God’s Grace In Our Trials
(Facing The Death Of Saved Loved Ones)
Praying that this page would be a source of strength, comfort, and hope to other believers dealing with the loss of saved loved ones, or going through the Valley of the Shadow of Death with them at this present time. The following studies, links, poems, etc. were taken from the various things that provided comfort to my sister (Lori) and I during the months leading up to and following the loss of our Mom – or should I say, leading up to her Homegoing to Heaven! Some of the links no longer work or the websites are no longer online, and therefore those specific links have been removed. Any links to pages on Earnestlycontending.com have been changed to where they are now located on our new server (as of 2021).
Daily Devotional for Saturday January 22nd/05
Since yesterday, I have been thinking of someone’s unplanned influence in my life. Since yesterday, I have been praying for the family of this man who has now gone to be with the Lord. Darrel is even now walking the streets of gold. Please pray for Barb, his wife, and for their daughter – for the Lord to comfort them and give them peace and grace at this time.
Since yesterday, when I found out about his homegoing, I have been thinking…
Today was his funeral.
Tomorrow, I will share a little of how he influenced me – unexpectedly – but planned all along by our Heavenly Father.
In Jesus’ precious name,
Along the golden streets
A stranger walks tonight
With wonder in his heart –
Faith blossomed into sight.
He walks and stops and stares,
And walks and stares again
At vistas of loveliness
Beyond the dreams of men.
He who was feeble, weak,
And shackled to a bed
Now climbs eternal hills
With light and easy tread.
He has escaped at last
The cruel clutch of pain;
His lips shall never taste
Her bitter cup again.
Oh never call him dead,
This bouyant one and free,
Whose daily portion is
Delight and ecstacy!
He bows in speechless joy
Before the feet of Him
Whom, seeing not, he loved
While yet his sight was dim.
Along the golden streets
No stranger walks today,
But one who, long homesick,
Is home at last, to stay!
(by Martha Snell Nicholson, from her poetry book entitled A Daily Visit To The Ivory Palaces)
Daily Devotional for Sunday January 23rd/05
An Unexpected Influence
On New Year’s Eve 2003, we had our yearly Watchnight service at church. One of the key events of the evening was what we call Popcorn preaching. That is where many of the men in the church are given a verse (sometimes chosen that night by the Pastor – or as in this specific case, chosen by the men several days prior) and several minutes to think on the passage, then come up and preach for 5-10 minutes on the passage. It is all intended to be fun – but at the same time it breaks the ice and gives a little bit of preaching experience in a friendly atmosphere.
I had an opportunity to preach as well, but I fought the Lord all the way. I fought the Spirit’s moving upon my heart and conscience and refused to get up there and preach. I chickened out – no polite way to phrase that. Even though there were some unsaved people there that the Lord was impressing me with the need to give a clear Gospel presentation (based on what I had already prepared). I chose to focus on myself and my fear/reluctance, and rejected the opportunity to be a witness – in an informal setting that might have even had more influence on the particular unsaved people there that night. Though I had submitted to the call to preach several years before, I really had not had that much experience with it – and at this point in time, I let fear overwhelm me and rebelled against what I knew God clearly wanted me to do.
All through January 2004, I was bothered by what I had neglected, and how I had limited the Lord in my life. He would have given me the grace and wisdom needed (as He had done while I had prepared the message) when it was my turn to preach.
February came along. I was unemployed and looking for work. I did not have many resources, but I found that I had more money to use for job searching and photocopying of resumes, if I went and ate lunch and Supper at the Kelowna Gospel Mission when I was downtown. (I had volunteered there in the past and had been invited back by some of the staff.)
In the first week of February, I met Darrel, who was one of the evening staff at the Mission. He was not doing too well that week. He had been saved for 7 years prior to this time – but activities and associations before he got saved had taken a toll on his health. He was dying – and this week was one of the first few times he really felt the drain on his strength. I was able to fellowship with him privately, pray and share some of what the Lord had been teaching me on the different Valleys of Life (mostly The Valley Of Trouble).
The Bible promises and reminders of God’s love and grace was what Darrel needed to hear that week. He still felt physically weak though, and asked me to share the devotion that night – to just share some of what I had shared with him. I did so.
Then he suggested I see if I can volunteer there on certain days to do the devotionals. Desiring to make up for my lack of willingness to serve the Lord of New Year’s Eve, I decided to see how God would open this door – now willing to obey, walk through this door of ministry, and preach at the Gospel Mission on a regular basis, if it was His will. It was Friday, February 6th that I preached my first devotional there. The following Monday I went to an orientation, and they signed me up for Friday Suppers as my regular time. Since then, I have preached every Friday except for several weeks due to sickness. Yesterday marks my 46th time of preaching there in almost a year (plus two times of preaching at a Senior’s home).
If you had asked me last January (2004) if I would be preaching regularly somewhere, I would have quaked in my shoes and loudly proclaimed, “No!” But God had other plans. He had to put me in the place where I saw others’ needs – to hear the Gospel or to hear God’s promises, love, and faithfulness – as greater than my own fears. He has done a lot of work in me this last year – a lot still to work on too!
It is interesting to note that the message I preached yesterday was on Jacob wrestling with God (a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ), relinquishing his own self-will and turning from his own strength (which he had finally realized could never solve all his problems or get him out of difficult situations – only the Lord could do that), and just clinging to God until God blessed him, and worked out the situations in his life. Lord, let me cling to You. Change me, use me, for Your glory.
Lord willing, I will finish typing up the several devotions I preached on Jacob, and share them as part of these Daily Devotionals. Please keep me and them in prayer.
Lord, please bless Darrel’s family. I know he is home with you now. Remind them that he is in a much better place and that he is happy and in no pain now. Thank you for using me to be an encouragement to Darrel in his times of weakness – and for using Darrel as the tool to get me into a place of service. And thank you, Heavenly Father, for letting me store my treasures in that Mission – because my heart is there too. And seeing the changed lives is worth it all. I could never have guessed that You would be leading me there when I was overwhelmed with fear, but Your ways are so much greater than mine, Your wisdom is so much higher than mine. When the future looks uncertain, I will just walk with you – today – and let You guide all my tomorrows.
Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
Isaiah 55:9-11 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:7)
I stood with God on the edge of the world, and my hand was in His hand. I looked down the road of the past, as it stretched away in the dim distance, till it was shrouded in the mists of time. And I knew it had no beginning, and a little chill wind of fear blew about my head.
