13 ...one thing I do--forgetting everything which is past and stretching forward to what lies in front of me,
14 with my eyes fixed on the goal I push on to secure the prize of God's heavenward call in Christ Jesus.
Believers face many difficulties. Trials. Adversaries. Doubts. At times we're all tempted to quit. The struggle seems too much, and we wonder if it's worth it to continue, to hold on to our faith when there seems to be no hope left.
But there is a goal -- supremely worthwhile: life with our wonderful Lord. Not just existence, but intimate fellowship.
Fix your eyes on the goal -- God Himself -- and press on!
1 CORINTHIANS 1:9 NIV
9 God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.
1 PETER 5:7-10 NCV
7 Give all your worries to him, because he cares about you.
8 Control yourselves and be careful! The devil, your enemy, goes around like a roaring lion looking for someone to eat.
9 Refuse to give in to him, by standing strong in your faith.You know that your Christian family all over the world is having the same kinds of suffering.
10 And after you suffer for a short time, God, who gives all grace, will make everything right. He will make you strong and support you and keep you from falling. He called you to share in his glory in Christ, a glory that will continue forever.
Notice that suffering is caused by your enemy, the devil, and its purpose is to attack your faith. Also notice that God only allows you to suffer a short time.
"But," you say, "it's already been a long time."
Not really. It seems like a long time when you are going through trials, but afterward seems like a short time. Even a few years is nothing when you look back on it. Ask God to help you see things from Heaven's perspective.
"But why does God allow me to suffer at all?"
Because people make wrong choices. Conflict causes suffering. But God believes in you! Why should He yank you out of the arena? God believes that with His grace and help, you will overcome and experience victory.
The end result is what really counts. God will make everything turn out alright. (Read verse 10 again.)
Maybe you feel like your faith is barely hanging by a thread. Just hang on. With God holding the thread -- and He is -- your faith will survive. You will make it! God will help you.
Today I had lunch with a very good friend from church. This here is a picture of her TWIN girls. K. (left) and C. (right). It is not a current picture. This picture was taken just weeks
before K. was diagnosed with cancer in August of 2004. This was just a few weeks before she was to start kindegarten. I had been the girls Wednesday evening teacher at church when they were 2-4 years old. I didn't really get to know Misty until during the time K. went through treatment. This is when our friendship really began to grow. It had only been a few years since my dad has passed away from cancer when K. was diagnosed. I had never really been this close to a child with cancer.
Very rarely did K. miss church while she was undergoing treatment. If she did, it was mostly when she was undergoing bone marrow transplant or if her counts were too low. Otherwise, if there was church you better believe she would be there.
K.'s cancer was under control for quite some time and I had the honor of being K. and C.'s Sunday School teacher the year they were in 1st grade. We had such a great year. In the spring of 2006 testing showed that the cancer was taking over. Her Daddy and Mommy left no stone unturned regarding available treatments.
On Sunday morning June 4, 2006 at about 5:00 a.m. K.'s Daddy was at her side at the time and he saw the expression on K.'s face when Jesus came to take her to heaven. I remember K.'s Daddy calling me while I was driving to church because he wanted me to know before I got to church where his little girl was. How honored I felt and still feel to this day that a parent who just lost their baby girl would call me.
Misty and I have had many a talk about the pain and suffering they have had to endure. It has been extremely hard as we can only imagine. It will continue to be a hard road to travel, but they are able to walk this road with the help of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We know we are going to go to heaven one day. But until you have someone or more than one person there you don't give it that much thought. Once people you care about start leaving this earth you think more about what it will be like. We do know it will be better than what we experience here on earth.
I told Misty I would be there anytime she needed someone for whatever reason. She could call and just talk about K. I have heard it mentioned by others that they just don't know what to say. It really isn't hard at all. Even if you aren't close to the person, all you have to say is "I'm praying for you." They want to be able to talk about their child. They don't want their child forgotten. I'm simply treating Misty how I would want someone to treat me in similar instances. So, if you know anyone who is hurting for whatever reason, reach out to them. It would mean so much to them.
I cannot begin to imagine what my dear friends have had to go through these last few years. I have laughed and cried with them many times. They are doing an awesome job in their healing process. They are allowing God to use this for His Glory!
They are now beginning the process of adoption. It looks like they may be adopting here rather than International. Please pray that this goes smoothly. They have so much love to give.
As for C. she is doing amazingly well, especially since she and her "sissy" were extremely close. Her parents have been very wise in helping her in coping with this. They have provided the resources to help her deal with this. The above picture of C. does not do her justice. She was having a "wild" hair day.
God provides what we need when we need it.