It seems that each night in the news, the reporters not only bring the devastating news of the sick and dying, but also show the large refrigerated trucks that are lined outside the largest hospitals. There is certainly no assurance in seeing these trucks. The public knows that those who die must also be taken care of in some orderly way. Yet, we see it over and over…and we are made to feel even more concerned about our own safety…whether in life or death. The heart-breaking stories of loved ones who can not be with their families in their last moments on earth is almost too much to hear.
Sometimes it is good emotionally, to remove ourselves, at least temporarily, from the continuous news of despair. Perhaps this Sunday is a good time for quiet music instead
or as we turn to our TV to listen to remote worship services.
(We have enjoyed the National Cathedral services in Washington, D.C. at 11:15 EST and special music at 4 on YouTube)
So what or who can we turn to in this time of waiting and confinement? I’d like to share with you, and the ones you may know who have family members who are sick or who have died, my writing, in part, on the ETERNAL PROMISE:
The word “eternity” seems so far away. It is an unknown time or place and the human mind can’t comprehend its actual meaning. Most people have some anxiety about dying and perfect peace may not be part of their thinking on this subject.
It may not be just about entering eternity, but needing peace when making some of life’s greatest decisions. This was true of Bob Dufford as he struggled with his becoming a priest. He thought of the Mother of Christ, who may have been fearful as she followed what God had in store for her. This gave him inspiration to write these words:
Be Not Afraid
You shall cross the barren desert, but you shall not die of thirst.
You shall wander far in safety though you do not know the way.
You shall speak your words in foreign lands and all will understand.
You shall see the face of God and live.
If you pass through raging waters in the sea, you shall not drown.
If you walk amid the burning flames, you shall not be harmed.
If you stand before the pow’r of hell and death is at your side,
know that I am with you through it all.
Blessed are your poor, for the kingdom shall be theirs.
Blest are you that weep and mourn, for one day you shall laugh.
And if wicked men insult and hate you all because of me,
blessed, blessed are you!
Be not afraid.
I go before you always;
Come follow me,
and I will give you rest. 27
Promises are made and many times broken because we are frail in our human spirit. No bride or groom goes to the alter believing that their lives will come shattering down with a divorce. Little children may say, ” Please let’s go today. Will you promise?” Sometimes the parent must change the plans, but somehow in a child’s mind the promise has been broken. This is why they beg us to “promise.”
There is an eternal promise that will never be broken. It is God’s promise that all will be well in eternity. He is going to make a special place for us. He even says that he is telling us the truth. “There are many rooms in my Father’s house, and I am going to prepare a place for you. I would not tell you this if it were not so”. John 14:2
The Holy Bible is made up of many eternal promises. Some people memorize these verses. It is a good idea because what you hide in your heart can never be taken away from you. A few of these are listed below, but only make a dent in what we can believe from God in the Holy Scriptures:
- Psalm 100:5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
- James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
- 2 Samuel 7:28 Sovereign Lord, you are God! Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant.
- Nahum 1:7 The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.
- John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.
…There is an old hymn, Standing on the Promises, that was written by Russell Kelso Carter. This hymn was published in the book Promises of Perfect Love, Philadelphia, 1886
Some of the words are these:
Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
By the living Word of God I shall prevail,
Standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises I now can see
Perfect, present cleansing in the blood for me;
Standing in the liberty where Christ makes free,
Standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord,
Bound to Him eternally by love’s strong cord,
Overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword,
Standing on the promises of God.
We have the eternal promises of God to lead us through our lives. His promises are true and will never fail. May God be praised!
HOLY SCRIPTURES: Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10
PRAYER: Thank you, God, for your promises. I trust in You and pray for all those going through our difficult times . In Christ’s name, Amen
(Taken from Rain on the Roof by N.W.Boyer)
Christ has given His life for Us, Rose from the Dead and promised us eternal life. Where there is suffering, we turn to Him as OUR VISION of HOPE. Below is a video of a church and a singer, with his accompanist. The church is empty…as are ours today, but the promises of God are the same and He is with us wherever we are.
