Saturday, March 13, 2010

Small Changes Make A Big Difference

As I sit here at 6:15 AM on Saturday writing this blog, I cannot help but be uber excited about how amazingly loving and wonderful God is. This is the second morning in a row that God has provided EXACTLY the right words for me, and the perfect, and I mean PERFECT timing.
Since traveling and being away from my group of Godly influences here and then Kate's death, I just haven't been in my normal mode. And honestly, I haven't even wanted to. I haven't wanted to pick up my Bible, talk to God, or do anything. And of course we all know that leads to no where good. I was getting into a terrible rut! So Tuesday afternoon, I went to my friend/mentor's house for a playdate and that's when the change started. I talked about all of these things with her and she encouraged me to start waking up at 5:00 AM for my quiet time...before anyone else got up and the craziness of the day started. She even told me where to start as far as what sermon I needed to hear. So, I went home and the next morning I woke up and did my quiet time. It was nice, but not GREAT (and no, it wasn't the sermon she told me about...I couldn't find it anywhere to download). And then, Friday happened. OH MY GOODNESS!!!
I just need to say 2 words....John Piper.

So, going back a bit...
On Thursday afternoon, I downloaded a ton of sermons onto my IPOD and John Piper's happened to be one of them. I chose this one not because I knew who he was exactly, but because I liked the title of his sermon...SUBJECTED TO HOPE.
So, Friday morning, I popped in the earphones (after first grabbing my large cup of coffee), grabbed my Bible and pushed play. The text is from Romans 8:18-25 so if you want to read it before you go any further, go grab your Bible and do so because this message references the text a lot.

Now, brace yourselves for an amazing message of hope...or at least what I got out of this message and why it was so perfectly timed for me.

WHY IS THERE SUFFERING IN THE WORLD?
* The world was subjected to futility, not willingly and not because He wanted it that way, but because it was right.
* God sentenced the world to what it is today in response to sin. Not a specific sin that you or I did, but because of sin in general...the fall of man. Many people, including myself, tend to automatically think when something terrible happens that it happened because of unrepented sin. One of my first thoughts when I first was diagnosed with BC was "what sin have I not confessed? what have I done to cause this?"
* the ultimate worldly meaning of suffering is that sin is SERIOUS...but, there is HOPE!

* After the suffering, glory will be revealed and we will be with Jesus.
* We will be revealed as sons/daughters of God (v19). Right now, we are walking around this earth as sons of God in disguise and hopefully we are displaying the fruits of the Spirit. But one day, that disguise will come off and we will be revealed!!!
* When things seem useless, we cannot forget that we are here in hope.
* Death and suffering is no longer the curse. Death becomes purifying and a passageway on to glory (thank you Lord!)
* Dying was originally given by God as a curse, but now in Christ, the stinger is pulled out of death. Now it is the door to paradise and the suffering becomes used by God in Fatherly care to purify. (Heb 12)
* The miseries of the universe are NOT death throws, but labor pains (this one was weird for me at first). Pain can bring life and pain can bring death. Death and suffering really are like birth pains because we are going right into life...eternal life with Jesus!

So why was all of this so perfect in its timing for me? Well, Kate's memorial is today. I've been having a hard time with her passing but not for the reason you would think. I haven't really grieved like I thought I would. Have I been sad? YES!!! Have I teared up at random times during the week and just felt "off?" YES!!! Have I had an odd peace though? FOR SURE!!! The main thing that has been on the forefront of my mind is questioning her salvation. I was never assured by her that she was a Christian. HOWEVER, I know without a doubt God ordained this sermon for me as comfort that Kate is with Him today. That yes, she suffered while on this imperfect Earth, but that now she has gone through the door to paradise and eternal life. And there is NO better place that she, nor you, nor I could be! I'm thrilled that she is NOT deaf, blind, or lying in her bed anymore with IV drips going into her body. I'm thrilled that she is now made whole again and is sitting at the feet of Jesus. Ooooh, I KNOW I will see her again and THAT my friends is where my peace is coming from. Thanks be to God for this sermon and it's timing. I'm always amazed at how perfect His timing is and how wonderfully comforting it is when He speaks to me.

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