I tried not to write this post, but God kept prodding me to get it down. Why this was such a challenge will become apparent.
Saturday, we attended the funeral of our pastor’s niece who died suddenly last Monday. It’s hard enough to witness the salty sorrowful tears of hearts broken by pain and lost. But even more, when those tears flowed from a mother who had loved, nurtured, taught and protected her child. A mother’s tears, filled with the reality of emptiness, separation, no more tomorrows, no more celebrations, no more joys, only memories is difficult.
I am reminded of the verse from Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” God told us that even in our darkest moments, when words fail, that His love is wrapped up in those tears. His covenant promise to always be there, despite the oceans of tears, searing heartaches and unimaginable pain is captured in His word. Embedded in this promise is the divine guarantee that His love never fails. A mother’s tears also holds this promise the blessed assurance that “Life has no sorrow that heaven cannot cure.”
I, too, was one of those mothers whose life was shattered by the lost of a child. I am also a testament to the words of Hebrews 13, wherein God kept His promise to never leave, nor forsake. As we comforted the family, particularly this mother, my (our) prayer is that as she walks through the valley; and as each daytime and nighttime tear falls, she will experience fully God’s hand loving, supporting and holding sacred every one of her precious Mother’s tears. Just as He did with me.
In memory of April Michelle Haley
“I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content.”—Philippians 4:11.
HESE words show us that contentment is not a natural propensity of man. “Ill weeds grow apace.” Covetousness, discontent, and murmuring are as natural to man as thorns are to the soil. We need not sow thistles and brambles; they come up naturally enough, because they are indigenous to earth: and so, we need not teach men to complain; they complain fast enough without any education. But the precious things of the earth must be cultivated. If we would have wheat, we must plough and sow; if we want flowers, there must be the garden, and all the gardener’s care. Now, contentment is one of the flowers of heaven, and if we would have it, it must be cultivated; it will not grow in us by nature; it is the new nature alone that can produce it, and even then we must be specially careful and watchful that we maintain and cultivate the grace which God has sown in us. Paul says, “I have learned . . . to be content;” as much as to say, he did not know how at one time. It cost him some pains to attain to the mystery of that great truth. No doubt he sometimes thought he had learned, and then broke down. And when at last he had attained unto it, and could say, “I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content,” he was an old, grey-headed man, upon the borders of the grave—a poor prisoner shut up in Nero’s dungeon at Rome. We might well be willing to endure Paul’s infirmities, and share the cold dungeon with him, if we too might by any means attain unto his good degree.
Do not indulge the notion that you can be contented with learning, or learn without discipline. It is not a power that may be exercised naturally, but a science to be acquired gradually. We know this from experience. Brother, hush that murmur, natural though it be, and continue a diligent pupil in the College of Content.
Amid the winter storms ravaging the eastern sea board and coastal areas of New England, and some midwestern states, Valentine’s Day came and went. Although, Massachusetts Governor has declared a Valentine’s Week to encourage those impacted by the bad weather to celebrate next week. Valentine’s Day is a million dollar day that focuses on sharing love by giving flowers, a box of chocolates, special gifts, and dining out.
As I awoke this morning, I began thinking about the love that came wrapped in the form of a baby over 2000 years ago. God loved the world so much that gave…not a box of chocolates, flowers, or jewels, but His precious son. And Christ’s gifts would open blind eyes, heal wounded hearts and bodies. Gifts filled with the warm centers of joy, peace, power, patience and love can only be appreciated by those, whose lives amid storms and the drifting seas of life, reach out and touch the hem of his garment. Whether a day or week, this love, HIS LOVE never, ever fails. It is constant, sustaining, invincible, and available to all. Wrapped up in a bright, shiny,sweet package that is oh so good. A love that bears all things, no matter what.
So while the box of chocolates may be pictured on Instagram, the real meaning of Valentine’s Day is captured in the meaning of real, divine love. It is the embodiment of God and of His love for us.