One Minute Scrambled Eggs — The Next?

It happened this past Monday morning.  My mother and I were enjoying a breakfast of scrambled eggs with toast and coffee.  We were eating with speed as I had made an appointment for her to see a doctor because over the weekend she had developed a fiery red throat with white patches.  We both wondered if it could be strep.  The first disappointment came when the doctor she particularly likes was not on duty that day.  She felt thwarted again.  It’s been a tough year as she has disappointingly had a long bout of illness off an on.  Therefore, getting the sore throat, along with an appointment with a doctor she had never seen, was another nail of frustration hammered into an already nail-scarred door of “what next.”

Upon entering the doctor’s office he immediately asked if my mother’s breathing was always that labored.  She answered that she guessed it was asthma or allergy.  “You look grey,” the doctor stated as he grabbed his stethoscope.  After several moments of listening front and back and front again, he said to me that he would call an ambulance but as the hospital was so near I could probably get to Emergency quicker myself.

We got in the car and away I went.  The staff were waiting for us.  Quickly and efficiently my mother was hooked up with an EKG and monitoring of all sorts began.  The doctors discovered a pulmonary embolism.  “It’s big, big ,big,” the doctor said to me.  He then told me that if she hadn’t come to Emergency it was doubtful she would have lasted to the weekend.

She was sent to the Emergency Care Ward, hooked up to oxygen, and a regime of tests began.  The right side of her heart is strained as it over compensated to assist the lungs working hard to breathe while the blood clot was blocking free passage of air.  I was praying and sending out requests to everyone I knew to please join in lifting my mother’s needs to Father.

As the day faded into night, activity lessened around my mother.  I watched her lay there, pale, an oxygen tube attached around her face, very still, exhausted, eyes dull.  “Mom,” I said as I sat close to her, “we can surely thank God that you got that sore throat. It took you to the doctor.  We can surely be thankful that your regular doctor wasn’t in because this new one saw right away that something major was going on.  He got you to Emergency.  We can be thankful for a wise and efficient emergency team.  They saved your life.  It’s actually been a very good day.”  She smiled, nodded, and said, “We can surely be thankful.

“For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster,  to give you a future ad a hope.'”  Jeremiah 29:11

 

A Very Good Friday

Around the world today we will celebrate what we call “Good Friday.” It’s the time when we remember the day that Jesus was put upon the cross. Most people know something of the story of the death of Jesus and why He died. In fact, just a few days before His death, Jesus plainly told His followers what was about to take place. He said to them in John 12:32, “When I am lifted up on the cross, I will draw everyone to myself.”

Jesus, in fact, told His followers several times why He had come to earth, why He would die, and that He would come again after His death. When we read the words of Jesus, how plainly He spoke of these events, it can boggle our minds when we realize that His followers just didn’t get it. Their hopes were that Jesus would overthrow Rome and set Israel free from Roman rule.

We could easily stand in dismay and wonder at the thick headed disciples. Jesus clearly told them — so why didn’t they understand? Actually, we can’t be too hard on them because we are no different today. Throughout Scripture God has recorded His Words to us. Those words are full of hope and promise, and yet, like the disciples, we so often just don’t get it. We read what He says, but we make plans of our own. We especially want our plans to unfold — now! We tell God what we want, ask His blessings, then stand in dismay when those plans don’t materialize as we had thought they should.

When God doesn’t do as we want Him to, then our joy fades. We are perplexed and, like the disciples the night before Jesus was killed, we run away, scared and confused at the dashing of our hopes.

I encourage us all on this very Good Friday, to pay attention to our Father’s Words. They are true all the time. Meditate upon His promises. Look through Scripture and see how many promises you can find. It’s amazing! Let’s hope in what Father says, not in what we want Him to say at any given time in our lives. Remember, He always has your best interests in His heart. He has designed a perfect plan for you and for me. Yes, we can mess up those plans. Thankfully, we have a perfect and loving God who can take what we ruined and give it life again. After all, bringing light out of darkness and life out of death, is a specialty of His.

When Jesus said those words to His followers, “When I am lifted up on the cross, I will draw everyone to myself,” He was offering hope and promise such as the world had never seen. He was offering to take all our sin, all our hopelessness, all our despair, everything ugly in our lives upon Himself. As a result He could offer eternal forgiveness of sins, hope, joy, and He offered to make something beautiful of our lives.

He gave Himself to the death of the cross “to draw everyone to Himself.” Let’s stay focused on His plans for our lives and let’s leave the timing of those plans to His perfect strategy. The blueprint He has drawn for your life is something magnificent — and it’s all because of what happened on Good Friday.

Saying Yes

Yes or No.  It has to be one or the other.  No one can ever say “yes” and “no” to the same question.  That thought came to me this week as I was reading in the Old Testament book of Jeremiah.   In the first chapter, its’ recorded that God spoke to Jeremiah in verse 5.  He said, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”   We are informed in this verse that God had plans for Jeremiah even before he was born!  Amazing!

Guess what else this verse reveals?  It gives us an obvious conclusion that, if God knew His own plans for Jeremiah, then naturally, He knows His own plans for you and me, too.  We also know, because Scripture tells us so, that God’s plans are for our good.  Look at what He said to Jeremiah in 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, they are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”  Does that mean an easy road to travel?  No, it means the best road to make us strong — strong to face anything and get through it!

Jeremiah was a bit scared when he understood the plan that God Almighty had for him.  He felt inadequate.  Do you ever feel inadequate?  He felt nervous about the task.  Do you ever feel nervous about some task?  What did God say to Jeremiah in response to his fears?  In verse 8, He says, “Don’t be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you.”  Jeremiah’s task was to speak God’s word to the people but he was afraid of their faces.  What would the people think or do to him?

Our fears are no different today.  Perhaps we know God is leading us in a particular direction or perhaps He is keeping us in an uncomfortable situation and we want out.   “Is this my future?” we moan inwardly?  “This difficult road I’m on; is it to be forever?”  “What will people think of me?”  It’s so easy and understandable that we focus on our immediate surroundings rather than on the promises of God for our future.  Even so, we are always given freedom of choice.  We may say, “Yes,” to what He allows in our lives, or we may say, “No.”

Let’s keep in mind something else that our Father said to Jeremiah in 29:12-13; His words are for us, too.  “In those days when you pray, I will listen.  If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”   We can say, “Yes, God, I believe You,” or we can say, “No, God, I don’t believe You.”  It’s one or the other, but we can’t say both.

It’s okay to be scared and still choose to believe.  It’s okay to doubt that brighter days will come and still choose to believe.   It’s okay to come before our Father in fear and trembling.  The key is — always come; always say, “Yes, Father.”  Our Father will unfailingly give you everything you need to get through anything, no matter the pain, tears, and fears.  It may be raining on you today but the sun always shines after every storm.