Sunday, July 2, 2006

From Tragedy to Triumph

I wanted to write this blog on Friday after picking my son up from Summer Blast (a.k.a. Vacation Bible School), but I wasn't home and didn't have access to the internet.

The last 3 to 4 weeks have been draining... both emotionally and spiritually. Just when we thought a season of mourning was over, another one would begin. We went from a family that hadn't experienced death in so many years, to a family that is now too familiar with death and all that it brings... from emotional lows, to re-evaluating life, to understanding God even more deeply than one thought possible.

Needless to say, these past few weeks have taken their toll but they have also been eye-opening. We have realized that even tragedy doesn't always bring people close to you -- or make them reach out admist the trial going on. "They say" that in times of trial you will see very clearly those that truly love you. But the other side of the coin is still there... you will also come to realize that there are people in your life who are only capable of being with you as long as all is going good. It's not the kind of love that run deeps because it's capable of being turned on and off with flow of good and bad. It's discouraging, but unfortunately, it's also part of life.

All of this is written because it preceeds the joy I was blessed to be a part of this past Friday... and showed me that even in times that are hard, where the storm seems unending, God still finds ways to shine rays of his Son's light into my life.

This past Friday was the end of a week of VBS for my son, and parents were invited to attend that last 1/2 hour... to catch a glimpse of just a part of what the kids experienced that whole week. I went with my daughter and walked out a half-hour later with my eyes focused on the glory of Jesus... something that's been hard to focus on lately.

During the 1/2 hour I was there they played a 5 minute video where kids from different grade levels were interviewed and asked what they had learned over the week. Parts of it were cute and parts were funny but the part that brought me to tears was when several kids said that they had learned about who Jesus was for the first time and had asked him into their hearts.

Then, near the end, the youth pastor had everyone bow their heads and close their eyes... and then he extended an invitation to all kids who wanted to accept Christ, who hadn't done so during the week. Instead of asking the kids to raise their hands or come up to the stage, he simply asked the children to repeat his prayer out loud. Once again, I was brought to tears as I listened to a large number of children repeat the sinner's prayer. To hear all those little voices ask for forgiveness and invite Jesus into their hearts... well, I could only imagine the smile Jesus had on his face, the love and joy radiating from his eyes, as he saw into each and every little heart and watched it change... from one that was lost to one that now knew the One who saves.

Simple words from simple kids... yet they brought me to tears because all I could think was... "this is what life is all about... Jesus saving the lost" -- and watching anyone discover Jesus for the first time, especially children, and then hear of their joy in choosing him as their Savior... well, it was a bit emotionally overwhelming. After weeks of experiencing so much loss, I think my heart just broke open, and it felt so good to experience life again... be in the midst of hearts turning towards Jesus and eternal destiny's changed. It's the shot in the arm I really needed.

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." ~Matthew 19:14

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