As I took a look at Facebook today, I was surprised to see an entry I made three years ago today. As I read it, I was again reminded of God's faithfulness in my life after the home-going of my wife Donna on July 2, 2018. What made this even more poignant was the fact that just this past week we said our final goodbyes to her mom and my mother-in-law who joined Donna in glory.
I think we need to be reminded again and again of God's faithfulness in our lives. We too often forget what he has done in the hustle and bustle of daily living. A quick look through the Psalms shows that David and the other Psalmist's were masters at remembering God's faithfulness and goodness. I think we can take a lesson from them!
So here is the post, unedited, from three years ago.
As I write this post today at 9:02pm, in 15 minutes it will be exactly six months ago that Donna went home to be with the Lord. It is hard to believe that much time has passed, half of a year. Yet in other ways it seems like only yesterday we were making plans oblivious to the events that would soon unfold in our lives.
Hardly a day goes by when I don’t think of Donna. The house is quiet now, no more “Leonard honeys” to break up the monotony and silence. No more is there the clanking of dishes in the kitchen while I work on the computer. No more is there a hot supper when I get home. No more long walks on the street. No more dinner dates at Donna’s favorite restaurant, MacDonald’s. There hasn’t been a new happy meal toy in the house now for 26 weeks.
But I am doing well!
God has been faithful to me these past few months and quite honestly had it not been for his mercy and grace to me, the presence of my many friends, and the prayers of others I would not be where I am today! Never underestimate the power of prayer, and never underestimate the value of the many friendships you may have – each and every one of them is precious.
As I look at this coming year, 2019, I can not help but look back at 2018 and think of the many lessons God taught me over the past several months. To be honest, there are many more lessons than those I will mention here, and I believe in 2019 there will be even more lessons – but for now I will list a few of the main ones. Here are those that stand out the most in my mind.
Lesson one – God is faithful in times of trouble. I often wondered how I would do when faced with a major trial in life. Would I remain faithful to God – trusting in his sovereign care – or would I become bitter, angry, and resentful? Would I pass the test, or would I fail? One of the hardest trials anyone can face is the loss of a spouse. It is not something we like to think about and many of us do not want to face that as a possibility – but this last year that became a reality for me.
And I passed!
Please understand, I did not pass because of anything in myself. Rather I passed because God proved himself faithful and true. When I turned to him for comfort, he was there with arms wide open. I remember thinking that there is a big difference between reading about God’s faithfulness in someone else’s life and experiencing his faithfulness in your own – and I can attest with certainty that what used to be a theory to me is now a reality. God is faithful!
Lesson two – we need the prayers of others more than we think. I often wonder what would happen if people did not pray for us. How would our lives be different? I am reminded of the Christmas classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life” and think about how my life would be different if others did not pray for me. Maybe one of the things we will find out when we get to heaven is just how big an influence our prayers have in the lives of others. I believe in the sovereignty of God – that he is in control of all things. But I am also reminded that in some mysterious ways our prayers intersect with his sovereignty to bring about his eternal purposes. I believe that had it not been for the prayers of others things would have turned out much worse for me.
Lesson three – remember the past but look to the future. It would be easy for me to collapse in on myself and dwell on the past. Donna and I had a great life together and there are so many good memories that I could spend the rest of my life reliving them, but then I would most likely miss what God has for me in the future. Rather than dwell on the past, I need to view my memories of Donna with fondness, but not live in them. Instead I need to focus on what God has in store for me in the coming months and years that he may have in store for me. I don’t want to miss the future by living in the past.
Lesson four – I will get there when I get there. It is easy to get oneself so focused on a goal that you don’t see what’s going on around you in the present. It is like children on the way to Disneyworld missing the wonder of the drive through the mountains. I don’t want to be constantly asking God, “are we there yet” but rather I want to enjoy the journey along the way. I will get there when I get there – in the meantime there is a lot of living in the present I do not want to miss.
So what does 2019 hold for me? I don’t know! I do have a few “squishy” plans. I have decided to pursue a commercial aviation rating. This will make be a better pilot and will allow me to fly for compensation and even possibly become a flight instructor. I am going to continue my teaching for Moody Distance Learning adding an on-premise class that will start in March. At some point I will consider more major decisions, but for now that is enough to put on my plate.
And maybe, just maybe, God has other plans. If so, that’s all right with me. All of his plans have proven better than any of mine so far, so I believe I can trust him going forward.
2018 had been a tough year for me - hopefully 2019 won’t be as rough. But whatever comes, God is faithful. He has never let any of his children down so I don’t think he will start with me!
And most of all I want to be a good student with the lessons to come!