Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Whiter Than Snow

Christmas Eve was a mix of emotions this year. In the middle of opening presents with my family, Bear got a phone call from his dad. His uncle, Andy, had taken his own life. It's a very long, complicated story. This uncle is the one who Bear spent most of his childhood with on vacations, holidays, and just ordinary day-to-day life. It's the first loss that has hit close enough to make an impact for Bear.

Andy lost his wife about 4 years ago to a culmination of brain cancer and a life-long battle with myotonia. His two sons battle the same disease as their mother. Bear said it beautifully the other night when talking about it with me. "Andy wasn't a weak man. He was a defeated man." This is so true.

defeat: to overcome in a contest, election, battle, etc.; prevail over; to frustrate; thwart; to eliminate or deprive of something expected.

The enemy's lies overcame Andy in a battle this side of Heaven. It seems as if the enemy temporarily thwarted God's plans for that family. It feels as though we've been deprived of something expected...longer time with Andy. But God's still Sovereign. He's still on His Throne & He's still in control, no matter what our reality seems to be.

The day before Christmas Eve, I studied this passage in Isaiah and it has turned into my prayer for the Keeling/Ferguson/Parrish families.

"And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it. No lion will be there, nor any ravenous beast; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, and those the LORD has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away." Isaiah 35:8-10

I plead that the Lord will show them the way through their darkness and grief, that they will be protected from anyone or anything that threatens to devour them & their faith in this vulnerable time, for them to be rescued by the Lord and return to praising Him with singing & everlasting joy, and that their sorrow & sighing will not just go away...that it will flee away.

As I drove to Grandma & Grandpa Keeling's house on Christmas Night, I pondered all the events of the past 24 hours. The kids were asleep in the back and Bear had gone on before me, so it was just me and God. Snow began to fall and it didn't stop as I prayed for the family & all those I love. I turned the radio off as I tried to concentrate on the roads since it doesn't snow in Georgia. In the silence, He began to whisper a familiar tune in my heart.

"Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole;
I want Thee forever to live in my soul;
Break down every idol, cast out every foe—
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow,
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow."

It was the 5th & 6th verses that really spoke to me though.

"Lord Jesus, Thou seest I patiently wait;
Come now and within me a new heart create;
To those who have sought Thee Thou never said’st “No”—
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

The blessing by faith, I receive from above;
Oh, glory! my soul is made perfect in love;
My prayer has prevailed, and this moment I know,
The blood is applied, I am whiter than snow.

Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow,
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow."

That's the whole point of Christmas. Emmanuel, God with us. He came so that we don't have to live in defeat. Oh, I pray that God creates a new heart in all of the family and that the enemy doesn't prevail! I hope that this will not cause others to turn their backs on God but cause us to rush to His open arms and receive the blessing of faith that is ours in Jesus! He is able to wash this grief away and cleanse us from all bitterness, sorrow, guilt, or shame.

Bear was asked to read a passage of Scripture at the funeral on Friday. He was given Romans 8:31-39 and it fits so well.

"What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Please join me in praying for our family this week and in the coming weeks as we sort through this attack. Pray for peace and restoration...two of our Lord's specialties.


His Jules said...

Oh Kristen, I am so sorry and I will be praying for you and Bear and his family during this tragedy. I loved your post such insight through tragedy - that is His grace at work in the best way.
Love you,

Melia said...

What a lesson to be learned from such sadness. Praying for your family. That you and Bear will have the strength to continue letting God's light shine through you both so that the family will be able to find their way back to Him who washes us white as snow!

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