I Will Carry You … Jesus is the Same
Friday, April 30, 2010
There are the worries for parents living with children with autism. In Grey Tuesday, Maine, it was a tragic event two days ago and police were wondering, did the 44-year-old father shoot the 22-year-old son and then himself because autism.
Parents of autistic children worry and that may have led to two deaths in Maine. The bodies of Daniel McLatchie was found next to his autistic son, Benjamin, in their driveway with a rifle nearby. The state police were investigating but murder-suicide is a possibility. One policeman said the stay-at-home dad was worried about who would take care of his son in the future. Ten years ago, about 1 in 750 children was diagnosed with autism -- now according to the CDC, the figure is about 1 in 150. Whether an autistic child or being told your child yet-to-be-born could not live – issues parents must wrestle with but with Christian parents, the answers are not easier but there is help from the Lord. Divine support is daily supplied as we can seek and find more grace made absolutely complete in Jesus Christ. Welcome to HT, I’m CM telling the Great Story that’s all about Jesus on a program called I Will Carry You … Jesus Is the Same. Todd and Angie Smith were told their baby could not live with the suggestion that Angie terminate the pregnancy. They didn’t and little Audrey was born and lived 2 ½ hours. Angie shares with us in the next few minutes and we’ll turn to God’s Word for help on the great and troubling question of how do we handle these traumatic issues that face each us in life. Todd Smith is the lead singer for the music group Selah and we open this HAVEN Today … the last day of April … with a song from their newest album You Deliver Me.
SONG – UNREDEEMED – Selah
(After Angie’s interview clip)
When Angie heard the news – that her little baby probably wouldn’t live – she was in shock. She was still reeling when that kind doctor asked her if she was okay. What could make her okay? How could she be okay?
Angie instinctively knew that for her to be okay – she needed to know one thing. The needed to affirm in her own heart that her Jesus was the same. He hadn’t changed. She had to hear herself say it. “My Jesus is the same. He is the same as he was before I walked into this room – before my world was rocked, before the ground shifted under my feet.”
When something so heartbreaking happens to us, it seems to defy what we know about the Lord. If . . . if he is who I know him to be than how could this thing have happened?
Questions force themselves into our hearts when suffering comes:
Who? Who is my God in light of what’s happened?
Why? Why did he allow this to happen?
What? What will he do now?
1. Who? Who is my God in light of what’s happened?
I think when tragedy hits, when suffering comes, the hardest question that comes into our heart is – who? Who is my God?
Here’s why this question comes up when something something bad happens.
We know two things about the Lord: We know he’s all-powerful. We teach our little children to sing, “My God is so great, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do.” We know he can do anything.
And --- we know he loves us. “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the bible tells me so.”
But then something terrible happens and it seems to defy what we know about the Lord. Who is my God – in the face of this thing? Is he impotent? Are his hands tied? Does he not care?
Angie and Todd prayed that little Audrey would be healed. They knew the Lord could do it. Angie said she would cry out, “Fix her Lord, Fix her.” She knew he was “The One who Can.”
When her little daughter asked her if it was for sure that her baby sister would die, she told her, “Ellie, some very smart people have told us that it is for sure. But God is bigger than them. If he decides to fix her then he can do that.”
She knew he was all-powerful.
And she knew he loved them – and that he loved their baby. He was near to them, real to them -- comforting them with his love. The day the baby died he was in the room with them, filling it with his peace. Todd said it was the most peaceful day of his life – the day his little daughter died. How can that be? It’s the peace that surpasses understanding – it comes from Jesus – he gives it to us because he loves us.
John 14: 27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. . . Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
When sorrow comes we need to say to our hearts: My Jesus is the same as he was before this happened.
Angie says in her book that all kinds of questions came into her heart during her pregnancy – questions that challenged her faith.
Maybe he is punishing us for something we’ve done in the past. Maybe he is too busy. Maybe he doesn’t care. Maybe we just don’t matter to him as much as we thought we did. Maybe he wasn’t powerful enough for this situation. Maybe he wasn’t who he said he was after all.
That’s the danger that comes with suffering – that it will cause us to change our view of God.
Remember the book that came out in the 80’s “When Good Things Happen to Bad People?” It was written by a rabbi: Harold Kushner. He experienced a heartbreak in his life: his firstborn son died.
