Which god?    God or god?

“Thou shalt have no other god before me.”  (Exodus 20:3 KJV)

Which God Saves Us home Something From My Day home

So - this one’s for my mother.

Be Still and know that I am God.

If it sounds familiar - or even if it doesn’t -
it’s from Psalm 46 - which starts with -

Ps 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Ps 46:2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

Ps 46:3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

Given the circumstances - sounds very appropriate.
Seems like one of those things we really don’t want to hear.

It’s like when God says - “Don’t be afraid” -
which obviously means there’s something that we are most likely going to be very afraid of.

By the time we reach the end of Psalm 46 - we read -

Ps 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Ps 46:11 The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

So we see -
in spite of what may come -
God will be with us.

The thing is - God never promised that nothing would ever go wrong.
Far from it -
He said that things would go wrong -
that we may even die for Him -
but that He would always be with us if we were faithful and loved Him -
and that in the end -
everything would be OK - for eternity.

For my mother -
for anyone in her situation -
this is a hard time.

She had a stroke about 4 years ago -
has been in a wheelchair ever since.

Then my father got Alzheimer’s.
They moved to an assisted living facility a few months ago.

Last week -

He suddenly passed away from a blood clot in his lung.

One can imagine the feelings -
being angry with God -
wanting to die and be with her husband of so many years -
having trouble believing in God -
not wanting to be in the assisted living place any more -
wanting to know God better -
wanting to get more involved in activities in the facility -
in other words -
all over the place -
an emotional roller coaster.

Oh yeah -
not wanting to show any emotion -
not really wanting to let it out -
not having other people see how she feels.

In some small way -
I can understand -
but only in a small way -
since I’ve never been with anyone that long.

When I think about what she’s going through -
it reminds me of the range of emotions displayed when Lazarus died in John 11:1-44

Rather than put in the entire sequence -
here’s a description of what happened.

Jesus received word that His friend Lazarus had died.
Rather than go to him right away -
Jesus stayed where He was for two more days.

By the time Jesus arrived, Lazarus had been dead for four days.
On His arrival, Martha (one of Lazarus’ sisters) had this to say -

Jn 11:21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.

Interesting -
she tells Jesus to His face that - essentially - it’s His fault that Lazarus is dead.
Sounds a lot like our normal reaction.

The exchange with Jesus continues -

22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

Jn 11:23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

Jn 11:24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

Jn 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;  26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Jn 11:27 “Yes, Lord,” she told him, “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”

After that - Martha went to get her sister (also Lazarus’ sister).

Here’s what Mary said to Jesus upon reaching Him -

Jn 11:32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

Wow -
same response as Martha -
same response as us.

Maybe it’s an OK response?

The scene continues -

Jn 11:33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.  34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

Jn 11:35 Jesus wept.

Jesus wept -
the emphasis is mine.

Jesus cried -
but why?

Was He crying because Lazarus was dead?


Jesus knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead -
there was no reason to cry because of his death.

No -
Jesus wept because of the sorrow of Lazarus’ family and friends.

But - while Jesus was feeling so much sorrow over the reaction of Mary, Martha and the others -
some had a different feeling about what Jesus was about -

Jn 11:36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

Jn 11:37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

So - we see a whole range of emotions -
from sorrow - because Lazarus is dead -
to anger - because Jesus could have saved Lazarus - but didn’t -
to mocking - because Jesus could help strangers - but not his friends.

In the end -
in case you aren’t aware -
here’s what happened -

Jn 11:38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.  39 “Take away the stone,” he said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

Jn 11:40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”

Jn 11:41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.  42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

Jn 11:43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

Fortunately -
Jesus wasn’t upset because of the emotions displayed -
in fact He wept because of them -
because He knew what the people didn’t know -
that Lazarus was going to be brought back to life.

And -
to take the event where it was meant to be -
as Martha said -

Jn 11:24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

The same is true for anyone who has been saved by the Grace of God -

We will be raised again after our death -

And in Heaven -
it won’t it a fallen world -
it will be life the way it was meant to be.

This is about the death of my father -
but I pray it was also about something else -
about him going home -
going to his creator -
going where life will be the way it was meant to be -
no blood clots -
no Alzheimer’s -
no family issues -
just life the way God intended.

That’s not something to be sorry about -
it’s something to be happy about -
for him.

For the living -
here on this earth though -
it’s a huge hole.
As I said -
I can only imagine a small portion of what my mother is going through.

I know all those thoughts are there.
I know it’s not about happiness -
I know it’s not always about the future - but about the here and now.

We can also know what Jesus’ reaction to all those emotions is -
because we saw it -
in the shortest verse in the Bible -
in John 11:35 -
Jesus wept.

He’s weeping over the pain and sorry my mother is going through.

He knows something we don’t know -
where each of us will spend eternity.

One of the pastors at my church always sends me verses to help get through difficult times.

One of them for this was Isaiah 43:18-19 -

Isa 43:18 “Forget the former things;

do not dwell on the past.

Isa 43:19 See, I am doing a new thing!

Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the desert

and streams in the wasteland.

My mother was talking about trying to think of the future -
about being together again in Heaven -
so I read this to her.

It’s so appropriate -
that God is doing things -
making a new way -
making things better -
and even as it’s happening -
we don’t perceive it -
we’re so focused on the here and now
that we miss even the things we know He can and will do.

A closing thought -
also from a verse from the same pastor -
from 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 -

2Co 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,  4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  5 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

When I was talking to my mother a couple evenings ago -
she mentioned how she asked someone who was in pain if she could say a Rosary for her -
BTW - the other person was not Catholic -
the answer was yes -
and before the end -
the other person was also saying it with her.

To me -
that’s just like the verses in 2 Corinthians.

Maybe she didn’t realize what was happening -
but I really believe it was an example of the last verse -

5 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

If she had her way -
if she was dead -
who would have said that Rosary?
Who would have prayed for the other woman’s pain?
Who would have given comfort?

I’ve told my mother before this -
and I truly believe -
that if we’re still alive -
God can use us -
He has something for us to do.

I said at the beginning that this was for my mother.

It is.

I’m going to show it to her.

With her blessing -
this is also for you.

If you’re somewhere in this article -
whether it be the one who has lost someone very dear to you -
someone who has left a huge hole in your life -
or if you’re providing support for someone in this situation -
this is for you.

If you’re not there now -
in all probability you will be -
so this is for you too.

What does God have for you -
does He have comfort in your pain -
or will He help you to comfort someone else in pain?

Either way -
He has something for you.

Either way -
it’s a blessing -
accept it with love -
let Jesus flow into you -
through you -
and onto others.

Be Still, and know that I am God

January 21, 2013

Be still, and know that I am God.

These words came to my mother on the night of January 17th.

Something happened that night -
something she didn’t know about at the time she felt these words -
my father - her husband of 62 years -
unexpectedly -
passed away that night.