Saturday, 3 August 2013

Glorifying God {rejoicing in affliction}

It wasn't my usual viewing and listening choice for my Saturday ironing.

I usually watch something light-hearted, or listen to some kind of audio book.

Not today.

Today, I watched a funeral.  A funeral for people I never met, and whose family I do not know.  Yet, the death of this couple touched my heart, and I wanted to watch the live-streaming of the service.

The couple was Chad and Courtney Phelps.  They were a young couple, only in their mid-twenties, with a little 2-year old son, Chase.  He was the Youth Pastor at Colonial Hills Baptist Church, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Both this young couple, and a mother-of-five, Tonya Weindorf, were tragically killed one week ago.  Their Church youth were returning from Church camp, when tragedy struck.  The coach they were travelling in had a mechanical problem, and it crashed, and all three died, including the unborn, baby girl that Courtney was carrying, but Chase, the son, was spared.

So, so sad.

Such a heartbreak to hear of such a thing.

Incredibly hard to understand.

It really struck me in a deep way.  My husband is a Pastor, I am pregnant, and I am a mother of many children as Tonya was. Things that are so near to my own heart and circumstances.

When I discovered that the service was streaming, just as I was ironing, I felt compelled to listen in.

It was heartbreaking.  I cried.  A lot.  My heart ached, right beside those brothers and sisters in the Lord, who had lost their family members.  Both families personally spoke of their love and thankfulness for the lives of Chad and Courtney.  Theirs was a testimony of a couple who were devoted to the Lord, and working for Him.  For helping others.  For caring and supporting those in need.

Yet, the Lord saw fit to take them, so young in life.

The words of the family members were heavy with emotion, but none so much as Chad's younger brother.

He witnessed the death of his brother and sister-in-law.  I cannot possibly imagine the horror of seeing such a thing.  However, it was his words - spoken through the sobs of a brother, broken with sorrow - that really spoke to my heart.

I know I have not got the wording perfect, but he said something almost exactly like this...

"God is most glorified when we are most satisfied with in Him"

 He was deeply, deeply saddened.  Heart-broken.  Yet, he was satisfied with the providence of God at such a time.  He was accepting of God's will, to take the lives of those he held dear.  By having that satisfaction in Christ, he was glorifying God the most.

In ALL our lives, we bring glory to God by being satisfied and content with what God chooses for us.  No matter what our circumstances - whether joyful or tragic - if we are satisfied with God, then we bring glory to His precious name.

I wept with those who wept, as he spoke those words.  They challenged my heart.  Do I bring glory to God, in ALL circumstances?  Do I show others that I am satisfied with Christ - that He alone is my all in all - when times of trouble and testing come?  I fear I do not.  I still am tempted to look to people and things for satisfaction, when God is all I need.  I need to rest and rely entirely upon Him alone, for my joy and satisfaction.

If he, through his heart-rending tears, could sob those words, how can I live out anything other than that in my own life of blessing and comfort?

I was challenged today.  Challenged to be satisfied with Christ alone.  Challenged to appreciate each day, no knowing if it could be my last.  Challenged to appreciate my loved ones, because I don't know if it could be THEIR last day.  Challenged to live my life as a living sacrifice, being willing and ready to say "for to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain".  Challenged to reach others with the gospel, whenever I can.

It was such an amazing blessing to hear of many who have come to saving faith in Christ, through hearing about the life and death of Chad and Courtney.  Amazing.  God is using their lives, through their DEATH, to bring people to a saving knowledge of Himself.  Only God can bring about such a work.

The gospel was brought so very clearly.

I was challenged to make sure that I do the same in my life.

Did you know we are all sinners?  Chad, Courtney and Tonya were sinners.  I am a sinner.  We are ALL sinners. We are sinners, who must be separated from God, because God is pure and holy, and sin cannot be where He is.  Sin must be punished.  It is the breaking of God's law, and as His word says, if we have erred in one, we have broken them all.  Sinners, deserving death and hell, and heading that was if we continue in our sin.

But, there's good news! The "gospel". God, in His love and mercy, not willing that any should perish, sent His only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to die in the place of sinners. He bled and died, on the cross, to take the punishment for sin. It's not complicated. We can be saved from the eternal punishment for sin, so very simply.  We don't have to do good works, or live a perfect life, or go to Church.  We simply need to accept that we are sinners, believe that Christ dies for ours sins, and confess our sins to Him, asking Him to save us.  The, like Chad and Courtney, we need to live for Him. All out for Christ.

Maybe you are not saved, and can see your need for salvation.  Trust in Christ as your Saviour, and you can know that you will be with Him, in heaven, when you die - as Chad, Courtney and Tanya are today.  It's so simple, and yet so necessary.

Maybe you are saved, but your life is not fully given up to the Lord, and you are not serving Him and following after Him as you should? You need to have that same spirit as they had - willing to live, and willing to die, to the glory of Almighty God.  Giving over your life in complete surrender to His will, to do with as He pleases.

I go to bed tonight, appreciating those nearest and dearest to me, and wanting to hug them close and be thankful for every moment I have with them.


I will leave you with the song that was sung at the funeral today.  I had never heard it before, but the words are so precious.

I pray that my life, not my own, will be as theirs was - to the praise and glory of Christ alone. 

Pray for their families, especially in the days ahead, as they live with their loss, and seek to bring up both Chase, without his parents, and those 5 children, and Mr Weindorf, without Tonya. 

His robes for mine: O wonderful exchange!
Clothed in my sin, Christ suffered ‘neath God’s rage.
Draped in His righteousness, I’m justified.
In Christ I live, for in my place He died.

I cling to Christ, and marvel at the cost:
Jesus forsaken, God estranged from God.
Bought by such love, my life is not my own.
My praise-my all-shall be for Christ alone.

His robes for mine: what cause have I for dread?
God’s daunting Law Christ mastered in my stead.
Faultless I stand with righteous works not mine,
Saved by my Lord’s vicarious death and life.

His robes for mine: God’s justice is appeased.
Jesus is crushed, and thus the Father’s pleased.
Christ drank God’s wrath on sin, then cried “‘Tis done!”
Sin’s wage is paid; propitiation won.

His robes for mine: such anguish none can know.
Christ, God’s beloved, condemned as though His foe.
He, as though I, accursed and left alone;
I, as though He, embraced and welcomed home!

No comments :

Post a Comment