God asked, “Are you afraid?”
And I said, “Yes, because I cannot understand how there can be no beginning.”
So God said, “Let us turn and face the other way.”
And I looked into glory, and my heart rejoiced with joy unspeakable. And then my mind went ahead, a billion, billion years, and I knew there would be no end, and again that little chill wind of fear began to blow.
And God asked me again, “Are you afraid?”
And I answered, “A little, because I cannot understand how there can be no end.”
So God asked me tenderly, “Are you afraid now, today, with your hand in mine?”
And I looked up at Him and smiled and replied, “O my Father, NO!”
And God said, “Every day in eternity will be today.”
(by Martha Snell Nicholson, from her poetry book entitled A Daily Visit To The Ivory Palaces)
Daily Devotional for Saturday February 26th/05
Taken from Psalms 1-50, in Our Daily Homily by F.B. Meyer.
Psalms 16:10 For Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell; neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption.
This hymn is for ever sacred because of its application by the Holy Ghost to our Saviour’s resurrection (Acts 2). It was as though our Lord had stayed His soul upon these words as He left this world and entered the unseen. The last words He uttered were of committal to His Father, and then He commenced to traverse the land of shadow, “Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?” (Ephesians 4:9) The Apostle Peter says that He went to visit the spirits in prison. Whither He went is not material – it is enough for our purpose that He sang, as He went, this hymn of immortal hope. Sure that He was the Father’s Beloved, He knew that He would not be left in Hell, nor suffered to see corruption. He knew that there was a path of life somewhere, which God would show.
Whenever you are stepping down into the dark, unable to see a hand’s breadth before you, and just letting the foot fall from step to step – it may be because of some act of obedience to conscience, or because you are called to enter the unknown and untried, or even death itself – cheer your heart with this holy Psalm. God will never desert the soul that absolutely honours and obeys Him. His way leads to the light through the dark, to the deathless through death, to the abounding fruit-bearing through desertion and loneliness. How lonely the vine-stock is through the winter! Follow Him, He will show.
“She is sinking very fast,” whispered an attendant in the dying chamber of a godly woman. “No, no,” was the quick response of the departing saint, who had overheard the words; “no; I am not sinking; I am in the arms of my Saviour.”
Yesterday, I had a conversation with my Mom about her rapidly failing health. She had cancer last year (which is now healed), and during that time several of her major organs (kidney, liver) had completely failed. She realizes that without a kidney transplant very soon, she doesn’t have much longer to live. She said there was fear when she contemplated her own mortality.
Then she said she gave it all to the Lord in prayer – and He gave her a peace like she has never known before in her whole life. She spent her time telling the nurses and attendants not to be discouraged, but to keep trusting in the Lord. And she said that she has been so overwhelmed by God’s love for her lately that it was literally amazing. When I read that quote by Meyer above, these words starting to flow forth. This poem was, in part, directly based on the conversation we had. I pray that the Lord Jesus Christ would use them to comfort and strengthen others who may be facing something similar, or have loved ones who are. It is the same Lord, and He offers the same grace and loving compassion to all who will receive His gift of salvation and will trust in Him during the trials they face. May He richly bless you.
Rising In The Arms Of Love
(Dedicated to my Mother)
Oh, my friend, she is sinking so very fast!
No, she is only rising in the arms of Love!
But I thought that she would remain at last…
No, she is destined for greater things above!
But why would God completely take away her peace?
No, her Saviour has given her a more lasting kind!
Real joy isn’t when all toil and troubles cease –
For when Jesus draws close, peace fills this heart of mine!
The fear, the unknown, it must be dreadful…
No, His blessed presence is so very near!
But, why did this tragedy have to happen at all?
Because He knew what I needed, and He is always here!
Why would He cause this affliction, why this trial?
He has a purpose, His ways are so much greater than mine!
I know these troubles are only for a little while,
And then I will dwell forever with Him in mansions sublime!
No, I am not sinking – I am rising –
Held gently by His arms of Love,
Sheltered safely under His wings,
Till I reach my Heavenly home above!
Rising, rising, in those arms of Love!
February 26th, 2005
I love you, Mom!
Daily Devotional for Sunday February 27th/05
More Than Sufficient
“My grace is sufficient for thee” (2 Cor. 12:9).
The other evening I was riding home after a heavy day’s work. I felt very wearied, and sore depressed, when swiftly, and suddenly as a lightning flash, that text came to me, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” I reached home and looked it up in the original, and at last it came to me in this way, “MY grace is sufficient for thee”; and I said, “I should think it is, Lord,” and burst out laughing. I never fully understood what the holy laughter of Abraham was until then. It seemed to make unbelief so absurd. It was as though some little fish, being very thirsty, was troubled about drinking the river dry, and Father Thames said, “Drink away, little fish, my stream is sufficient for thee.” Or, it seemed after the seven years of plenty, a mouse feared it might die of famine; and Joseph might say, “Cheer up, little mouse, my granaries are sufficient for thee.” Again, I imagined a man away up yonder, in a lofty mountain, saying to himself, “I breathe so many cubic feet of air every year, I fear I shall exhaust the oxygen in the atmosphere,” but the earth might say, “Breathe away, O man, and fill the lungs ever, my atmosphere is sufficient for thee.” Oh, brethren, be great believers! Little faith will bring your souls to Heaven, but great faith will bring Heaven to your souls. –C. H. Spurgeon
His grace is great enough to meet the great things
The crashing waves that overwhelm the soul,
The roaring winds that leave us stunned and breathless,
The sudden storm beyond our life’s control.
His grace is great enough to meet the small things
The little pin-prick troubles that annoy,
The insect worries, buzzing and persistent,
The squeaking wheels that grate upon our joy.
–Annie Johnson Flint
There is always a large balance to our credit in the bank of Heaven waiting for our exercise of faith in drawing it. Draw heavily upon His resources.
(Taken from Streams In The Desert Devotional)
My friend went on ahead
And left me here
To walk my last, long mile
Alone; and Fear
Stepped to his vacant place
And said that he
Would walk with me, and my
And so he dogged my steps
In this dark vale
Where death’s wings shadow me.
My face grew pale,
My spirit quailed. I called
One precious Name
In my distress, and lo,
That loved One came!
