Monday, September 13, 2010

Always an Example

We are always being watched by someone. Each one of us is an example to others, good or bad. Christians in particular are being watched by the world, especially when we go through tough times. While some people watch us to see how strong our faith is, others are actually looking for a good example to follow when they themselves face challenging situations.
I was blessed to have one of those life changing Christian-based examples when I was just a child of eleven. While attending my grandfather’s funeral I witnessed an inner strength in my grandmother that has stayed with me all of my life. My grandparents had been married for more than 50 years and I knew that Grandma loved the Lord with all her heart. But what really surprised me was the peaceful countenance she displayed throughout the entire funeral process. I had assumed she would be absolutely devastated; after all, fifty years is a very long time to live with someone. But when I witnessed her serene demeanor, I was taken aback.
I did not know Jesus personally during that time. I did know, though, that my grandmother had a relationship with the Lord that was a priority in her life. She made an impression upon me at a young age simply by praying out loud regularly and leaving her Bible lying open when I visited her. I knew she regularly had Bible studies with friends and that she attended church whenever the doors were open. Grama was a sweet, peaceful person who would readily throw her head back in laughter when she was tickled by something.
Even though I didn’t completely understand my Grandmother’s faith, I was definitely drawn to it, and never more so than at my grandfather’s funeral. When I finally saw my Grandma’s face in that sea of mourners, and then witnessed her inner peace throughout the funeral process, it drew me to her Jesus, even as a child.
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Mark 10:14).
God has used that memory of “faith amidst the storm” countless times in my life. It is one of those “pillar of strength” reminders of the peace that can only come from a relationship with Jesus; a peace that passes understanding. Most gratefully, that same peace is now helping me to endure my own struggles in life.
That’s not to say we shouldn’t cry or grieve over the loss of a loved one; even Jesus openly wept. But God wants us to “not be as one without hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). That is, in our sorrow we still believe that God is sovereign. We are to live our faith, even through the tough times, with the hope of tomorrow.
While weeping may remain for a night, rejoicing comes in the morning (Psalm 30: 5). We can rejoice in the promises that God give us, so that after we are gone, our memory, too, will be a pillar of strength to others, pointing them to our heavenly Father.
The peace of God is much greater than the human mind can understand. This peace will keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:7 NLV).

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