Some will bring you closer to understanding, healing and  to God; others will pull you toward the Prince of deceit and you will become his tool. Understand this firmly, God is NOT the one doing the moving in this equation. God does not vacillate, for He is our rock and anchor.

Ted is entering his 40’s and has enjoyed great health, physical and intellectual strength throughout his career and personal life. His spiritual life centers upon what he was brought up with in the Christian faith; therefore, he considers himself a ‘good’ Christian. He feels he is a strong Christian and tends to criticize those who “whine” about their lives. One day  Ted wakes up a little more achy than is usual after a prior day of hard work. As we humans often do, he brushes it off and continues on his way. Then a pattern begins to emerge causing him to begin to think something might be wrong so he over rules his own objections and goes to the doctor.  As you can guess, the doctors inform him that he has developed a chronic ailment that is going to cause pain and deterioration for the remainder of his life. Ahhh, but this is only the beginning of Ted’s nightmare because other related health issues begin to rear their ugly heads spiraling Ted into deep depression, anger, frustration, and serious faith wavering. He has always been the provider, he has always been the one others look toward for help, he has always counted on his own strength and wits to solve any problem he encountered. The disease is stealing his strength, destroying his strong body, robbing him of his independent lifestyle and clouding his thoughts. Worst of all, his fragile faith must now bear a full onslaught of fear, doubt, confusion and anger. Earlier in his life, as he was building his career and family he had no motivation to pursue God, wholeheartedly, because he had everything well in hand. His relationship with his Creator and others was guarded at best as he could never relinquish the control of his life by realizing he was not strong enough to endure the suffering alone. Yet, this is truly the first time suffering on the deep core level had ever been experienced. It’s not the physical pain, as that was just the match, it is the soul-wrenching pain of loss.

Here is a another kicker for you, his mindset, weak faith and self-perception is not entirely his fault. In American society, we put unrealistic goals upon our men and women. Somehow we have come to believe that every man must be a hero and every woman must be ‘mother of the year’ with the added feminist demands of being “more”. We cannot attain that status and God knows this; however, he is always there waiting to catch us when we finally understand that we can do nothing without him. Does understanding this truth make the suffering easier? Eh, not right away but eventually it brings even deeper understanding and focus to the purpose your life experiences have prepared you to fulfill.

What about the kid with cancer, the one who gets raped and killed by a psychopath or parent? What about all the disease, famine, warfare, and natural disasters? Are you going to look into a father’s eyes as he holds his dying child and try to explain that sin has caused the poisoning of creation so everything, even our cells have been tainted by its affects giving reason for his child’s cancer? Of course not, you are going to be silent but present. Allow God to do the talking as only he can, for words mean nothing in moments like that because the suffering is so profound, unjust, unthinkable, and soul crushing.

That holds true when anyone is suffering because to the one who is doing the suffering your platitudes of “everything is going to be alright.”, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, God never gives us more than we can handle,” etcetera are like hot daggers being thrust into their hearts and souls.  Let God work, admit your weakness, confess that you have no idea why their suffering is occurring ( if there is no apparent reason such as lung cancer following years of smoking). Even if the reason for their suffering is blatantly obvious, YOU ARE NOT THEIR JUDGE. They are likely well on their way to meeting their judge and then explaining to their creator why they chose to destroy the body He created for them so they do not need you to start harping on them ahead of time.

We all make life choices that will bring betterment or hardship to our existence so we have no room to judge another. On that same token, those who make life choices that create health, financial, social, emotional, psychological problems bringing pain, suffering, and loss have to refrain from blaming God and start taking responsibility for their own actions. God is a god of second chances, unending second chances so there is a future beyond the one you planned IF you allow it to be brought to fruition.

Do NOT depend upon humanity’s interpretation of who God is and what God’s plans are for your life. Pursue Him with every fiber of your being and I promise that what you find will bring change to your life. Change can be painful but it is very necessary for anything to become what it was borne to become. If you are a strong person then you know that the journey is painful, suffering is your bedfellow, for without these faith is hollow. Having a strong faith in Christ is the most difficult thing to earn because it is earned through tears and sorrow. Trusting God when all is well is easy and empty but trusting him as you are sending your child through the operating doors or sitting him in the car of an abusive parent due to a court order is faith and acute and unimaginable suffering.  Standing over a loved one’s grave with a pain that is tearing you apart but trusting that God will bring you through it is faith. Picking one of two devils to be President of the United States and believing God’s plans will come to fruition is faith.

