I had intended to write more on things I learned about the Unknown Soldier and other lessons from our trip to Arlington Center. It will have to wait til later on as my heart has been so heavy these past few days with something else.
We have all experienced fear and know the grip that it can have on our lives. Fear is a topic of many books, sermons and conversations with friends. It is real and yet it is something that as Christians, we have been told we can overcome. Fear expresses itself in many ways-sadness, tears, anger at times because we don't know how to express what we are feeling, and withdrawal.
The past month or so there has been so much sickness and death among people I know. Some I know better than others. Some were acquaintances, some friends, some parents of friends I am close with. Sicknesses with children, newborns, friends diagnosed with cancer and so on.
The other day I awoke to yet one more note of someone who is my own age who suddenly died. Someone who served the Lord faithfully on the mission field. The beginning of the month we found out another pastor friend, only 36 yrs. old with a lovely wife and 4 beautiful children just died suddenly. No warnings for these people or their families. In one moment they left this earth to begin spending eternity with Jesus. In one moment, their family and loved ones lives were changed forever. The summer plans, the kisses, the hugs, the snuggles, the joys they cherished and the tears they would shed together were to be no more. We know it, we hear about it, we at times think about it-death comes without warning so many times.
My mind had already been wandering the other week about our life. Two people in their 50's serving the Lord on the mission field. Every now and then, I think because we are getting older, I think about the future and what might happen. We all know that can be the worst thing in the world to do! Oh how imaginative our minds can be. Often, I would find myself in tears just because I would be sitting down and letting my thoughts go and next thing you know I am picking out songs for my funeral, wondering who would be in attendance and would they say nice things about me......please tell me I am not the only nutty one that does this!!!!
When Jim and I were called to serve on the mission field I was 40 yrs old and he was 44. We had a business and he worked very, very hard. He is not a lazy person and though obviously not perfect, he is an extremely hard worker and ran a successful construction business for quite a few years. Towards the end, things got difficult, but he continued to press on and looking back, we see how the Lord was allowing all of this to be taken away so that it was easier to say yes to His call to go. Our business was a union company-I say that only to emphasis what we once had. Insurance-medical, dental, vision....any doctor of our choosing. We had a pension -didn't necessarily mean anything to me back then because the future is always so far away. But, now.....oh how that word means so much more.
We were called to the mission field 6 months prior to Jim being 'vested' in the union. That means that if he worked for 6 more months our pension would be full and upon retirement we would receive the full amount. Six months!!! Half a year....I didn't know all this at the time. You see how God keeps me in the dark so I don't flip out :) Honestly it would have been so much more difficult to leave when we did had I known this. I probably would have nagged Jim so badly to just stay with it six more months and then we could go. It wouldn't have been a good situation.
You grow up being told to work hard, don't cheat, don't lie, don't steal. Do well and prepare for your future. If you work hard all your life you will be able to enjoy retirement-that's the thinking you grow up with. We all know it doesn't always work that way does it? So many unexpected things happen-especially nowadays in the economy we have. The future has become all the more unpredictable. Sometimes it's easy to feel like you are a failure-that you have nothing to show for your life. You don't have the bank accounts, you don't have the means to provide for your children or grandchildren the way you wished you could and you have nothing to leave them for the future. Okay-I am just being brutally honest right now so don't worry-you don't have to feel sorry for us- :) I don't think these feelings are just for people on the mission field either-many go through this.
While in Hungary, we had a couple visit us for an evening. A Pastor and his wife from New Jersey were visiting different Calvary Chapels and they came to meet us too. He began to share how he was a police officer for many years and a year before he would be fully vested or whatever it is called in that field, God called him to be a full time Pastor-to leave his job and follow Him. I cannot tell you how much that has comforted me through these times of the unknown. I see their lives and see how they hold onto Jesus and trust and follow Him and it sets my heart and mind at ease. I see what the Lord can do.
I have found myself thinking a lot lately about all of the 'what ifs'. What will happen to us as we get older? Everything is so focused on the young and being hip these days you wonder if you will fit in much longer if you don't have those qualities about you.
When we got married, Jim asked me not to work outside of the home. It was really hard for me because I had worked for many years and was a very independent person. We didn't marry until I was 27 yrs. old so I had plenty of years of work and made pretty good money for a single gal. But, I agreed and am very thankful that I could stay home and raise our daughter for all those years. There were times I wanted to at least go and work part-time, but it seemed I was pretty busy with plenty of other things.
Needless to say, my resume isn't one that would be pleasing to the eye for any company if I had to go and apply for a job nowadays.
I get worried at times-wondering what if something happened to Jim and he was gone-what would I do? How would I survive? I have no skills to work anywhere. I honestly can get into a tizzy thinking about stuff like this. It becomes so necessary to trust completely in the Lord. To know His faithfulness, His love and His promise that He will never leave nor forsake us.
There are times Jim and I chat about the future and I tell him that if I were to die first he could continue on-he could still be a Pastor and do what he does. But if it was the other way around, what in the world would I do....where would I live....how would I survive? Of course my husband just looks at me, smiles and says...'oh don't worry honey, you can find another husband'...really???? Not the answer I was looking for dear!
I don't know why I really wrote all this-hopefully it doesn't sound so morbid. I suppose that it's just another aspect of life and part of what we really go through at times. I don't want to live in fear of the unknown, of the future. I want to keep my eyes on my Savior. Knowing that He has called us, He will be faithful. He will take care of us no matter what. In Him is perfect peace. In Him is all the fullness of joy for each and ever circumstance. In Him, there is no fear because perfect love has cast out all fear and He is perfect love!
Thanks for bearing with me today :) I guess it doesn't help that Jim is away for a couple of days so it gives me extra time to think about such things.