He closely holds my hand,
This tender Friend,
Nor will He let me go
Until the end.
And as He walks with me,
Daily more dear,
I find that trust and love
Have cast out Fear.
Martha Snell Nicholson
(From A Daily Visit To Ivory Palaces)
Posted in the Daily Devotionals for July 25th/05:
I will be visiting my Mom and trying to be an encouragement to her from this Wednesday to Saturday, so I have decided to post all the subsequent devotionals before I leave. I hope they are a blessing and source of encouragement to all who read them – just as I want to be to my Mom. Please keep my visit in prayer. The time we have left is precious and I want to make the most of those days – perhaps it might be our last time together (the last time I saw her in person was over five years ago). Thank you.
Posted on July 26th:
Also, the day I arrive will be her Wedding Anniversary (21 years with my stepdad) – so she is really looking forward to that. She has been out of the hospital for a couple of days now, and I will still be praying that nothing would hinder her anniversary. Won’t be able to attend the Anniversary dinner, as I will be in church with my sister, Lori McCoy, and her children (she is up here in Canada to try to be a help to our Mom at this time), as she joins the church and gives her testimony. Looking forward to that. Lord willing, we plan to go for dinner with our Mom on Thursday. (It turns out we had dinner at our Mom’s place, complete with an Anniversary cake and Chinese takeout – Mom didn’t forget her camera!)
I wanted to share this with you as well:
With all my Mom’s health problems, next to hymns like It Is Well With My Soul, All The Way My Saviour Leads Me, and Amazing Love, (among others), this one is fast becoming a favourite.
In light of the valley my family is going through with my Mom’s cancer and failed organs, this hymn speaks tremendous comfort to me:
Day By Day
(Lyrics: Karolina W. Sandell-Berg)
Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find, to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.
He Whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best –
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.
Every day, the Lord Himself is near me
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear, and cheer me,
He Whose Name is Counselor and Power;
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
“As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,”
This the pledge to me He made.
Help me then in every tribulation
So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith’s sweet consolation
Offered me within Thy holy Word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
Ever to take, as from a father’s hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Till I reach the promised land.
Posted July 31st:
Thank you for your prayers. I got back last night. My Mom is doing a bit better this past week. She is out of the hospital and we were able to spend a bit of time together. The time just flew past.
I’m sure it was time well-spent. Had some good fellowship with my sister. Her 4 children loved having me around for a little over three full days. It was good to see my Mom, but we did not have any fellowship nor much personal time spent together – there were too many other people around (the first day we got there was her wedding anniversary), plus it was really awkward being around my stepdad.
It was tough to see her weakened condition though. She was so thin, and had bruises all over her arms (from the IVs, etc.). You could tell that moving about and talking much tired her out. Plus her memory had definitely deteriorated.
Lord willing, I will be able to see my Mom again near Christmas time – unless there is some emergency before then. Though it was difficult to even get these couple of days off during our high season (I work in the hotel industry).
**As it turned out, it was the last time for me to spend time with her in person. Praise the Lord for allowing this opportunity – it gave my sister and I time to sort some things out with our Mom, and gave me that extra touch of grace when she went home to be with the Lord in September.
Posted August 1st:
Praise God, I do have the freedom to talk freely with my Mom over the phone (about most things – unless she is really tired or weak) – I was just hoping to connect more with her in person. But I will thank God for the opportunities He has given me, and see if this brief contact allows us to discuss some difficult issues that we have not been able to before now. I will see how it goes.
Posted August 2nd:
Please pray for my sister and a tough decision she has to make.
She came up to Canada to spend time with our Mom, to be here as our Mom’s health got worse. It is very possible that the Lord is now closing that door. She is somewhat disappointed as she and her children did not get to spend nearly as much time with our Mom as she wanted to – with our Mom being in the hospital for the majority of her time here, and with sicknesses in her household, the children couldn’t be around grandma.
Personally, I believe that the Lord worked it out for Lori and her children to come up here to say goodbye – but did not necessarily intend her to stay until our Mom passed away. There were some other things that also worked out during this time that really confirmed that Lori was to come up here – but it does not mean that God intended her to stay up here that long – and for several reasons it looks like that door is being closed. Praise the Lord I also got to see Lori and her family, as well as spend a little time with my Mom. It had been over five years since I had seen any of them (when I visited my sister and Mom in April 2000).
The decision my sister needs to make is made tougher due to the fact of having to explain to our Mom why she must go back to the States, if that is how the Lord is leading. Lori does not know how to break that news to her. Please pray for wisdom and grace as this decision is made, and as she tells our Mom how she believes the Lord is directing. So far she has peace about wrapping things up here and going back home to Arizona, and no peace about staying here and the complications that will arise if she does so (finances, schooling for the children, plus what to do if she was to become the sole fulltime caretaker for our Mom if she got the transplant – this would be for at least a 3 month period, etc.). Now, I have not put that much time into prayer yet regarding her decision, but I truly do believe that the Lord is leading her to go back home – and I can see the difficulties that will arise if my sister stays past August. Her husband is coming up this weekend for about 4 days – she needs to make her decision quickly to determine whether she and the children will be traveling back with him. Thank you.
(Lori did decide to stay a little longer – still praying for wisdom as to exactly when to go back to the States – and it was very evident to both of us that the Lord was starting to close various doors for her.)
Skipping ahead a little – near the end of August:
I wrote a song based on the hymn (Day By Day) I quoted above – the Lord blessed us with so much grace – and the Holy Spirit kept bringing this hymn back to my mind, comforting me and encouraging me to trust Him during this time. This hymn has truly had an impact on my life these last few months. The first line of my poem came into my mind to that tune and I couldn’t get it back out again – so I started praying for the Lord to give me the words to make a song out of it. The song was written to encourage Lori with this difficult decision her and her husband needed to make (there was also another friend, who was struggling with a decision on God’s will for her life at this same time too – and my song was written for both of them). He brought some passages to mind (especially ones I had used in counseling and exhorting Lori and this other friend), and here is the result.
I want to add it to this Memorial of God’s Grace. I hope it is a blessing to you.
In His time, He makes all things beautiful –
With tear-dimmed eyes, we may not see how.
Keep on trusting in your Father’s wisdom,
Do not fear – you’re in His hands right now.
Jesus Christ, your Saviour and Redeemer,
Loves you so – of that you need not doubt.
He has a plan – thoughts of peace, for your good –
His plan, that He is working out.