Faith is not a noun but a verb. Faith is a breathing entity that must be fed, must be worked, must be tested because it is a powerful tool to the one who is strong enough to wield it. Christ is our teacher, he is the only one who can show us how we are to approach suffering and not only survive it but how to become something better on the other side. We can fight only what we can see but there is a battle of epic proportions going on all around us and we contribute to the evil or to the good every moment of everyday. Hence, you must examine your own life and decide if your suffering can support the claim that God has forsaken you (He will never leave you nor forsake you [Deut. 31;8]) or that you could equate your suffering to Job (which none of us know enough about to even offer an inkling into what was going on there, for there are too many missing pieces to the story) or justify anger towards God (even though he can take whatever we can dish out).

If you have been following my blog from its inception then you know these words of mine are not empty. I am not boasting when I say I am a woman of great faith in Christ, because I do not consider it a badge of honor but rather a sign of great suffering. I do possess a strong faith and for that I am grateful and humbled knowing he grasped me ever more tightly each time I let go. Without Christ, without understanding the epitome of suffering that is to be separated from God for the merest of moments is to only be brushed by the backside of suffering’s fury and  left with the deluge of pain. In my arrogant youth, I used to use “Eloi, Eloi Lema Sabachthani?” as my mantra feeding my rage and hopelessness but I did not truly understand the depth of their meaning until I came to the point in my life where I thought God had turned his back on me. That is the moment of zero hope and utter, desperate agony when I decided I did not want to live any longer. I only thought God had abandoned me and the pain was more than I could bear; therefore, imagine our Savior’s agony when he bore this reality for you and me. My previous posts expound upon these topics further so I will not reiterate them here.

You cannot look through the lens of human understanding to form your idea of God’s thoughts, ways, and love. How could a finite being such as you and I possibly presume we could understand the infinite. You are so important to your Creator, he loves you beyond any type of human love that can be experienced. However, love is not always kisses and cuddles and your Father in heaven knows what he has created you to be and he will push you toward completion of that goal. He does this not for his sake but for your sake. His plans are to prosper you as he clearly says in Jeremiah 29:11, yet he still provides you the choice. Are you forsaken? Can you boast about your strength in weakness? Can you wear Christ’s crown? Can you carry Christ’s cross?

My love and prayers go out to all my readers. May you each feel the depth of love Christ brought to us in that tiny manger so very long ago.

The Unwelcome Guest


 First rays of the summer sun

 race to illuminate the small

grove. Its inhabitants awake

without complaint.

The grove was abundant in food

peace and safety. The only

other occupant was

an old country church patiently

awaiting its fold.

Blue birds filled the air

with

songs of praise.

A sound so pure and clear,

a melody worthy of the Creator’s ear.

The sun climbed ever higher

casting a shadow upon

 the man turning the key

opening the large doors of

the chapel.

He always arrived an hour

or two before any other filled

a pew.

Time to reflect, time

 to pray, time to ask

for wisdom, patience, and

feet of clay.

“Lord Jesus, lend me

your eyes that I might

see this flock as you do.

Give me your heart to

love all whom you send

my way and a discerning

mind that wisdom would flow, Amen.”

Standing and grasping his Bible

he started toward the sanctuary

as muffled voices and distant

car doors announced the

arrival of the congregation.

The Pastor knew he would

be here and there was nothing

he could do because the

unwelcomed guest

always received an

invitation from me

and from you.

He would sit in the

very front row knowing

every word of scripture

but not letting it show.

He wasn’t there to learn,

fellowship, or become

more like the Savior. No,

none of those things is

what he did savor.

The Pastor sighed deeply

upon stepping to the pulpit

as he recognized their guest

was already working the room.

The people were settled into their

familiar clicks. The poor sat in the far rear

while the affluent took the lead.

 But none sat next to the family

 who lived without running water,

Their respectable senses

were aghast.

Tongue clicks and whispers veiled under breath

spread disdain and disgust in the

presence of such an obvious

disgrace.

Over there perched the family of judges,

who would snicker and point with their eyes

to alert one another that there was laughter to be had

or condemnation to be made of those just entering

the sanctuary.

The Bennet family, fragile as can be,

sat holding one another in their

fear and in their grief. They had lost a son

in Iraq last summer and now their little one

is fighting cancer. Their faith is stretched thin but

they have not given up hope. Our Guest is

trying his best to destroy them but he is failing.

