The year 2008 has been an interesting journey thus far. God has been doing major things, not directly to my life per se, but to family and friends which only has an effect on my life.
We always hear about seasons of life, and it is always in the context of the person’s life whose season is over and a fresh one is beginning. But God has revealed to me that when someone’s season changes, it changes everyone’s who is involved in that person’s life.
And now you can say that I am in a new season of life myself, learning how to cope with change, and supporting others whose season has been affected by the change also.
I will start with a real good friend of mine named Adam Chaps. He was one of the greatest blessings God has given to me thus far in my walk with Christ. He is what I call a pillar in my life and in many others as well. He was my bible study leader for the past 3 or so years, became a close friend and a huge inspiration.
But God had different needs for him. Adam was offered an Associate Pastor position at his home church in the San Francisco area, and he gladly accepted it. His final day in L.A. was the end of January and now he is off to a new season of life. But a good friend of mine named Julia said it best, “God is not taking him from us, He is just giving Adam to someone else, someone who needs him.”
It is amazing how God moves people around and puts them in places where they are needed, where their gifts will be maximized if only we are not afraid to accept the call.
It was a hard thing for me to accept, in a certain way, because he was the first one I ran to when I was in need of any council, first to run by my side when tragedy would happen, and was the first to instigate prayer for me when I was in my lowest points. With all of the responsibilities he had, he made time for me seeking me out when it was me who was the one with the need. An amazing guy, great friend, and a dear brother in Christ that I miss so much, but I know that the Kingdom is being affected in way more ways now than before, so I praise God for his departure.
The second change in my life that has brought in a new season was another good friend being called elsewhere, my dearly beloved roommate Aaron Ashoff. He was halfway through seminary when God gave him an opportunity to do what he is most passionate about, and that was serving the needy. Living out James 1:27 has been his life’s ambition, and God was faithful to fulfill that desire because Aaron had set his heart upon the things of the Lord and wanted what Christ wants. So Aaron now is over in Ethiopia serving with Samaritan’s Purse.
Aaron is one of the first guys that I built a close relationship with in my walk with Christ and has always been an encouragement to me with his love for the Savior and his humility. When he would go through times of not knowing where his life was headed, or if he was doing what was most expedient for the Kingdom, he would always go back to the Word of God and find security and comfort there. He was set on the joy that only God brings.
He was another I ran to for comfort and council. Another whom I loved dearly and will be greatly missed in my life. We would sit for hours talking about what we are doing with our lives in light of the ministry needs the body has and taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to all of the nations. We would thrive on verses like 2 Corinthians 4:15 and make that our goal. He always pointed me back to Christ when nothing else made sense and reminded me constantly of the Grace of God.
So he is another pillar that God has given to someone else and I know that he will be mightily used for the purposes of God. I strive to emulate his passion to serve the risen King in all that I do, even when nothing else makes sense.
Finally, another move that God has done is brought about a rocky road for my family. My Grandma suffered for majority of her life with health issues. In the mid 1983 she lost a breast to cancer. She over came that and pushed on with her life. She was also a diabetic always having to get shots and such, but I never remember her ever complaining about it.
In 2001 she and my mom came and visited me in L.A. and we had a good o’ time. But at the end of her stay I had taken her to Santa Monica pier and she tripped over a stud in the wood and messed up her knee. It seemed like that was the beginning of all of her suffering for the next 7 years.
She had a knee replacement but it was not a good one. She would fall and break other bones and she was on some major pain meds that made her impotent. For awhile she wasn’t capable of doing much in the way of neither exercise nor physical therapy.
But then she was determined to get better when her internals would fail. In 2003 she fell victim to breast cancer again and lost her other breast. In 2005 she had to have a pace maker put in which only lead to worse issues. She had no lymph nods in her left arm because of the cancer and that was the arm the doctor went in on to put in the pace maker. She was under constant threat of loosing her left arm due to the swelling because her arm wasn’t able to drain it out.
But the beginning of this year she ended up in intensive care due to internal bleeding. In one 24 hour period she was loosing one liter of blood an hour, she coded or flat lined twice and couldn’t have a dialysis done due to her blood being forced to clot. She really had a rough go at it.
She pulled through and started improving. She was a major question mark to the doctors. She was an anomaly. They couldn’t figure her out. They kept saying that they didn’t expect her to make it through the night or through the week.
Then it happened. The doctors came and talked to my mom letting her know that they can’t keep intruding on my grandma to keep her alive, when in fact they were only making her worse. Three or four hours later the Lord called her home.
The dreaded phone call that I didn’t want to answer finally came. After years of being on the edge it finally came to an end.
The good news is my grandma was a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and she is now at peace completely and she is worshipping Him without any distractions of pain and suffering. She is complete.
What I learned through this time is that God’s love is manifested through suffering. When compared to the sufferings of Christ, God’s love is magnified. And because of that love my grandma is covered by the sufferings of Christ and is at peace with her maker. She is at home.
It hasn’t been easy to adjust. The idea that you can’t speak to someone, tell them how much you love them, nor see them again in this life is pain staking. But there is a hope that we will be reunited again in the heavenly places.
That is what I expressed in the Eulogy for my Grandma.
What a hope to know that those who die in Christ are not dead but they live. Their mortal flesh may be decaying but their spirit lives on. And there is a hope of having a resurrected body. Keeping our eyes fixed on Him who is the author and perfecter of our faith.
And God is so great in all of this, teaching me that in all of this that my faith can’t be dependent upon any living mortal, but only in Him. He is the only eternal source unlike our loved ones. Sooner or later they fail us or let us down. They depart from us, but not God for He never departs. Scripture says that we groan for God as if He was far from us, when He is near (Acts 17:27). Man I love God and His word.
So for those who know the living One, find comfort in the fact that God never departs from you, for it was Christ who said that He will never leave nor forsake you.
And for those who have not trusted in Christ for your salvation, understand that our hearts are written with eternity on them. Nothing in this life will satisfy us to point of us being fulfilled, continuously. We experience momentary satisfaction in the pursuit of our sins, but Christ says those who drink from His well will never thirst again. I pray that you will treasure Christ over any faulty pursuit in this life. All that you have to do is repent and believe. Paul says if you profess Christ with your lips and believe in your HEART that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved (Romans 10:9).
That is my prayer for you.
Loving Father, God of all comfort, I find joy in you now that you are always here. I am never alone for your love abounds in me, even when it feels like you are nowhere to be found. Your promises that have made in your scriptures bring comfort to my soul and I can say with confidence, "It is well with my soul." Just to imagine that you look upon me with approval baffles me, since I can offer you my sin. But because of your Son and His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead, you have given me life and comfort and peace, even through the most difficult trials. When my grandma past, it was You who said to me, "I find it joy to bring my daughter home." It was You who reminded me, "It is better to be seperate from the body and to be at home with Me." It was You who strengthened my mom with, "To live is Christ, and to die is gain." Apart from your word Father, we are all lost. Apart from Your Son, we are all doomed. But you have been rich in mercy for all who would believe.
So Father, I pray that you will continue to save the lost through us, using us to complete your work. And I pray that those who do not know you, who do not believe that you will open their eyes so that they may see and taste what is Good. For apart from you Lord, we drink from a dry fountain.
Lord Jesus, please come, please bring an end to all of the blasphemy done to your name. For Your name sake I pray, that You will come and reign in Glory and Honor on this earth, and make us complete so that we can love You perfectly.
And until that day, protect us from the evil one, protect us from ourselves.
All for Your Glory
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