In His time, He makes all things beautiful –
Working all according to His plan;
He has a purpose He set in motion –
Even though we may not understand.
Father, perfect that which concerneth me –
Help me, Lord, to lay these burdens down.
Grant me peace, to know I am in Your will;
Strengthen me, with joy surround.
In His time, He makes all things beautiful –
He heals the soul, binds up the broken heart.
He comforts with a grace beyond all measure –
Hope in Him, and let Him do His part.
He knows your needs before you even ask Him.
Give Him your cares – whether great or small.
Just trust the Lord – He knows the best time
To make all things beautiful!
Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
The rest of this page will actually be what I posted as I dealt with the last few days of my Mom’s declining health, God’s grace during that trying time, and the struggles/trial to have the opportunity to preach at her funeral/memorial (she was cremated by the desire of my Stepdad, so there was no separate service).
Posted Monday, September 19th:
Thanks for all who have been praying.
Kind of a tough time, because we don’t know fully what God is doing.
This was what we knew on Saturday (September 17th):
My Mom is in critical condition right now, and they have shipped her to a hospital in Vancouver. She is on the top of the organ donor list – and the doctors believe that if she doesn’t get one within the next week or two, that is it for her. Please pray for grace for my family. We really don’t know if it is God’s will to heal her or not. Pray mostly for God’s hand on this situation.
When it seems my Mom is at the worst, then opportunities for the transplant come into play – and if she gets that, for the most part, she would be better. But then complications come and she is forced to wait yet again.
Right now (September 19th), they are planning on shipping her BACK to Chilliwack again because they found some infection which must be cleared up before they can prep her for a transplant. BUT the doctors also told us a few days ago that they believe she will not live much longer without a transplant. Though our confidence is in the Lord, not in the doctors infallible opinions (thanks Angela, for reminding me that the best they can offer is their “guess”) – OUR HEAVENLY FATHER IS STILL IN CONTROL, AND THAT IS WHAT MATTERS MOST!
Truly, I do not believe that God is going to heal her (for various reasons) – but she is saved, and my prayer is for grace for her at this time. If the Lord has mercy on her and heals her, so much the better – but I would rather see her clinging to the Lord and having grace to go through this valley of the shadow of death, than to be healed but take her eyes off of the Lord. Besides, Heaven is the place of life and eternal healing – it is a BETTER place, not a worse one.
My sister (Lori McCoy) and I just don’t want to see her suffer more and get more disoriented (as she was the other day when shipped to Vancouver). That was truly hard on my sister, as she was there at that point in time, and our Mom didn’t even recognize her (though she has been visiting her almost daily since she moved nearby at the end of May of this year). Please keep Lori in your prayers. She is the one that has the most direct contact with our Mom, so this is certainly much harder on her and her children.
I put together my second poetry book with a dedication to my Mom, and with a poem written about her (Rising In The Arms Of Love) – for both see The Seasons Of Your Pilgrimage. It is mine and my sister’s fervent prayer that this book will be finished printing and be completely paid for by the time our Mom goes home to Heaven. The main reason for this is because of the dedication to her. If produced and in our hands by the time of the funeral/memorial – it will get into religious homes that we cannot get into ourselves. Many of my relatives are opposed to Biblical Christianity, but might be open to reading a book of poems – at the end of the book is a salvation presentation (a study) that might answer some questions for them (and possibly lead them to the Lord). Please keep this request in your prayers as well. It is a great opportunity – and we are trusting the Lord to work it out according to His timing. (I printed up 400 copies and received them back from the printer’s in November, so there are be plenty of copies for those who are interested in receiving one as well – I am offering them, not selling them, as part of my ministries for the Lord.)
Here is the poem I wrote tonight to identify with what my Mom is possibly going through right now. I hope it is a blessing and encouragement to others who may be going through a similar situation in their lives.
Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
There’s a shadow looming over me, and the pain is often near;
There’s a storm cloud on the horizon, and the thunder causes fear;
But in the midst of this uncertainty, MY LORD IS ALWAYS HERE!
Through this Valley, with these tears, walking onward I go,
Not running in a hurry, nor lagging behind too slow;
For there’s a peace within my heart – MY LORD IS HERE – I KNOW!
The journey can’t be much longer – oh, this body aches and moans;
Though just around another corner, ahead is my eternal home;
And I know within THIS Valley, I AM NOT WALKING ALONE!
There’s a hand that I am holding, though the path is rough and steep;
There’s a promise that I can cling to, that I know my Lord will keep –
FOR THE LORD IS STILL MY SHEPHERD, AND I AM STILL HIS SHEEP!
Oh, what is that on the horizon? A glimpse of golden streets…
My heart’s so filled with wonder – as face to face we meet –
Now with joy I can see Jesus – and I worship at His feet;
THROUGH THIS VALLEY, TO THE SAVIOUR, and my journey is complete.
Psalms 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
May the Lord richly bless you – and both Lori and I truly thank you for your prayers at this time.
(Here are the links for the poem page and for the computer background (unfortunately these pages are no longer available, as our websites got repeatedly hacked in the summer of 2021) – put together by Angela Trenholm – Thank you! You may never truly realize how much these pages, and the framed picture you made for Lori and I with the background, means to us!:
Through This Valley Poem
Note: I wrote this poem just two days before my Mom went home to Heaven. She passed away about 2 am on the 22nd, and I wrote the poem on my graveyard shift on the 19th (so actually the morning of the 20th).
Through This Valley Computer Background
Comment posted by a friend, Sue, in regards to these pages:
Jerry, your poem and the background photo are absolutely beautiful!!!
I am continually amazed by HIS timing! Who would have known that your Mom would go home to be with the LORD, so soon after this poem was written. I know that in all things HE has a plan and is always here with us. That is wonderfully apparent in all of this.
GOD Bless you, Jerry!)
Posted at 3:56 am, Tuesday, September 20th, by my friend, Virgil:
True, death is the end of a journey, the completion of this earthly pilgrimage, yet; it is also a beginning. It is astounding just to imagine what the first few minutes after our glorification will be like, to suddenly no longer strive to be like our Saviour – but to be as He is!
And the other exciting part of this beginning is that it continues throughout all eternity as a beginning!
I often have the thought when I sit down to a really good meal, the first bite is the best! And all to soon, the delicious meal is over. The beginning, the anticipation of that first succulent bite brings the salivic juices – but it is so soon over. This is the downside of beginning, for we know that it will soon be done.