Then you have those who feel it

their duty to reveal your sin, criticize

your worship or prayer life, and condemn

those who are struggling.

 In their reason,

 one is sick, barren, in

financial woe or experiencing

heart ache due to some unconfessed

sin.

 “Get right with God and your

hardship will be delivered.” is the chant

they cry in disapproving condemnation.

Driving divisions among God’s people

is his favorite activity and we are

so willing to play.

Yes, he is here and they invited him

as they do regardless of the warnings.

He knows the Bible better than most

Christians but he does not see its truth.

His hardened heart does not feel

the forgiving love of Christ.

Instead, it angers him and

he takes his fury out upon

the flock.

“They have more than us. She is far prettier or talented

than I. I heard…cheated on his wife. God cannot

love or forgive you since you did that horrible

thing in your past. You are not good enough to succeed. Your

beliefs are childish superstitions. You will fail.”

Lies, his favorite lies, he uses against

the flock.

He has enjoyed great success in

invading the church and scattering the flock.

His minions carry out his orders sewing

discord, jealousy, bigotry, hatred, and

cynicism where ever they go.

Church after church has fallen to his

attacks.

He is becoming angrier

and fiercer as he

sees his time ebbing away.

He tortures any who work

to follow the Savior’s path.

Yes, Satan is the first one in church

and the last one to leave because turning

one Christian to sin bringing him to ruin

will convince 1000 more souls to reject

Jesus because of his sinful people.

Satan loves to use fallen Christians because

it hurts the Father deeply when his children stray.

He will never give up, never stop, and never

show mercy.

Children of God, take warning and

be on guard so you do not

become one of Satan’s favorite tools.

In a world of pain and destruction,

be determined not to add to the

brokenness of Creation.

Instead, build…repair…create

and healing will be had in your church,

home, work place, social group, neighborhood

and maybe, just maybe, it will keep going and

heal our lands.

 

 

“If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray then I shall hear from heaven and heal their lands.” God

RADIANCE


Brilliance envelopes
her being.
Every cell pulsating
with tingling
warmth bringing
her to the precipice
between pain and pleasure.

A mere reflection of
His Glory.
A passing glance
of His
boundless
Love and Mercy.

The sensation of pure
Joy and Love
brought her to her
knees. She wept.

He dropped to
the ground
before her.
Gently he bent close
to her ear.
“I Love You, Daughter”.

She recoiled as if
struck with a hot iron,
scurrying away from
his sacrificial love. Never
had she felt this before and
its strength was excruciating.

Slowly, he crawled
to her, scooping
her into his arms.
“I Love You, Daughter”.

She cried out in sweet
anguish as his words
healed her brokenness.
Her chest heaving with the
effort to draw breath
began to calm as
his tears mingled
with her own.

Mustering all
remaining strength,
she found her voice.

“It was supposed to be me!
It was my sentence! I committed
the crimes. I deserved to be punished!
You didn’t do anything so why
did you tell them that you did it? Each time
they spit at you, that was mine to bear. Every cruel
blow was supposed to land
upon my flesh. I deserved it, I sinned, I
was cruel and dishonest.
Those lashes you bore
were mine!
I know how to take people’s
cruelty because I am used to it but your
love hurts so much.
Why, didn’t you let me
confess and bear the punishment?
You did nothing! You did nothing!
I did everything. I tried, I really
tried to get to you and stop them from
nailing you to that tree. I tried to confess
over and again but the soldiers just
laughed and pushed me away. Why
did you take my punishment? Why?
Father, why?”
She blurted
this stream of sorrow, guilt,
confusion, and fear towards
him using a single breath.

The love never left
his expression as he spoke.
Each word calming her
spirit as he breathed healing
upon her soul.
“Yes, the punishment was yours
to bear. Justly, you had been
convicted. The bruises belong to you.
The torn flesh should have been worn by you.
The blood spilled
should have drained from your
broken body.
But I could not allow it. What
the world does to you is harsh
but what awaits the guilty
is far worse and
lasts for eternity. What
they inflicted upon me
was very little compared to
the days I spent in Hell.
You could not have bore
the unseen torment. It
would have destroyed
you completely.
I had to open another
door for my children, for
the deceiver has lured
many to their doom.
He offers sweet lies
and beautiful promises
tricking my wayward
children by making
them very comfortable.”

Breathing normally, tears dried,
she asked, “How can
I ever pay that debt?”

