My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Midnight Cry

What an amazing day this has been for me! I am in sort of a quiet place emotionally. It happens from time to time. I just have to stop, catch my breath, and let my thoughts and emotions catch up with my life. I'm not sure that makes sense to anyone but me... I don't know another way to say it. I am so grateful to have the very full life I have here... to have a full time job, to have the opportunity to work Saturdays for extra money, to live in a place that is far enough off the beaten path that some things require a bit of a journey to obtain, to be actively involved in a loving fellowship of believers, to be actively involved in deep study of the Word of God, to be surrounded by friends who want to talk to me, chat with me, email with me... it's all exactly what I prayed for... and I know that I am blessed to be where I am today.

By the time we got home yesterday, I was spent. I didn't want to talk any more. I didn't want to entertain or be polite or do anything other than reflect. There is a lot going on in my heart and mind... sometimes I stay busy enough to avoid facing my inner demons. Sometimes I'm so busy that I don't stand watch like I should to prevent them from seeping in.

Austin is testing me. He has been incredibly rude and disrespectful this weekend. He refused to go to church this morning. I needed to be there by 9am because we were watching a Kay Arthur video on the first chapter of Genesis and I didn't want to miss it. Austin spent thirty minutes crying about how sick he is (he isn't) and how he hadn't slept well (join the club) and I know that I need to be the strong disciplinarian and make him do the right thing but I'll be honest with you, I needed to be in church today more than I needed to make sure he was in church.

I knew then... I know that whenever there are struggles and obstacles to block me from going to church, that there is something about to happen that the enemy just really doesn't want me to be a part of. I made sure to pray on the way to church that God would prepare my heart. Sometimes that preparation means I need to let go of things that are standing in between God and I... and I did that... I wrestled with Him last night over an issue but He was clear to me what His opinion was on the subject. This morning I did what I knew I should do. I didn't like it... but I needed to heed Him.

There was ice on the road on the way to church. Not a lot. You folks up north wouldn't even notice it. I'm a southern girl with bald tires living in the mountains. All is takes is one little patch of ice to turn your world upside down. I was careful. I went a bit slower than usual.

Sunday school was good. Kay Arthur is a great bible teacher and I enjoyed my time there. My sweet friend Tiiara, who has been sidelined with horrible morning sickness, was able to be in church today and it was good to see her and offer her a little encouragement. I've been there... thankfully I haven't been there in many, many years (as Austin will be 15 next Sunday!) but I still remember how HUNGRY I was because I couldn't keep anything on my stomach! I have been giving her husband tips to pass along to her... but nothing is working! She looks tired... she's 16 weeks now, it should ease up if it's going to. I understand some people are sick the whole way through... for me it stopped right at 13 weeks.

Anyways... between Sunday School and church I got to visit with Angie who is going to be out of town for a few days. She had to leave church as soon as the music ended to get on her way so we hugged it out and said our goodbyes. I'm so blessed to have a sister... I always wanted one... she watches over me and makes sure everything is ok in my world. I always feel a little lonely when she's out of pocket for a bit.

Our worship service was amazing. I don't know if I can really do justice to how incredible it was today. We sang a song that was sung at Misty's funeral and it always reminds me of how precious life is and how quickly - with just a breath - life can change. Misty had picked this song out for her mother's funeral, and then they sang it at hers just a year and a half later. We never know...

Then the choir sang a song called "Midnight Cry"... which is a really powerful telling of the rapture of the church. This is why it's hard for me to properly articulate to my broad and diverse readership just WHY our service was so precious to me today. There is this verse that is the foundation of my faith...

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (New International Version)
16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

and unless you agree with that, you won't understand why a Midnight Cry even matters. And this entry is not to encourage debate on this theology... it is my truth. If you want to know more about why I believe what I do, I'll be glad to share but I don't care to hear from anyone who wants to try to disprove my theology. My life and hope and faith are centered on this concept that there will be a day when the dead in Christ will rise and those who are still living, who believe in Him, will join them in meeting Jesus in the air... thin air... we will fly... we will defy gravity... we will no longer be bound to the chains of this world, to the restrictions of sin, to the sicknesses and heartaches and disappointments... we will meet Him, the one who died to save us, and the struggle will end.

I have to confess that I have not read the Left Behind series, but probably should. It might help me relate this issue to you a bit better. I have spent the last decade trying to find Heaven on earth... and the last few years trying to survive Hell on earth... and now I'm resting in between where I know that earth is earth and our time here is but a breath. I believe there will be a time when the church is raptured and there will be those who are left behind because they didn't believe. I wasn't ready to face this before... now I'm looking more and more forward to meeting Jesus. I think when you have a lot to hide, a lot to feel guilty over, it's hard to imagine / believe / accept / understand that there will be a day that we are held accountable for the things we have done (or haven't done) here on earth. I think it's easier to live life believing that you'll pay that bill when it comes... and because it all too often doesn't come for a very long time, or because we don't always recognize the far reaching consequences of our actions, we don't worry about it.

Midnight Cry was awesome. I'm going to try to get a copy of the recording of today's service so I can post it. Our little choir was ON today! And my sister-in-law was ROCKIN' on her drums! It was just an awesome, incredibly inspirational song. I'll post the lyrics at the end, if i can find them somewhere...