But Heaven? Ten million years from now – Heaven will still be as fresh and as new and as exciting as when we left this vale of tears.
As we grow older, somehow we stay young in our mind. We can still jump and run and play, but our body can’t – so we content ourselves to run in the meadows of our dreams. Heaven will be like a second childhood.
Heaven is a place to look forward to!
Praying for your mother’s homegoing, brother Jerry. I believe that your separation will be a short one.
(Yes, the pilgrimage is over when we get to Heaven, but eternity is only the beginning of the time spent with our Saviour and loved ones!)
Posted at 6:17 pm on Tuesday, September 20th/05:
Pray for my sister and stepdad right now. My sister was just called – the doctors think our Mom might be dying tonight. Pray most of all for God’s grace on my sister – we can’t be shining lights and offer comfort if we are overwhelmed (more than temporary, I mean). Thank you.
September 20th, 8:17 pm:
Was getting ready for work, wanting to call and pray with someone, but the friend I wanted to call had a busy line. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed right now and sat at my computer and read the next post in the study I was reading before I went in the shower. This is what was there:
2. There are many living about us who have trusted God to the uttermost relying on His promises in the midst of the severest difficulties, and their testimony cannot be ignored.
3. Sometimes God does not deliver from physical suffering or death as in the case of the martyrs; but all who have borne such suffering and have testified agree that His sustaining grace was there, making the suffering easy to bear.
Praise the Lord for His precious grace!
Some comments posted by friends:
a much needed nugget that was I’m sure. God’s faithfulness never ceases to amaze me.
During this difficult time of uncertainty, HE has the bigger picture in sight. Rely upon HIM, and HE will provide all which is needed. May you and your sister find the peace and encouragement that only HE provides.
Posted September 21st, 2:20 am, by Virgil:
The greatest joy is knowing that a loved one is bound for the arms of her SAVIOUR, for we “sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” (I Thessalonians 4:13). We certainly do not wait until our loved one has left her mortal frame before we start mourning, but the pain is already there. All we can do is “comfort one another” and accept that the sting of death is greatly lessened by her quickly approaching homegoing.
Sadly, in this internet environment – all we have is our words, and our prayers – but the comfort of just being there to help share the pain is missing. Thank the Lord that you have the fellowship of your church and the close bonds that have been built there.
And those that do not know our Saviour will see your strength and will know that what you have is precious, and good, and real – and will be attracted to your testimony.
Medical professionals that see death every day and know the abject terror of those which do not know the Lord will watch the calm demeanor of God’s saint and will see the great difference and know that her faith is real.
Brother, may God continue to grant you peace and comfort in these painful days.
Wednesday, September 21st, 7 am:
Praise the Lord – and thank you for your prayers. My sister was in the hospital really late last night, and truly had the grace she needed. So far our Mom is still hanging on, though it was touch and go many times.
Lori got home, clicked on her computer and turned on her Bible program. Not sure how to look for today’s devotional by Spurgeon, she looked in Books, and found Spurgeon’s Sermons – thinking that was what she wanted, she clicked on it – though she had never opened this part of the program before. The sermon that it opened to contained this phrase in the very first line and caught her attention:
The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me.
If you knew how much that verse means to my sister – it is one of the main ones we memorized and cling to in trials – so she was stunned to see it. She started reading the sermon, and was given the grace, strength, and encouragement she needed for this morning. There are no accidents – just His appointments!
“Disappointment – His appointment,”
Change one letter, then I see
That the thwarting of my purpose
Is God’s better choice for me.
His appointment must be blessing
Though it may come in disguise,
For the end from the beginning
Open to His wisdom lies.
“Disappointment – His appointment,”
Whose? The Lord’s Who loves me best
Understands and knows me fully,
Why my faith and love would test;
For, like loving earthly parent,
He rejoices, when He knows
That His child accepts, unquestioned,
All that from His wisdom flows.
“Disappointment – His appointment”
“No good thing will He withhold,”
From denials oft we gather
Treasures of His love untold.
Well He knows each broken purpose
Leads to fuller, deeper trust,
And the end of all His dealings
Proves our God is wise and just.
“Disappointment – His appointment,”
Lord, I take it, then, as such,
Like the clay in hands of potter,
Yielding wholly to Thy touch,
All my life’s plan is Thy moulding,
Not one single choice be mine;
Let me answer, unrepining–
Father, “Not my will but Thine.”
It turns out that Lori had found part two of two sermons. We found part one, and this is how it starts:
“The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me. Thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.” Ps 138:8
I HAVE SELECTED THIS TEXT, or, rather, it has been given to me to furnish a motto for the whole year to all the believing family of God now present. It was brought under my notice from the fact that I have a very dear friend, a venerable minister of the Church of England, and an earnest lover of the truth as it is in Jesus, who always sends me, at the beginning of the year, or a day or two previously, a little envelope sealed up, that I am not to open till New Year’s day, containing a printed text of Scripture, which he desires to be preserved during the remainder of the year, to act as a staff whereon we may rest through the pilgrimage of the next twelve months. When I opened my envelope I found this text, and it charmed me. It contains in itself the very essence of the grace of God. It reads like music to the soul, and is like a bottle of water in the desert to the thirsty lip. Let me read it again, and remember it, and dwell upon it, and digest it during all the year. “The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me. Thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.”
Lord, how appropriate – for Spurgeon, and for us! Thank You!!
Here is the first part, which brought me tremendous comfort Thursday morning: Faith In Perfection
Here is part two, which builds on the theme that Spurgeon began in the first message: Perfection In Faith
Maybe this will turn into a journey of God’s grace. Something I read tonight in a sermon posted by BBB – The Pressing Problem by Hyman Appelman.
An incident happened in my seminary days that will illustrate most fortunately my point. We had a professor there, an old man, a brilliant man, a loyal man, a loving and lovable man, a Christian gentleman. One of his daughters married the son of a great Western layman. One afternoon this professor came to class. He sat down very heavily in his chair by his desk, placed his Bible and textbook before him, bowed his head in his hands, and led us to the throne of grace in the opening prayer of the session. Pronouncing the amen, he kept on sitting quietly, head bowed for long minutes. When he did lift his face, his eyes were suffused with unshed tears.