“You cannot. It was
a gift of my love. I
bore it all for you, daughter.
You are my child and
I love you more than life.”
He spoke with such intense
love and devotion that
she did not doubt his words.
When he spoke, she didn’t only
hear each word but she felt them
as if he were writing them upon her
very heart.

“What can I do to show
you how much I love you
and how thankful I am
for this precious gift? I
have nothing of any value, but
all I have I will give freely.”
she offered with a depth
of sincerity she did not
know she possessed.

“Love. Love me and love others
as much as I have loved you.
Use my eyes to look at everyone around
you so that their worth will be evident. Use
my heart to feel the hurt and pain in your
sisters and brothers. Minister to those needs
and show them the way to my
loving, forgiving, embrace. I will
never stop pursuing my children
until they make a choice. I will
knock at their doors night and day
until they choose to answer it
or reject me. I will either enter
their hearts or I will honor
their choice and walk away.
Each of my children must
decide for themselves.
YOU MUST
MAKE
a
CHOICE.”

Take My Hand


Blinding radiance
brings an arm to shield her sight.
Looking into the
faces crushing about
reveals they see nothing.

Pulsations travel through the soil
moving her being.
A tingling sensation progresses from
her feet, to her knees, to her center.

Blood is afire as it surges through
her veins making the roar
audible to her alone.

Lungs freeze in expansion.
The heart stills as the
energy continues
its upward journey.
There is no pain.
There is no fear.
There is only being.

The eyes once stung by
the radiance now adjust as
the energy fills them
from within.

Her eyes see…everything.
The throngs continue in
their pursuits.
They are shrouded in
darkness, yet appear happy.
Nothing has changed for them.
They are happy.

Exhaling, she realizes she had
been holding her breath.
Form after form becomes
tangible in the light.
The colors are brilliant and
hold a depth she has never
before witnessed.

The air is crisp and dew
droplets cling to the
vegetation growing in lush control.

A small, unfamiliar sound
tickles her ear. Looking about
her eyes find its maker. A small,
red-haired fox. A kit, alone but
unafraid of her approach. It was mewing.
Calling for its mother or siblings, she thought.
Scooping it up, she knew she had
never felt such luxurious softness.

It’s eyes looked at her with interest
but began its mewing again when she
failed to produce the familiar scent its
mother owned alone.

The plants before her parted.
The dame had found her lost kit.
There was no tension between the
three. The mother simply came up
and plucked the kit from the woman’s hand.
Then it disappeared into the foliage.

Perhaps she was sick,
lying in the hospital with fever?
Maybe she was dead!
Regardless of these thoughts,
she felt nothing but peace.

The mutterings of those
milling about the edge of the light
was indistinct chatter. Although
fascinated by this fact, her attention was
drawn back toward the place she
knelt.

“Take my hand, child.”
A voice so melodic commanded
with gentle strength.
Every cell tingled at its sound.
What a glorious sensation!

She accepted the extended hand
and felt her entire being
radiate with power. It was
as if every good thing her senses
had ever recorded was
being felt all at once.
Waves of glorious sensation
made her want to hold this hand
forevermore.

Once upon her feet, he released her.
Eyes spilling their joy,
she looked upon his face with
intensity.

He heard the questions of her
heart but only offered a smile
of knowing in return.
Once her tears stopped
spilling and her
breathing leveled.
He began.

“This is a veil separating you
from the purity and
love I used to create existence.
Your mortal self will not be
permitted to tarry.” his voice
caressed her senses.

She could only listen as
her entire being was captivated
by the love emanating from
that beautiful voice.

“Daughter, you have been
called to walk between the
light and darkness.” a soft
sadness caressed every word.
“Some of my children are so
lost they have accepted
the darkness as reality.” pain had
entered his voice and the sensation
upon her being was pure agony.

“Are you willing to help them?” he
asked motioning to the shadowed
throngs.”Some are so far away
from the light, they cannot see a pinpoint.
Some have so much pain they
have given up the search.
And still others are diligently
working to destroy.”

The pain in his words brought her
to her knees. The intensity
was searing her essence. He was
not inflicting it upon her,
she was experiencing
a ‘glancing blow’ of
his broken heart.

“Daughter, take my hand”, his words
ended her pain immediately.
His loved poured into her
as he grasped her hand.

“You must go,”
speaking with all authority.
“You are not alone.
I have called many to the path you
have been asked to walk.
Each of them have arrived upon
this path through different vehicles
but all who have been called know well
of hardship and pain.
Just as you, they have survived
the darkness
with help from those, whom
I sent before you.
If you choose this task,
you must keep one foot in each realm.”

