Saturday, March 27, 2021

God's Plan A


Do you ever question God's plan for your life?  When something happens in your life that is tragic or is not your first choice, do you feel God has to scramble to come up with plan B instead of His first plan for your life?

Nancy Guthrie writes this in her book, The One Year Book of Hope, "God's plan for your life is unfolding, and nothing and nobody can hinder it---Whatever is happening in your life, you can welcome it as God's sovereign Plan A.  God carries out His own good purposes without mistakes or regrets, and His plan is never thwarted."

Nancy also says that Satan tries to scheme and destroy, and many things in this life are difficult and sometimes tragic.  God doesn't run behind Satan, however, frantically trying to clean up his messes.  God is not forced to go to Plan B.  Satan's schemes do not catch God off guard.

God, even in the tragedies and sad moments of life, always has a good plan for our lives.  He is always working for His glory and for our spiritual good.  It was God's Plan A that I was a caregiver for my first husband, Wayne.  It  was God's plan A that I became a widow.  God's plan A was in operation for my life in the years and events that have followed in both the times of joy and heartache.  It was God's Plan A for me, as I began a new chapter in my life with my new husband, Bob.

God's Plan A is always in place for you as well, dear reader.  This is true in all the events of your life.  He is rejoicing with you in your joys and is always there to comfort you in your sorrows.  On this Palm Sunday let us join the believers of old and today and sing "Hosanna to the King of Kings."

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Joy or Despair?

Our attitude when we go through difficult times can influence whether we approach those times with joy or despair,  When I was going through cancer and care-giving for my first husband at the same time some years ago, I read the following in a devotional:  "Cancer is the little "c."  Christ is the big "C." I could also have said, "Care-giving for a terminal and constantly declining husband is the little "c."  Christ is the big "C."

I think we can apply that to anything in our life.  Grief is the little "g," while God is the big G."  Loneliness is the little "l," while our loving Lord is the big "L." Political unrest is the little "p."  Powerfulness of the living God is the big "P."  An unstable family member is the little "u."  The unchanging nature of God is the big "U."  Tests or trials of any kind are the little "t," while our Triune God-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit-is the big "T."  Can you think of any other trial in your life or in someone else's life who is dear to you to which you could apply this?

Someday when Jesus returns, all trials and hardships will be over.  Revelation 21:4 says, "He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."  What a blessed promise and hope!  

Meanwhile I would like to share some words I have in a picture frame on my computer desk.  This is what is says, "I want to be in love with Jesus to the point of complete contentment, to serve Him with joy in every aspect of life.  I want to live with an anticipation of the joy to come when there is no more suffering, no more loss, no more heartache."

Below is a link to David Phelps singing, "No More Night."  May you find the song to be a blessing.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Eternity Talk Revisted

In the last blog post, we talked about death and eternity.  In that post I talked about the death of my own Mom four years ago.  My husband, Bob, and I also experienced the death of our first spouses.  We grieve the loss of loved ones.  Yet for the true child of God, death is only a gateway into the presence of God and a life free from crying, sadness, and pain.  Revelation 21 in the Bible talks about this.  

To experience the wonder of Eternity ahead, we need to be in a relationship with the Lord now, however.  Easter is coming up in a few weeks when we remember Jesus' death to pay for our sins and His resurrection.  To really experience His forgiveness and a sweet personal relationship with Him now and throughout Eternity, we need to turn from our own ways, ask for forgiveness, and walk with Him. 

Such a relationship with the Lord is not always easy.  We still face heartaches and trials.  Bob and I faced that, as we saw our first spouses deteriorate physically step by step before our eyes.  We sometimes still face heartaches, as we see loved ones struggle and in our own struggles.  Yet the Lord promises us to always be with us step by step.  He promises never to leave us or forsake us.  

In this kind of relationship  with the Lord even hardships become a blessing, because they draw us closer to Him.  They make our relationship with Him sweeter and more precious.  We can find rest in Him.  In fact, rest is found nowhere else but in Him.  He is sufficient.  Psalm 36:8-9 says this of our blessings in a relationship with the Lord, "They feast on the abundance of Your house; You give them drink from Your river of delights.  For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light." 

Yet some day life on this earth will be finished.  Life on this earth is very brief.  For a child of God, Eternity is a wonderful thing.  My husband, Bob, often tells a story of his first wife.  When she learned she had a terminal illness, she said, "I am going to see Jesus!"  May this be all of our testimonies.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Four Years Ago and Eternity

This past Thursday on March fourth it was four years ago since my Mom passed away.  This was a few days after having suffered a severe stroke.  I was with my Mom the last few minutes of her life.  It was a sad but wonderful experience.  That day it felt like I was given the honor of ushering my Mom into Heaven.

A few days after my Mom's death four years ago I wrote about my experiences the day of her death and the days following in my weekly blog post.  In that blog post I  talked about eternity and also care-giving for a loved one.   Bear with me as I bring back today the words and sentiments of that blog post . Below is what I wrote four years ago.  It is addressed to family caregivers for whom this blog was originally started.  Yet I hope it a blessing to others as well :

"My Mom passed into eternity a few days ago on Saturday, March 4.  One might think this has nothing to do with family caregivers.  Yet really all of life is about eternity.  This life is merely a preparation for eternity. All the struggles the loved one for whom you are caring is enduring and all the struggles you also endure will be nothing when you begin experiencing the glories of Eternity some day.  In that future day you will experience these glories which are beyond our ability to fully comprehend now, if you are the Lord's child. Therefore II Corinthians 4:18 reminds us to fix our eyes on the Lord and on what is yet unseen and not on the temporary and on what our eyes can see now.

Will you then indulge me, as I share a little of my experiences of these recent past days?  As of Thursday I am home again in WI back from my trip to MN.  I was physically and emotionally tired upon arriving home and still am in many ways.  Yet my experiences while away from home though sad were also rich and sweet. Saturday morning, March 4, I was the only one of my siblings with my Mom at the moment.  I had the privilege of talking to my Mom, singing songs to her, and reading Scripture to her.  There was no outward response, but I believe she heard me.  Very shortly after she passed into Glory.  I marvel at God's timing in this in so many ways.  I will always consider it a special gift.

Visitation night on the following Tuesday and the funeral day on Wednesday were also special moments.  There were moments of weeping, shared hugs, and shared memories.  We were also reminded not only of the fact that my Mom is with the Lord, but we were reminded of our shared precious faith and Godly heritage that we have in my family.

My Mom was a caregiver for my Dad for a few years in the same way as I was a caregiver for my husband, Wayne.  We both had to rely on the Lord during those years.  We both had to release our husbands to Eternity at a certain point.  I lived five hundred miles away from my Mom; so I was not able to be directly involved with her care-giving in the same "hands-on" way, as I had for my husband. Yet I am thankful that I may have been her caregiver in those last moments of her life. 

When I spoke to my Mom I reminded her of Eternity and the glories of eternity just ahead.  I encourage you to do that for yourself and for your loved one as well, dear caregiver.  Whether death is imminent for your loved one or not, life on this earth is so short.  Concentrate on Eternity, as you walk your life with purpose, dear caregiver!"