Friday, August 24, 2012

If Not for Jesus...

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
    but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
~ Psalm 20:7, NIV ~

I am coming through one of the toughest stretches in my life.  This past year, my father unexpectedly passed away.  My mother was diagnosed with kidney cancer 5 months later and was placed in assisted living 3 months after that.  Our son was hospitalized with a life-threatening iliopsoas bleed a month later.  He was then released with a PICC line and immobilized via a wheelchair for the next month.  A month after that, I began the major task of getting my parents' home repaired, cleaned out and put on the market for sale.  And the following month, our ministry went through some great turmoil at the hands of some whom we thought were our friends.  We pressed on with our work by the grace of God, but weeks later, my eldest suddenly came down with pneumonia just days before a week away at camp.  Having finished her course of antibiotics the day before we dropped her off, with much prayer, we left her and her brother for the week.  Thank God, she returned no worse for the wear.  Now two weeks later, I am preparing to close on the sale of my parents' house with all of the usual last minute paperwork.  Amidst the scramble, my youngest, who is allergic to every antibiotic but one, has now also been diagnosed with pneumonia.  While I would certainly qualify all of this as more than enough serious stress for one year, there has been yet one more challenge.  A tearful call came two nights ago announcing that a dear life-long family friend was hit by a car when he was out riding his bike.

I apologize if this all sounds like a bad reality TV show.  But there's a purpose to me sharing this.  No person should be able to function sanely after this much trauma over 14 months.  There is one reason, and one reason alone, why I am still able to get out of bed, laugh and press on after a year like this.  It's Jesus.

So many times over the years I have walked into the doors of our regional Children's Hospital, witnessing even more heartbreaking situations with strangers' kids and thought, How do people do this without Jesus?  How do they handle this without the hope that He alone provides?  How do they get through the sleeplessness, and the misunderstanding of a "typical" world?  How do they find purpose in their suffering?  In the suffering of their child?

The same type of questions could be asked about my life this past year.  How would I do it, if not for Jesus?  How would I make it without the hope that He alone provides?  How would I ever manage all the sleepless nights?  All the false accusations?  All the struggles to work through with schools and doctors?  Only Christ gives meaning to our suffering.  We, like broken pieces of glass, sparkle as we reflect His glory.  

If not for Jesus, I could not find hope and comfort in knowing that I will not be separated from those I love for long.  If not for Jesus, I never would have the perspective that our troubles are "light and momentary" compared to our eternity.  If not for Jesus, I would never realize that my Maker knows the heartache of watching His precious child suffer.  If not for Jesus, I would not know compassion and purpose and miracles and so much more than the eye will ever see.

What's the alternative?  Without Christ a person can turn to alcohol, drugs, shopping, gossip...  Bitterness and hopelessness.  What sort of life is that?  The world is not a better place for us having been here when we turn to those things.  We don't leave a mark or make a difference in a remarkable way when we fail to reflect God's glory to the dark world around us.

The bottom line is that those who trust in Jesus and suffer just as I do are given an important opportunity.  We have a message of hope to share with a hurting world.  Don't miss that opportunity to tell your story of what your life might be, if not for Jesus.

PRAY:  Oh Jesus, if not for You, my life would have no meaning or joy.  I would crumble under the crushing weight of life.  Thank You for loving me and leaving an example to live by.  Help me to boldly share our story with the world around us.

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