I have friends who live in a tiny village in the middle of a jungle on an island in the Pacific. Tribes and villages of people all through the jungle have gotten sick with a mysterious illness that is killing people. Hundreds of people are walking hours, sometimes carrying the sick on their backs, to get medical help. The government has sent some humanitarian aid, and some doctors have ridden in on motorbikes. A lot of the help has come from the Christian nationals in this village. Continue reading
Monthly Archives: November 2006
What are your favorite Christmas traditions?
We have some serious traditions and some silly traditions. If I ask my children what their favorite Christmas tradition is, I am sure they would all scream out “Banana Splits!” Continue reading
Most of my favorite Christmas albums are albums I’ve listened to at Christmastime for years and years and years.
I am not a big Statler Brothers fan, but Continue reading
The weekend after Thanksgiving kicks off our Christmas-music-season. So on our 4-hour drive home from our long Thanksgiving weekend, we pulled up the Christmas mix on the iPod and enjoyed our favorites. Continue reading
It’s been a busy few days with travel and visiting and eating. In the spirit of the holiday, I want to add a few things of my own to the Thankful list.
I’m thankful for — Continue reading
Did you know that there are over 3000 ethnic groups of people in the world who have never heard of Jesus? They don’t have one word of the Bible in their own heart-language. These tribes of people don’t have a written alphabet . . . no written language at all.
Our children have recently had their first experience with death. Really, their first major experience with God saying a resounding NO to their prayers and pleadings. They don’t understand why God would let Mama T. die if we all prayed so hard that she would keep on living. Every other time she was sick, we poured out our hearts and prayed and prayed and God healed her. Why didn’t He do that this time? I’ve heard a lot of “Why” questions.
In the moments after telling them that Mama T. had died, their questions and cries came at me fast. Honestly, I didn’t know how to answer all the questions. Why would God heal someone a few months ago and not now? I mean, I know all the “right” answers — He’s God and He knows best; His timing is always perfect; He knows and understands things our minds cannot understand. But when your heart is raw and aching, those answers just aren’t much of a balm. My spirit groaned within me for an answer, something to say to the barrage of questions. And then I heard myself say, “I don’t know. I don’t know why Mama T. died. I don’t know why God said NO to our prayers this time. But I do know that Jesus is crying with us. He gets sad when people die too.” Then I told my children the story of when Lazarus died.
John 11:33-35: Therefore, when Jesus saw her [Mary] weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. And He said, “Where have you laid him?”
They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept.
I told my children that Jesus is troubled when He sees our sorrows. When we cry, He has compassion on us and He groans and weeps with us.
I said other things as well, but I don’t know if any of those other thoughts brought me as much comfort as this one. This image of Jesus weeping beside Mary. I wonder if He hugged her and wiped her tears as He cried with her — like I did with my daughter this morning.
In moments when people die or our dreams die or our ideas of how life would be die, our Jesus comes to us and cries with us. His spirit groans, and He weeps with us. I may run to Him and accuse Him or question Him, like Mary did — “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” But, as my friend Vickie reminds me, even my accusation and question affirms my faith in His power, in His being sovereign. And that is a form of worship. A lament. King David worshipped God with lamentations. Job did too. Jeremiah did, and his pouring out his sorrows to the Lord are even called the book of Lamentations in the Bible.
I want to be real. I want to come to God and worship Him in Truth. Sometimes that means I say things that don’t sound very church-y, that don’t sound neat and tidy and Christian. Sometimes it means I am throwing a temper tantrum and telling Him how much I don’t understand His ways. Sometimes I even sound like Mary did, “If You wanted to, You could prevent this.” And then I just weep and my spirit groans, and I know His spirit groans with me. And there aren’t really any answers, and I don’t necessarily get the happy ending that Mary got (Lazarus was raised from the dead). At least, I don’t get the immediate happy ending; eventually, I will have the eternally happy ending. But I am comforted knowing that my Jesus is crying with me. And because I know His love for me, my spirit cries out as Job’s did — “yet will I praise Him.”