Monday, April 11, 2011

Ride of a Lifetime

I’m not a fan of roller coasters, which makes me very different from most of my friends and family members, including my husband.  I can pretty much only handle basic low-key roller coasters (a.k.a. the ones that 7 year olds go on) – no going upside down or rising to incredible heights for me.

As much as I dislike the ups and downs of roller coasters, the ups and downs of life can be even more challenging to face.  Last week was one of those weeks that dramamine wouldn’t have even touched.  Life is, unfortunately, full of this interweaving of joy and pain. 
This week I had the opportunity to be blessed by the testimony of a godly man experiencing both joy and pain during the final stage of his life.  This testimony was given by his children at his funeral.  This was, unfortunately the down of my week, but God used it to teach me more than I can express right now. 

Whether you knew this man or not, the testimony of how he shared the joy of Christ with others even through the immense pain that he was experiencing would speak measures to any open heart, enough to bring a person to tears.  He was even worshipping God in song during periods of extreme pain as he didn’t want to focus on his own suffering and discomfort, but rather on continuing to be a shining light for the gospel message. 

            “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirst for you;
            my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
            So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.
            Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.
            So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.”
                                                                                             Psalm 63:1-4

I read the verses from this psalm recently and thought of this man who I’d spent much time praying for.  This psalm was his song.  Then God prompted me to consider if this is my song.  Even when life is difficult (“dry and weary”), do I still “earnestly” seek God?  Can I say that God’s great love is better than life itself? 

What difficult questions to answer.  What guilt and shame I felt for my own selfishness and shortcomings.  I’ve dealt with the emotional and spiritual confliction that the death of a loved one brings, but never have I left a funeral feeling more convicted to live a life that honors God more.  In the midst of this funeral (when my convictions and emotions were at their peak) we sang the song “My Tribute.”  I’ll end with the lyrics to this song that is so difficult for me (and many others) to sing simply because it such a great expression of our need and dependence on God and all that He has done for us.  

My Tribute
How can I say thanks for the things
You have done for me?
Things so undeserved yet you gave
To prove your love for me
The voices of a million angels
Could not express my gratitude
All that I am, and ever hope to be
I owe it all to thee

To God be the glory, to God be the glory
To God be the glory for the things he has done

With his blood he has saved me
With his power he has raised me
To God be the glory for the things he has done

Just let me live my life and
Let it be pleasing Lord to thee
And if I gain any praise, let it go to Calvary

With his blood he has saved me
With his power he has raised me
To God be the glory for the things he has done

In all of life’s ups and downs… to God be the glory!

~ Carrie ~

No comments:

Post a Comment