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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Loss of Innocence

James 4:13-15
Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that."

I just have been thinking about life and the loss of innocence. I have heard that term before but it sounds different to me now. We all know we will face death at some point in our life; it is just always in the future. For Ginger and I death came far too soon and it has stolen time from us. Time when we should be living without the thought of death. We cannot get back the ability to live free from the reality of death; the innocence is gone never to return. When my Mom passed away it was sad for my brothers and sisters because we lost our mother and a mentor in our lives but death at 87 is not unexpected nor does it seem unfair. But to lose someone when death is not expected either in a moment like Troy or for me over time and certainly at such young ages, you are brought face to face with the frailty of life at a time you never expected. And that forever changes the way you look at life.

One of the "side effects" of losing a spouse at such a young age is life becomes uncertain. I know God does not give us a spirit of fear, and I try not to live in fear but it is real. The thought of Ginger going in for a mammogram strikes fear in me. The idea of me flying again does the same for Ginger. Living is no longer a given, the thought of not living is no longer an improbability, and in that way death is still stealing from us the simplicity of living. I know when Ginger goes in for her mamogram I will spend that day and every day until we get the results in prayer, fighting the thoughts I know will come to me. I try to remember what Andrea used to say, "Jim worry is a poor substitute for prayer." I know I will be scared the day of Ginger's appointment, I wish I was not but I will be. I will have to remember that the answer to life's uncertainties is prayer.

Matthew 6:33-34

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

We have all read or heard this common verse. It is so simple to read yet so difficult to live out. Why is that? Why do we struggle so much with tomorrow? Why do we tend to live in the future or the past? Why are we so afraid to just live today? To just be content in the moment. We spend so much time planning, planning for retirement, planning the week, planning our vacations, or just planning our day. All of which have to be done. But I think we get so used to planning the future that we tend to "live" there and we lose the ability to live in today. In doing so we tend to go from mere planning to controlling and our desire is that goes has planned. This can become a barrier to trusting God and allowing Him to lead us to places we may not have the wisdom to see. I have to admit this is one of my weaknesses. I guess it is the military training and the need to have a plan that tends to make me so set in my way that I can place my way above God's.

My fear of losing Andrea and my fear of Ginger having a mammogram can be a reflection of my priorities. When I think of Ginger going to the doctor and the fear that goes through me I have to remember to release the fear. In a way I have to release Ginger, for to live in fear is to place my love for Ginger above God or a best it is a reflection of a lack of faith and trust in God. It is the same feeling I had about Andrea. I allowed fear to drive my thoughts my decisions and fear becomes the focus of my prayer life. I will never forget one day I felt God speak this message to me, "Jim just trust me. Don't seek an outcome for Andrea just have faith in me." It was simple and profound message. Just trust God. Who loved Andrea more then Him? Who gave more for her then Him? My prayer life had become a mere begging session with God, my focused so wrapped up in getting what I wanted that I was not trusting God. But it is hard when you have to set aside someone you love. When you have to set aside the one thing God asks you to love. But I have to remember He will never ask me to love anything or anyone above Him. And whatever that is in my life, whether it be my wife, my job, or anything that I hold on to so tightly that I fear losing it beyond my desire to love the Lord then I need to rethink my priorities. Now that my life has been blessed so richly with Ginger I know I will face some of the same There is nothing of this world that compares to God and there is nothing in this world that is of more value than to me the God. When I can say that and I can live that my fears will dissipate.

These verses remind me how great God is and why He is worthy to be the center of my life. These and many other scriptures remind me that God's love for me gives me the freedom to live without worry.

1 Peter 1:17-19

Since you call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

1 Corinthians 3:11-13

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work.

Psalm 86:8

Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; no deeds can compare with yours.

Psalm 89:5-6

The heavens praise your wonders, O LORD, your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones. For who in the skies above can compare with the LORD? Who is like the LORD among the heavenly beings?

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