1 Apr. 2008

One Family One Body One Friend

We are family, as we are the family of God.
We are a body, as we are the body of Christ, and Christ himself is the Head.

But right now we are a family in mourning, our hearts cry out as one body for the death of a Brother.

We grieve not just for the death of Stephen, but we also grieve for each other, our brothers and sisters who are laden with sorrow. We cry out loudly in pain and let tears fall in roaring silence, but we carry each other. It is Compassion. It is Love. It is who and what we are, being and doing as God designed us to do.

Not one of us though grieves alone, for even in moments of solitude Jesus is weeping with us, just as He wept with the mourners of Lazarus. Full of compassion, beyond any measure we hold, Jesus is Being with us as we grieve.

Some of us cry out with WHY? Hurt and anger have mixed with tears, demanding from God the reason. But we don’t hear the answer, at least not now.

We have hope, in the Word of God, we clasp verses in our hearts,
like Romans 8:28 "everything works together for the good to everybody who loves God and is called according to his purpose"
and Proverbs 3:5-6 “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path”

We remember Job in his suffering, David with all his heart cries to God and Paul with his perseverance.

But we also remember Lazarus, whom Jesus resurrected, and the young boy, the widows son, that Elijah breathed on and God made alive. And we question.... why then and not now? Why didn’t God bring Stephen back? We know He could’ve if He wanted to.

It was Easter Sunday when Stephen died, and we know that Easter Sunday is when we celebrate new life, and the resurrection of Jesus! It seems like a cruel joke. But it is not a cruel joke, it just is how this chapter of life has gone.

But why must we see it all in black and white? Why do we always expect God to do it our way, the way we want Him to? I know I expected Stephen to walk out of the bush anytime... I hoped and prayed he would. I thought, “Hey God, this is Easter, what better time for a miracle!”

But God says to us clearly in Isaiah 58:8-9
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.

And we know that For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven Ecclesiastes 3:1, but we as yet find little comfort. Little comfort except the greatest news of all, through this whole journey...

We know that Lazarus and the widow’s son were brought to life again, and we know that God also took Enoch and Elijah up to live with Him, without their facing death. We know that every day early Christians faced death, and were not delivered of the pain of it, but found eternal life with Jesus on the other side of death.

These weren’t the paths that Stephen took. God didn’t perform a miracle and breathe life back into his body, God didn’t take him up through the clouds, God did not make him face a stoning or lion.
Stephen’s body just died, and he breathed no more.

But like the dry bones in the desert, God breathed Eternity into Stephen’s spirit, and we are now assured that Stephen is now also walking with God.

So God didn’t do what we wanted or expected Him to, and our eyes may not see the goodness or rightness or reason in it, but still we place our Hope, Faith and Trust is in the Lord. The Lord is sovereign, true and righteous, and He does not abandon those who love Him to the grave. He is faithful and He will fulfil His promises to those who love Him.

John 14:1-6 tells us that Jesus has prepared a place for us all who trust in Him:
“Do not let your heart be troubled.
Trust in God, trust also in Me.
In My Fathers House there are many rooms,
if it were not so I would have told you.
I’m going to prepare a place for you,
and if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back and take you to be with me,
so you may also be where I am.
You know the Way to the place where I am going.”
Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" Jesus answered, I am the way (highway) and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me"

Stephen believed with all his being that Jesus is whom He says He is!

So Stephen is dwelling now in Our Father’s house.

One day we will all meet him and Jesus there.

And we’ll chuck a big party with streamers and balloons, and eat cheesecake and play with spoons.


But for now we grieve, for that is what we must do,
and we will celebrate all our memories of him,
and we will dance too, one day again,
but with the memories of him still in our hearts,
smiles and tears,
until eternity when we are all reunited under the SON.

3 comments:

  1. what a beautiful tribute to brother Stephen!

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  2. oh, Kaz... i don't know you at all, and i didn't know Stephen, but i am so sorry for your loss - and so glad that you have the comfort of knowing eternity was in his soul.

    this is one of the loveliest things i have ever read, and God used it tonight to speak peace and healing into my soul over a very different sort of loss. thank you for penning it, and for sharing it with the world.

    love, peace, grace, and comfort be yours in Christ, today and always,

    blessings,
    Happy

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  3. This is a great summary of my toughts over the last few weeks, thanks Kaz

    Simun

    ReplyDelete