Each word he spoke
overwhelmed her due to the
sensations his voice caused and the
weight of their content. As long as
she held onto his hand, she was able to
endure it, but only… just.

She knew her answer and felt herself being
pulled back toward the edge… between.
As her fingertips held desperately to his,
she felt as if she were drowning
gasping for her final breath.
Everything stilled.

“Daughter, have peace. I am always
with you. Never will I leave you.
Others are already in place
to help you with this
most important task.
I love you my sweet,
darling daughter.
I love all of you.”

At once, she felt others pushing
their way past her and the sound of
those selling their wares. Her eyes
focused and just when her mind
had begun to rationalize the experience,
she felt…more.

A beautiful green and yellow butterfly
took flight. She watched its
graceful dance
as the sun shown brilliantly
through it’s veneer wings.
The stark contrast between its
beauty and the misery that abounded
all around was
breathtaking.

“Everything…is different,” She
whispered. A broad smile graced
her countenance as she
took her first step toward
hope.

Spirit Fire


heart

Spirit afire,
love in bloom
whispers
begin to weave
a bond for eternity.

Time treads ahead
caring not for
love.

Love in Lust
or
Lust in Love?
The Spirit Fire
burns
permitting the
womb to grow
twice again.

Time treads forward
caring not for
love.

We look no more
upon the others
countenance
fearing we may
glimpse disappointment
given birth by debt, pain,
hateful words leaving
the Spirit Fire
barely smoldering.

Time treads forward
caring not for
love.

My locks are grey and
yours are thin.
Both hold more
weight than when
we first began.
Children grown
leaving each of
us feeling alone.

Time treads forward
caring not for
love.

How have we gotten here
to this place of
grief and despair?
Why did we allow the
Spirit Fire to die?
We loved deeply
passionately so
why did the fire die?

Time treads forward
caring not for
love.

Looking upon his bride
he sighed deep inside.
Eyes filling to the brim
wiping his wife’s
gently from her cheek.
‘I am not ready to say
goodbye,’ thought he.
I love my bride.

Time treads forward
caring not for
love.

Gazing up into her
husband’s grief-stricken face
she thought she glimpsed a
spark she had thought long
extinguished. Life had beaten
them down and tried to steal
their joy. It had bombarded them
with doubts, fears, and temptations.
She gently wiped his tears
smiling softly.
“I think we lost our anchor
somewhere among
the years. Alas, now
I see the spark
that is the Spirit
Fire,” her voice trembled.

Time treads forward
caring not for
love.

“Yes, beloved, when we
first began this journey
we thought time was endless
but now, here we are and
I realize those years
were but a wisp of smoke.”
He gathered her into his embrace
kissing her soundly and whispering
his love and devotion.
She returned his affection
but only for a moment.
He grasped her all the
tighter as her
Spirit Fire left her.

Time treads forward
caring not for
love.

If you have been
blessed with the
other half of your
Spirit Fire then
LOVE him or her
in Action, Deed, and Word
Every minute of every day.
Each person was created for another.
Two halves of a whole.
If your choices bring you together
then recognize the miracle in
finding him or her.
God will use your choices for
ultimate good but there are
many paths of pain, for
love is hard work and
the price is high but
the rewards are eternal.

Set your anchor to avoid the Drift.

Time treads forward
caring not
for love.

Walking upon Rice Paper


Walk upon the Rice
Goosebumps signaled her
skins reaction to the
cool evening breeze.

Far she had traveled to seek
understanding and wisdom
knowing the cost of which
would be hardship and pain.
Finally, she could see the pinnacle.

Moonbeams danced upon the
massive frame of the pagoda
sitting atop the next ridge.
Its beauty and solitude
was brightly awash in
a crystal blue light of the
heavenly star.

The frost laden night made
visual each exhale.
The ice crystals danced
in front of her beckoning
her to quicken her pace.

Ancient doors, cloaked in frost,
reflected the moonlight in
an awesome radiance.
Each door creaked
in protest as they
swung open to
permit her
entry.

Candlelight flickered strongly
casting a ballet of
fanciful shadows upon
the walls just beyond the light
that bore them.

The room was empty except
for her own person. It was
spacious but void of decoration
or comforts.
A path, running thru
the center of the space,
appeared to be
a delicate, long sheet
of rice paper.

