A heavy heart - and a God who gives immeasurable peace.

My heart is heavy tonight.

The weight of different bits of information I received today has grown heavier as the hours pass, and I find myself asking the Lord, "What are You doing?  How will this be used to glorify You? Will people come to know You through these tragedies and trials?  Will believers be jump-started to take their faith seriously as they process these happenings?  You control life and death, Lord.  You are not surprised or shaken by the actions of men.  But we have no control ... and we are continually surprised and shaken.  And sometimes trying to figure out the 'why' and the 'what' causes more frustration and pain than letting go ... and trusting You in the unknown.
Reveal Yourself in these circumstances, Lord.  In the tiniest of details, and in the big picture. People need You.  Your wisdom.  Your peace.  Your SAVING grace.  Let them see You, Lord.  Please.  Let them see YOU."

The death of a man.  He was a beloved father, son, brother, nephew, grandson, and friend.  And tonight they cry and grieve and mourn the loss of him ... knowing they will never see him, hug him, hear his voice, hear him laugh, or talk to him again. 
Such a helpless feeling. 
There was no preparation, no warning, no goodbye.  Just the phone call that he was gone.
And now hearts are breaking ... and weeping will last through the night.
But the Lord will be there in the morning, calling out, bidding those who know Him to "Come." And find peace in Him. 
Just as He calls out to all He came to save ... for He desires that all men should come to repentance ... everyone - if they will accept the gift of salvation He so willingly and freely gives.
Lord, let them see You in their pain.  Do not let this death be in vain.  Let it push people to seek after You with all of their hearts.
They need You, Lord.  Not just to endure the pain of this loss.  But to endure life - and life eternal.
Meet them where they are, Lord.  Open their eyes to the truth of who YOU are.  And may they answer the call.

The death of a ministry ... because of sin and pride.
The results:  Confusion.  Hurt.  Disillusionment.  Anger.  Bitterness.
But the Lord is bigger than all of it.
He forgives every sin, large or small, when a repentant heart cries out to Him.  Whether it was one day or a decade of disobedience ... God forgives His children.
He restores.
He heals.
But in the hours, days, and months between the sin and the redemption ... we must wait for the Lord to work.  And we must trust Him to work - in His time, and in His way.

The death of dreams, skills, a career ... because of a devastating illness that has left a woman without the ability to live the life she once knew.  The life she loved.
Depression.  Sadness.  Hopelessness.  Family life crumbling.  She does not see the end.
But still she clings to her Savior.
Through the heartache.  Through the pain.  She knows He is REAL.  And she continues to trust. Even when she doesn't think she can go on.
And He is there.
Hearing every word of anguish and complaint.
Watching every tear.
And holding her when she breaks down and weeps in the darkness.
He is there.
Because He is God.  And He cares for her.

Death is real.  It is the end of every man, and every woman.  And we cannot pretend differently. Today is the day of repentance.  TODAY is the day we decide to continue following self - or surrender self to follow the Savior and live forever with Him in the splendor and glory of heaven.  
T O D A Y.  We have no promise of tomorrow.

But there is another kind of death - the death of relationships, dreams, ministry, marriages - a death that never allows for closure or healing because the person/thing still exists.  But the pain, the consequences, the broken trust ... they are real.
Forgiveness needs to be sought - and granted.
Humility needs to be captured - and put on with expediency and grace.
Trust needs to be exercised - and patience must be allowed to grow and mature.

This world is full of sorrow and trials.  It will never change.  There is only one hope - one joy - one answer.
Jesus Christ.
The author and perfecter of our faith.
The Son of God who takes AWAY the sins of the world, and replaces them with mercy, allowing us to stand blameless before a God who hates our sin, but loved us enough to send His Son to die in our place.

The end of a life.
The end of a reputation and legacy.
The end of independence.

No one would ask for any of these ... the pain is great ... the effects are far reaching.  But in all of them, the Lord is GOOD.  His mercies never end.  He is forever faithful.  He will never leave us or forsake us.  He loves His creation.  And He desires that all of His creation would love Him.  Freely. Willingly.  With joy.  Our God is not a God who drags people kicking and screaming into the Kingdom.  He lets us choose.  He is patient with us.  He is long-suffering.  Waiting for us to turn to Him - seek after Him - RUN to Him - and fall into His arms, knowing that He is the ONLY One who can heal our hurts, soothe our pain, and fill us with the peace that surpasses all understanding.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  
Psalm 34:18

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