Thursday, October 05, 2006

While in North Africa, in a particularly dark village (we were told we were the first missionaries to visit here), we stayed in the home of a gracious family. The patriarch of this home was a pleasant man. He wore a smile routinely, and wanted us to be comfortable in every way. He and his wife worked hard to assure the same. At times they did things that humbled us beyond expectation. They reflected true servants hearts. He used humor to help overcome the language barrier.

One day while visiting there, he found a scorpion. This species of scorpion was deadly, and there was no antidote within the borders of the country (we were told). Somehow, knowing this, made it all the more attractive to my group of men. The idea that they could flirt with this kind of danger was too appealing.

I found myself standing close by and giving instruction as needed to assure they did not do anything stupid (right!). The man of the house sensed my concern and the attitudes of the guys and chose to do something I did not expect. He produced a lighter, pinned the scorpion down with a twig, and proceeded to burn off the stinger. (This scorpion when layed out flat was probably 6 inches long from end to end).

Understandably, the scorpion objected. It writhed in an attempt to get free. Success was not to be his on this day.

Suddenly, what was so deadly by design, no longer carried with it, the method to deliver it's poison.

It still tried. It would poke it's powerless tail at its intended victim, but to no avail.

On the day that we were told what BJ's odds of survival were, we felt very much like we had been "stung." We brought him to the hospital completely confident of their ability to cure him. In our minds, he only had pneumonia. They could hook him up to various expensive machines and bring about would just take time.

In the long days and nights ahead, we would entertain occasional notions of the verse "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" (1Cor. 15:55)

I began to seek to dull the ache within. If death was the potential result, how were we to escape the "sting?" How could the death of my son, not hurt more than any pain in life? How was this verse supposed to make any sense? I could not see it.

I am not sure I ever really comprehended what was being suggested, until I read on.

Certainly the death of a loved one carries with it a most painful edge. One that seems to fray any fabric it touches, for a time. Escape from this kind of hurt is not easily found.

However, the triumph of this verse comes from the next lines. "The sting of death is sin...But thanks be to God! He gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." vv 56-57.

To be true, death is very painful for the survivors. But the sting of death comes from wrong living, wrong reactions, wrong motives. A relationship with Christ helps blunt the pain. I hurt for those who lose loved ones that did not know Christ. There is no hope there.

Attending the funeral of families who do not know Jesus, reveals a whole different kind of "sting." I have lost my grandparents, aunts, uncles, my father, my best friend and now my son. All were believers. There is a marked difference in our suffering as believers! We do have hope! We know we will be reunited with our loved ones! That day will come...soon!

Verse 58 says, "Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."

Praise God for His incredible promises! He is the One who sears the stinging edge of pain in death for His own.



At 12:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How are you?This website has really inspired me.Love ya and I am praying in pink.

At 12:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey parents--

hope your day was so good. i'm getting really excited about this summer. I'm really just having all kinds of peace about that being where the Lord wants me. He has really affirmed that for me recently in several ways.

I love you guys. Miss you like crazy. cant wait to see you!



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