Burned into a wooden beam above
the path these words instructed,
“Walk the path.
Leave no mark.”

Knowing the paper to be
fragile gave her pause before
venturing forward.
Her first step tore the paper
causing pain to travel through her.
Fear made the second step more
difficult to take but she took it.

Reaching the end of the path, of
thirty-three steps, she collapsed.
Pain and heartache had brutalized
her body and spirit.

Looking back upon the path
she wept at seeing the tears
all along the path. Before her
eyes, the paper was mended
by an unseen hand.

A soft voice instructed,
“Again, but leave no mark.”

The very thought of taking that
path again filled her with trepidation.
She thought to herself that she
just could not take that walk again but
obeyed the commandment without
understanding why she was
being told to do this.

After a hundred and twenty
attempts, each
ending the same as the first,
She plead for mercy and guidance.
“I cannot walk that path again.
There is no way I can walk it without
leaving a mark behind. Please, I do not
understand why this is necessary. I
cannot do this. How is this teaching
me wisdom?” She begged.

“Once more. Walk the path but
leave no mark.” the voice
commanded.

After sobbing a bit, she gathered
her strength then girded herself
with faith and determination.
“Father, please help me. I cannot
do this on my own.” she whispered.

Taking her first step, there was no pain.
The paper did not tear. Each step was
taken with more joy and confidence
until reaching the end of the path.
Looking back, she saw the unblemished
paper she had just traveled. Not only
was the paper devoid of tears but it did not
even have the slightest impression
from any of her thirty-three steps.
Now, she was more baffled than ever.

“I do not understand. What
does this mean?” she asked the
unseen voice.

He began his discourse, “Every step
you take affects my world and the people
with whom you come into contact. It is impossible
for you to walk through this world without leaving a
mark. Walking alone, in your own knowledge, these
marks are painful to you and those you touch. When
you walk with me and my will; it is then that I work
through your every step to bring my light, love, and
healing to my creation. You cannot do this alone. It
is only possible when I carry my children. My wisdom,
mercy and love will flow through you if you humble
yourself to become my vessel. Shed your ideas of
self importance, presumptions of knowing my
will and just follow my voice. I will lead you
to my light. Others will see me
shinning through you and
hunger after the peace I offer. Follow
me and I will ensure that each step
you take will be filled with purpose.”

As the massive doors swung
closed behind her she thought,
“My thoughts are not your thoughts,
My ways are not your ways.”

Now she knew that she needed
to listen for her Father’s voice and
obey him in order to make each step
of her life bring forth fruit. We cannot
do it alone and we cannot see the
entire picture or outcome. That means
it is very important to finish whatever task
the Father sends without knowing the reason.

Alas, relief swept over her as she understood.
We are vessels that the Father works through.
We need only trust him and
listen to his still, small voice.

THE SECOND DEATH…


Revelations 20
The Judgment of Satan and Humanity.

