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Sunday, September 9, 2012

SAD AND TRYING TIMES, BUT HOPE EVERLASTING....

The past few weeks have been very trying times.  To put it simply, they have been very depressing.  I never have been this depressed in my life.  Even my divorce was not as depressing and people who are close to me know my divorce was a very dark and depressing time in itself.  I have had the most difficult time sleeping and when I do get some, it is very unrestful.  I can't remember the last time I woke up and felt rested.  I abhor this feeling!  But I know I must go through this process as much as I don't feel like it at times.  The difference with my divorce and the grief from Andrew's death was that my grieving was mixed with an unhealthy doses of self pity: a very crippling elixir.   Also, I haven't been angry as much either.  Yes, anger has been a part of my grief, which is normal, but I have not questioned why for the most part.  If it were not for my faith in Jesus Christ, my wife, and children, I fear I would have not made it thus far.  I know Jennifer is very worried for me and it pains her to see me this way.  She has been so patient and understanding as she not only deals with my pain, but her's as well.  Honey, our dog, even senses something is wrong, as he is always by side, seemingly watching over me.  Honey was always by Andrew's side through the past three years as he battled so valiantly.

Some may have wondered with Andrew's passing, how I could I still believe in a God that allowed my son to die at such a awfully young age.  Why would a God that is so loving allow this and other countless unfair circumstances?  I am not a theologian nor a Christian with an abundance of Biblical acumen, but rather a believer in Christ, who believes with his little mustard of faith I possess that this world is not mine, Andrew's, nor other believer's final resting place.  I am not one to get into the a long theological explanation of my faith nor do I have any desire to, but rather tell you the very essence of what I believe.   And to do so, I believe the most appropriate way is to state the Apostle's Creed:


I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
   the Creator of heaven and earth,

   and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit,
   born of the Virgin Mary,
   suffered under Pontius Pilate,
   was crucified, died, and was buried.

He descended into hell.

The third day He arose again from the dead.

He ascended into heaven
   and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,
   whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church,
   the communion of saints,
   the forgiveness of sins,
   the resurrection of the body,
   and life everlasting.

Amen.

God did not allow this to happen, SIN DID!  In the Bible, Romans 3:23 states:

For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God. 

That's why we live in a world of so much death, grief and suffering: SIN!  But I have discovered on my life's journey that their is more to this world and this life on earth is but a temporary place and ultimately not mine nor Andrew's home.  There is hope!  I trust what John 3:16 says:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

I don't know what I would do without having Jesus Christ in my life!  Seriously, I don't!  For those that don't know, we decided to have Andrew cremated and just recently, we divided some of his ashes to give to my mom and dad and my brother. As Jennifer was dividing Andrew's ashes, we discovered the movies are so wrong about ashes.  You and I have seen how ashes look powdery like talc or flour, but that's not so.  Although most of the ashes are powdery, there are small pebble size pieces of bone.  It is near incredibly difficult to get the ashes into a totally powdery state.  I decided to take one of those pieces of bone and look at it.  It was surreal, as I was holding a piece of what was Andrew's earthly body!  Some think this is rather macabre and but it wasn't for me. What if I didn't believe in heaven, what the Apostles Creed states and what John 3:16 and other scripture purport?  What if I believed after death, it would be the end for Andrew, never to see him again.  Nothing more!  Done, finish, end of the line!  Oh how dreadful and miserable, to state it mildly, life would be!  Nothing to hope for!  How appalling would that be.  Nothing to live for!

