What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?

What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?
Remember: "When God closes a door, He always opens a window!" You never know what might be out there waiting for you!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

A Place of Perfect Peace


The obituary of an untimely death...
"___ entered the Presence of the Lord on August ___, at the age of 24."
"___enjoyed too many things to list them all, but most notably were baseball, traveling, music, dogs, food, the shore, and fishing. Most of all, he enjoyed meeting people of different cultures, countries and backgrounds. He traveled through Europe, parts of Africa and different islands around the world. He was a person to “ride the river with”.
"__was a member of the US Army, and recently retired due to an injury attained in Afghanistan. He was based in Germany and Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He was trained in infantry and cross trained for the Cobra Strike Team. He went on over 180 missions and received numerous medals and recognition for his service to our country." 
"__was attending Penn State at the time of his death. " 
"He was loyal, kind and generous, yet he was also a warrior and sheep dog through and through. He was a preacher’s kid who loved Jesus, but struggled with the church. One of the highlights of this year was when he was working with His Work, His Way, and he exclaimed, “if every town did this, our country would be turned around for the better”. 

It was with much angst that I read the above obituary recently. Although I did not know him personally, this young man was the son of an acquaintance of ours who was a former colleague in ministry. We knew his grandparents more so than his parents. They were also former colleagues, serving as the District Superintendent & wife for the religious denomination in which we served in the pastoral ministry for many years.  His great-grandparents were very well known in this particular denomination, having served first as missionaries and then in the highest position of leadership for the denomination. He came from a very loving Christian home, with his ancestry steeped in service to the Lord Jesus Christ.

What this obituary did not state was the fact that this wonderful young man, with such a strong Christian heritage and ancestry,  a stellar record in service to our country, and with the intelligence and ability to enroll in an excellent university to begin the next phase of his life's journey...what it didn't tell you was that he died tragically from an apparent drug overdose.

I am not aware if the overdose was on purpose or accidental...and at this point, I'm not sure that matters.  The fact remains that this young man, with such great potential and so much positive influence in his life had his life come to a screeching halt at the age of twenty-four.

My mind is reeling and my heart is breaking...for him, for his family, and for everyone who knew him.  Only God knows what happened that brought him to that point in his life...but I suspect it may have had something to do with the action and injury that he sustained in his service to our country in Afghanistan. I don't know that for a fact and I'm certainly not going to ask...but we see so much of this in the lives of our military when they come back home.  They are wounded in ways that medicine can't fix, and our country has failed in its efforts to rehabilitate and properly care for the countless thousands of men and women veterans who are in similar circumstances.

However, this is not intended to be a political message ...but it does give one pause to reflect on that particular subject, and say a prayer for those in service to our country.

The other part of his obituary that caused me to stop and take notice was this statement:

"He was a preacher’s kid who loved Jesus, but struggled with the church."

From one who knows about these struggles, having had three sons who are preacher's kids, I can so relate.  My kids (now adults--one in heaven) all loved Jesus, but they have also had struggles with "the church".  Not with God, not with Jesus, not with true Christianity, but with "the church".  Or perhaps the expectations of the members of "the church"...expectations that were placed on "the preacher's kids" that no one would dare place on their own kids.  (Something to think about, huh?)

Now, I am not going to bash the church because I love Christ's church, the Body of Christ.  However, all too often things are done and said in "the church" in the name of "the church", or religion, that are not totally representative of Christ and what He intended the church to be. Sadly, many times "the church" stands in judgment of people and forgets that we are to extend the LOVE of Jesus to all people.  Christ offers love and forgiveness to anyone who will come to Him and ask.

Jesus said in John 3:16~

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

But have you ever read the next verse, John 3:17?

"For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world through Him might be saved."

Remember what Jesus said regarding the woman taken in adultery in the Gospel of John, chapter 8...

Vs. 7:  "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first."

And when one by one all the accusers dropped their stones and walked away, Jesus asked the woman 
in verse 10:

"Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?"

She replied to Him, (vs. 11) "No one, Lord."  And Jesus said to her:

"Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more."

But this isn't exactly where I wanted to go with this either.  It concerns me that perhaps there are those who would cast stones at this young man because he very possibly took his own life due to the wrong choices he made.  Again, I really don't know the details or particulars of what led him to this point in his life.  But this one thing I do know, according to God's Word:

John 6:39:  
"This is the will of the Father who sent Me, (Jesus)  that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day."

Vs. 40:
"And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day."

Vs. 47:
"Most assuredly, I say to you,
he who believes in Me has everlasting life."

Our God is a God of great mercy...

"But God, who is rich in mercy
because of His great love with which He loved us,
even when we were dead in trespasses,
made us alive together with Christ 
(by grace you have been saved)
and raised us up together,
and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace
in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
For by grace you have been saved through faith,
and that not of yourselves;
it the the gift of God,
not of works, 
lest anyone should boast."
Ephesians 2:4-9

It is my prayer that the Lord Jesus Christ give the comfort that only He can give to this dear family and friends during their time of great grief. May they feel His Presence and know that their child is safe in the arms of Christ today... 
No more suffering...no more fears, but in a place of perfect peace forever. Amen.

"Let not your heart be troubled; 
you believe in God, believe also in Me.
In My Father's house are many mansions.
If it were not so, I would have told you. 
I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come again and receive you to Myself;
that where I am, 
there you may be also."  
John 14:1-3

"Peace I leave with you,
My peace I give to you;
not as the world gives do I give to you.
Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
John 14:27
(All photos are from a walk in the woods to a "Place of Peace")


  1. Pamela, this really touched my heart.

    "...injury that he sustained..."

    He may have become addicted to painkillers this way. There is a class of them that have very high rates of addiction. They also work well, so it's can be win-lose. You hear news stories about celebrities with addictions to painkillers and the strange statistics of heroin use in simple places like Vermont and New Hampshire. These are often people who became addicted one way, but then desperately sought out other ways to get the same drug. I wouldn't be surprised if it happened to this man that way. But who knows.

    About twenty years ago a young man in my church ended his own life. It was a huge shock. He had dealt with many things in his short life and struggled with life. He loved the Lord, but one morning he made a decision and that was it. At his funeral, a child relative (may have been a family friend) showed everyone a picture that he had drawn with crayons after the young man died. It was a scene of the young man dancing in Heaven. The child said God showed him that the young man was in Heaven. I think a lot of the church and the young man's relatives were greatly comforted by that.

    God bless you, Pamela. Praying for peace for you too.

    1. THank you, Sandi, for your sensitive response to this story. We may never know just what happened in the life of this young man, but I do believe he is dancing in heaven today, free from the things that bound him here. Thank you for your kind thoughts.

  2. Oh my, such a profound and powerful post here! How much hurt has been caused by the Church? When we should be a haven of peace and comfort and direction, people often find critical spirits and dogmatic ideas that come from man made rules and regulations and not from God. How sad that this young man left this earth so young. It is such a tragic loss for his family and those who knew him. My prayers go to the family.

    1. Thank you Melanie. Sadly, the Church is the one place that should embrace and love those who are suffering and hurting, but all too often they are the first to judge and alienate them from those who should be able to help. It is something that we as Christians need to recognize and seek God's forgiveness...and then reach out and show the love of Christ to those who are lost and dying without Him.

  3. Pam, this post is so deeply touching and simply deep in other ways too. In some way, I understand this young man's struggle: love Jesus but struggle with the church (or simply struggle with "church people"). As a church we can get some things right but other things very, very wrong; in the process people get hurt...some times badly.



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