Ecclesiastes 3:11 “He (God) hath made everything beautiful in His time.” (KJV) Today I have attended a funeral of a fine young man who is a former student of my high school. He battled cancer for about four years. He was twenty. Any words that I might say beyond this are pointless. Nothing can compare to the heartbreak that his family must be going through. None of us can know how they feel unless we have experienced the same. So, what’s the point of this blog, right?
Last week I spoke at a widows’ dinner. I fasted and prayed about my topic. I am not a widow, so I have no idea how these women must feel. I didn’t want to offer up cliche’ words of advice, and I don’t mind saying I was a little intimidated by this task. So I waited on God. He lead me to Ecclesiastes. I wrote in my last blog about how God showed me some great things in this book. I seem to gain something new each time I read it. God showed me that there is a season for everything and that so much of life is pointless. All of life has no point without God. He has a plan and purpose for all of us. There is no hope of happiness outside of God’s plan. God lead me to the verses that speak of fearing God and standing in awe of Him. It took me a minute though before I saw just what the connection was between these verses, a precious group of widows, and most certainly anyone’s suffering.
I am no stranger to pain and suffering. My blog “The Labor Day that Changed My Life Forever” speaks of a time when a precious friend and her fiancee were taken from us. This happened when I was eighteen, and I soon learned that life is uncertain. At the age of twenty-nine, I was diagnosed with an acute form of arthritis. There was nothing cute about it. The details of that story are for another time, another blog, but suffice it to say that I know continuous pain, what it feels like to be dependent on other to do the most basic tasks for you such as going to the bathroom and heartache of wondering when it will end. I know how it feels to want to die, fully knowing that I will spend eternity with Jesus Christ my Savior and that doing so would be much easier than living. I also know the joy and amazement of how it feels to be healed for I no longer have this form of arthritis. For this I am truly thankful, and humbled and can never get over my healing that makes no sense except my God, the One and Only, said so. Several years ago, I lost one of my best friends to cancer. I know how it feels to live with the guilt of being healed and begging God to heal her, but, this side of paradise, he did not. I also know the pain of watching my father living ten years and beyond a terrible stroke and his needing full time care by my mom. He is still with us, but life has never been the same.
So on the night of this dinner, what was I to say to these ladies? As I was driving down the road one afternoon after school, God finally made the connection. There was one more verse that I kept wanting to leave out and God said, “No.” It’s Ecclesiastes 5:7 which states: Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore fear God. (NIV) I got the point about fearing God which is a holy reverence for Him but that part about dreaming being meaningless… I am a high school English teacher, HELP. I also understood about words. Proverbs 10:19 states “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.” If you think there is no truth to that, come visit me tomorrow morning at Crockett County High School. Stand out in the hallway in between classes. But still, dreams are bad? God nearly took me off that road I was driving down to get me to understand. These were the dreams as in the days of the Roman Empire. They cut open animals, looking to see if all the internal organs were there in order to give them guidance. One might also not take a trip or make a hasty decision if he or she had a bad dream the night before. They put their faith in dreams and signs. God clearly told me that this showed people that were not putting their faith in Him. In the Old Testament, God instructed His people to not cut open animals and search the insides of it for signs but they were to lay that animal on an altar and let God have it. He very clearly showed me that this is what He wanted these ladies to do: the animal represents their pain, and they were to lay it on God’s altar, letting Him take it.
I nearly ran off the road.
God’s message here is clear: we will not understand it. We must give it to Him. We look to Him for peace, and only He can give it. Through faith in His Son Jesus Christ Who tranforms me daily, I can overcome. I can lay it on that altar and allow Him to make it beautiful in His time. I have no idea how God can make everything beautiful, but I do know that a life changed by a relationship with Jesus Christ or just drawn closer to Him because of my pain or experiences that I share with you, now that’s beautiful.
*I hope that a recording of my talk for these precious ladies at Mercer Baptist Church in Jackson, Tennessee will appear on my web page very soon. I am trying and learning. I would also love to help you with any women’s events that you may have and will now be using every love offering given to me to go to Haiti next summer on mission.