Sunday, May 4, 2008

God is there: In the storms of life

This is the fifth Sunday our pastor preached in his series entitled "Shipwrecked: What do you do when life's toughest storms threaten to destroy you?" This morning his sermon was in Acts 28:11-15 and this evening he continued with verses 16-23. The messages over the last 5 weeks have been so incredible, they have truly motivated Trayc and I each week as we attempt to move through this storm in our lives and minister to others.

Paul's storms were not your ordinary problems, he suffered through real problems. He had been arrested and thrown in prison, he had been snake bitten and shipwrecked. The Apostle Paul had been in the storm and was casted away for 3 months. If someone would have asked Paul "Where is your God now?" do you know what he would have said? Paul would've said "He's right here next to me". Paul knew through the storms of life that God would show his presence, that He had a plan and that He had a purpose. In Acts 27:23 Paul said "For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and who I serve". Why did he say that? Because he knew God was present, he was right beside him. Paul also knew God had a plan because his heart and life belonged to Him. Why did God allow these unusual storms to come Paul's way? Because He had a plan, he wanted to use Paul to reach others through the storms of his own life and to use it for ministry. And although Paul did not know, nor do we, what the purpose is, we can trust that because the Lord has allowed the storm, He will be right there beside us carrying us through.

Dr. Brunson was saying that like Paul, we need to reach out and minister to others. He was saying that with a church our size, there are so many opportunities to reach out so we should find a place and minister. So many times we as Christians have the tendency to just sit back and let everyone else do the ministering and yet we are the first to get jealous when we are not asked to be used. Our pastor responded by saying that specific people are being used because they want to be used, they want to minister, they are not just sitting on the couch whining about not being used! He said we have to make a step toward ministry instead of waiting for someone to ask us and that we need to do this even in the midst of our own storms.

Each week these messages give us a desire to be more like the Apostle Paul. It's like the pastor was saying, these were no ordinary storms, these were serious! I am sure Paul must have been frightened, scared, discouraged and stressed out at times but regardless of the storm he thanked God and took courage. We felt the presence of God in our pregnancy - it was very real and we know God had a plan and purpose for our little boy's life. Although we do not know the plan or the purpose right now, we cannot just sit back, we cannot just be quiet. We must thank the Lord, we must take courage, we must step out and we must minister because we KNOW THAT WE ARE BEING CALLED to minister to other hurting families even in the midst of our storm. So, how could we walk away from the calling of the Lord? We cannot. We have had several people ask if we felt like we could reach out to others this soon after our loss, afraid that we have not grieved long enough. I often think to myself, is there really a timeline for grief? I really don't think so. Some days are great and some days are simply filled with sadness but we cannot wait until the pain and grief of our storm is gone. Honestly it's never going to be gone, not this side of Heaven. But oh the moment we step over into glory and see not only the face of our Savior, but the precious face of our little boy that I held for 56 DAYS, then and only then will the true pain and grief we are feeling be gone! (I am sure there are lots of sweet mommies agreeing with me here!) So until then, we can either choose to quietly live day-by-day remembering our little boy or we can step up, reach out and minister to other hurting families through our little boy's story. WE CHOOSE TO MINISTER!

I would ask that you please pray for our family as we continue to heal from our loss and I would ask that you please pray for Trayc and I as we are being led to several local families that have either just delivered a Trisomy 18 baby or who are pregnant. Pray that the Lord will give us an incredible amount of strength to help these families with the right words of encouragement. We cannot take their pain away but we can be an emotional support for them, we can listen, we can tell our story and we can give them ways to make the most of their time by "living in the moment".

Acts 28:15 says: "And from there, when the brethren heard about us, they came to meet us as far as Appii Forum and Three Inns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage."

Philippians 1:12-13 says: "But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ;"


Laurie said...

I continue praying for you in your storm and I know that God is going to use you and Trayc to help so many others who are in their own storms. I love your willing hearts for others and they will be so blessed by Tristan's life that continues to grow day by day. These 56 precious days will continue ministering for all of eternity. Tristan is one of Gods littlest teachers and pure love. You have my prayers.

Love, Laurie in Ca.

Kim ( said...

God is so using you and your family sweet friend. I will continue to pray for your healing and for your new ministry. I know that this is no mistake where God is leading you and Trayc. Thank you for your faithfulness, you and your family are such a blessing.
I love you,