99% of the time, this blog serves as a way for me to document the fun times our family shares and the goofy things the little ones do. Probably the biggest reason I blog about green peas (see previous post) rather than deeper issues is that although God has blessed me with several gifts--for which I'm incredibly thankful--He chose not to give me much talent in the writing arena.
Every once in a while, though, God puts something on my heart that I just have to share, and this is one of those times (and I promise, this will be a little more substantial than baseball or a move to Elderly).
I'm finding myself surrounded by hurting people right now. In my immediate circle of friends, there are some who are experiencing betrayal, divorce, job loss, and infertility. Others that I love are facing failing marriages, depression, and physical pain. I have yet another friend who is, as I type, sitting in an OR waiting room trying to pass the time until the surgeon arrives to tell her whether her loved one's open heart surgery was successful or not.
Then there are those families I know who are sort of a friend of a friend. Two particular people I've been praying for are children (ages 5 and 8) who spend each and every day fighting for their lives against cancer.
Of all these stories of disease, pain, and sadness, I can see a distinct difference which separates the two. Every single one of these people falls into one of two categories: those who hurt...and those who hurt with hope.
As I've been watching the Michael Jackson drama unfold over the past two weeks, I've been struck by the mourners I've seen coming from around the world to grieve over his death. I've seen men ripping at their clothes, women screaming out in agony, and countless others declaring that they didn't know how they could go on living in light of Michael Jackson's death.
The one and only emotion I have for those men and women is one of sadness. I hurt for them because in their worlds, this really does feel like the end. They can't see beyond the finite life of a mortal to the eternal life of the Savior.
Josh showed me something on YouTube last night that was so foreign to me, I thought surely it had to be a joke. A group of Green Extremists (my term, not theirs) was mourning the loss of a tree in the middle of a thick, green forest (yes, I'm serious). They were encircling the fallen tree, screaming out in anguish, and begging the tree to forgive them for not doing more to save it.
Our typical reaction to this scene might be one of scorn and mockery, but think about it for a second. These people have placed their hope in the created...not the Creator. So when that tree is gone, what do they have left?
Our pastor at The Well did a message series recently on the throne of our hearts. He pointed out that every single one of us puts something in that sacred place...it's just a matter of what it is. For some it's money. For others, it's another human being. Yet for others, it's something that God Himself created...like the tree. Paul warns us of this in Romans 1:25 when he says, "They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen."
As I'm walking through these trials with some--and praying from a distance for others--I'm seeing a marked difference between those who know God and those who just know of God. It's one thing to know that something or someone exists, yet it's a completely different story to truly know someone.
Take our newest little one, for example. When he grows up, he will know of his birth mother. He will know that she carried him in her belly for many, many months. He will know that she delivered him and most likely agonized over the decision to abandon him at the steps of the nearest orphanage. He will hopefully even know that she loved him.
But will he know her? I mean truly know who she is, her character, who she is in the depths of her heart?
Unfortunately, he will not.
Now take me. This new child and I will spend a great amount of time together. I will meet every single one of his needs. We will talk and interact daily, and I will constantly tell him how deeply I love him and how long I waited for him to come to me.
Now which one of these vitally important women in his life will he know?
It's no different with God. We can know that He exists. We can know that He loves us and that He wants us to be a part of His family. We can even acknowledge Him as our Creator...the Creator of all things (Colossians 1:16). But until we turn our hearts toward truly knowing Him, spending time in His Word, and putting Him on the throne, our hope will forever be in things of this world.
Do any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain? Do the skies themselves send down showers? No, it is you, O LORD our God. Therefore our hope is in you, for you are the one who does all this. -Jeremiah 14:22
Now that I've shared that meaty subject, I'll be back with more fluff for you tomorrow!