At an early day in my lifetime, I was impatient for the Lord’s return. Every direction I turned, I saw evil ruling. Anger reigned in my being as I interpreted the situation mankind had worked itself into as a result of an impotent God. I felt God had turned his back on the suffering throughout the globe and within my own personal world.
Fighting to survive and thrive was an arduous task and I used my anger to fuel my worldly accomplishments, which have been few. I managed to earn a couple degrees from a couple of institutes of higher learning and worked in a few career zones where I was attempting to make my plans come to fruition. My goals and God’s goals were different but the path was the same. Studying the history of man revealed to me that the suffering, the pain, the evil mankind was capable of was nothing new. Thousands upon thousands of years of humanity making foolish, selfish choices has caused the suffering of billions upon billions. Satan has used the earth as his playground and he delights in bringing the children of God to ruin through their own choices.
In my youth and haste I prayed for the Lord’s return, I did not understand exactly what I was asking to see happen. All I knew was that I wanted those who were evil to others, who caused suffering and misery to the innocent…to suffer. I wanted them to be punished by God now. I wanted something that mankind is incapable of producing…JUSTICE and PEACE. These things are impossible with mankind.
Everyone I knew in my young adulthood was saved, that is, they had given their life to Christ and accepted his gift of eternal salvation. Everyone, even though we all struggled to live this life and follow Christ, everyone was saved in my small world. I knew with all assurance that everyone I cared about would not be taken from me by death, for I would see them all in Paradise again. I was secure in that knowledge no matter how crazy or cruel the world became I knew that I would see everyone I loved again in Heaven.
Then something began happening that revealed to me that God’s delay in returning is his incredible Mercy rather than Neglect toward his children. The circle of people I cared about, my small world, began to grow exponentially as I went to college, made friends, colleagues and clients. Yet, I must admit, it was when my family began to grow that I realized how God was demonstrating incredible Mercy in delaying his return. Although I was never blessed with a child, each of my two sisters were blessed with children. These children began to grow into adults, as children have the habit of doing. They began making their own choices and their own mistakes.
Within the last decade I have begun feeling an incredible weight upon my spirit in knowing all those whom I love now are not going to be with me in Heaven if they should die now or if the Lord should come back now. It is this sorrowful knowledge that has shown me that God, in his awesome wisdom, is being Merciful in holding back his return. He wants all of his children to be with him for all of eternity and so he is being patient with us so that we may have time to repent and chose to love him. Now, in this hour, I think not only upon my nieces and nephews who have not chosen to allow Christ into their lives, but upon the billions upon billions who would be lost if the Lord returned this very hour.
I feel the deep sorrow for all those who have refused the Lord both in the past, present, and future. We are each upon this earth such a short time in relation to all of human history and many feel that they have to make an indelible mark upon the world but God has created each of us to make an indelible mark upon one another. If we are Christians and striving to follow Christ, imperfectly, then it is a full time job in and of itself. The Scriptures tell us that there is a Second Death, which is the one that will last throughout eternity. When we shed our earthly shells it is considered the first death but it means little except to those left behind. The Second Death is the one where each and every human who has ever taken a breath will stand before the throne of God and be Judged. If you have chosen Christ then you will spend eternity with him but if you have rejected him then you will experience a Second Death, which is the final death where God will toss you into the lake of burning fire that forever burns but never consumes its inhabitants.
In truth, this is what I longed for because I wanted to see the evil men and women of this world get the punishment they deserve. However, now I love many who do not know Christ or who refuse to know him. Friends and loved ones who refuse to accept the gift of Salvation and my spirit is heavy for them.
As fervently as I prayed in my youth for God to hurry his steps upon his return, I now pray for his delay. I understand why he waits, for his heart breaks to think of losing one of his children to Satan. If my heart breaks over children who are not borne of my womb then I can only imagine how we have broken the heart of God.
Everyday my body has tasted pain and I know it will increase day by day but I do not ask for God’s speedy return. Now, I pray for time for those who are attached to my heart whether they be blood or friend, it matters little. I understand that God’s delay is purposeful, deliberate but above all it reveals his great Mercy and Love.

The Second Death is for all eternity and I would do anything to help as many as I can to avoid it. I would suffer, gladly, another hundred years of life if it will only give more time for others to accept the Christ that longs to embrace them to his heart.
Our minds are so finite that we have difficulty imagining what eternity really is but I try to think of it as the moments, good or bad, where time seemed to stop. That is as close as we humans can get to experiencing eternity while we live so try to think of a moment where nothing moved. Time did not go forward or backward, just a moment that seemed to never end. I have experienced these moments a few times in my life. Most of these moments were enveloped in pain and suffering but a couple were good and pleasant. If you can remember a moment like this, think upon it because this is what forever feels like and you have the choice to spend it with friends, loved ones but above all Christ or be lost forever.
We all will experience the loss of many whom we love before we draw our final breaths in this temporary shell. We will shed tears for those who go before us but if we are Christians and we know that the person who has died was Saved then our tears are mixed with joy, for we will meet them again and rejoice.

I have lost someone I loved deeply and he chose to reject Christ, openly. When this man died, I grieved deeply because I knew I had lost him forever and I wept bitterly. I cannot endure the thought of anyone whom I love dying the Second Death but I know that this is going to happen. For, God has given each of us a choice and it is our choice alone to make.

Once you lose an unsaved loved one…you will understand true loss…then you will feel a level of grief you never knew existed. I am in no way minimizing the pain felt when death claims someone who is saved but I am saying it should be different. I have experienced both too many times and the difference is sharp.

So I pray for the Lord’s delay and his Mercy to continue.

 

Is it well…with your soul?