In a recent interview he talked about how that changed his view of God: "It just seemed so terribly unfair and it forced me to reconsider everything I'd been taught in seminary.”
He says that if he had to face the fact that God was either all-powerful but not kind, or thoroughly kind and loving, but not totally powerful, he would rather compromise God's power and affirm his love.
So he compromised God’s power: he decided that God wasn’t able to save his son. He says "I've come to terms with the things God isn’t capable of doing.”
Dear believers in Jesus – let’s never come to terms with a God like that. We need an all-powerful God.
Jeremiah said to the Lord:
Jeremiah 32:17 “Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You!”
And then a few verses later, the Lord says to Jeremiah:
Jeremiah 32:27 “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?”
And let’s never come to terms with a God who doesn’t love us – who isn’t intimately personally completely invested in us – who’s love isn’t actively pursuing and protecting and caring for us all the time.
I have a friend whose husband was battling cancer and losing the battle. Then her biopsy came back positive for breast cancer. Her doctor wasn’t a believer in Jesus. And he asked her a question similar to the one Angie’s doctor asked her, “How are you holding up?”
Her answer? “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.”
Sometimes we have to struggle through our doubts to come back to believing in him again. We can cry out to him to help us when those doubts come. And he will. He is still the same Jesus.
When we’re going through something hard we need to get hold of the answer to the “Who” question. Who is my God in light of what I’m going through?
• He’s the God who can. He’s the all-powerful Lord of the universe who created all things, who controls all things, whose word brought the world out of nothing. He has the power of life and death, he answers prayer, he is able to heal and restore and. . .
• He’s the lord who loves me, the Lord I know, who’s near to me, who carries me, who comforts me. Best of all – who laid down his own life for me.
But if that’s true then – the next question is
2. Why? Why did he let this happen? If he loves me and he’s all- powerful, then why did he allow this?
The best answer to that question when it’s all said and done is – we don’t know. The Lord doesn’t seem to answer the “why” question – at least not very often.
Here’s how Angie answered that question: (page 100, approx 150 words)
We don’t have to fill in all the gaps. We don’t have to have all answers. What we can know is that our life is in his hands and that he is sovereign over everything that happens to. Not a sparrow falls from the sky unless she gives his okay. And we can rest in that. We can say to him, “I am yours. I accept this from your hand. I don’t have to understand why – I can trust that you know. And that all is well.”
We may not have answers to the “why?” question but we have wonderful answers to the “what” question.
3. What will he do now? Now that I’ve had this happen? Now that this suffering has come into my life?
I think the answer to the “what” question can be summed up in one word: grace.
Grace meets us right at the point where were broken and hurt. And grace is a big word. There’s no way to exhaust the meaning of grace:
Jesus draws near to us and makes his presence known – that’s grace -- sweet grace.
Jesus carries us, loves us, weeps with us – takes care of us like a shepherd – that’s grace.
Jesus assures us that our sins are taken away – that this isn’t punishment – that’s grace.
Jesus transforms our suffering into an opportunity for his glory to shine through, Jesus works all things together for good – that’s grace.
Jesus gives us a future – the future his death bought for us – when all our tears will be wiped away – that’s grace.
Grace is the answer to the “what” question. What will he do in the midst of our suffering? He’ll pour out his grace.
We can always know one thing for sure if we’re believers in Jesus: the Lord’s word over our lives is grace and grace is going to have the last word in our lives:
Is. 25:6:9 On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine — the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.
In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”
SONG – You Are My God – Nicole Sponberg – You Are My God
Sadly, only seven weeks after his cousin Audrey Caroline passed on shortly after her birth, 10-week-old Gregory Luke Sponberg passed away last night, Tuesday May 27th, in his sleep. A former member of Christian band Selah (which includes her brother Todd Smith) Nicol Sponberg had gone to check on her son — whom she had put to bed earlier — around 9:00 p.m. CST and found him not breathing. Although paramedics were called to the home, they were unable to resuscitate the baby boy.
I Will Carry You: The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy
For a gift of any amount
In 2008, Angie Smith and her husband Todd (lead singer of the group Selah) learned through ultrasound that their fourth daughter had conditions making her “incompatible with life.” Advised to terminate the pregnancy, the Smiths chose instead to carry this child and allow room for a miracle. That miracle came...
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