Exclamation Points of Grace

There is no doubt that this world is full of trials and trouble, misdirections and miscues.

Everyone faces these things and the cumulative effect over time can be exhausting and painful. Very painful.

Very recently I prayed for wisdom with every fiber of my being. God gave me trials of every sort. He tested me. He continues to test and discipline me. He does this so that I may fear him because he is gracious to me and my family.

He’s done this in the flesh, literally. My family has been struggling with thrush in baby David since he was born. It’s been maddening for her. It’s been tiresome for me.

My Proverbs 31 wife researched and struggled until she learned everything there ever was to know about thrush and the balance of good bacteria in the body. She attacked the thrush for baby David through the food she eats. It’s working slowly to help get the baby healthy.

The exclamation point of grace this week was that my great aunt Yolanda passed away. She was also a woman of great faith and a gentle spirit. Because all sinned, and Yolanda too, she died. But her Savior crucified her with her sin on the cross thousands of years ago. Now, she lives with him in heaven. Oddly enough, when both my wife and I heard the news that she was taken home, we were filled with jealousy.

I know that our time will come to join the Savior in heaven through the faith that he inspired in us through his word. Huh. The power of words. They treat the infection internally, in this case. Like strategic food for the body nourishes the good bacteria and fights the thrush. We expect the results to be immediately revealed and resolved. The sin gone now; the thrush terminated right away.

It doesn’t work that way. What God has made crooked cannot be made straight (see Ecclesiastes).

At the funeral today, I had the chance to talk to my aunt Sue who is a dear woman of faith. She knows her mom is in heaven, but she knows that she will be struggling now. Her more than anyone else, we know.

I shared with her the passage from Isaiah where God talks to his people through the prophet and shares how He “has plans to prosper them, and not harm them. Give them a hope and a future.” This hope and a future is like looking at mountain peaks in the distance.

Immediately, we can understand that God was talking about the protection of his chosen people in the Old Testament physically – protecting them during their enslavement to foreign powers. Then we look beyond that and we can see the next peak where God’s same word preserves future generations until the time when He sent Jesus into the world. The peak of the following mountain, perhaps Mount Zion, is where Jesus is crucified then raised to life in victory for his people carrying slaves of sin in his train, freeing them from the bondage of sin and death.

There are also personal peaks in the mountain range. Precious in His sight is the death of one of His saints, believers.

There is also a final peak where He has set the day to end the earth and make all things new again. This final peak is where we see how one passage of scripture, one grouping of words and thoughts from our Savior God is firmly established in heaven and on earth, and fixed into the hearts and minds of believers. We have peaks of hope and a future in him throughout time, in our own lives, in our death, and in eternity in heaven. He has surely set in our hearts eternity.

Today was good food for the souls of those who loved Yolanda. Today we eat food that targets the yeast in our spirits so that we become more like Christ. Sometimes this food doesn’t kill the yeast of sin completely immediately, but by the grace of God his Bread of Life kills the sin-yeast eventually.

We’ll see you again some day aunt Yolanda. Give Jesus a hug from us still here in the fight until we can do it together with you in heaven. If you didn’t know Yolanda, be jealous of her because she’s with Jesus now.

Let that jealousy turn your eyes toward obtaining the same through faith – the salvation of your souls.

May the words of my heart and the meditation of my mouth be acceptable in your sight, Oh God.

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