Ten days before the car accident that ultimately took her life, my mother in law, Deborah Samples, left the words below in her blog. In honor of the finest Christian woman I have ever known, I leave them with you. A little after midnight on July 2, 2011, that beautiful lady received the fullness of her inheritance. She’s with Jesus in glory and we will miss her greatly.The Author of our Stories!
How many of you have ever read a good book or watched a movie and were disappointed with its ending? I think of one of which we all are familiar- Gone With The Wind- and we probably would not have let Bonnie Blue fall off the horse and die; and depending on our personalities, some of us would have wished Rhett had stayed with the pouty Scarlett, others were happy that she got what she deserved. Yes, if we could have reviewed and edited, we would have ruined Margaret Mitchell’s bestseller! Today, I write to encourage myself and, hopefully, you, in the truth that God is the Author of our stories and He is too wise to try to edit. I will not and cannot explain the theological concept of His sovereignty and our free will but I do believe them both because the Bible teaches both and I believe that He is in every detail of our story. I know that isn’t easy to accept but when we do, we find ourselves at rest as never before. I don’t write today as one who has mastered being the pliable clay in the all-wise Potter’s hands but as one who, like you, is learning to be still and learning (emphasis on learning) to refrain from resisting while trusting that His ordained purpose for me is perfect. Yes, like you also, that is easier on the good days, when the sun is shining, not so easy when the black clouds are forming on the horizon. On those particular days, I find myself asking like the Psalmist-“Why are thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me?” Then I begin to praise Him for His goodness toward me and soon, I am asking the same question again. You relate, right? Think with me that if Joseph could have rewritten his story, maybe he would have left out the chapter entitled- “Betrayed and Sold by Jealous Brothers.” Maybe Naomi, Orpah, and Ruth would have kept their husbands alive and we would have missed the beautiful love story or Boaz and Ruth who became the great grandparents of the great king of Israel, David. If David had not been on the run for his life from Saul, we would not be challenged by some great psalms that he wrote which encourage us that we can go on too. Esther would have rather stayed with Mordecai but found herself in the king’s palace and realized that she was there “for such a time as this.” The Bible is filled with these kind of stories, all of which God authored. In the N.T. Testament, we see many of our most beloved epistles written by the Apostle Paul from a prison cell, not exactly the location we would have chosen. It’s from his pen in the Book of Romans that he reminds us that “all things work together for good to them who love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” It doesn’t say all things are good but all things work for our good, dear Child of God. No, we don’t understand and won’t, fully, here. I have bought many little palettes of paint for the grandchildren for inside activities at our house. Rarely, do they include the color black and never have I seen gray in the mix but the artist in his masterpieces will often use those shades as a backdrop and the vibrant hues become brighter because of it. It’s why the jeweler who wants the sale places that diamond ring in a box of black velvet. The brilliance is glorious against the background. I do not understand cancer in kids- I pray for an 18-mo. old named Andrew with stage IV neuroblastoma. He is in Ireland with his parents who, I believe, are missionaries. Each day as his daddy updates on FB his blood transfusion and chemos and sleepless nights, I weep with them but rejoice at his little smile in extreme adversity and his parents’ thanksgiving for a Christian doctor and caring nurses. My children in the ministry got a much needed vacation this week but Jeff has been crippled in much of it because of the painful condition of gout. I wonder why this would happen because he so diligently serves and desired some time with his precious three. I have prayed for them and have trusted that God knows exactly what is going on. “Deborah”, you might say, “Do you think God is in vacations gone awry?” I am learning that God is sovereign or He is not. It can’t be both ways so yes, He wasn’t taken aback by this mishap. One of my dearest friends, a sweet lady who shared discipleship classes with me, is on her way to Wisconsin today to see a specialist concerning “possible” pancreatic cancer. She kids with me on my birthday that I am older than her, from September to November and as she goes, she leaves behind in a hospital an aged mother who is recovering from bypass surgery. My friend retired from work to take care of her elderly parents and now she is too ill to to do so. I am sure she has questions. Would you join me in prayer for her? Do we understand? No! Do we trust God Who does understand fully? Yes! We trust His wisdom and His grace and His love for His children. Does He work all things out for good and His glory? Help us, Lord, to trust in You and Your truth! I posted a song last time that I blogged called Blessings. (Please listen to it if you are a fellow struggler today.)There is a particular line that ministers to my heart this morning. “What if the trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?” It meant even more when I read that the young woman wrote the song after hearing that her husband had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. I began with our desire to rewrite sections of stories because we think that we have a better grasp on the outcome. But let us be reminded and reassured today that God’s story ends perfectly. The ending is really our beginning and from Heaven one day, we will say Amen and amen to His story and our chosen role in it. I am just thankful this morning that He gave me a part, aren’t you? Praying for perseverance for you and desiring your like-minded prayer for me, Pilgrim! These temporary trials serve to remind us that this is not our home. Hallelujah!! – Deborah