“Young gentlemen, young ladies,” said this man of GOD, “my heart is very heavy this day. I have received some dreadful news. I do not feel quite up to lecturing to you, but I should like to read you a letter. It comes from the father of the man who married my daughter.”
The doctor took the letter out of his breast pocket, opened it, and began to read. I do not remember all of it, but a portion of it will remain with me as long as there is a beating heart in my breast and a thinking mind in my head. It said something like this:
“J-, I have some dreadful news to pass on to you. I need your prayer help. You know I had two sons in the Naval Air Corps, both of them lieutenants. The day before yesterday they took off in one ship. Something happened. The ship crashed. They were both killed. The naval authorities wired to my son in Lower California. Without a moment’s delay, this son picked up my daughter, and putting her in his own car, started as rapidly as he could to the San Diego Naval Base. As they were hurrying down the highway, a drunken driver swerved to pass a speeding car. He lost control of the wheel and crashed head on into the automobile of my children. Both of them were instantly killed.
J-, that is a dreadful double tragedy, aye, a quadruple tragedy, to happen to any man, but I want you to know it is still all right. The eighth chapter of Romans is still in the Bible.”
By the time our teacher had finished the letter, we were all weeping.
Brethren and sisters, with all my heart that is what I am trying to tell you.
“Jesus is a Rock in a weary land,
And a shelter in the time of storm!”
…Beloved, whenever the devil assails us, whenever temptations beset us, whenever doubts torment us, let us hasten to the Rock that is higher than we.
…“Be not afraid, only believe,” is God’s word to us. “All things must work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” The tempest may lash us. Our cockleshell boats may be driven to and fro by the storms of life. The way may be dark, the hills high, the crosses heavy, the nights long; but “he that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”
All I can say to that is Amen! Yes, His grace is sufficient.
Wednesday, September 21st, 8:27 pm:
My Mom is still hanging on. People feel she may be waiting for Alex (my brother) to contact her before she lets go – which is interesting because Alex called twice today while I was sleeping – though I haven’t heard from him for a while.
Wednesday, September 21st, 9:15 pm:
Got this in my email tonight:
Jerry, Just got back online yesterday since Hurricane Katrina tore through our coast and our homes, and I am just getting to read my mail for weeks. I am praying for you and your family to draw on all the comfort of the Great Comforter in your time of pain. I lost both my parents to cancer and I can feel your pain. I have friends who will be praying also.
Father, bless my friend today, as he trusts You in his pain,
This one who’s leaving him, he knows, will surely live again.
He loves You, Lord, and he is holding to Your loving Hand.
And someday he will join her in Your great Glory Land.
There will be tears of pain and yes, there’ll be many sorrows.
He needs You, Lord, today and will need You for the tomorrows.
I know this, Lord, because I’ve walked this long, long, painful road…
Hold him close and comfort him as he bears this heavy load.
Thank You, Father, for Jerry and the blessing that he has been.
Thank You for Your mercy, Lord, and for forgiveness of our sin.
There are many, including me, that are blessed by his love for You.
Help us to glorify Your Precious Name in all we say and do.
We lift our hands and hearts to Thee, our Father and our God;
For we see Thy Love in all creation as in this land we trod.
Even in our suffering, we still feel Thy Holy Presence here.
Thank You, thank You, O Lord, our God, for always being near.
Just Because of Jesus,
Posted at Thursday, September 22nd, 2 am:
I have a Major Prayer Request:
My sister has suggested that I do the eulogy. At first I was hesitant, but then I thought this is the best way to give the Gospel to our lost relatives, Lord willing. The more I think about this tonight, the more I have peace and assurance that God will bless this. Please pray that the Lord moves my family to either suggest this to me (would be awesome if my Mom became alert enough to request that her preacher boy son do her eulogy – they couldn’t refuse that!) – or that they will accept it if my sister asks.
The Lord has placed Psalm 23 on my heart – and I can use verse 1 as a springboard to present salvation (ie. the Lord is not your Shepherd until you become one of His sheep, then go into an explanation of how to do so). Emphasize each part of the Psalm from the perspective of my Mom’s experiences this last year 1/2 or so. Then cap it off with the two poems I had written for her, especially Through This Valley – and after “preaching” the poem will make Biblical sense to those who hear it (and not just be accepted by some religious definition – Catholics love that Psalm too, they just don’t know what it means!).
Please be praying for God to give me grace in the eyes of my relatives for this to happen – and gives me wisdom and I seek to prepare the message/eulogy.
Looking back down the road, I think it would be a nice memory to have had the opportunity to preach or share some of these things at my Mom’s memorial service.
Posted by Virgil:
Amen to that!
A Filipino pastor preached my Father-in-law’s funeral and there were 9 saved. It was the first time for many of them to hear the Gospel. So many times a funeral is a rehearsal of the person’s life when it should be the departed one’s last testimony to the saving grace of Jesus Christ through the words of the one making the eulogy. “Eulogy” = ‘good words’ – the only true good words are to be found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Posted Thursday, September 22nd, 6:34 am:
My Mom is now in Heaven. Please keep praying for Lori and I to be shining lights. Also, for the eulogy. Tonight I will found out the arrangements they have made and the time for the memorial. Thank you.
(She had actually passed away about 2 am. that morning – about the time I was posting about the Eulogy above.)
People were praying for us:
Jerry, I am so sorry for your loss but am so thankful that you know she is in Heaven now. This is a very hard time for you and your family and I know that your online friends will be praying for you – for comfort and peace during this time.
Praying for you and your sister. I’ll be praying that God will give you the strength and words as you speak at the memorial. What an opportunity for you to speak to your lost family. I pray that seeds will be planted. I’m so glad that you know your mother’s in heaven.
Our hearts are with you in this time. Even when we know our loved ones are in the arms of the Lord, it hurts those of us left behind because that person is gone. But one day, you’ll be reunited! Praise God! You are truly blessed to know the comfort your mother is getting right now!