Turn up your sound
Recently a friend of mine lost her Mother and I remember when my own Mother died. There have been other parts of my life that have held pain…as with most people. All sadness in this life moves along with us, but I believe there are things that help us “live through” those times.
As an author, artist and photographer, I decided to set up my own art room where I could lose myself in a world of quiet and creativity. I also saw a person who visited Japan and experienced the Asian way of “Nature therapy”. The person was encouraged to actually reach down to a bed of moss…touch it and sniff the smell of it. They continued a walk through the woods, noticing all the different plants, leaves and trees. I live in Florida and we have amazing skies here. The sun rises over the lakes; clouds gather in the deep blue summer afternoon bringing the streaks of lightning and in the evening the setting sun streams through the hanging moss. Nature is truly beautiful here.
Wherever we live, we see life around us…but do we see it…really? I think our souls need that interaction with God’s world if we are truly to have peace and joy with what is around us. It takes only the time we are willing to give to it.
Below is a picture of my art and writing room. I’m fortunate to have a space dedicated to these activities.
My husband has turned the garage into his wood-working space. Often he will call me out there to see the beautiful grain on a piece of wood that he is making. Nature…even after the tree is long gone…lives on in his beautiful wooden trays.
My Uncle Archie loved nature and carved the beautiful bird that you see below. Our dear friend, Tom, passed away recently, but he was gifted beyond measure in the turning of bowls shown below on my husband’s tray. These are treasures to be kept always and reminders of those who have gone through hard times, but through their faith in Jesus Christ have “passed through” with great courage and honor.
The young woman featured below is Zaria Forman. She is a true artist and shares her feelings about nature and loss. It is worth listening to and a reminder that there is much beauty in the world. We must seize the day that has been given to us.
VIDEO Turn up sound and click link given (credit National Geographic)
This writing does not propose to have the answers to that problem or hurt that you have …whether emotional, mental or physical…. that may be planting the thoughts of suicide in your mind. My life has been given to Christ, with its ups and downs…disappointments and joys…but I know that not all have found this rest.
I write because I am led to write. Who knows why I awake at 3:00 am and know that for some reason I need to write about this subject. It is the last thing that I would want to tackle. Nevertheless, I write today, not as a counselor or a psychiatrist, but as a person who cares.
Someone will read this who needs to know that their particular pain has an answer. The answer is not in suicide. The answer may be as close to you as your breath. If one simply gives up…they will never know what would have or could have been. One does not know what is around the corner. You must live to find out.
There are two stories that I know of that may help: A man had decided he did not want to go on. He went up stairs and looked out the window. Across the top of the houses was a steeple of a church. It was that cross rising high into the sky that made him stop and truly think about what he was thinking of doing. A simple thing….but it was his turning moment.
Another man felt that he had lost everything. His wife was leaving him and taking his life flashed across his mind. The thing that made him stop was the thought of what would his death do to his son. He had not actually lost everything for he had his son.
When things seem the darkest….when you just want to go to sleep forever….forget the word “forever” and just go to sleep. Rest the mind….rest the heart….and after the rest, look for a new beginning. Focus on the little things that matter and reach for something bigger than you have known.
Simply ask for God to give you that one ounce of strength that you do not think you have. Psalm 139:8 “If I go up to heaven, you are there. If I make my bed in hell, you are there.” No matter what we do, we will face God. This may be a terrible thought…but one worth thinking.
I am not going to “preach” to you, but here are THOUGHTS TO CONSIDER:
(Nehemiah 8:10 )Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
This verse did not say “your joy” for you may not feel any joy at all. It said, “…the joy of the Lord” which will be your strength in anything that is in your life too difficult to handle.
Colossians 1:11-14 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
My suggestion would be to go to a quiet place…maybe the shower….or another spot…and call to God to help you to know that you are loved by Him. Ask Him for peace. Ask Him for grace and forgiveness. Ask Him to give you the strength you need. He will hear you….and then rest. Harming yourself is not the answer. Giving up is not the answer. It never will be.