Summary: The loss of my wife last week was tragic.....but I am learning, Lord.
JAMES 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
Count it joy when you fall into trials? WOW! That’s a hard one.....but the Bible is very specific about it, isn’t it? The loss of my wife last week so suddenly and unexpectantly was enough to throw me and shake me.....but certainly not destroy me. Nanci’s favorite scripture was PHIL 4:13...and she quoted it often. I can do all things and have the past week.....but only thru Christ who has given strength, and I thank all of you for the prayers you have lifted up on my behalf. I could feel people praying for me and it certainly helped sustain me in these times of trouble.
In a way, my heart is breaking this morning. I don’t see Nanci on her pew. I had to dress myself. No one was there to pre-read my sermons for today to remind me of anything I might have left out or forgot. To wallow in self-pity would be easy, maybe even predictable. But my God or my Nanci would not have that of me or any of us here today. She has moved to the next level, and that is where we are expected to move. I can only imagine how beautiful heaven must be but I can tell you this......I’m going to that city where the roses never fade.
We, as a church and as individuals are moving on...God has something for us and I, for one, don’t want to miss it. I want to share with you some things I have learned. The first thing is this...TRUST GOD> Now that sounds easy enough and we all say it; but do we really? Let me tell you first-hand that there is no option sometimes except to trust Him. Some things in our lives that happen, we have the ability to try to do something about....and often we do just that instead of trusting God. We rush in to try to fix it or cover our mistakes and usuaally end up making things worse than they were to start with.
But there are other things where we are absolutely helpless to do anything about, no matter how hard we try. So we pray and trust God. God doesn’t always do what we want Him to do, does He? That’s where the real trust comes in. We have to trust that whatever happens has happened for a reason and that God’s will for us and love for us is such that whatever the end result was, we trust Him completely. If someone told you that od was going to take your spouse home, would you trust that it was for the best? Certainly we don’t feel like it’s for OUR best interests...but we must look beyaond what we want and trust that God is all-knowing and all-seeing and He will absolutely make the right decisions at the right time. He is omnipotent and I trust Him...after all, aren’t we all trusting Him with our very soul? And let me ask you this....what else can you do besides trust God? There is no other option.
Let’s go on to JAMES 4:13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Listen, Nanci and I had plans...and you do, too. There is nothing wrong with planning a vaction or planning to fix up your house or even planning for your future...but things can change in a moment, and that’s what James is saying here. You don’t know what tommorrow will bring, or even if there will be a tommorrow.....for you or your loved one or even this world! Everything has a beginning and an end except for God, who is the Alpha and Omega.
Ecclesiastes 3 tells us that to everything there is a season. What does that mean, a season. It means there is a time for everything, and by the way seasons don’t last forever, do they? A time to be born and a time to die. VS 3 A time to break down, And a time to build up; 4 A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance;
It’s Ok for us to grieve for a season; but there is a time to move on for God. I’m still gonna have some hard times; I thank God that the Holy Spirit by which I was sealed until that day of redemption gives me comfort and counsel. I thank God that Nanci was in all our lives for a season...and I thank God that she’s with Him, that was her desire. Now comes a new season, and I thank God that I am a part of a plan that He has for my life, this church, and His people. I am but a slave to my master and will serve Him til the day He takes me to heaven, too. I’m on my way, praise God! But while I’m waiting what do I do?