Thursday, November 29, 2007

We Go In Jesus' Name

My mom and I spent most of this evening at the hospital, as we have many times this week. My grandmother is currently hospitalized with multiple serious problems, and she is probably close to death. At almost 88 years, she is aware, as are we, that the clock alone is against her. Tonight, however she was doing better, able to joke and laugh with us and my aunt.

Awhile after my aunt left, my mom and I also prepared to go home. We prayed with her for a good night's rest and that God's presence and peace would fill the room. Her nurse, Carol, came in as we were praying, and when we were finished, she said "Amen! I'm glad you know how to pray." From her previous mannerisms and choice of words, we had suspected she was a believer, and she now confirmed it. "Yes, we're all believers here." Mom wanted to make sure my grandmother understood. "You hear that, Nanny? She loves Jesus, just like us." "Oh, yes," Carol agreed. "I couldn't make it through without Him." She took Nanny's hand then, and spoke as if she had known our family for a long time.

"Whatever happens, we go in Jesus' name. See, I had told you that you were blessed, having four kids who turned out like this - and one boy is a pastor too,right? See that's blessing; luck has nothing to do with it. It's only by the
grace and love of Jesus."
"Amen!" my grandmother agreed as forcefully as I have heard her in recent days. "That's right," my mom agreed. To Carol she said, "She's loved God all her life. She was always faithful to have us in church." Carol couldn't have known of the courage Nanny displayed daily to raise her kids in a rough and unpleasant, and at times dangerous, environment. My family is a testimony to the grace of God. All of this was dead on and true.

But it was the first sentence that struck me. "Whatever happens, we go in Jesus' name." I immediately took it for a double meaning, or perhaps one meaning that is not nearly as dichotomous as it first seems. We go with Jesus in life, obeying and walking with Him through everyday challenges. But we also go with Him in death. And whatever happens, we trust in the power of His name.

That's where I'm at right now. I trust my God, and He alone numbers our days. I will soon see my grandmother go with Jesus in death, but it is not an end. When she goes with Jesus, she will know what life truly is. I will continue to go with Jesus in this life, on this earth, struggling to see the rays of heavenly life through the dark mist and fog that so often surrounds me in the valleys.

Her walk with Jesus will differ from mine for a few seconds. She will go on before me to join the great cloud of witnesses, cheering me on as I go with Jesus, running my race on this planet. But then eternity will come, and I will know true life as she has known it for a few moments longer than I. We will dwell in the presence of God forever. That is our hope and our peace in times of trouble. And it is very beautiful.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Snow and Wonder

I am thankful for many things.

I am thankful that I am a resident of the grand state of Texas. However, with this great privileges comes a climate unlike any other. Perhaps the only way to accurately describe it is to dub it "Texas weather." Let the reader understand.

Texas weather is very persnickety, to quote my grandmother. This is to be expected. However, having it SNOW on Thanksgiving Day was totally unexpected and quite amazing. I love Texas.

And I love the God who created snow. Snow brings out a childlike quality unlike anything else. I think I may have been more excited, or at least more active, about catching snowflakes on my tongue than my four-year-old cousin. As I grow older, I have more things to worry about than if I have a bingo card with Cinderella on it (the great concern of the evening for her). But I never want to lose a childlike sense of wonder at the beauty of God and His creation.

Father, renew my childlike wonder that I may know You more.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


There have been some things I have been debating recently, things I have been struggling with, questions with no answers at the present time. And, as I have waged this internal struggle (man against himself, as my English teacher would say), I've come to a few conclusions that are much less conclusive than I would prefer. However, I know them to be true.

1. I don't currently, nor will I ever, know all the answers or will I cease to be surprised by life.
2. God is infinite, eternal, and unchanging in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth; and all these attributes reflect His glory.
3. Ultimately, my problems boil down to this: Do I trust God?

All of above are extremely obvious, I know. By no means does it take special revelation (in addition to what God has already provided) to come to these conclusions. I've been aware of the truth of these statements seemingly forever. But I forget, or I find I never actually moved these from my head to my heart in the first place.

Earlier in the week, I was talking to my mom about this. In my systematic theology class, we've been studying Christology. As part of looking at what Jesus said concerning Himself, we looked at his ultimate "I AM" statement ('Before Abraham was, I am.") and the Seven "I Am..." statements with subjective complements (I am the vine, I am the shepherd, etc). We talked about the power of Him boldly declaring "I AM YHWH!" with each statement. This, then, gives us two options: we spit in His face and declare that there is no god, or we fall on our faces and worship.

This isn't a new concept to me. I've heard it in previous Bible classes, including the ones my mom has taught. I've heard it at church and at home. I probably learned it by osmosis in the womb. It is one of the most foundational beliefs of Christianity.

Yet I felt like I truly got it for the first time this past week.

I mentioned other things to my mom that I had previously understood with my head but was completely confused about in my heart. Now, some of these things are finally starting to click. I said something along the lines of that I felt it was ridiculous that some concepts had taken me so long to truly grasp. Her comment was "'line upon line, precept upon precept' is how we grow. We don't get everything the first time; that's why the Holy Spirit is always with us, teaching us, helping us."

Sanctification is a long process. But God IS. He is everything we need. He is eternally faithful to the covenants He has made. And sometimes, all we can do is rest in this knowledge.

"I AM YHWH! There is no other."
So I will fall on my face and worship.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Let Me Wander No More

Jesus, friend of sinners, hear,
A feeble creature pray;
From my debt of sin set clear,
For I have nought to pay;
Speak, O speak, my kind release,
A backsliding soul, restore;
Love me freely, seal my peace,
And let me wander no more.

Though my sins as mountains rise,
And swell and reach to heaven.
Mercy is above the skies,
And I shall stand forgiven.
Mighty is my guilt’s increase,
But greater is thy mercy’s store!
Love me freely, seal my peace,
And let me wander no more.

From the oppressive weight of sin,
My struggling spirit free;
Blood and righteousness divine,
Can rescue even me.
Holy Spirit, shed thy grace,
And let me feel the softening shower;
Love me freely, seal my peace,
And let me wander no more.

Let Me Wander No More
The Gadsby Hymnal #391
Words: Charles Wesley, 1707-1788.
Music: Brian T. Murphy, 2005.
© 2006 Red Mountain Music

Thursday, November 1, 2007


My soul is weak,
my heart is numb,
I cannot see.
But still my hope is found in You.
I hold on tightly, You will never let me go.
For Jesus, You will never fail.
Jesus, You will never fail.