I have hidden Your Word in my heart. Psalm 119:11
Life becomes a journey. And God's Word is a Lamp unto our feet and a Light unto our path. That gives the implication that it lights our way, step by step:as we take one step forward, His Word gives us light enough for the few steps ahead---not a spot light or stadium lights, brightly revealing ALL of the journey at once. Oh how I look back on my life, fourteen years ago, on May 1, 1997, and thank Him for NOT revealing to me what was just ahead.
Back in the early 90's, I worked at a preschool and daycare. . .I was the "teacher's aide" to a special lady who gave me a simple gift. . . something that she had no idea would become a treasured gift to last me for all these years. It is a simple "flip calendar" with a verse and poem for each day. It's perpetual, so I have been able to use it every single day since then. It's called "God's Caring Touch- Encouraging Words About our Loving God"
Is there anyone that can know for certain what tomorrow holds? Of course not. But knowing NOW what I did not know then, I can see that God was gently preparing me for what He knew was about to happen. And He was using His Word to shed a little light on to my soon-to-be-darkened pathway. You see, May 1, 1997, was when my 22 year old sister, Sherri, passed away. I wanted to share with you the scriptures & thoughts from that calendar that are on the days leading up to her death, and how they have meant so much to me, especially with each passing year.
"I have hidden Your Word in my heart."
"Search out God's promises,
Make them a part
of a treasury of hope
carefully stored in your heart."
Little did I know that I would soon be clinging to God's promises as my 'life preserver,' and that I would so desperately be needing to find some sense of HOPE in the senseless and untimely loss of my sister's life. I urge you to carefully store God's Word in your heart too---for you never know when you will need to recall some precious promise to cling to in an unexpected time of need.
Consider it pure joy. . whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." James 1:2,3
"Let me be willing to daily take up the cross You have assigned to me, Lord, without grumbling or complaining, without bitterness or whining. Let me bear my cross with joy because it leads me closer to You."
The cross that He would soon assign to me would be a new label: one of being a "Survivor of Suicide," and all the grief, despair and unanswered questions that come with being a survivor. Such trials, of many kinds---would they develop perseverance or bitterness? Would I reject my Lord or be led closer to Him?
"Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. . .We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces. . . hope." Romans 5:1-4
"Our peace would be a feeble thing if we could bear no pain--
If our hope were based on happiness, our faith would be in vain."
On April 27, 1997, I thought I had much faith in our God. The faith and peace that I had was about to be tested in way that it had never been tested before. I was about to lose my only sister, Sherri, and take the hands of two new sisters: Sorrow and Suffering.
"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." Romans 8:18
"Lord, help us understand that, though Your promises are true, You never pledged an easy life to those who walk with You."
This was the night that she became ill, and entered the hospital in the wee hours the next day. From that day forward began my "present sufferings." Looking back, I can see that those present sufferings, as difficult as they were, did not last forever. Of course, it took years for the Great Comforter to heal my broken heart completely; but like I've been told, "This too shall pass." When I look at the "Grand Calendar of Time," those sufferings~ as difficult as they were~ really were present for just a short time. Only until I reach eternity will I ever know the glory that will be revealed because of this.
There is surely a future hope for you.
"Let me hold the hope of heaven in my heart throughout life's journey. . .Let me keep my hand in Yours, Lord, as I travel on the way."
If I could say something, specifically to a Christian who may be feeling hopeless or even worse--thinking there is no use to living anymore: As a Christian, sure, there is a future hope of heaven for you. . .of course there will be no more suffering there! But as long as God gives you breath, you are to cling to the promise that there is a future HOPE for you, here on this earth too. He has a purpose for your life, or else He would take you home right now. Hold to the hope of heaven in your heart---but not so closely that you just want to quit life! God has a plan and a purpose for your LIFE now. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Your life is to be lived for God's glory, so that your future home in heaven will bring you much rewards to lay at His feet. This life is to be LIVED, in a relationship with Your Creator and Savior, Your DeLIVErer. God's plans for you do not include HARMING you, so why should yours?
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you."
"The one promise we can cling to when the storms of life assail is that God goes through them with us---and His love will still prevail."
I remember going back to the hospitality house where our family was staying, and trying to get some sort of sleep...but wondering if she'd even make it through the night, and feeling overtaken by guilt: Why couldn't I grasp the fact that she was not going to survive? My brother and I both had the little devotional, Our Daily Bread, and the devotional for that day was: "To pray for something when we know it is not God’s will is to waste our breath. . . .The pattern for our prayers should be that of our precious Lord, who said, 'Not My will, but Yours, be done'." We both finished reading our copies of Our Daily Bread at about the same time, and then looked at each other and said something like, "Oh my." It was as if God was preparing our hearts to let her go. Thankfully He promised to go with us when the flood waters of grief began to rise.
We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him. Romans 8:28
"Lord, give me the gift of a glad heart today and a faith that lets nothing stand in the way of Your peace. . .let me trust in Your goodness and rest in the confidence that Your love will send only my best."
She had passed away in Richmond, VA. When we finally came home that evening, I glanced at my calendar, and there it was: the promise to work ALL things for my good...if I loved Him. "Oh, Father, You promised to work even THIS out for my good? I see NO good that can come from this terrible loss. But You can not break Your promises. . .so You will somehow work this all out for my good and Your glory ~ s o m e h o w."
The next day, May 2nd, was another promise to cling to:
"I will bring health and healing. . . I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security." Jeremiah 33:6
"God hears the voices of millions, each cry unique and special. Every heart that comes seeking His healing love is welcomed and touched and made whole."
I came to Him, seeking His healing love. He welcomed me and my broken heart, and not only touched each shattered piece of my heart ~ He made me whole. If you have a broken heart, are feeling helpless, or just completely at a loss for words---look to God and His Word. His promises are true. He may not give you answers for tomorrow. . .but He has promised to give you grace for today. His Word is a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path-- take each day, moment by moment, one step at a time... Allow His Word to illuminate your pathway, each step of the way.
What about you? Have you allowed His Word to become a treasured gift? I truly couldn't have survived Sherri's death without having His Word to cling to. Even though I have seen much good come from her loss, I may never know the full extent of what He has done until I enter eternity. And that's okay, because the greatest good I have received from her loss was a closer walk with Him, and a deeper faith in His Word. What more could I ask for?
Thank You, Father, for knowing what we were facing back then, even though we had no idea. Thank You for holding us together, even though we felt like we were falling apart. I pray for my dear friends who may have a broken heart. . . may they find Your Word to be a lamp to light their pathway. Give them a promise to cling to and the strength to hold fast to You and Your Word. Thank You for healing my broken heart. May my life be a testimony to what You can do with a broken heart that is surrendered to Your will, for Your glory. In Jesus' Name, Amen.