Initially I had plans to write about some of the difficulties of starting an Etsy shop when you are basically housebound. That was until my uncle called and said that he was coming to deliver some stuff to our house this afternoon. Even though he was in the middle of emptying my grandmother’s apartment due to her recent death, the fact that he was making the near 3 hour round trip out of the blue struck me as odd. Due to another potential reaction to the super safe iron for pregnant women, my appointment for Monday’s iron infusion had been delayed for another week. And since he and my aunt had made the long trip to our house Sunday to deliver a bunch of furniture, this sudden, unexpected delivery caught my attention, and I could not help but think that God was sending him to our house for a bigger reason.
For the next two hours, except for the fact that both my mother and I felt miserable, things went smoothly, and it seemed that my initial instincts were unfounded. That was until I remembered that the day before we had missed a call from the hospital nurse to see how my mother was doing after her four or five day stay in the hospital almost a week ago due to extremely high blood pressure and chest pain. I did not think too much of the call, and decided that despite the pain I was in, I had better clean as many of the dishes before my uncle arrived, until my sister came rushing over with the phone and insisted that I needed to talk to the hospital nurse.
Happy Sabbath everyone. I hope that everyone is enjoying a wonderful Sabbath day. I know that for me and my family it is going to be rather tough since it has only been a few days since my grandmother died. She fell asleep in Jesus a few days ago, on my Mother’s birthday. It was a mixed blessing as it is never easy to lose someone you love and even harder on a special occasion like your birthday. But it was a blessing because my Grandmother was suffering. She was 101 years old, blind, and a few weeks earlier had had a stroke that made communicating very difficult for her.
While it is never easy to say goodbye to a loved one even for a few hours, deep down we all know that the Lord did the wise and compassionate thing in letting her fall asleep until He comes again. And from the signs in the sky, in politics, nature, and at every turn, we have good reason to trust that our separation will not be long.
Ironically, I started creating the Bible games and quiz videos because of my grandmother. I had been creating Sudoku, activity books, and notebooks to sell on KDP for a little over a year and I was seeking a way to honor God with my new skills when one day my mother told me how frustrated she was that she was unable to read her Bible because she could not see and she was starting to forget some of the verses.
I felt so bad for her and wondered what could be done to help her. After a bit of reflection and prayer the Lord brought to my mind a new program that he had sent my way that turned text of multiple languages into speech. I was looking forward to showing her the videos I was making and had had just released the first few videos when her health began to rapidly decline. Sadly I was never able to show or tell her about the videos I had made to try and help her remember God’s word.
I wish I knew why my wish of helping my grandmother study and remember the word of God was not allowed to happen. But even though that wish cannot come true, it would be my greatest joy if even in a small way, these videos can prove a blessing to you and your family, and help you draw closer to God, and in some way help you to build a foundation for eternity.
Hope, it is something that we all desperately need to keep us going. With a good dose of hope, we would not have a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Because it is hope that that cheers us up when everything around us seems glum and impossible.
It is hope that takes hold of the strong arms of trust and faith to keep our heads above the billowing waves. When discouragement seeks to suffocate us and build such a high wall that we will never be able to enjoy another ray of sunlight again, it is hope that points us to the great promises of God and reminds us of the importance of trusting in things that though yet unseen, will one day become a wondrous reality.
Like a vitalizing tonic, hope has the power to revive the nearly dead soul. Bringing it back from the brink of lifelessness into a vibrant and purpose driven life.
There are days when following the Lord just seems to come naturally. Then there are times when everything goes wrong, and my eyes settle upon the problems of life, instead of focusing on the beacon of hope that Jesus longs to shine upon my troubled path. Caught up in the frustration of my struggles to make even a modest success of my life and the never ending disappointment as something always seems to come along and snatch away my few, hard won pennies of achievement, I forget that my eyes are supposed to look steadfastly upon Jesus and not down at my trembling feet.
Sometimes, worn out by sickness and chronic pain and the discouraged by the constant battle to take one step forward only to be pushed back five or ten, I begin to look away. Without even realizing it, my attention begins to focus on myself and before I know what has happened, all the problems of life rise before me eyes. Instead of dwelling upon the promised joys to come, my heart begins to mediate upon the quiet pain that I try to bury deep within some forgotten corner of having to watch all of life’s dearest dreams pass me by.
As I look at my life, and behold all the times that I worked so hard only to get sick or have some financial crisis come along and tear my dream into pieces, all the hopes that now lay in ashes at my feet, and all the longings of life that will never be, discouragement fills my heart and before I know it has created a thick wall between me and the path of life.
In that moment all I can see is my hopeless state. Pain, frustration, want, loneliness, and all that makes the heart to ache seems to be my lot in life. Instead of feasting upon the promise of the heavenly Canaan where sin and pain are unknown and of the day when the years of famine will be swallowed up in an instant, my eyes have been held captive by the misery of the hear and now.
Thankfully the Lord is full of mercy. And even though I made a mistake in taking my eyes off His wondrous promises to focus upon the wilted landscape of this barren desert, God lifts up His mighty arm, and sends bright beams of light to break through the darkness. Tenderly He reminds me that this world is not my home. This life of sorrow and trail is but for a moment.
True, my pain and sorrows may be great, and my basket of disappointed hopes heavy. And if this short life, that at its best may last a little over a hundred years, were all that I had to look forward to, then I would have every right to shed a fountain of tears. Then I would be justified in filling the ocean with the deep rivers that would have every reason to pour forth from my eyes as I mourned my pitiful state.