Posted Thursday, September 22nd:
Well, praise item this morning. I wanted to preach on John 11 – about the raising of Lazarus – all week (recently I had preached on all Seven I Am statements of Jesus in the book of John – in one message – and was following it up with individual messages on some of these statements), but that wasn’t God’s will (at least not on Friday when I normally preach – I did have an opportunity to read the poem above and touch on John 11 and Psalm 23 at lunch today). While I was waiting for 2 hours for some printing of poems for the funeral to be done, I ran into someone that I had met months ago at the Gospel Mission. Only had an opportunity once to talk with him, but I answered some difficult questions for him. (By the way, his name is Lazar…) Last night, he prayed that God would reveal Himself in some way to him today. I wouldn’t have been out and about at that time of day (I work graveyards), except for the fact of printing things for the funeral. We sat down for about 1 1/2 hours, and I got an opportunity to show him salvation, who Christ is (he had a wacky religious background), and answer a lot of questions for him. He didn’t get saved YET, but there definitely was some seed planted!
God DID say that He would work out ALL THINGS for my good, didn’t He!!
I think I will keep this thread as a testimony of God’s grace, and by way of encouragement to others that might be going through the same.
A series of devotionals that I found this morning by Days Of Praise, on the hymn It Is Well With My Soul:
Posted by Virgil:
I know it hurts, but God is so gracious when He gives folk time to prepare for their loss (rather than a sudden departure). My heart still grieves for you and your family, brother. But at the same time, I find a great depth of encouragement from you in your strength of faith and absolute trust that the Saviour is doing all things well in taking your mother home to be with Him.
But, one may readily see the source of your strength, for, as I have witnessed your postings during these past few months – clearly it is one of perfect peace.
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength” (Isaiah 26:3, 4).
This is one reason why you were able to witness to your old acquaintance today – because he also can see the strength of “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).
Will be praying for the service and your part in it.
Posted Friday, September 23rd, 4:35 am:
Remember to keep the services for my Mom in your prayers. I wrote up the eulogy last night – and not only does it offer comfort and hope to those who care about God’s Word, but it clearly presents the Gospel and the reason WHY my Mom had the hope and assurance of Heaven that she did. I think I could subtitle it: Our Mom’s Victory Through Faith. I think the Lord could really use it – I know He sure blessed me by bringing up all those passages to my mind while preparing it! I am leaving to go to my sister’s right after work this morning, so I will post the eulogy when I get back on Monday. May the Lord bless you all, and thank you for your prayers. God’s grace is still sufficient!
Posted in response:
Jerry I am sorry to read about your Mom’s passing. Please know that we are praying for you and your sister and all those that will be attending the funeral service. GOD is good and HE will give you the strength and words needed. GOD Bless you, Jerry.
Our hearts are sad with you, Jerry, but also rejoicing that your mother is no longer suffering and is in the presence of the Lord. You share your heart with us when you share all the things that have happened and your eulogy. I pray God continues to give you comfort during this time.
Posted Monday, September 26th:
Forgot I had written this just three hours before she passed away – found it this morning in my pocket. Remember above, I had stated we thought she was waiting for something, still holding on to something? This is where this stanza comes from:
Don’t keep looking back to those things you’ll be leaving behind;
Look ahead to the future and all that you will find
Laid up for you in Heaven from God’s great treasure store,
Where you will be walking with Jesus forevermore.
Written on my way to work (about 10:45 pm), and she died about 2 am. Truly, she is walking with Jesus now!
I did not have an opportunity to share the Eulogy this past Saturday (at least not read it – but I did give a printed copy to all my aunts and uncles), because it was basically just a viewing of my Mom. Lord willing, I will be able to share it this coming Saturday when we have the actual funeral and memorial services. Please keep that in your prayers. There will be many people there, including many lost relatives (pray for grace for me too – I have never preached with any lost family present, or any family present for that matter).
Please read this eulogy and testimony of my Mom’s faith:
I am looking forward to being able to share the eulogy/testimony/opportunity to share the Gospel this coming Saturday. There will be a lot of people there. Praise the Lord for preparing me this past year by preaching weekly at the Gospel Mission. This crowd doesn’t scare me the way that other crowd did at times. Like my pastor said, if I can preach in the hostile environment of the Mission, I could preach anywhere. I know from experience that every time I preach, if I make sure I seek the Lord steadfastly throughout the week in preparation, He ALWAYS gives me the boldness and grace I need to preach – so I am not hesitant or afraid of this opportunity, but actually excited. Though please do keep this request in your prayers. I am nothing without the prayers of God’s people. (Believe me, I notice a difference in my preaching when there is more people praying! There is there more convicting of the Spirit, more power behind the message, more wisdom in presenting exactly what the Lord would have me preach, etc.) This memorial will give me an opportunity to preach/witness to all my lost relatives. I am so looking forward to this! Please pray that God does not allow Satan to do anything to hinder this time.
Again, thank you everyone for your prayers and words of encouragement. I may not be able to respond to everyone individually in emails, but we do appreciate your support at this time and do not take it for granted. God bless.
Posted in response by Sue:
Very beautifully written Jerry!!!
Not only does it give our Heavenly Father the glory, it also is a wonderful tribute to your Mom, and clearly explains HIS plan on how to have eternal life with HIM in heaven when our days on earth are over. Perhaps your Mom’s passing has softened the heart of another, and just maybe a small seed was planted or perhaps a lost soul was saved.
Jerry, one day you will see her again and until such time may you find comfort in knowing she is in Heaven, waiting for you. To GOD be the glory!!!
Daily Devotional for Tuesday September 27th/05
Today in an email, a friend of mine asked me if the Bible taught that we would know our loved ones in Heaven.
Yes, I do believe we will recognize our loved ones for the following Biblical reasons:
1. The Bible says that those we win to the Lord will be our crowns of rejoicing in Heaven – in other words we will be rejoicing in eternity spent together.
1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For ye are our glory and joy.
2 Corinthians 1:14 As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus.
2. King David said one day he would go to Heaven see his son that had died – that certainly indicates he would know him. This thought of being reunited is what removed David’s grief.
2 Samuel 12:22-23 And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.
3. On the mount of transfiguration, Moses and Elijah showed up to speak with Jesus and the three disciples recognized them. There is nothing in the passage to indicate that Jesus had to point out who these two were to the disciples.
Matthew 17:3-4 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with Him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if Thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for Thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.
4. In Hebrews 11, it talks about the OT saints who conquered through faith, and said God was waiting until they were united with us before He fulfilled all the promises.
