This Word of Encouragement comes from our Office Assistant and CCC Family member Samantha Ritchie.
A Before and After Moment
I stood at the end of the chip aisle in Walmart. It was 7:10am and I was up and running on just over 2 hours of sleep. At this point I had, thankfully, managed to round up most of what I needed and was heading toward the check out. During this entire shopping trip I had been fighting back tears. Of exhaustion. Of frustration. Of fear. I don’t normally cave to feelings because I have found them to be lacking in truth more often than not. But as I stood at the end of this aisle looking at the empty shelves and the vacant expressions of shoppers around me I looked up at the ceiling and let the tears fall. And I had a sudden realization of WHY. This was a BEFORE AND AFTER moment.
Allow me to explain.
There are certain events in every person’s life which mark a shift in who they are. Before the event a person has certain ideals they hold which are part of their identity. And because of an event this person is forced to confront and give up those ideals. At this point those previous ideals must be replaced. Sometimes it is with higher, bigger, more solid real truths. Sometimes it leads down the dark road of a broken identity.
For me, my moment was when our son died. Until this moment I held close the notion that if I behaved well - if I was a good mother and wife and citizen and person, God would not allow unbearable pain into my life. Because what good father would knowingly allow pain in the life of their child if they could prevent it? Afterward I had to examine if I believed that God is Good, Worthy, and Enough to be worshiped even if I lose everything I love. It was many months of wrestling with God through prayer and tears that God proved to be so faithful that I could only conclude that He is, indeed, WORTHY.
There is a quote by one C.H. Spurgeon which I love, “When shall you praise him? Why praise him when you are full of doubts, even when temptations assail you, when poverty hovers round you, and when sickness bows you down. They are cheap songs which we give to God when we are rich. It is easy enough to kiss the hand of a giving God, but to bless him when he takes away – this is to bless him indeed. To cry like Job, “though he slay me yet will I trust in him,” or to sing like Habakkuk, “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither fields shall yield no meat: the flocks shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet will I rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my Salvation.” Oh Christian thou askest me when thou shalt rejoice, I say TODAY!”
In that Walmart aisle I realized that this moment in history is a Before and After moment for the whole of our society. We will as a national and global community be forced to put aside all distractions and look for a reason to live. As our governments, health care systems, celebrities, economies, and entertainments fail us, we will no longer be able to distract ourselves from the God-shaped hole in our souls.
Dear church family, I do not believe things will ever be the same as they were. Our economy may rebound. Our government may rally. Our sports may once again draw crowds. But the hearts of the world will never again be content to trust man-made constructs for fulfillment and meaning. Those of us who know where truth lies must lead the charge into the dark unknown. For such a time as this God has raised us up to tell the whole world about his Son and His Salvation with torches blazing for Christ and His holy restoration of broken hearts and lives! And about his great LOVE. Leave behind the building, Church, and let the whole world see you praise a mighty God.
To get you started worshiping I leave with you a song written by Andrew Peterson called Is He Worthy?