This past weekend was a joyous one!
Celebrating our precious fathers and all they represent. Such a precious gift.
For us, however, it was also a weekend where many tears were shed.
Although many shy from a funeral, I truly consider it an honor to celebrate the life of a loved one that has passed on. Even though my eyes welled up uncontrollably with tears as I empathized with the families, they were also tears of bitter sweet joy because I was certain in my heart that those lost were now celebrating with their maker in heaven.
Death also puts life into perspective. A beautiful perspective that I certainly need to be reminded of. Death can truly bring beauty to those willing to receive it.
We go about our daily lives, stressing about frivilous things. Getting angry about small incidences or panicing because we are late for a meeting or an event.
All of the suden, death stops us in our tracks.
It makes us pause, even if for just a moment to realize our lives are just a blink before it's our turn to go...Before someone is singing and praying over us after we have taken our last breath.
One funeral we attended in particular was that of Mr. Edwards...a man of incredible integrity.
Mr Edwards had everything this world could offer.
The CEO of a major Health Insurance company, homes in several states across the country, a beautiful caring wife, a loving family...and yet to him it meant nothing without Christ.
He was full of LIFE. He was full of Christ.
He had the humility, grace, and faith that could move mountains. The impact he made on the community was because of his heart...not because of his works.
Such events, however, bring questions along with them.
The questions so many ponder in death:
"How can God let us suffer?"
"Is there really a God?" and
"Is there really a heaven?"
Mr. Edwards was sure of his faith.
He suffered, but he praised God!
He was certain of where he was going after the evil grip of cancer had taken his last breath.
Of course, he couldn't imagine being away from his family, but he was exuberant at the thought of meeting his maker.
But how could he be so sure where he was going? How could he love a God that let him suffer?
The residing pastor, Pastor Steve Bond from Summit Church in Nevada gave a beautiful message as he spoke on this great man's life and on these questions.
He spoke on Lazarus. He spoke to the depths of my soul...
Lazarus was brought back to life in a miracle performed by Christ. Jesus spent time among the family after Lazarus had passed. He felt their pain. His heart ached for them.
In fact, this is one instance where we read the famous words uttered, "Jesus wept." A phrase so critical to let us know that God hears us.
He aches for us.
He doesn't just shed a tear.
He actually "weeps."
We live in a world that suffers because of our own nature and free will. God doesn't want us to suffer, but when we do, He does feel our pain.
Jesus wept not because he was sad for Lazarus, but because he empathized with those who mourned his death. He loves us beyond measure and aches when we ache.
In fact, the Lord was very intentional when he wrote His word. Jesus is found to weep in the new testament,...but we never once read about him laughing.
Jesus felt for others.
Jesus was FULL of LIFE! BUT he was very intentional with others. He took his time here on earth very seriously and it is never his intention to let us suffer. Jesus IS love. He wants us to flourish.
This usually brings us to our next questions..."Is there really a God and is there a heaven?"
Many people say, "If I lived back then and saw a miracle like this man being brought to life from death, then I would have believed. Since I cannot see it now, it is so hard for me to believe."
The ironic truth is...half of those that actually saw this miracle of Lazaruss...not only denied Christ,...they plotted to kill him.
Taking that into account, we really cannot say that, "Seeing is believing." Those who witnessed this miracle STILL didn't believe.
The Truth is, when we Believe...THAT is when we finally start to see!
Mr. Edwards believed first.
He had a life time of studying about his faith so it was steeped in not only emotion, but also biblical fact.
Mr. Edwards was sure of his faith. He had the Holy Spirit living inside him.
This is because Mr. Edwards did not need to "See to believe."
Mr Edwards lived a full life because he believed first.
Please, don't wait for a miracle. If you are unsure, please don't wait to see "something" and still not be moved to truly believe.
Don't say you will believe when you see because then, you will miss out on so much.
Life can be so, so hard!! Please...try to let Him love you.
If you are searching...start believing.
If you are hurting...start believing.
If you are unsure about your life purpose...start believing.
Believe...and it is then that we truly begin to see...