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Tuesday, November 6, 2007


A friend of ours has an 8-year-old son who is in the hospital right now with awful sores on the outside and inside of his body. I don't think the doctors have yet determined exactly what they think the illness is, but the boy is in tremendous pain. Yesterday I emailed the friend to tell him he is in our prayers and I can only imagine what he would feel like... I have a 7-year-old son and I'm afraid I would be on the edge of being a basket case if it were me. I also told him something I learned from experience: if you put your trust in Jesus in these kinds of circumstances, He will give you peace. I reminded him of just this promise in Isaiah 26:3. And I mentioned that I knew this from experience...

This past year my wife's mother left this world and went on to be with Jesus before her time. She was 62 years old and healthy; it was a needless, senseless thing that happened to her, and the family was devastated. It was probably the most emotionally difficult week or two that I have ever experienced in my entire life. Five or six months before that, my wife lost a much-loved aunt to cancer. My wife's first name is her mother's, and her second name is this aunt's name. Needless to say, it was an incredibly tough year. But in those times when we thought we were going to be physically ripped apart by emotion, the peace of God was with us. It was unbelievable that there could be a sense of peace in those places in those circumstances, but there was.

When Jesus was on the Earth, he wept with the family when a friend died (John 11:32-35). He had compassion on the sick and hurting (Matthew 14:14). He fed the hungry (Matthew 15:32-37). Jesus felt. He was fully man, and He understood sadness and loss (many commentators speculate that Jesus may have lost His Earthly father Joseph as a child, since Joseph does not appear in accounts of Jesus as an adult although his mother Mary does.) I was thinking this morning about how much I wish I could eradicate suffering just from my one friend's life, not to mention from the entire world. Jesus feels that. I believe that Jesus is waiting with great anticipation for the day when He is told by God, Now is the time, Son. Go bring your bride to me!

The word translated "shout" in the KJV of 1 Thessalonians 4:16 actually means a shout of command more than a shout of, say, joy or excitement. More of a "giddyap!" kind of shout than a "hooray!" type of shout. But I think there is an element of excitement in that shout as well. I think Jesus is so ready to eliminate evil once and for all that He won't be able to keep His voice down. I think God loves us that much!

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