Friday, October 30, 2009

Lessons From a Tragic Death

This week has not been easy. I learned on Monday that the receptionist at my chiropractor’s office committed suicide. She was only 46 years old. I knew she struggled with severe depression, and on several occasions had called me in desperation. When I learned of her death, I had all the emotions of a tragic death: shock, unbelief, sadness, sorrow, confusion, and even anger.

Suicide is a terrible thing. Satan, who comes to steal, kill and destroy, gets a tragic victory when one takes his/her life.

Here are some lessons from this tragic death:

1. There are many hurting people in the world, and they are right next to us every day.

Few people would have known that this woman struggled with severe depression. For the most part, she was able to cover it up and be quite pleasant in the office. This just shows that behind every smile can be great pain. Oh Lord, give us the ability to see the pain in those around us, so that we might be a “sweet aroma of the knowledge of You in every place” (2 Cor. 2:14).

2. God cares about the pain we experience, and He can help all who call upon Him.

I am so thankful that God is merciful and compassionate. He is near to all who call upon Him in truth. Jesus said, “Come to Me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” If you are hurting in any way, call out to God, and allow His healing power to transform you. He is able, more than able, to accomplish a new and fresh work in your life.

3. The body of Christ is there to help us, and we must be willing to receive that help.

I made numerous offers to this woman to get into a special women’s group we have at church, but she did not. I know of others who encouraged her to get counseling. Unfortunately, she tried to make it alone. As hard as it can be to avail ourselves of others’ help, we must do it. God calls us to live in community, to be transparent, and to allow others to help us when we are in need. Often it is pride that keeps us from sharing our needs with others. God’s Word says to “bear one another’s burden” (Gal. 6:1).

4. Life is so short, and we have the privilege of living for what is eternal.

The Bible says, “It is better to go to a funeral than a party, for death is the destiny of every man, and the living should take it to heart” (Eccl. 7:3). Every time I attend a funeral (as I did this week), it is a fresh reminder of how brief our lives on earth really are. May God stamp eternity on our eyes, so that we live for what really matters most. And what really matters most is the things of God.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Be Sure to Spiritually AIM

This week I have been intrigued with a simple little phrase out of the book of Nehemiah: “Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king” (2:4).

The context of this passage is Nehemiah sharing with the king his concern over the broken wall in Jerusalem. After sharing his concern, the king asked Nehemiah, “What is it that you want” (2:4a)? Before just responding from his flesh, Nehemiah prays to insure that he answers from the Spirit. I love this. To me, this is a great model of what it means to “walk by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16).

Too often I do things in the flesh. If I was Nehemiah I would have been so excited that the king asked me that question I would have quickly said, “Let me go and rebuild the wall in Jerusalem.” I would have taken off on my own and not even thought to ask for help, as Nehemiah did … after he prayed. By praying before speaking, Nehemiah was given wisdom from Above to ask the king for all kinds of help – which by the way, he received. The king gave him safe passage, resources to use in building, and even officers and cavalry (see 2:6-9)!

This reminds me of Jesus’ ministry motto: “I do nothing of my own initiative, but only what I see the Father doing” (Jn. 5:19). Jesus made sure what He did was led by the Father. This is why we see Jesus breaking away so often to pray. He made sure He was in tune with His Father in what He did.

I need to become more like Jesus in this aspect of life and ministry. I am typically a “ready, fire, aim” kind of person. My growing edge is to take time to “aim.” The best way to spiritually “aim” is to A – acknowledge God, B- be sure to pray and ask God what He wants, and C – carry out what you sense God leading you to say or do.

Oh that we might all grow in being led by the Spirit … hear God’s voice … sense His direction … and boldly step out in faith!