Although consumed by grief and knowing I will never be able to heal and fill in my wounded heart completely, I have a modicum of peace knowing Andrew and his friend Anna ,who died from complications from a bone marrow transplant several months earlier,  are in heaven in eternal peace and joy and I know I will see them again one day.  That's why I don't hate God.  That's what is getting me through these dark and trying times.  HOPE AND FAITH!  Most of you who have followed my blog and have read one of my favorite verses over and over: Phillipians 4:6-7:

 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.   And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

I know many of you have been in awe and inspired of how I have kept it together the past 8 months with the care of Andrew and his death.  Some have wondered how I can have peace and a modicum of it.  I can't take credit.  Well, it is because of my hope and faith in my creator that this world is not my home, I am standing today.  All GOD!  Yes, it's been hard and there have been times I wish I could have my son back, but the peace that passes all understanding, stated in Philippians,  will get me through this journey on earth until I get to heaven, where there is no death, sickness, sadness, quarrels, grief, but eternal peace and joy.  THAT'S WHAT IS GETING ME THROUGH.  As I have cried my heart out many times these past few months, my closest of family and friends have reminded me of this and this has given me peace.

I know many of you are going through your own struggles and perhaps grief and if not, great!  I pray you will find the peace that passes all understanding as I have.  I hope you can be encouraged, by my testimony and the testimonies of so many, that there is hope.  I never thought I would be quoting
George Michael of Wham fame, but you gotta have FAITH!

Blessings,
Joe



7 comments:

  1. Beautiful Joe...

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  2. Thank you Joe for sharing your thoughts and feelings with us!! You are truly amazing! I pray that everyday that passes God will heal your broken heart! God bless you!! Carmen X. Kim

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  3. I am with rick groover. beautiful. so beautiful. as you are. as our andrew is. i love what you wrote and i LOVE even more your closing quote! george michael! i love it! and i love you!

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  4. Oh, Joe! I still cannot imagine the mix of pain, sadness, longing, relief, hope, etc. that you must be feeling for your dear son, Andrew. But like you, Jesus is my only hope in this life. May our glorious Father continue to give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation that you may know Him better, Joe. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may continue to be enlightened in order that you may KNOW the HOPE to which He has called you, the RICHES of His glorious inheritance, and His incomparably great POWER for us who believe, His RESURRECTION power. Jesus is seated at God's right hand far above all rule and authority, power, dominion, and every title that can be given, not only this present age but in the one to come. And Andrew is with this Jesus worshiping Him there.

    Always your sophomore HS Sunday School student, Julie (Kim) Lee

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  5. Thank you for sharing so truthfully, Joe! During this morning's sermon at our church here, the verses Daniel 3:17-18 reminded me immediately of you, when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would not give up on God even in the midst of trial & test ("If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”"). It is the words "But even if he does not" that reminded me most of you, because despite going thru what I believe is one of the most trying circumstances, your faith has remained genuine. Thank you for being a present day example of God's faithful. May His grace and mercy cover you each day.

    Lisa (Han) Kim

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  6. Hi Joe. I love the picture of you and Andrew! Time will help give you a new perspective on the last several months, and, the roller coaster of the past few years. I know that sounds cliche, but as with the grieving process, it takes time to see the deeper meaning behind Andrew's illness and death. I believe that people and situations are put in our lives to teach us something, and, to see what we ultimately do with that lesson! Will it make you stronger and more fearless in your own life? Will it make you stop and appreciate the small stuff? How can you turn a negative into a positive? In my situation, embracing these ideals has changed my life. To me, my only other choice was to let it defeat me...and she NEVER would have wanted that. There is a gift way down deep inside this grief. It just takes time to unwrap it.
    Take care,
    Molly

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  7. Dearest Joe and Jennifer and Girls,
    Thank you so much for writing these beautiful words, even through your pain and grieving. Your strength, although perhaps a bit unrealized, is what lifts you to your new level, bit by bit. Your phenomenal power of healing and faith has continuously helped all of us (on blog) and all those around you come to the deeper realizations that God so yearns for us to achieve. Your writings may be of help to you, but every time you blog, you have watched over and guided all of us: thinking about us and worrying about us in your most painful hour. You and Jennifer are tremendous people, and our love for you is immense. Thank you so very much for stepping aside your grief to take care of all of us in our joyful sorrow.
    With so much love and hope, LynnFrankLaurenKendall

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