When Peace, Like a River…

Jerry & Luke

Luke is pictured here with Jerry Schneider, both promoted to glory before we would like, but all in God’s good timing.

This article is actually from April 9, 2016. I forgot to post it back then.

So this is how memories work:

When I checked the weather report for Saturday and found out that it’s going to snow all day, it reminded me that it snowed in April in 1996. This was a big deal to my children at 3.5 years and 23 months, and yet it wasn’t enough to make snowmen outside. So we made pictures that day with cotton balls. I found Luke’s picture in his memory box, and I checked the back of the page – April 9, 1996 – exactly 20 years ago. Luke died 5 days later. That’s how memories work.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

When an 86-year-old gentleman died later that same year, a 5-year-old boy said, “I can just imagine little Luke showing Mr Armstrong around heaven, introducing him to Peter, Paul, and Abraham, since he got there first!” (something like that)

I was going through the box of “Luke Memories” in order to find that snowman picture last week. But then I couldn’t get the box to close again, because I had saved all the envelopes ‘way back then, and somehow now they didn’t fit. So I decided to cut off all the return addresses and save just them. I came across a lot of names I didn’t recognize, but some were possibly my parents’ coworkers as well as people in our supporting churches, or just lack of memory after 20 years. Many have died over the years, many have changed addresses multiple times. It was interesting to note that several people sent multiple cards over several months. The next project will be to try and match the addresses to the cards, and read them all while I’m at it!

7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
2 Corinthians 4:7-10

Mostly I go through life without dwelling on it, like my husband does (you know, opposites attract and all that). But since this year is the 20th Anniversary, it has popped its little head up more than usual. Plus, I never used to be on facebook…

“Safe in the arms of Jesus,
Safe from corroding care,
Safe from the world’s temptations,
Sin cannot harm me there.
Free from the blight of sorrow,
Free from my doubts and fears;…”

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It is good for me that I have been afflicted, …

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It is good for me that I have been afflicted,
That I may learn Your statutes.   Psalm 119:71

 

I was looking over some notes from last year, when this church break-up was much fresher. What I have found to be a great revelation is how very different our lives are now that we are not tugged on all sides, responsible for multiple ministries, reports, delegations, projects, recruitments, etc. At first it felt like someone had cruelly yanked the plug and left us gasping on the operating floor. Then we began to breathe on our own. And then we realized we didn’t actually need all those tubes & wires to keep us alive. What we really needed was to be plugged directly into the Bible. Drink deeply and often. And pour out all the poison to Jesus. He can handle it.

The busy-ness is a fraud. It deludes you and others into believing that this is how you prove your worth before men. It is much too easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of “serving,” while forgetting Whom you are to be serving. It’s way too man-centered, this idol of Pharisee-ism. “I seriously doubt her Christian walk. After all, she didn’t come to the women’s picnic, the covered-dish supper, the Saturday outing, or the benefit concert.”

I think I would literally fall on the floor if someone called me up and asked me, “How are you doing spiritually these days? What are you struggling with? What have you learned from the Bible that impacts you the most? Are you repenting? How can I pray for and with you? Can we be honest with each other?”

So what have I learned in the past 18 months?

“3 Do not put your trust in princes,
Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help.
His spirit departs, he returns to his earth;
In that very day his plans perish.

Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
Whose hope is in the Lord his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
The sea, and all that is in them;
Who keeps truth forever,
Who executes justice for the oppressed,
Who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners.” Psalm 146:3-7

 

Because we are not called, justified, adopted, and sanctified for the approval of man. If you are a chosen child of the King, He doesn’t need you to prove your worth to Him. He doesn’t reward or punish you based on your performance. He has declared you righteous in His sight solely based on the imputed righteousness of Christ, freely bestowed on you based on His choice, for His own glory. Simply hold up your arms to Him like a child and say, “Abba, Father.”