But God has made a way of escape from the sentence of death. He has paid the price of my sins and although I have done nothing to deserve it, has opened the door to eternal life. An eternal life filled and overflowing with opportunities that I have never imagined. A life where I will build my own home, walk golden streets, speak with unfallen angels, investigate the far flung corners of the universe, take a ride on the back of a giant dinosaur, swim in the river of life, eat from the Tree of Life, compose my own music, understand the inner workings of bacteria, and more.
For ceaseless ages I will have the opportunity to study the amazing story of salvation. To understand the intricacies of earth’s history as never before as link by link I behold how God’s hand was moving behind the scenes to reach the hearts of men. For endless ages I will be filled with wonder as I begin to see the golden chord that worked from the fall of man, up to the final days of earth’s history, and how a seemingly small event three or four thousand years ago, played a role in reaching my heart today.
Best of all, even greater than never feeling worn out and tired, never having to worry about earning enough money to pay the bills, greater yet than being able to eat any dish from the heavenly garden without fear of an allergic reaction or enduring nausea, I will have the opportunity to once again hold the hands of loved ones whom death’s cruel hands had taken from me. Having been woken up from their all to long sleep at the sound of Jesus trumpet, we will once more enjoy each other company. For all of eternity we will work and play together. We will gather together at Jesus feet, and like the disciples did, we will spend hours feasting upon the wonderful words of truth and wisdom. Our hearts overcome by gratitude as He tells us how He held our hands on our day of sorrow, of the many ways that He worked to rescue us from sin, and sings to us the very song that He sung on the day that we accepted His mercy.
As I listen to that still small voice, reminding me of a few of the many wonders that I will have a chance to enjoy on that great day, I cannot help but forget my sorrows. The wall of despair that blocked my eyes from the path of hope quickly begins to crumble as I think not of today’s pain nor dwell upon its sorrows. But instead I once more look forward to the glorious day when my pilgrimage is over and my days of trial and heartache have at last come to an end. When at last my empty years have been swallowed up by the endless years of plenty.
In that day the tears of today, though all to important seeming now, will fade into the background, as my eyes behold a billion glorious that I could never have imagined. And life, such an active and happy life like I had never dreamed possible, becomes mine to enjoy for evermore.
I was watching this video today and I thought it was fascinating. Could it really be that elements of the gospel are actually interwoven within the Chinese language? I know that there is quite a fair list of languages where the seventh day of the week is a form of Sabbath such as Spanish where Saturday or the seventh day of the week, is called Sabado. But to think that elements of the story of the flood, the fall of man, and even the salvation story have been memorialized in language is quite exciting and faith building.
It was so exciting, our dream of moving to the country seemed like it was going to come true. My parents had brought three beautiful acres in the country, and it would not be long before we left the city life for the peace and quiet of the country. My father was so excited that he every time we visited the he would pull down a few of the thin trees that would easily give way.
He even went to the store and purchased a chain saw so he could cut down and clear the land.
Some days, when the pain is mild and my energy is surprisingly high, it is easy to get out of bed and face the changes of an increasingly strange and hectic world. But some days, when sorrow and pain blend together, when trial and heartache haunt my door, it is tempting to curl up in a ball of agony and let the stress of this world gain control.
But on those days there is one hope, one blessed beacon of promise that keeps me afloat, and that is the promise that He is coming. That in spite of today’s spiking heartaches and fears, there is a reason to get out of bed and smile. That even though my dreams may lay in crumbled heaps around me, even though chronic sickness has robbed me of many a joy, I still have a reason to lift up my head and sing songs of praise.
Because today with all of its trials and hardships is not the end. This world full of crime, hate, sickness, and death is not the fruition of my hopes. Like Abraham, Issac, and Jacob I am just a pilgrim in search of a better land. But unlike them, my story is not set at the beginning, but at the end. Instead of thousands of more years, this world is lucky to have a dozen years. And by the way things are changing, and it seems like we are descending into madness, often wonder if we will even see the next decade.
Faith, it is a very small word containing only five humble letters, yet it certainly is a mighty word. When everything is going right, and the road of life is quiet and well paved, it is really easy to say I have faith and think that you understand what that word really means. But how can you? What faith is required when life is at its best and want and fear have no place in your life.
What faith is required to walk on plush carpets and eat ice cream by the pool? What faith do you have to rely on when your life is like a romantic postcard or an add for a tropical resort? What exercise of heart and mind is called for when your life could be flashed up for the poster image of successful because your every want and need is met for years to come. When your beliefs line up with the crowd and are excepted at every turn as the only way to live, saying I have a measure of faith takes neither courage nor self-denial.
It is not until trial and adversity hunt your steps, when discouragement and disappointment hunt you down like a pack of hungry hound dogs that you really get a glimpse of the depths and power of faith. Because it is then that you have to chose to hold on to faith. It is then that you have to chose to grab hold and cling to faith, that it become more than words.
From our comfortable arm chairs it is easy to look back at the mighty men of faith and say, I would do the same. Or to look down at those who fell short of the mark and say, I would never do that. Nothing would make me lose my faith. I would never chose the comforts of this life over faith in Jesus. If I were in that garden, or if I had been King Saul, or if I had been so and so I would have done this and not done that.