"Therefore, Stand Firm"
Recently, I attended a funeral for a dear friend. Her husband had been my minister and was most influential in shaping my spiritual life. I know that God had our paths cross at the perfect place and time. They were family. As Mike said on the way home, this was our last chance to honor them. Earlier in the week I had moved offices at work and while unpacking a box I saw a favorite picture of a sunset with Philippians 4: 13 on it. "I can do all this through him who gives me strength." I thought of another friend who died last summer suddenly. We met on a trip to the Holy Land and I know our paths crossed at just the right time. He was one of my number one encouragers for writing. I sent his daughter a picture of her dad's sunset in my new office and told her I love to look at it and think of him. She responded, "No telling how many of those beautiful pictures with scripture dad gave out. He loved doing that. I am glad you are enjoying it." Not just our parents, grandparents and relatives shape our lives. God sends other disciples into our paths and we are so blessed to have those relationships. I think about how much these people are missed.
One of the Scriptures that was read at the graveside has stuck with me. You hear it at all of the funerals. 1 Corinthians 15:55 -57, "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." I know these servants are in the presence of the Lord and got to hear, "well done, good and faithful servant." 1 Corinthians 15:55, "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." And thanks be to God that their families know this truth and know their family member is with Jesus!
The next part of the Scripture is what really spoke to me. Verse 58, "Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." When I see, "therefore", I feel God telling me, "because of this prior verse..." Because of Jesus having the victory, we can stand firm. We know we will be with our loved ones again so it is not goodbye but see you later! How comforting that is!
Verse 58 speaks to me in many areas of my life right now. We are to hold on to that promise and let nothing move us. Because Jesus has the victory, I have hope. Even when things are not going well or not as quickly as I want, I KNOW He is there and He is working. He knows the best plan for me. Jeremiah 29: 11, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" I know God is working. What I tend to forget is that God is working on His timeline! Not Jill's! I just have to wait and trust for the perfect time. "Therefore, stand firm!"