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Friday, September 30, 2011

Life in Death

Life in Death

Three people I know are going through the incredibly painful journey of going with their spouses as they may or may not die. Two are dealing with the cancer of their spouses and the other a serious bleed on the brain (AVM).
My care and affection for each of these couples is very deep but has manifested in different forms. All of these couples have made significant contributions to my life in Jesus Christ; contributions which are far beyond just basic friendship and care for God’s call on my life. It is that “strange” relationship in which distance or time provide an inconvenience but when we get together it is as if we saw each other yesterday.
My care for them has much to do with what is stated above but also, and maybe more importantly, their joint devotion to each other and to the Lord of the Universe. All three couples have served for decades together. They have supported each other in the beautiful moments of ministry and in the very painful moments that come when dealing with the people of God.
They have raised children, celebrated the joy of being grandparents, and continued to become best friends as they pursued their marriage covenant. They have been a shining example of long devotion to another as they stayed devoted to the Lord of All Creation.
These three couples have boldly proclaimed Jesus Christ as the Sole means by which we can approach God. They have not deviated from sharing that Jesus Christ is the way and the truth and the life and that no one can come to God except through Jesus Christ. They have planted churches, discipled countless people, and served sacrificially since the beginning of their marriages.
They haven’t been “perfect,” or even “good” all the time. They have failed and not lived properly at various time. They readily share these shortcomings to help others follow the narrow path better. They seek to utilize their gifts and strengths and talents to help others, but don’t shy away from their weaknesses to achieve the same result, helping others to grow closer to the famously gracious and merciful LORD of All.
From a human perspective their painful journey doesn’t seem fair. They have been faithful over the long haul. They have sought to be obedient and helped thousands to come to Jesus Christ. For all their work they are now suffering in a tremendous way. The spouses are particularly suffering as they wish and pray for their spouses’ survival all the while wanting their spouses not to suffer.
In talking, messaging, and reading posts no one will find a hint of people who are angry, resentful, or hopeless. Yes, each deeply desire for their spouse to survive and have vibrancy. Yet, more than that, they want the God they serve to be honored and appreciated. One spouse battles the health issues, and the other seeks to comfort and pray for God’s will to be accepted. They don’t want to “lose” their spouses, their best friends, their beloved, but they want God honored and appreciated above their desires.
Each is willing to accept the hardship of losing a spouse if God will bring others to Himself through the process of death. They understand death is but a stage in life. They have invested much and will experience extreme pain in the loss. Again though, they understand the loss to be short term because their faith and hope dictates a reunion when their own time comes to pass. They desire for others to understand this process.
They have loved each other well and that is why they suffer right now. But, because they have loved so well, because they have strived to be unconditional in that love, because they have sought to serve the interests of the other, because they have understood their marriage to be an example of God’s love and care for all of us, they will go through the sorrow and rejoice that God has been honored.
They see nothing as important as this: that you know Jesus Christ as the only way in which to receive eternal life and the sole means by which to live your life in a way which brings honor to God. They understand that their loss is nothing compared to Jesus’ sacrifice and they seek to rejoice in the suffering they are going through. Don’t try to understand that paradox. Look deep within yourself and acknowledge your need for the God they have lived to serve and will continue to serve in their devastating loss. Can you handle this loss? You will with Jesus Christ. If you have doubts or questions you should send me a message. I’ll talk with you. My life is different because of these people. But more importantly, my life is different because the God they have served is the God I served.
Send me an email to jeffreycraig.harrington@gmail.com and I will share my own journey from desolation to being part of Lord of Universe’s work in our world. God bless you, please consider Jesus for your life. It is the only genuine life changing choice we can make.
jeff

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