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Joy in the Journey

September 19, 2013

by Linda Beerman
It was April 1998. My sister-in-law, Brenda, came to our home with her little ones. She wanted a day to herself to go to Sioux Falls and had asked me to babysit for her. Those were fun days for me, even though sometimes chaotic and busy. Our own children were mostly grown so we enjoyed some giggles and playful children in the house. The table may have become sticky, and the toys and books were underfoot, but the blessings of hugs and smiles made it all worthwhile.

When Brenda returned later that afternoon, she brought me a gift. It was a Women's Devotional Bible, New International Version. " A new collection of daily devotions from Godly women"...that is what was written under the title. This book is a complete Bible with added writings and thoughts from several authors. They are listed in a subject index to help with any issue of interest or problem that may confront me. But they are nestled throughout the book in between scriptures that pertain to the subject.

I have enjoyed this gift almost daily over the years. As I look at it this morning, tattered now around the edges, my thoughts are on Brenda's life, her family, and the funeral we will have for her in a few hours. She lost her brave and courageous fight with cancer last Wednesday evening. The scripture reading that I found this morning to help ease my tears is from Hebrews 6:13-20. The spiritual writing on the facing page is entitled, "His Grace is Sufficient". Because my heart is heavy today, I would like to share this with you this week instead of finding other words inside of me.

The main verse to me is Hebrews 6:19...."We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf." Maybe you have been in this place of mourning or will be. I hope the words comfort you as they did me. Thank you, Brenda, for the life you lived, and the gifts you gave.

His Grace is Sufficient

Deforia Lane (author)

God AND I. That was it. Fresh out of miracles it seemed. God AND I. In the face of death, it's either that or nothing at all. There was no one to blame, no sign, no job, no certainty, no cure in sight, and no telling what God had in mind. I was alone with God, holy in his determined, unpredictable will. That was it, a place of both alarming aloneness and tender communion.

I don't want this to sound too pious or sentimentally spiritual; whatever this process entailed, it was certainly not devout or sweet. I was really frightened. These days were filled with the peculiar and strangling frenzy of waiting. I cried a lot, worried a lot, questioned a lot, felt lost, slept little, and beyond all of that, God began to touch me deeply.

I started being honest, dreadfully honest. I felt the freedom to do not just the right thing, but the REAL thing. I didn't like the idea of death. Death is, for me, the great intruder.

I was angry with God that he would ask me to even consider it.

I had questions for which I didn't think God had the answers, or if he did, he wasn't willing to share them with me. And when I asked those questions, a surprising thing happened: what was meant as confrontation became release. Far from resenting my questions, God welcomed them. He bore the pain in the questions just as Christ bore the cross. In my confusion, I may have wanted to wound him, but he only bled for me. In expressing what was really going on inside me - the anger, hurt, the rage against dying - he comprehended my pain and translated my helplessness into certain strength. I don't know how. I don't know much about such grace.

God and I. And in the dropping of I, just God. That was it, no answers, no specifics on a night beach, no concluding refrain. Just letting go of it, all of it, and in the release, in the dying itself, the seed of hope. I know it sounds backward, but I have found that the deepest moments in my life have always been the least contrived. In the release of control, I have found humbling power. In the chaos, I have found moments of sustaining peace.

God gave no answers, then, just his presence. Just that. And his grace was sufficient.

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