If you are a Christian then you likely are very familiar with the hymn, ‘It is Well With My Soul’. It is my absolute favorite because of the back story to it. Of course, I love the words for it’s author penned them during the worst agony any parent could suffer. Horatio was an American lawyer in the mid 1880’s. He had married Anna and they proceeded to have four lovely daughters, eleven-year-old Tanetta, nine-year-old Elizabeth “Bessie”, five-year-old Margaret Lee, and two-year-old Anna “Annie”. He wished to take his family on holiday to England but business delayed his departure so he sent his family on ahead of him. The ship carrying his family was struck by a heavy commercial iron ship. 226 souls were lost to the depths including all four of Horatio’s daughters. Anna, his wife survived to send a telegram to her husband, which simply read, “Saved, alone.”
I can only imagine the utter anguish Anna and Horatio endured when Satan stole their family. Horatio would take a ship to England and upon that journey he would pen the hymn that speaks of his love and devotion to God but also of the utter anguish he was enduring. Every time I hear this song but especially when I sing this song, I feel his grief, love, and adoration in every word. Their heartbreak mingles with my own allowing this song to become the anthem of my soul.
Horatio and Anna went on to re-build their family, having three more children. Sadly, Satan was not finished tormenting this family as he took their four year old son with scarlet fever. They did not lose their faith even though their lives continued to be filled with challenges. It is the back story, the human factor, behind this song that breathes life anew into it after so many years. It is just as meaningful to us in modernity as it was for that grieving father standing upon the ship deck being battered with ocean spray saying goodbye to his precious daughters whose resting place became the Atlantic ocean. How many have been inspired by this hymn? How many own its lyrics adopting each word as their own? How many thousands upon thousands have come to the savior just through this song and dear Horatio’s grief?
When horrible things happen to us in this life we tend to focus our anger, confusion, frustration, and outrage upon the Lord. We blame him for our anguish and turn from him but he never turns from us. He is big enough to take anything we can dish out. He became human and he knows suffering, all kinds of suffering. Personally, it is harder for me to cope with heartbreak than it is to deal with physical pain. I would rather every bone in my body be broken than have my heart break again. God knows what it is to feel his heart breaking over and over again. There is nothing that we have gone through or will go through that God has not endured; therefore, he understands exactly what we are feeling and he knows exactly what we need. When our world falls apart around us we can either fall apart with it or be like Horatio and stand firm in the knowledge that God has not let go of you, he will never let go because you are his precious child.
If you are hurting today, know that God is with you and that he is embracing you in his love. Even though you may not be able to see through the anguish at this moment, God will use this pain to create something magnificent if you allow him too. What Satan means for our destruction, God will use to shape his kingdom in love, justice, compassion, righteousness, and meaning. Like Horatio and Anna, you have to allow God to use your pain to form something good. He will not force himself upon you, no, you must invite him to take the lead. I pray daily that God will use me to bring his kingdom to fruition, to help others, to defeat Satan in any way I can. I am an infinitely minute piece of the grand plan but I know that I and you are critical to the fruition of God’s Kingdom. Just as a carter pin can be tiny, its importance is no less critical to the whole. Whatever pain you are traversing know with all confidence that if you give it to the Lord he will use it to bring something beautiful about.

It is well with my soul
by Horatio Spafford 1873

When peace, like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll,
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Chorus: It is well (it is well), with my soul (with my soul),
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blesssed assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed his own blood for my soul.

Chorus

My Sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, Oh my soul.

Chorus

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds rolled back as a scroll,
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, It is well with my soul.

Chorus.

Horatio and Anna could not know that they would have to say goodbye to yet another child in their future, nor could they imagine the hardship and persecutions they would endure but they sought the Lord in every step they took. Their journey should give those of faith strength to endure whatever Satan uses as a means to destroy us. These are not minor attacks upon the children of God, that deceiver took their joy, their hope, their hearts and ripped them apart with grief and anguish. There is no greater anguish for a parent than to lose their child and it definitely has the power to destroy you. Yet, it is not the only thing he uses as a tool to destroy each and every child of God.
God is more powerful, cling to him even if you feel you are too weary to raise your arms. Just reach as far as you can and Christ will firmly grasp your hand. I promise you, Christ is right there with you through every moment of pain, every tear, every fear, every angry word and every hopeless thought.
Do you know that point of total anguish where your mind, body, soul comes too where you feel that every molecule in your body is free falling or caught in a mighty vortex? You do not feel real, everything around you feels as if it is only a shadow. It is that moment when you cannot force air to go in or out of your body. It is the point where your soul has been torn and there is nothing around you but pain, suffering, and utter despair. He, Christ Jesus, will hold you lovingly, protectively in his strength, he will give you his breath so that you can breathe and when you are ready he will help you stand and take the next step.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horatio_Spafford