how to live

18 01 2008

i was at this funeral in early January for a lady who was a passing influence in my life. more or less, she was mostly known to me as the mother of a man who was a leader in my youth group. the funeral was a great service, as good as funerals can be, and i was taken aback at several of the things that came out in the midst of all that was said.

her husband was a paralyzed former pilot whom she was the primary caretaker for. for most people this would have been a burden, and understandably, but most would put on a tough face and take it all in stride. she was different though. above caring for him, and above making it through, she seized life amidst the trials and troubles and made it the best. it was noted that she didn’t enjoy driving, but because of the injury she was left with no choice. but yet not once did we hear her complain and say that it wasn’t fair or that she didn’t deserve it. another instance was in her cancer that eventually consumed her. most likely there were times of unbearable pain and suffering in the midst of this, but again, no one could make a reference to when she was found to be complaining about this. and this wasn’t just one of those funerals where they only say nice stuff so the bad stuff isn’t focused on. no, this was truly and genuinely the woman that i knew. it made me think about how easy it is for us to complain and get upset when we’re faced with the uncertain and unfair situations in life.

there were several verses that were quoted during the service, but one passage stood out to me from Philippians 4:4-7, 11-13, which was referenced by my father who led the service. It reads:

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus…I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned to secret to being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

these verses speak amazing words of wisdom, and i couldn’t help but think while i was reading them about how a woman who was facing such oppression and pain was able to call these life verses. to not be anxious, to be content, to not complain, and to rejoice…who in their right mind would be like this in the midst of the greatest trials that you could possibly face? but yet she took these words to heart, and it is this that presents a great hope and confidence for all others who follow the Father. these verses command response and action in life by the christian, as does a lot of Scripture. to think of myself and the great situation with good health, a great family, good friends, and on and on; i don’t know how i could truly take this 100% to heart in a time like that. i complain today when a little petty game doesn’t go my way, or when a friend let’s me down. truly, how insignificant and petty does that become when compared to what God calls us to? guilt, yeah i’d say i’m feeling a good dose of that right, but i can’t stay there because it’s got to a concerted effort to change and live in such a way.

throughout the mini-message, one line was used, saying that in the midst of the great trials, “even in death itself, she taught us how to live.” man, i want to be remembered that way, what an awesome compliment. i always hear of singers or writers asking what do you want to be remembered by, or a certain legacy, and this is an exceptional one. she set an example because she clung to the Word, to the truth of the Father, and oh that i might do the same.

that i might be a reflection of God to those around me.

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