We have all said "Goodbye," to loved ones and friends during our lifetime. It's always a shock and as I read through the chapters for November 19, my heart was wrenched over and over. Reading it this time had a special impact on me. I think possibly it's because this month is so full of memories of my grandpa and my father going to heaven on the same day. We called the funeral service, "Coronation Day", as we had my grandfather, my mother's father in the morning. And then that afternoon, we had my father's service. The choir sang, "Jesus, The Resurrection". My Uncle Walt said, "We haven't lost my brother, your pastor, husband and father, we know right where he is!"
The deciples didn't know where He was. Mary should have had a clue when the angels in white asked her, "Why are you crying!" She answered, "They have taken my Lord away and I don't know where they put Him."
I remember in the months following my father's death when my heart had no peace. Over and over in the middle of talking or playing or singing, my heart would start to pound and I flashed back to running into my dad's office and seeing him lying there like a fallen oak tree. My heart would start beating hard and the horrible feeling of grief would literally block the light from my heart. I lost my sparkle, my joy and my zest for living. When this flashback would come out of the clear blue sky it would take my breath away.
I lost my joy and my song. One night I went to a service with Terry Law who had been dear friend of Central Assembly and my father. His group, "Living Sound" ministered here often when they were on tours in America. In that service he shared that he felt God speak to his heart not to preach, but for us to fall on our knees and worship our great and wonderful God. He said, "Just imagine that you are in the throne room and worshipping Him before His throne!"
I fell to my knees, and I cried and asked God, "Why is my father there with you and not here?" I went home and the same thing happened again. My heart pounding and the flashback again. The next morning, before I could even call out to God for help, a warmth suddenly spread through my body from the top of my head to the soles of my feet. I thought about the flashback that had held me in such bondage, and Jesus had taken the sting out of the memory.
I jumped out of bed and looked out the window and the birds were singing, the sky was so blue. The burden of grief was gone. I felt like I had been born again. When I walked in the office everyone knew something had happened to me. Ted was waiting for me with the phone in his hand. It was Terry Law. He said, "Sharon, I looked for you last night and you were gone, but the Lord gave me a message for you and He wouldn't let me leave until I gave it to you He said to tell you, I have seen the grief that you have carried in your heart for your father, and I am going to fill that void with My presence!"
I yelled, "Terry, He already has." I told him what had happened that morning. I told him I was glad he hadn't found me the night before because I knew what happened to me was from God. I experienced His resurrection power in my life as He took the sting out of the memories.
I thought how tenderly our precious Jesus just said "Mary" and she knew who He was. And then he told her to go tell the deciples AND PETER THAT HE IS ALIVE!
Jesus in His tenderness and mercy took the sting out of the memory Peter had because he denied the Lord. He took the sting out of the memories Paul had because of the way he persecuted the christians before he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. He took the sting out of the memories that Mary Magdalene had of her life before Jesus delivered her.
When we meet Jesus, we are RESURRECTED TO NEW Life! Our old sinful life is buried in the sea of HIS FORGETFULNESS NEVER TO BE REMEMBERED AGAIN.
His glorious, life-changing power exploded through eternity the day Jesus rose from the grave. Two thousand years later it has not lost one atom of power. Over and over again God unlooses that tremendous force to touch individuals and reverse the negative in their lives.
The power is there for you just for the asking. It's there in your grief, your your joy; in any nervous, mental agony, and in your emotionally-drained state of mind. God wants you to know He's waiting to liberate, restore, revitalize and redirect. This power is at your fingertips. It can be released in your life by simply expressing your need to Father God.
"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointeed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom to the captives and release the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion-to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
I echo Pastor Ted's message. Thank God for the cross because without the cross there would be no resurrection power. Then He asks us to let every one else know that they can have it too!