Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Life and Death

As I read through my emails that accumulated over the weekend, I received two emails that hit upon the same theme: life and death. My friend, Erin, a RN who is serving in an AIDS clinic in Mozambique wrote:
"To make a long story short, while we were at the restaurant a women committed suicide by jumping off our building. She was so close that we could see her body lying there covered with a sheet from our table. It was horrifying and unsettling. I woke up this morning still thinking about it and two main themes are going through my head. First, I praise God that He has revealed himself to me (and to us) and that we have a hope beyond this world. There is so much suffering in this world, in our lives, and to some degree in my life, that I know that I could not make it without hope in Christ. In Mozambique the suffering at times seems magnified. There is extreme poverty, rampant AIDS and sexual promiscuity, and broken families with practically non-exist father figures in most homes, to name a few of the difficulties here. People here cannot hide behind the mask of materialism like we can in the States. Without God, there appears no hope.
After thanking God for my own salvation and the hope I have within me, my heart is just breaking over the hopelessness that this women probably felt. No one can have lasting joy through these sufferings without the joy found in Christ. So I pray with more fervency now that God would shine His light here in Mozambique to bring His hope. I pray that God would give me opportunities to share the gospel and also my life and the reason for the hope that is within me. I pray that in my life there would be a joy that is constant through the valleys because of Christ’s presence in my life. As I am building relationships with the kids and with the Mozambican workers here, I pray that people would see that joy and desire it.
God has been revealing to me how important it is to “be joyful always; pray continually; and give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess 5:16-18) Witnessing and contemplating this suicide last night makes me realize how much of a witness that joy and hope in Christ really can be.
So I also pray for each one of you that God’s joy would increase in your life and that this would overflow into your relationships with all people to draw them closer to Christ.

Then my father-in-law, Steve, sent us an encouraging thought along the same lines from the Hiedelberg Catechism:
“What is your only comfort in life and in death? That I am not my own, but belong-body and soul in life and in death- to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; In fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from how on to live for him.”

This gives me a renewed perspective of my purpose today, as I live in the comforts of the cross, our country, my church, and my home with my family. Thank you Lord for your mercies towards me.

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