Hebrews 11:39-40 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
5. Also, think of Abraham and Lazarus – Lazarus knew who Abraham was, though Abraham had died about 2000 years before.
Luke 16:22-23 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
6. The promise of the Rapture is specifically designed to comfort believers over their departed loved ones – because they will be reunited again one day.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 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: 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
7. While I do not believe the context of the following verse is referring to Heaven (but to the complete canon of Scriptures – when that which is perfect is come), I do believe we can make an application regarding it:
1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
Right now, as a believer, I can know the Lord “face to face” spiritually as I read His Word and see Him revealed therein, see His Word opened up to my eyes and see all the types and Old Testament prophecies explained, see how they all point to the Saviour – and then one day, when Jesus returns, I will see Him face to face physically. Until that day keep looking up!
2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
1 Peter 1:6-8 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
Now we see Him not – though one day we will be face to face with Jesus – when we shall be caught up together with all our saved loved ones and meet the Lord in the air! And so shall we ever be with the Lord!
I hope this devotional was a blessing to you – as it was to me as I meditated on these various passages.
Posted at Friday, September 30th:
Last night (Thursday), I was given permission by my Stepdad to read the eulogy. His requests were that I shorten it – which I can do by quickly summing up the Introduction (and still get the same points across), and by not being “preachy” or preaching it. I can certainly choose the manner I come across – though, of course, I will still be preaching/witnessing. Please continue to pray for the memorial service and funeral this Saturday evening. That is when I will have the opportunity to share this. Maybe this will be the time of healing between my stepdad and me. It does seem like he is softening up – most importantly, I want him to get saved and have the comfort that only the Lord can give Him.
(A little background during that week – my Stepdad was VERY opposed to me doing the eulogy – and on Monday finally agreed to let me do it – reluctantly – but told me that this would be the last time he ever wanted to see me again, and for me not to ever contact him after the Memorial this coming Saturday.)
On Wednesday night, I missed the bus to church, and the next bus got me there 1/2 hour late. I was a bit discouraged while I waited for the next bus because I really wanted to be in church and see my church family – most of whom I had not seen since being notified of my Mom’s death. So it was really important for me to be there. Also, my spirit was heavy thinking about my stepdad and some of the things he had said this past week to me.
When I got to church, I caught the last half of the sermon, and the Pastor read the following verse which really leaped out at me:
Luke 1:17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
I know the context doesn’t apply to me – but it certainly seemed that the Lord was giving me something that I needed there. If this was a promise that He intended to fulfill in my situation, only time will tell – but I will definitely be praying for it.
Now back to Friday morning:
Tough week! I was feeling a bit spiritually dry this morning, and I picked up my Bible, asking God to feed me from His Word. Partway through the first chapter I read (which was the next one in the book I was reading) were these verses:
Isaiah 41:17-18 When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.
Thank you, Lord!
Posted Monday, October 3rd:
The memorial service went well – I was able to clearly (I hope) present the Gospel. I did sum up most of the first page of the eulogy (what I had written on John 11), but read all the rest. There were some (like my the Anglican ministers, my stepdad, his parents, and the one uncle and his wife that were there) that seemed to be quite put off from what I said, but so many of the others expressed their heartfelt thanks for the eulogy. The hospital staff were the most appreciative.
(I had given a copy of the Eulogy to my Aunts and Uncles the week before when the immediate family was gathered for the wake/viewing of the body – so even thought there was only one uncle there, the rest got to read what I had put together – and they remembered that I had actually written the eulogy for my Grandma 9 1/2 years before, so they all promised to read it. When I shared a poem at the restaurant afterwards – after my Stepdad left – they all expressed their appreciation for the comfort and hope it offered.)
The sad part is: no one else said or read anything at the Memorial! – my stepdad’s whole excuse** for me shortening the message was because there were others there who wanted to say some things – not even any relatives spoke. Who would have spoken any kind of eulogy otherwise? It looks like no one.
**Of course we know his main problem was with the content, not the length – though the length was his main excuse for trying to cut the message short. According to a comment by him to my sister afterwards, he was upset by what was presented. Which is truly ironic – seeing as how the Anglican church actually covered some of the exact same Scriptures (including John 14:1-3 and verse 6) – but I think they did not like my inclusion of Ephesians 2:8-9 – but that was exactly the passage that broke through to my Mom and showed her that she was lost in need of a Saviour, the passage that led to her salvation.
At least the main stress is now over, I can fall back into the routine of things, and move on, praying that the seed sown would bear some fruit – whether of comfort or of salvation. Satan knew he couldn’t discourage Lori and I with our Mom’s homegoing, so he tried other tricks and threw a lot of stuff at us this past couple of weeks. Though momentarily overwhelmed at times, the Lord has given us the victory. Thank you everyone for your prayers and words of encouragement during this difficult time.
Posted Tuesday, October 4th:
One thing that really affected my sister this past week was my Mom’s face: Lori and another friend prepared her for the viewing, putting make-up on her and getting her dressed.
My Mom had a smile on her face, the corners of her mouth were turned up – like she was starting to smile just when she died. Like she was thinking, “Oh, there’s Jesus!” just before she passed into eternity. Also, ahead of time, my Mom had chosen the hymn that goes, “Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel shall come to thee, oh Israel.” Seemed fitting…
Posted by Virgil on September 30th:
Found this and wish to dedicate it to my brother Jerry at his mother’s homegoing:
My load’s a little lighter now,
Because you passed my way –
The sun’s a little brighter
And the clouds have passed away.
I’ve found my Saviour nearer,
And each day He grows still dearer
And I’m on my way to Glory,
Because you passed my way.
I was lost and no one seemed to care
Until you passed my way,
You saw me, and led me to Christ
Oh, what a happy day,
Now I’m living all for Jesus,
And with Him I’ll be some day,
For I found a new beginning,
Because you passed my way.
And when in realms of glory,
I see His precious face,
And hear the angel voices
Within that heavenly place,
I’ll remember that sinner,
Who once had gone astray,
Might not be there in Glory,
Had you not passed my way.
– Eleanor Taylor Rhodes, in Gospel Herald
Posted by Virgil on October 4th:
My father-in-law died of throat cancer – and just before he was diagnosed with the disease, I had the privilege of leading him to Jesus Christ for salvation. On his death bed he said that it was time for him to go home and said that he could see something beautiful. He died of a horrible disease but he fell asleep in a peaceful departure. I wonder that this was one of the reasons that there were quite a few that were saved at his funeral.
Yes, it surely must be a great burden off your mind now that this is all finished – but equally a great relief to know that your mom’s pain is completed and she is now with the Lord.