Once, when I was working in a teaching hospital, a woman was admitted to the ER, having gone into a premature labor with her first child. She was in her 40s; she and her husband had been thrilled that she was able to conceive, and were looking forward to a new life together that would include this miracle baby. They had married only a year prior.
As she labored, things were not going well; the docs had already contacted her husband and he was on his way to the hospital.
Things progressed; her child was still-born.
While she was still in the ER, things having moved along very quickly …no time to admit her to the OB floor …a gurney was rolled past her cubicle and on it…was her husband.
He had been involved in an automobile accident at the intersection next to the hospital proper, and was pronounced dead in the ER.
She saw him being rolled by, as the staff worked on him. He had been rolled in next to her space, so she also heard everything that accompanies a full working code where the staff is desperately doing everything in their power to bring a person back.
The hospital staff did not know he was her husband.
As everything began to be sorted out…and she was told that, yes…it was him…yes, he is gone…no one knew how to approach her.
All words…were trite, meaningless and without comfort.
The Administrators said the only thing they could do was to see that no bills were incurred.
The various docs tried to bring some sort of solace to her, also promising that all the medical services involved would not submit bills. Neither Nursing or Social services seemed able to offer anything but lip service ..
We all cried.
She did not.
I remember her stolid expression, her uncomprehending, staring eyes, and the sense that there were no words that could begin to break through the horror that had just occurred, up-ending her very life. (Her husband’s accident happened at the moment of the baby’s death.)
All she wanted was to go home. Her family came for her, and she left.
Recently, the memory of this little, broken family came to mind.
Did she believe in God? I do not know. If she knew God, did the events of that terrible day strengthen her faith, or make her bitter; turning her against the only true Comforter that she could ever know?
How quickly a life is changed, a life taken, a family torn apart by a crisis, by death.
When their day began, I imagine a man going off to work…perhaps a kiss goodby….a woman beginning her usual activities of the morning. Without a clue of what was to come.
Our days might begin much the same, with no promise that any of us will be here in the evening. Our daily habits carrying us along oblivious to the external forces that are swirling all about us…those unseen and sometimes malevolent powers that rule the earth and affect the lives of all…even those of us who believe.
We are promised trials and tribulations. PROMISED.
** 2Th 1:3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;
1:4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:
1:5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: **
For, just as we are buried in Christ’s death when we first believe, we, as his body….will also endure and share the pain, suffering, alone-ness, scorn…that He suffered prior to His death on the cross.
We all will suffer. Some greatly, some to a lesser degree. (But who; who on this earth can determine these degrees of tribulation given each who is truly in Christ? Perhaps having a hangnail might hold the same level of travail as one who suffers an amputation! We cannot know this, and so should not compare each person’s burden against another’s, or our own with a fellow child of God. Pride can rear it’s ugly head if one is not careful, for even in suffering there is a human tendency to place one “trial” above another’s…this can happen if we take our eyes off of Christ Jesus.)
One thing is sure. Every iota of pain that one endures…be it physical, or emotional..it is ultimately for God’s glory. It is meant for someone else to see…to witness.
** Rom 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
** 2Co 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. **
The world is watching us, as each new seemingly endless “problem” hits us. Do we complain? Do we murmur about it? Are we gripers with sad, mournful faces?
Remember the tribes of Israel in the desert. They were given all they needed during that time…their shoes never wore out, their food was provided every day, their clothing never aged, and God walked with them.
** Deu 8:3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.
8:4 Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years. **
Yet, they murmured. And grumbled. And forgot how bad things were for them back in Egypt….longing to go back …forever looking behind them and not looking ahead, preparing for all that God has promised them when they started out on their Exodus from the land where they were slaves and prisoners. Ungrateful.
Their reward? All who murmured died in that desert, and until that generation had passed away, no one could pass into the Promised Land. Forty years.
** Num 14:27 How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me.
14:28 Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you:
14:29 Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me,
14:30 Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.
14:31 But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised.
14:32 But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness.
14:33 And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness.
14:34 After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise.
14:35 I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die. **
Now, we have a promised Land ahead of us, if we truly believe. And we also have been given all that we need, the moment we believed!
** Php 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
4:20 Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen. **
** 1Co 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. **
We will soon be called up into that Heaven at a time known only to The Lord Himself, and that event is called the Rapture, after which we will be eternally with out our Lord and Savior.
** 1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words. **
But there is a judgement that we will face…before the Bema Seat of Jesus Christ, when our deeds on earth will stand the test of fire…are they wheat and chaff..or gold and jewels, which will only be further refined from that tremendous heat…and will determine whether a crown is to be rewarded to us.
If one is a murmurer or a complainer…well, there’s certainly chaff-like fodder for the fire. No reward there. How sad to have lived an entire life as a follower of Christ…and have nothing to show for it…nothing to show to HIM when our “works” …those works done after we are saved….are judged for their truth …done in (supposedly) God’s name!!!
** Rom 14:10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
14:11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
14:12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. **
The time is short. We are commanded to run this race with a goal of being a winner. The Holy Spirit will direct you; this is not a prideful thing, but a command. As we become more like Him, our “fruits” will become more pure, more worthy of Him.
Complaining is not a part of what we are instructed to do. We are to bear our burdens with joy and long -suffering…even helping others within the body as they follow their path, and come to moments of crisis.
If you were that woman in the emergency room on that rainy, sad day….how would you have reacted when all was said and done? Could you have thrown yourself before God and thanked Him for trusting you enough to give you such a burden? Would you have endured the grief and continued on the straight path, with no recrimination? Or …would you have cursed God and become bitter.
We always have a choice. Go for the gold; grin and bear it…or succumb to the sorrows in your life!
Talk to Abba. To PaPa. To Daddy. (I love the story of a French cleric, who, when in prayer, imagines himself climbing into and then curled up in the lap of his very own Daddy.) just as you might have been able to go to your earthly father with your problems…even moreso is our God available to us at every moment. Every single moment, in HIS omniscience!
My prayer is that no one would have to endure such moments, but reality is that they happen. Every day. With no respect of persons.
God is no “respecter” of persons.
** Rom 2:11 For there is no respect of persons with God. **
And I still pray for the woman who faced such a day, so long ago. That she had, and even now has… comfort in The Lord; looking forward to the time that she will finally meet her child, and that the person standing next to her baby…will be the man who was taken up at the same time.
God is good…His mercy endures forever.