Friday, December 16, 2011

The Deep Well

The Deep Well
Deep within each of us there must be a little seed of faith. Sometimes it is like a deep well. The pump on the well has never been activated. So the pump is a little rusty. Perhaps the rust accumulated from years of not being used and now the pump is ceased. It is stiff and squeaky and requires a lot of strength and effort to even make that pump move again. Are you going through a trial at this time? Can you relate to the old rusty pump? Often we go through life, things are going good in our daily lives and we can cope. Then all of a sudden, all of our reserves run dry. Something flips in our lives and we desperately need to reach deep into that well and pull up that faith again. We are desperate. There seems to be nowhere that we can turn. There is no hope in the doctors. They can only do so much. We find ourselves on our knees trying to access that faith, in a hope that God will somehow miraculously send a gushing spring of water through the broken pump. I can picture it. I’ve been there, sitting on the front steps of the church whose doors were locked. Sitting there alone . . . wishing there was someone who had that special connection to God who would intercede on our behalf. On that day there was no one else. I sat on that church step and prayed for my nephew who had bacterial meningitis. Doctors gave us very little hope that he would survive. God had me in that deep well. I prayed the only way I knew how, desperately with a seed of faith not bigger than a mustard seed. The cry of my heart was real. God please heal him. God did answer my prayer and my nephew survived.
Many times God answers our prayers in ways we don’t understand. Sometimes we can even look back and say, “Boy am I ever glad God didn’t answer my prayer in the way that I prayed.” Sometimes we say, why didn't he. . .?We have to know what we ask of God. We need to know in our hearts that God knows the situation in detail. God is all knowing, loving and compassionate. Sometimes we don’t recognize these truths about God, especially during times when we have these thoughts, God let us down. He didn’t answer our prayers, therefore he does not love me or maybe he doesn’t even exist.  Is it so hard to believe that the God who created the universe does know what is best and that just maybe His plan for life and death is perfect? Often we cannot see past the temporal world and what is going on in our lives. The world can seem dark and ugly when we are in the dark well. I can vision that well gushing out living water as we cry out from the deep. That living water is not temporal, it is eternal. When we live or die in Christ we are eternal beings. Our journey here on earth, however long or short, it is a part of a divine plan. Remember, God is all knowing. He knew us before we were conceived Jeremiah 1:4-5. He knew the day we would be born and the day we would die. Psalm 139:13-16 How we live the time between those two dates is up to us. You may ask, “What about those who don’t have a choice or can’t make a choice?” For babies and young children. Mt: 19:14 Jesus said,"Let the little children come to me, and do no hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." I believe there is an age of accountability - a time in life when you know the difference. God knows the hearts and minds of mankind.
Whatever deep well you find yourself in at this time, you can activate that rusty pump yourself. God desires a relationship with you. Just as Jesus sat at that well waiting for the woman at the well to draw water, he waits for you to put your hand on that pump to draw water too. When you take that step of faith, Jesus will give you living water.  Oil that pump daily with prayer. Receive that living water and in doing so you will embrace the love God the Father has for you. He is the Father who will comfort you in all your troubles 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 He carries you close when you are feeling broken hearted. Psalm 34:18 God will someday take away all the pain you have suffered on earth. Revelation 21:3-4
Someday, all your questions will be answered. I’m thinking that on that day when we stand before God the Father and our Saviour Jesus Christ, all our questions won’t even touch our lips. They won’t matter. What will matter is that we are standing in His Holy Presence, in the glory of a great and awesome God, enveloped in the Loving arms of the God of all Creation. Praise to our great and mighty God. This life is just a glimpse of the amazing splendour of life that we will have when we pass from here to there . . . for all eternity.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Greatest Gift

Penny Darlene Wills

One year ago, I awoke excited to face the day. It was December 3, 2010. We were planning our Ladies Christmas Fellowship for that evening. We were planning an evening to bring something happy and positive into some of these ladies lives; something that would give them hope, laughter, put a new song in their heart. It is a busy time of year getting ready for Christmas. We spent months preparing for that evening, trying to put a program together that would bless the ladies hearts.

Yes, we have all heard the Christmas story, frontwards, backwards and every story in between. Some are stories which touch the heart. This time of year can be very difficult for people. Not every one's life is bright and rosy. Some people are living alone, their children are grown or even gone. Some families are coping with divorce and their family unit is split apart. Other's are mourning the death of a loved one. Some people have no home, no food.

Christmas time can bring back the memories of old. Being a child and having that anticipation of opening presents, seeing loved ones come together. Mom's home baked cookies, salads and turkey dinner.

The Christmas songs play on the radio and throughout the malls. Songs like, "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" sung by Nat King Cole. or  Elvis singing, "I'll have a Blue Christmas Without You". You are shopping and walking along in the store. A song plays loud over the speaker. You pause for a moment, thinking of the memory. Oh I miss those childhood years. For a moment, you may even feel sad because the memories remain but many of our loved ones in those memories from Christmases long ago, are gone too.

Here I am. It is December 9, 2011, a year later. We have been planning yet another Ladies Christmas Fellowship. I remember well the phone call I received on this day last year. The phone call that changed our lives. My dear younger sister Penny suddenly passed away on that day. I spent most of the day by her side, along with our mother, my niece and a few friends and family.

It puts an entirely new spin on Christmas when you lose a loved one. We had lived through it before years ago, when my sister in law Sue was suddenly killed when a drunk driver ran her down. It was two weeks before Christmas. Santa still came that year. I was nine years old. I opened Sue's present to me on that Christmas morning. She gave me a real 10kt gold ring with my initials on it. All I could do was cry. Yes it was a long time ago. You know what? I remember that Christmas like it was yesterday. Life is not all sad. We have enjoyed many Happy Christmases since.

Why am I telling you this? Do I want you to throw me a big crying towel? No. However, life can change on a dime. In the blinking of an eye your life, my life can be flipped upside down. We have all experienced these flipping moments. We survived them and maybe learned a thing or two about life, about God. We take our experiences whatever they have been and we help others who are feeling what we have felt, that sorrow, loneliness, emptiness. We reach out our strong arms and give a sincere hug, wipe a tear, give a smile, share a laugh, bring some comfort, live in peace and be a gift to others. That is what we do at Christmas because that is exactly what Jesus does for us. He does it in so many different ways. We may not even recognize these moments. Perhaps you have been entertained by an angel, unaware.

Penny now has a tomb stone which says, "Our Little Angel". Yes I did whisper in her ear a year ago today. "Penny I love you. You are going to see Jesus now" I held her little hand and kissed her cheek before I walked out of the room. I felt that I had to go and help with the Christmas Ladies Fellowship. Twenty minutes after I left her, Penny walked into the loving Arms of Jesus Christ her Saviour. She received the Greatest Gift of All, Christmas Love. Note: If you flip the m in "Christmas Love" - upside down - you get "Christ was Love".  God's Gift to us.

Merry Christmas Penny