We walk in obedience not understanding

December 12, 2013

There are times when our emotion says to do the opposite or different from wisdom of others built upon experience. Its in these times that we need the discipline to go with the conventional wisdom, use our heads and not our hearts. So much of the military training is to teach best practice so when a soldier finds themselves in a certain situation they fall back on their training not to be lead by the immediate emotion.

There is much I do not understand when it comes to the faith journey of being a follower of Jesus. After spending much time reading the scriptures I come to a simple summary phrase for myself “lifestyle obedience”. Now I don’t always practice that but I strive for it!

There is much confusion these days with regard to healing and whether God will heal, should heal, how to pray for healing, how not to pray, whether there was sufficient faith and on and on. I am left perplexed by God in this area. So I fall back on the scriptures, not on emotion or experience. In obedience to what the teachings tell me, we pray for healing for someone. We are told to pray without ceasing, to call upon the name of the LORD, to bring all our requests to Him. We know He can, we know His loving nature and His desire for relationship with us. We also know that He is in control of the meta-narrative and we have to trust Him with the sub-plots of individuals.

Mike, this is an awesome day!

February 5, 2012

Kathy was cleaning Mike’s room and found a teddy in his wardrobe whilst hanging up the many clothes. Thinking he had brought it as a Christmas present for one of his sisters she mentioned her find to him. He said it wasn’t for them and now to her embarrassment she thought it may have been for her! Mike worked in the kitchen at McDonald’s where he befriended Kim. She once shared she was having difficulties with her boy friend. Mike seeing over the weeks how sad she was brought the teddy for her. One evening he stuffed it in his back pack and announced he was meeting Kim at KFC. When Kathy tried to understand his actions he simply said ‘I just want to make her happy”. Kim to him was a girl, just like his sisters. He was thrilled when she agreed to come along to the youth mid week Bible study. Mike knew Kim could find peace in a relationship with God.

As the paramedics were in with Mike, I stood outside his bedroom knowing he had died for some hours, I stamped on the ground, crying out to God in pain and said, “If something eternal does not come from this then I will be very angry, I want to see salvation come as a result”.

In the weeks that followed I heard that Kim had come to the burial service. I wrote some comments about Mike and Kim on my blog and to my surprise Kim contacted me to tell me she was the girl from McDonald Mike had befriended. Until that point I did not know her name. Well to cut a long story short, Kim continued on the path of discovery of peace with God.  Kim has become a friend of the family and has told us that Mike would but Kutless CD’s under her bag in the staff locker room. Mike was too shy to give it to her personally.

Today Kim  is getting baptised at Mike’s church, a demonstration of spiritual death and resurrection. John 12:24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

God has been gracious and is showing me this answer to my prayer that horrible morning. I continue to pray for “many seeds”.

I forgot to visit Mike’s grave on his 21st B’day but I have this strong desire to visit him with the girls today and just thank God for his simple life and how God can use us when we are obedient.

Mike, this is an awesome day!

I did not think to visit you on your birthday!

January 21, 2012

Our behaviour demonstrates values, emotions, goals, our view on life…..I am very surprised, not saddened, that I did not think to visit Mike at the grave yard two days ago on his 21st birthday. What does that say about where I am at with the loss of my buddy?

I have read extensively over the past 2 1/2 years on loss, grief and shattered dreams. Some writing I found helpful and could relate and other I either disagreed or did not experience the same emotions or perspective of the writer. Two people I particular warm to is Bob Sorge and Larry Crab. Both these men have had life changing dramatic events that has taken the faith they had, the so called “happiness” they experienced, smashed the dreams and aspirations they pursued and caused them to sit in the chair like me and struggle to find a compass that is not spinning.

BUT like me, they have experienced something we never knew we could have, we did not know what we did not know. God has taken our “happiness” and used sadness and loss to give us “Joy”. Now this is the mystery and I struggle to explain myself. As I read Bob Sorge’s writings, I sat there saying “Yes, Yes, Yes, that is exactly it, I know precisely what you are saying”. Why did I not think to visit Mike? I woke that morning, sat in Mike’s room and enjoyed reading about the life of Moses and the Children of Israel and then headed into the park to walk , think and  listening to a song by Darlene Zschech “Love You So Much” There are times when the emotional and spiritual connect in such a way that I experience a joy what defies the logic of my circumstances. As I sung along to this song, expressing the words as a prayer of heart desire and thankfulness to God, that Mike was celebrating his 21st in the presence of God. I enjoyed surmising and having some lateral thinking that he was as proficient as anyone could be at playing the guitar and with his friends was so enjoying the freedom that comes from seeing the Father’s face that not only was he doing the most amazing praise jamming possible with his guitar but he was also making uninhibited dancing with his mates who were laughing at his extravagant joy! Mean while, back on earth in the park, I watched the sun’s rays shoot up from behind a cloud and with much joy worshipping God in the full knowledge that like Mike, one day I too will no longer see dimly, no longer will His face be behind the cloud, but I will see Him face to face, I will know Him in full as I am known in full. Through the pain and the loss, I have discovered a treasure. God has revealed Himself to me in a way I had not previously experienced. Today I do not walk on cloud 9, I experience all the normal human emotions, I am not the same person I was 2 1/2 years ago, the dreams and aspirations I had have been replaced, I have experienced God in a way that will change the way I live for the rest of my days on earth. Mike’s birthday was more about God than it was about Mike. As Kathy said, “It was an ordinary day”, I would agree on the physical, but on the spiritual, I cherish my little secret!

Interruption in my life!

August 2, 2011

“It’s rude to interrupt”, is what I heard parents say as I grew up. Interruption = “a breach or break, caused by the abrupt intervention of something foreign; intervention; interposition”. As I sat in Mike’s room yesterday at 08:10, the moment I found him dead two years ago and pondered over that day the life subsequent to that awful morning, what struck me was that my life had been interrupted. Often when someone interrupts, it’s during a conversation and we simply pick up again from where we paused.

When life is interrupted, whether it be the day we find out we have a serious life threatening illness, the sudden death of a loved one, sudden unemployment, the shock of being told your spouse no longer loves you, these type of interruptions are so abrupt that they also can bring shock to accompany the interruption. As I reflect, I realise that Mike’s death was not a simple interruption in my life that you pause what you were doing, deal with the person or event of the interruption and then continue with life.

And so I sit and  ponder on “the interruptions of our lives”. As a Christian I believe in submitting my life to the Lordship of Christ. One of our modern songs has the line “I surrender all”. I want to be a disciple of Christ, to follow and obey Him. BUT have I given Him the right to interrupt my life! He screwed up my plans! Kathy keeps referring to August 1st as “a thief in the night”. The thief does not announce his arrival, its sudden and unexpected. So was the interruption, the break, the intrusion, the intervention into my life with my plans.

I have blogged previously about the “grief wheel”. It shows life as a path, then the wheel of grief and then the coming out of the wheel and carrying on with life. A simple one-dimensional illustration which is very helpful but incredibly simplistic to the complexity of life and humanity. Whilst I can say “nothing but good has come out of Mike’s death”, I don’t like my life being interrupted, I’m not sure I gave permission for it and I may have to forgive God for being rude!

Some interruptions in life are welcome!

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