Friday, June 6, 2014

God is Still God and God is Still Good

My friend is going to die today.

There is still hope for a miraculous last minute healing from God, but while God does tend to do His biggest work at the last minute, I have a feeling that this time, my friend is finally going Home.

Truth be told, while I feel absolutely comfortable calling this person my friend, I've only known him a short time and really not even very well.  I'm sure he and his wife see me as the girl that made it just a little easier for them to take their last family vacation together this past fall.  I see them as the first people to acknowledge my calling and have enough confidence in it to let me lead Sunday morning services at their church, which is something even my home church isn't willing to do.

But even more than that, my experience with them taught me a lot about the phrase "family of believers".  Just as you can look at long lost members of your earthly family and see your genetic traits on their face and in their body and feel an instant connection with them, you can look into others in the family of believers and see the same Holy Spirit glowing inside of them that glows inside of you and feel an instant connection.  The first time I sang with their praise team, it felt like I'd been a part of their team forever and the first time I preached there, it felt like I was preaching in a familiar friend's home.

Yesterday afternoon, their sister-in-law, my dear friend who introduced me to them, texted me and asked me to pray and pray hard because a decision had to be made.  After many years of heart trouble, he has spent the past two years being hooked to an LVAD, which in very simplistic terms is a portable, mechanical heart pump.  And he is still young...he isn't even 50 yet.  But the family was at a crossroads...the only choice was let him linger in pain and agony for a few days until even the heart pump couldn't save him or turn the heart pump off and let him go to see Jesus.

I was in the car when I got the text.  I was on my way home from preaching at the nursing home, where no matter what I'm preaching on that day, I'm smacked in the face with suffering and death.  Almost every one of my sermons has mention of Heaven and living forever with the Lord in it because as soon as I start talking, I see crazy mixes of hope and fear and anticipation and questions on their faces about what is coming for them in just a short time.  But even with having just been in that environment, that confirmation that the end was near for my friend hit me in the pit of my stomach.

I began to pray, and pray hard.  I prayed as hard as I could while driving.  And at times it was nothing more than groans to the Holy Spirit because it is so hard to know what to pray for in situations like this.  Once you pray for his comfort, for peace, comfort and discernment for the family and for the medical staff and that regardless of the outcome, everyone draws closer to the Lord, you feel like you still need to pray, but have no idea what to pray about.  I worshiped by singing a verses of the hymn, It Is Well, which always brings me great comfort, but I got to the point where there was nothing left but to silently put myself in the presence of God on behalf of my friend and his family.

And then God spoke to me:  I am still God and I am still good.

I felt strongly led to share that with his wife and ever since the Holy Spirit has revealed the gift of prophecy to me, I share anything that I even think God wants me to say to someone.  So I texted that to her.  I don't know if it meant anything particular to her.  She hasn't messaged me back, and in this situation, I would never expect her to, but I can certainly say that the message has stuck hard with me.

God is still God and God is still good.

Yes, it was a gift from God that my friend had these two extra years of life because of his LVAD.  In fact, the whole technology makes me stand in awe of the miraculous hand of God.  And while on one hand, it seems silly to question the goodness of God, the other hand wonders why someone so young and so filled with the Spirit had to go through any of this at all.

God is still God and God is still good

I'm learning in my Christian walk that there is a certain amount of humility on our part in order to begin to really understand the nature of God.  The phrase above is so simple and so intellectually obvious.  Of course God is God and God is good.  But there is a humility required in order to make those truths really resound in our hearts, in the core of our being.

God is still God and God is still good.

It is hard to look at the physical pain my friend has been through and the emotional pain his family and friends are dealing with and honestly say with heartfelt sincerity that a God that has the power to control this situation but let it turn out this way can still be considered a good God.  How can letting all this suffering happen not be proof that our God is not as good as we think He is?

It comes back to the simple premise that so many of us get confused on:  God is big; we are little.  It isn't until we find the humility to put ourselves back into our place as very little, but very loved, children of an infinitely good God, that we can still have faith that God is God and God is good.  It doesn't take away the hurt and it doesn't change much of the grieving process, but it does keep both our earthly friend and our Heavenly Friend (Jesus) close.   It keeps us firmly footed on God's foundation.  And it keeps our hearts open so that we can receive His love and comfort in our time of need.

God is still God and God is still good.

While part of me is sad at my friend's inevitable passing and my heart is broken for his family that loves him so much, I'm excited that I know someone who will soon be face to face with Jesus Christ!  It's the same kind of excitement that I'd have if a friend of mine was meeting some super-celebrity...only hundreds and hundreds of times more exciting.  And it excites me to know that when I get to Heaven one day, someone I've sung and worshiped with will be right there, probably helping lead worship, in Heaven.  

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. -2 Corinthians 4:16-18

1 comment:

Susan M Fischer said...

Thank you for these words that will comfort my niece, Tammy and her children, when they receive them. Dan was like no other. In all the years I have known him, I never saw him without a smile on his face, love and mischievousness in his eyes and a song in his heart or on his lips and fingertips. He is truely a saint. I just wish losing him didn't hurt so much.