Saturday, April 12, 2008

Psalm 119

I was meditating on Psalm 119 today and it really spoke to me.

Verse 28

"My soul melts away for sorrow;

strengthen me according to your word."

Verse 50

"This is my comfort in my distress,

that your promise gives me life."

Verse 74

"Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice,

because I have hoped in your word."

Verse 76

"Let your steadfast love become my comfort

according to your promise to your servant."

Verse 92

"If your law had not been my delight,

I would have perished in my misery."

Verse 94

"I am yours; save me,

for I have sought your precepts."

Verse 165

"Great peace have those who love your law;

nothing can make them stumble."

Since Midi and Nathan died, I have had two major times where I cried out to God. Those two times were not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill times of prayer. I cried out desperately from the depths of my soul, completely naked before God in ways that I have never done before. And He answered me both times. The first time was before the family viewing at the mortuary a week after they died. I went in to the viewing room alone about an hour before anyone else arrived. Upon seeing them lying in the caskets, I wept uncontrollably. After a few minutes I kept repeating to myself, "They are not there." Then I cried out to God, "Help me, God. Help me believe. I believe, help my unbelief." And I asked Him to give me some kind of sign so that I could know that heaven and the promise of eternal life and resurrection were real. I was hoping for a supernatural sign. What happened a few minutes later that carried on through the rest of the evening was that God gave me peace. It may sound strange, but in one of the hardest nights of my life, His peace descended on me. I testify that it was real and even observable (ask anyone who was there). Peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. God answered my cries...just not exactly in the way that I was asking Him to. Skeptics can say what they will, but I tell you that God answered my prayers.

The second time was last week. On Tuesday night (April 1), after three heavy days of mourning, in my brokenness and tears I desperately asked God to please let Wednesday be an easier day. I asked Him to temporarily keep the pain at bay so that I could recover. I told him that I didn't think I could handle it much longer. The result? Wednesday was lighter and the rest of the week was better. I'm sure other heavy waves are coming - maybe even worse than what I experienced last week. But after the way that God answered my prayers in the midst of my pain, I am confident that no matter how hard it gets, He will be there for me. I testify to His personal nature and faithfulness.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this, Mark. I continue to pray for you and your son.

Anonymous said...

No matter how heavy the waves to come are, God will always be there to guide you and to give you strength to carry on. You and Lucas are in our hearts and prayers...always.

Claudia S.

Chris Ryder said...

As I read the blogs I still just can't believe this has truly happened. Most of the day I think I just pretend it hasn't. Then, I pray for you or I read the blog or share with someone and it all hits me again.

I feel as though my heart has been pierced by an ice pick and that an incalculable injustice has befallen my friend, myself, and this world. How could they have been taken, of all people? Why?

I don't know that God will even give an answer, because I'm not sure there is really a question here. The 'why' is really just an attempt to avoid the pain, as if a good answer could make something like this ok.

Why are they gone? It is because they were killed in a senseless accident that is common-place in our fallen world. That's the reason. It's not satisfying because it won't make the pain go away. Theological 'explanations' don't satisfy us because pain can't be explained away.

God doesn't claim to remove the pain from our world or our lives, no matter what or how we believe. Instead, he promised to be with us, to comfort us in our affliction with Christ's own comfort. That is what he has given you in great measure, so much so that I scarcely can believe it. His presence with you has been more than any sign or flashy miracle. God has comforted you like a child and helped you like a friend.

When you share how God has intervened in ways mundane and profound, practical and supernatural, all I can think of is that you have a friend in the heavens. You have a help that has no boundaries or time, influence, resources, or love.

When we sit around the table with you as brothers I visualize the presence of God being there- so big and yet in such a similar emotional place as the rest of us: broken, disconcerted, burdened; leaning into you, eager to listen and help you in any way possible.

Honestly Mark, in most of my own struggles, I have not sensed this presence. It’s never made me question if God was real, but only if he really cared. Walking through this with you has made me question if I have just lacked the eyes to see Him. You see Him and you make it known to us that He is working. You’ve been a great help to my faith. Thank you.

B.A.K. said...

Mark, thanks again for sharing so vulnerably. Psalm 119:50 is on a card Midi wrote to me once and I will always remember her by it. I am amazed at how focused on caring for others you have been in the midst of this, and I'm so grateful that God has been deep in there with you. May God continue to heal you and Lucas. Much love and peace to you. -t

AbiSomeone said...


I have thought of you since Scot first "Meandered" to your site. But I thought of you again this week in the wake of a terrible freak accident on I70 west of Denver that took the wife of a friend while sparing him -- just a few stitches and bruises.

The memorial service will be this Thursday...and I'll continue to pray that God's peace will cover us all as we remember a beautiful young (21 years old) wife, sister, daughter and friend.

Thanks for sharing this -- it lightens the heaviness in my own heart.

And Chris Ryder -- my thoughts exactly!

Epona'Bri Astra-Peace said...

Hello Mark and Lucas. I read your entire blog and it broke my heart. I can relate to many of the things you are going through. In 1987, my two children and I were in a near-fatal car accident. My children were 6 and 3 at the time. 13 years later, my youngest, Courtney, died while taking a shower. No real explanation as to why. Like you, I wondered why she survived the car accident only to die in the shower. I noticed that one of the books you are reading is
A Grace Disguised by Jerry Sittser. That was one the first books I read after Courtney died... it was a gift to us. I've since sent it on to another parent who lost their child. I can't imagine what it's like to lose your wife too. I almost lost my husband the night before Courtney's funeral... we thought he was having a heart attack. But he is fine now. It's been 7 years since Courtney died. I can't say the pain goes away or it gets easier, but I can say that we get better at dealing with it. I will pray for healing for you and Lucas. I wish there were words that could ease your pain.

Blessings, Cindi