Fullness of Joy. . .

Today while eating our Fourth. . .yes, fourth Mexican food meal this week, I overheard a very spirited debate at the table next to us.

“So, if God can do anything, just why did He create this world knowing He would be crucified and why did he create people just to send them to Hell.”

Wow!  Talk about a reason to order another basket of sopapillas and honey!  Trying not to be obvious, all three of us simultaneously slid sideways in the booth to get better audio on the matter.

“Yeah!” I was thinking to myself.  Why would God create us knowing we would turn on Him and then. . .THEN. . .die for us to save us?  What about those other questions that just don’t make any sense to me?  Questions like, “Why does God allow suffering?” “Why does God create life, knowing it may ultimately end up in an eternity of hell?”  My limited human mind cannot understand or explain such a God and what He thinks.

Back to the food.  We found “Rosa’s” in Mansfield, Texas on our way to the doctor.  We have five beautiful children.  All just perfectly created. . .and all suffer from allergies or asthma.  So, this week, we set aside time in our schedule to make the 1 hour drive from our country home to visit our Allergist in the big city. . .times four days.  By the time we’re done with the doctor, we’re starving!  Although this place is fast and has good food. . .I should warn you that four visits in one week will leave you with at least a 3 lb weight gain.  4 lbs if you order a second basket of sopapillas.

Our final visit this week was with our youngest son, Matthew.  What a beautiful gift to our family.  As we’re explaining his medical
history, we had to review his heart murmur and then further review the medical history of our other son, William and his heart defect.

When casually explaining the death of our son to HLHS (Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome)- my voice no longer waivers, my heart does not skip a beat.  I’m in a robotic mode.  The window to my heart is closed and acting as an observer, I can explain in detail the life the Lord created and then took home. . .called. . .William.

After the burrito settled this evening, I found myself on Facebook and in front of me the words of another mother pleading for prayer for her daughter who was crashing and dying at that very moment.  “We didn’t have any warning…” Her words smashed that window to my heart and it dropped into the very bottom pit of my stomach.  In an instant, the short sentence on the computer screen had dragged me back to that hospital hallway where I was breathlessly running with that little limp and lifeless body in my arms screaming for help.  I could feel her panic…her world falling out from beneath her.

“Help!” We’ve all been there.  That incredibly hopeless moment when we know life has gotten so ugly and devastating that our soul cries for help.  The illusion of control has turned into the reality of hopeless.  Who is this God that we cry out to for help?  Why has he allowed this?  Why has he created this world to begin with?

God created man and this world for His Glory.  Plain and simple to write and say; but one of the most difficult for me to understand and explain.  God created this world and placed man, in His image, to bring glory to Himself.  If I could, I would explain it this way. . .Glory is not just the beautification of something, but, rather, a reflective honor, majesty, praise, a glorified grace
abounding through our Heavenly Father.   More than dying on the cross, I am mesmerized by the fact that knowing we would betray him…knowing we would choose other gods over Him…He still created us.  His love, is that great.  His grace is that strong.  He created us knowing he would save us.

On this Good Friday, we remember the horror our savior endured and the life he laid down for our very own salvation from eternal
damnation.  I fall to my knees and face before God realizing that without this day…without THIS day. . .I would have no purpose.  No reason to live.  And no reason to die.  We celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection sometimes forgetting just what we were saved from.

For someone going on a journey through the shadow of the valley of death, we become one wearing blinders to the noise and chaos that surrounds.  Our focus is on that of our circumstance.  We see life from our perspective of pain and suffering rather than the journey itself and where the journey leads.  The chaos and noise surrounding are all parts of one big story.   We are but a small, small part in God’s story.  If we could see from His perspective, all would make perfect sense.  But our limited minds, our sinful souls, and our blinders keep us wondering, why?

If for just a moment. . .I’d like to remove those blinders.  A chance to look around at the sovereignty of God and what his son’s suffering for us really means.  It is with this knowledge that one can travel this journey through the valley with hope. ..with a joyful heart…with a grateful soul.

William died.  Simply put.  It’s hard.  I won’t lie about that one.  Time does not heal a thing.  The pain of the loss is always great.  The shutting the casket lid is as vivid as the smell of the funeral home flowers.  But through his death, the Lord has removed my blinders and I can see that I am not alone.  Jesus walks this journey with me.  He guides me, He protects me, He comforts me, HE leads me beside those still waters for my good and His glory. 

My suffering tries and tests my endurance.  It strengthens my hope in God and ultimately. . .brings me unexplainable joy in Him.

“and we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.  For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:2b-5

The Lord suffered for us and who better to walk with us than someone who has been through the ultimate suffering.  He knows our pains. . .He created us to be like him and He created each and every soul to long for Him and long for Home.  Without His death. . .we would have no home.  For some, this wondering seems eternal because you do not know Jesus personally.  You have not had that moment in life where you realize you are nothing without him and have not yet accepted Him into your life to rule and reign and obtain eternal joy in Him.

We serve a living and very real God.  One that suffered pain and abandonment to give us life with him.  WITH him.  Knowing Christ is more than a ticket into Heaven.  It is asking God to rule in your life, to open your eyes and remove the blinders so you can live a life of joy that comes from the hope in a God who rescues the hopeless.  Putting your trust and dreams and sorrows in
the hands of your very creator…that is what a walk with Christ looks like.  And in Him. . .you walk with a joyful heart
through any fire or valley or storm, knowing it is worth every step.

How do we get up in the morning, each morning, with tragedy and devastation?  We hold the hand that leads us.  We ask the Holy Spirit to take that pain and to open our eyes to His will and great love.  When your eyes are fixed on God. . .you only see Him.  William did not die without cause.  The Lord has used this little boy throughout my maturing life as a turning point.   A stamp in time where God reached down and pulled me from the pit and placed me on a path knowing Him and joy through him.

William’s death gave me a chance to have a new life.  And Jesus’ death gave us a chance to have our new lives.  His death gave us a way to God.  But it’s up to us to take it. . .to accept it and walk with him.

Life plain and simple, is not about us.  It’s not our story after all.  It’s God’s story, and we are all guided by His hands to bring glory to His name.  And this includes suffering.  Through suffering, we get to know Christ.  And the more you get to know Him, the more
you are willing to suffer for Him.

Yes, God is all powerful and could have saved us all without sending His son to die for us.  Heavy, huh?  But He shows his awesome almighty, everlasting and never ending love by sending a perfect Christ to take on our sin at the cross.  In my darkest hours,
my mind can wonder to question the love of God.  “Does he really love me?”  And then I look to the cross.  Having lost a child myself, I see God’s sending his son as the ultimate gift, showing me just how much He loves me.

make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”



Brother, sister, friend. . .life is a hard journey on your own.  Take His hand. . .let go of the illusion of control.  God loves to
rescue.  In His presence is fullness of joy.  We wait for the ultimate. . .to be home in Glory with our Lord.  But until then, we can have the Holy Spirit with us at all times and in his presence, we find joy through every trial, through every moment of suffering.  Our
endurance pulls us to our God and knowing Him brings the ultimate hope.  A longing to be with our creator. . .who created us to glorify Him.  What a purpose in life, huh?  Each and every one of us has a purpose, to glorify the almighty God.

Whom have I in heaven but you?

And there is nothing upon earth
that I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail,

But God in the strength of my
heart and my portion for ever.

Psalm 73:25-26

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