Today Above All Days

It was while on vacation during a casual conversation over breakfast with my bride this morning I was reminded about how life changed so drastically for us eleven years ago. It’s hard to imagine eleven years have gone by since the suicide of my youngest son Noah. I won’t bore you with the details of that day again; I’ve posted something about it almost every year since his death, so no need to rehash the past. But I will say from the onset here, if you have thought about, or are contemplating your own death as you read this, please don’t do it. We need you here, even if at this moment it doesn’t feel like it.

Suicide is an insidious tool the enemy of mankind uses to thwart the things God has intended to happen on this planet. You may not realize it, but you are here on purpose, because you have a purpose (Thanks Pastor Paul). You may not know or understand your purpose, I can attest to this myself, because at fifty-seven now, I’m still working to realize my what my purpose and full potential is supposed to be.

One thing I do know about this day eleven years ago, is God knew it was coming and was prepared to walk with us through all the chaos, sadness and anger we were about to experience. Many people told me they were shocked that such a good Christian family as ours would have to walk the road we walked. I’m not saying we are perfect, no family is, but we were at the church every time the doors were open and all three of our children not only attended church, but were very active in doing the actual ministry of Jesus. Noah was the most prolific of all of us at talking to people about accepting the Lord.

The thing which saved me on that day and every day since was the Word of God; specifically John 10:10. It says, “The thief comes to kill, steal and destroy. I (Jesus) have come to bring you life and life to the full.” This is what I call a defining Scripture, because it explains what is actually going on in every situation of life. You can know where things are coming from because of it. If it brings death and destruction, it’s the devil, and if it brings life,? then Jesus. This is why I used the picture from my phone on this blog. Every time I see the time 10:10 or even just the numbers 1010, I’m reminded of this passage of Scripture. And as I stood by our trampoline a few hours after they had taken Noah’s body away, this is the passage which kept repeating in my mind. It literally helped me run to God and not from Him.

I don’t know what you may be facing, but I know this one thing; there is a battle going on around you each and every day. It’s a battle for your soul; to either help you or hinder you, and if you are unsure of who is doing what in your life, or it will bring confusion to the point where you will blame God when bad things happen, when it is obvious because of this Scripture, it is the devil (thief) who is bringing the problems.

Knowing John 10:10 didn’t bring my son back to me, but it did help me to understand what was going on and be able to navigate through the murkiness which tried to cover our family for quite a while. I don’t claim to be a Bible scholar or anything, and I’m definitely not perfect by any means, but I do know this one thing, having a working knowledge of God’s Word is what kept my family not only in church, but following and serving Jesus to this day.

It’s never too late to start reading God’s Word either, even if you don’t understand what you’re reading. I’ve always told people, I eat green beans, but I can’t tell you what they do for me nutritionally, I only know they’re good for me. It’s just like that with the Bible, even if you don’t understand what you’re reading, it is doing something for your spirit. And it has never been any easier to get access to the Bible. You can download the Bible app from Life Church at your app store, it’s a free download and has so many translations of the Bible. I prefer the New Living Translation, but there are so many you will be able to find one which speaks to you. The main thing is to just start reading it and see where God takes you.

For the Kingdom, and the King…Shalom.

“May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.” ~ Tolkien

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” ~ John 10:10

If I was to to tell you I had a life verse, this would be it. For as long as I can remember any time I saw the numbers 10:10 on a digital clock, ClockI would say this passage out loud. And it was these very words of Jesus which held despair and darkness at bay on the worst day of my life. I call this passage a defining Scripture; one which helps you know what is going on in your life at any given moment. It’s pretty simple too; if you have been stolen from, there is death or destruction in your life, then it is from the thief, aka the devil. If your life is rich and full, then it comes from Jesus. John 10:10 shows you who is behind every situation you face in life.

On April 6, 2010 my youngest son Noah in a moment of weakness took his own life. There were no warning signs, he made a decision (albeit a dumb one) and ended his life. In the hours following Noah’s death, I was faced with a choice; to turn from God or towards Him. It was during this time, standing by the trampoline my kids had spent countless hours on, I began to question God. As my questioning turned quickly into anger, I began a downward spiral into an abyss of darkness I had never before experienced. Doubt, confusion and anger began to fill my mind. It was just then as my thoughts were becoming darker, that a sliver of light broke through and I snapped out of it.

Recognizing the voice of God in my spirit, He brought John 10:10 back to my mind. As I stood there in my pain pondering it, the realization came to me about who was actually to blame for my son’s death; it was the devil and not God. As the light of this knowledge flooded my mind pushing back the dark thoughts of the enemy I stood up straighter and thanked God for saving me in that instant. From that moment on I was able to move forward and lead my family down the path towards recovery in the way He wanted. It’s taken years for my family to move from tragedy to healing but we would never had made it this far without God’s Word guiding us.

I’m nothing special, God doesn’t like me better than you, He wants to use Scripture the same way in your life, but you have to want it. You can do it, all you have to do is start reading the Bible, putting His Word into your heart. Had I not quoted John 10:10 to myself for so many years, I would never have been able to hear God speak it to me so clearly when it really mattered. You can do it, don’t wait, get into the Bible today and see how far God takes you!

Living in a story much larger than my own…won’t you join me? You Can Do It!

 

Seven Years

Seven years or 84 months or 364 weeks or 2,555 days or 61,320 hours or 3,679,200 minutes or 220,752,000 seconds.  However you want to track the passage of time, this is how long it has been since my youngest son Noah was lost to me due to suicide. I’ve written about this before; usually at this time of year when I am forced to relive the events which happened on that day. But this year I want to write something a little different.

It was back in the first part of March I was thinking about Noah and I began to ask myself what day he died on. It took me quite a while to remember, actually having to go back through my Facebook account looking for posts from when it first happened. After figuring it out, I felt like quite a failure as a parent. After all, how could a good parent forget the actual day they lost one of their children? It wasn’t until a few days ago when my bride said something to the fact about today being the seventh anniversary and it had crept up on her, I began to think perhaps we had both turned a corner.

When I say turned a corner, I don’t mean either of us has forgotten the day or Noah, but that we have just traveled farther down the road of life. And the more distance you put between yourself and the horrible things which have happened, the easier it becomes for them to take up less space in your every day thoughts. The passage of time is a good thing.

Something I’ve learned in the past seven years is there are no guarantees in life; things have a way of just happening to people; both good and bad. We try to rationalize it when something horrible happens, but there is no making sense of it. We live in a fallen world, in which bad things happen. Another thing I’ve learned is God never changes; He is the same yesterday, today and forever. I know it sounds trite, but regardless, it is the truth. And when crap hits the fan, you have to hold on to what is true if you ever want to have hope of making it further down the road of life.

For me, today marks another year off the calendar and a few more miles along the path I’ve been forced to walk these past seven years. Would I rather not be on this particular journey? Absolutely. I’d love to have my 20 year old son here with me and my family enjoying the life he should be living, but instead I’m living another reality; the one where he is no longer here with me. It’s not my choice, but I will journey on regardless.

The passage of time is a good thing, believe me when I say it. Though it may not look like it when you are in the middle of whatever you are going through, I promise it will get easier the further away from whatever is challenging you. Just do what my family and I have done for the past seven years; breathe, take a step and repeat. Just keep moving forward.