Addressing Crisis Together is a commitment to serve our Lord, Jesus Christ and His Eternal Kingdom.
We at ACT exists to create a new perspective in the arena of suffering by sharing God’s truths. My concern is for those who suffer from the ravaging effects of adversity. My mission is to sow seeds of love, and compassion, to bring healing to those who hurt.
Suffering hurts! No doubt, so then what can we do with the pain? We’ve learn we can’t deny our pain or pretend it doesn’t exist. For if we do it surfaces in other unhealthy ways to diminish our joy. However, there is another option. It is a chance to learn more about who God is, and what God says about suffering. We can also learn about ourselves by turning to our Creator who knows all about us. He teaches us He has a purpose for such pain. He our Sovereign Lord, knows all that we need and stands with arms wide open to come and help us, if only we will ask. Yet by discovering His power we are sustain and refreshed while passing through this season in life. He is Lord…..our great Physician. Our God is more than able to bind up our wounds and sets us free, totally free! Wisely, He uses our pain to increase our faith in ways we would not otherwise recognize.
I have suffered too. Here is my story!
My family is precious! Each person is uniquely special to me. However, today I am going to focus mainly on my middle child, Mike. Michael was born Jan 5, 1973. Holding him for the first time was love at first sight, he was adorable. When I brought him home from the hospital much excitement filled the air. His sister couldn’t wait to see her new baby brother. To hold such a little one was a big task, “for such a little girl” she being only fourteen months older. Seven years later, I had another baby boy, by which I named Daniel. Now, at last we were a complete family! Each child played an important role in our family yet for Michael, he tenderly protected his little brother, and became his sister’s biggest advocate. We will always remember his love for his family.
Can I share a few memories of my son? I remember the day I married my husband. Michael walked me down the aisle of the little Chapel where we regularly attended church. I will never forget the tenderness in his voice, as he leaned over to kiss me on the cheek and said, “Mom I am so happy for you.” His simple gesture sent warm flutters into my heart. Then there were family times by the pool. Mike was witty and at family parties he entertained us with his unique humor keeping us laughing all the time. He was always keeping the action moving, like the time he picked me up to throw me into the pool. I was kicking and yelling to anyone who would rescue me; instead everyone just watched and laughed. He finally put me down, but he sure did give me a good scare! Once I heard a knock at the door, when I opened it, I saw Mike standing there with a flat full of pansies. He just sweetly smiled and said, “Mom, I thought you would like these to put around the pool.”
I was proud of who Mike became. His strong character was influential, and he was kindhearted and known to be a man of great strength, gentleness and honesty. Still I am unable to share more about his life, marriage and work due to time limitations. So then, I must fast forward to the near future where the course of my life changed forever.
Life is incomprehensible at times, so it was when I received a call on February 24, 2004. That morning, I was told my son’s life was taken by another, he was murdered. It seemed so surreal, and difficult for me to understand. Why, would a loving God allow someone who meant so much to me, that gave me joy and happiness, to be taken away in a sudden, unexpected, violent way. I felt confused….pressed with so many thoughts and questions that surly weighted heavy on my mind, but not enough answers. It broke my heart to watch my family suffer by the loss of someone so special to them, who they loved so deeply. Even my grandson innocently ask my husband, “Grandpa, who would ever want to hurt Mike?” His simple reply was, “I don’t know”.
Then the lonely nights of feeling the hurt, loss, and empty void of missing Mike, were excruciating. My eyes would swell from sobs and tears, and my body shook uncontrollably. In the stillness of the night, I felt my husband’s arm slip around me and he held me securely tight – no spoken words, just a compassionate tight embrace. They were intimate nights when two hearts shared the same anguish, torment, and empty pain together. Sharing oneness, we were tied and bound together in catastrophic loss, until solace of peace calmed our spirits and we drifted back to sleep. Those sleepless nights, were as if, God was whispering to me, “I am holding you secure in My Everlasting Arms”.
Although I’d been anchored in the Lord, for many years the struggles continued. The court trial was slow coming and when it did come it seemed the odds were against us. In solemn silence we waited. We questioned many times if we would see fair justice. Stilled and quieted, we waited on God to see what He would do next. Amazingly, we witnessed that God is bigger, wiser, and stronger than any earthly court system. God stands holy and true to His mission: to destroy the works of the devil.
We were surprised to find out in court who the perpetrator was, and his long history of hurting so many people. Nonetheless, he was found guilty and convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death, and is currently on death row. Although we are thankful justice was served and another person won’t be hurt, the grim reality is Michael is gone forever. We miss Mike and look forward to reuniting with him again someday in heaven, where we will worship Jesus forever together.
After seeing justice served, time was given for healing. By the end of the grieving period a question kept surfacing, could I forgive?
Michael died a senseless death in the face of appalling evil. It was unfair, cruel and hurt me deeply. Was it possible to forgive the man who blatantly intruded upon my peaceful life? Life as I knew it was beautiful, perfect in every way. Who wouldn’t question forgiveness? So then, I struggled, resisted and refused with all my strength. It was an insurmountable task to obtain any desire to want to forgive this man. Except for God’s grace and power to do through me what I couldn’t do for myself. Jesus says, “If we do not forgive, the Heavenly Father will not forgive our sins.”It was God’s own Son who poured out great mercy on me, how could I withhold the same mercy?
Thinking about the greatest demonstration of forgiveness ever known, in its purest form, moved me deeply. Jesus reached out to His own enemies even in the face of evil, as they tortured and crucified Him. On the cross Jesus’ last thoughts and words for His enemies were, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
How could our Heavenly King leave His glory behind, where affectionate reverence and praise was hailed to Him continually and come to earth, to be our sacrifice? A willing, sacrifice, in obedience as an act of redemption to bring many sons to glory. He did this for us. It was His example which softened my heart. It was then, God supplied the inner strength to give me a willing heart to do what was impossible for me to do. I have made the hard choice to forgive.
“Surely God is my salvation: I will trust (Him) and not be afraid. The Lord is my strength and song. He has become my salvation.” (1)
Thankfully, my story became redemptive when the Lord’s salvation became my song. My pain and sorrow is redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. God healed, changed and transformed my life, and my heart. I am so grateful for His loyalty, His compassionate heart towards me and faithfulness, which taught me how much He loved me. I also learned God is sovereign, all-powerful, and in control over all the affairs of life. It is incomprehensible to understand why these circumstances came into my life. How could I begin to understand? Nevertheless, I’ve come to accept that some things are for God alone. God has called me to bear the weight of this heavy cross for His name sake. Today, I fully surrender to His will in my life, reflecting His love by living for Jesus and serving others and I am set free. Praise be to His name!
“For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” (2)
1. Isaiah 12:2;
2. Jeremiah 29:11
All Scripture is cited from (nas)