lifewords Strength for the difficult days 5.11.2012
Today, a dear friend and servant of the Lord has finished his course on this Earth and is, at this moment, rejoicing in the presence of His beloved Savior. All my thoughts are of him and his precious wife and family this morning. My thoughts are of all the people the Lord touched through his life, for he was a person who was always investing in others. Today there will be sadness, but no question that this friend is with Jesus, and so there will be joy. Oh the hope we have in our risen Savior! He is the Resurrection and the Life and all who believe in Him will never die. There will be countless thoughts of how this man of God lived his life to glorify God and very boldly point every person he knew, and didn't know, toward living radically for Jesus Christ.
On these days of life, when the "suddenlies" happen, we must rely on the STRENGTH of our Lord. He is a shield about us, He is our glory and the One who is the Lifter of our head. (Psalm 3) In our weakness He is strong. On days that we wake up and a person that we have loved on Earth is now with Jesus in heaven, it is hard to wrap our mind around it. It is surreal. It is a part of life we all experience that is very difficult. Our hearts grieve. But, the precious Holy Spirit is closer than our breath, and He will comfort and reveal truth and love us and lift us up a smidge above the circumstance so we can see clearly the truth of His promise of Life in Him. We can draw near to Him and His promise is to draw near to us. He is the great Comforter and the Lover of our Soul. He brings beauty and life out of every hard thing. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy always comes in the morning.
Of my friend's life, that I have observed for over 22 years, I can say that he truly lived as Paul did, "forgetting those things which are behind, I press on for the mark of the prize of the high calling in Christ." This friend was a friend of God, passionate and unswerving in his relationship with Him and in his stand for the Truth of the Gospel. This man of God lived his life well. He loved the people in his life well. And He finished his course well. He will leave a legacy that many will carry on after him, especially his family. His life was a life of sowing seeds that will continue to bear fruit, and will remain through eternity. Those who have had the privilege of knowing him would all agree that they have never known anyone like him, for he was truly unique and special. His boldness in loving God and in loving people was a clear, visible hallmark of his life. He was a radical. He was revolutionary. When he walked into a room, he filled it up. He was a champion for the Truth of the Gospel and carried the banner of Christ with undeniable resolve. At the same time, he never took himself too seriously. He really got it, that our life is not about us, it's about God's purposes, and God touching the lives of others through us . I would often hear him tell people to get over themselves and I thought that was great advice. And he didn't really say it that sweetly. His input along these lines was never sugar coated, just direct, blunt, to the point. But with Love. As intense as he was about living for God, he had an equally great sense of humor and an unending love and compassion for people. All who know him know that it was a regular occurrence to see him with tears in his eyes when hearing of God's goodness, His faithfulness, His working in a person's life.
I considered my friend a fellow soldier. He reminds me of a courageous man, Shammah, mentioned in 2nd Samuel 23:11 , who positioned himself in the middle of the field and defended it against the Philistines, when all others had fled in fear. He stood, eyes and heart fixed on the living God, in that field against a massive, formidable enemy that he could not beat. It says that he not only stood there defending the field, but struck the Philistines. He was not alone! It says that God wrought or worked a great victory that day, because there was a man willing to position himself in the middle of the field. The enemy was defeated because of the courage of one man to take his stand in obedience to God right in the middle of the field in impossible circumstances.
Because this friend had the courage and daily conviction to position himself "in the middle of the field" for the glory of Christ, God was able to bring great victory in many lives. I pray we will pick up that banner of Christ, and position ourselves, not on the sidelines, not hiding, not asleep, not unaware, not distracted, not afraid, but in the middle of the field of battle for our King. We will see great victories for His glory, even in impossible circumstances, if we will trust and obey Him and cast off fear, unbelief and complacency.
A young American missionary who is very dear to my heart, William Borden, penned three of my favorite sentences in His Bible before his death in Africa in the early 1900's at 26 years of age. These words have impacted my life greatly and this dear friend and I had many conversations about these words. Of anyone I have known, my friend lived these words. The six words are simple: No reserves. No retreats. No regrets. Hold nothing back, leave everything on this field of life, and give all for Christ. Never go back; surrender is not an option, never give up. Finally, determine to live every day with no regrets of missing opportunities to love people radically. The Holy Spirit is our Helper to live a magnificent life for the glory of God.
Today I'm thankful for our Savior, I'm thankful for the precious people in my life who are gifts from the Lord, I'm thankful for another day on this earth to serve the King of Kings and live very moment in His presence. I'm thankful He lives in me and will live through me to demonstrate His love to this world. I'm thankful for the redeeming love and grace of God so clearly seen in and demonstrated through my friend's life. He was truly a blessing to me and my family. O grave where is your victory? O death where is your sting? Thanks be unto Jesus Christ who gives us the victory. In all things. I'm thankful for the great hope we have in Him for eternity. Our life is a breath. Let's live well, love well and finish well.