Pastor Jim preached on the Great Commission - Matthew 28:18-20.
18Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[
a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

He talked about how important it is not to just go out and lead people to Christ and baptize them but also to disciple them. Truly, for me, had the good people of Helen First Baptist just supported me in prayer long enough to get me out of "Egypt" and then left me hanging, I would have ended up right back where I was (emotionally and mentally, even if not geographically). The fact that they are a constant source of encouragement and support... that I have been befriended (in real life, not just on Facebook) and that they play an active role in my life has really CHANGED my life. It gives me hope.

He spoke for just a few minutes and then my friend Hana and her husband Emir spoke. Hana was born in the Czech Republic - during communism. Her father and her grandfather were pastors in a time where it was dangerous to openly believe in Christ. Her father used to take Hana with him to help smuggle bibles into their country (although she was a child and didn't really know what they were doing). She spoke about fear being the biggest boundary to the Great Commission... preventing us from saying what we think and speaking boldly about Christ. Hana's husband, Emir, was raised Muslim. He is a world renowned authority on Islam vs. Christianity and has published several books on the subject. He is also president of the local college (where my sister in law teaches). They spoke about witnessing together in Thailand and how much this strengthened their marriage. I adore Hana, have since I met her, and was so touched by what she shared today.

One thing she said that cracked me up... in her very thick Czech accent she talked about not having her own bible until she was 8 - a Czech translation of the King James Version. Her bible was smudged and the pages were brittle... it came from a shipment of bibles that were on a ship that sank... (if I'm retelling the story correctly). She said that we have so many bibles to choose from here... from the New American Standard to the Scratch and Sniff Bible (I'm not sure if there really is a scratch and sniff bible but that was hilarious to me!). It made me treasure my own bible even more.

So I guess the point of the story here (I should wrap this up and drink some lunch)... is that I am amazed to be in a place, a church, a body of believers... who boldly praise God, who have traveled (like me) difficult paths to be here in this place and to worship together. I am aware that some will call me a bible thumper, some will call me an evangelical... whatever names you have for someone who believes in Christ. I haven't been as bold as I should be... and that is because of fear. Like Hana said, fear is the biggest boundary to being who we are and sharing Christ.

She shared this verse in her native language with tears streaming down her face:

Isaiah 41:13 (New International Version)
13 For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

I am blessed to have this life, to have these friends and sources of encouragement. I am glad that I didn't let Austin spoil my day, that I wasn't afraid of the ice, that I am here on this earth for such a time as this and that I will, someday, meet Jesus in the air. Watch me fly!

Midnight Cry

I hear the sound of a mighty rushing wind, and it's closer now than it's ever been. I can almost hear the trumpet as Gabriel sounds the call; at the midnight cry,we'll be going home! I look around me; I see prophecies fulfilled everywhere; the signs of the times, they're appearing everywhere. Oh, I can almost see the Father as He says, "Son, go get my children. At the midnight cry, the Bride of Christ will rise. When Jesus steps out on a cloud to call His children, the dead in Christ shall rise to meet Him in the air. And it's closer now that it's ever been. And then those that remain shall be quickly changed; at the midnight cry we'll be going home. I look around me; I see prophecies fulfilled everywhere; The signs of the times, they're appearing everywhere. I can almost see the Father as He says, Son, go get my children. Oh, at the midnight, the Bride of Christ will rise! When Jesus steps out on a cloud to call His children, The dead shall rise to meet Him in the air. And then those that remain shall be quickly changed; At the midnight cry, oh, at the midnight cry, At the midnight cry, oh, when Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Steps out on a cloud to call His children, The dead in Christ shall rise to meet Him in the air; And then those that remain shall be quickly changed, In a moment, shall be changed, in a moment, yes, and At the midnight, oh, at the midnight cry, Yes, at the midnight cry, We'll be going home….We’ll be going, Going home......................


I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Never be ashamed of what you say for Christ. Our faith really gets us through some very tough times. We that have much should share what we've been blessed with.

Myra said...

What a powerful acknowledgement, that you have wrestled with God, didn't like his answer, but did as He commanded anyway! Wow!! Great entry...

Anonymous said...

You will be amazed at how revealing the Left Behind series can be ~ it is great. Natalie has just read the teen version, and it helped start a series of questions and conversations about our faith and her own conversion. I read both the adult version and the teen version ~ I think I liked the teen version better, just because of the details it gave in the lives of the characters of both versions (the adult version didn't mention the teens, yet the teen version discussed the adults). Austin would probably enjoy the teen version if you could get him to start reading them. They are really good.

Missie said...

The left behind series is amazing. I didn't read the books, I watched the movies.

Have a good week.

Tina of Moon Shine said...

I have read most of the left behind series. very interesting books.
My new bible was waiting on my at the P.O. today. It is beautiful and the first thing I did was turn to Proverbs to read the 22 chapter.

Very powerful entry tonight,

mawmaw said...

I love Midnight Cry

Remo said...

The lad is just testing his limits. You were right to not force him to go as it worked out okay for both of you.

Pick your battles.

Anonymous said...