As I read Philippians 1:12-26, I think about Saint Paul sitting in a dark, damp, and cold prison cell writing a letter to the Philippian believers. There, in his dark prison, Paul writes and says that every bad thing that has happened to him has only helped to spread the Gospel. And for that he rejoices! His love for God and his great desire to share the Gospel was the only things that mattered to him. This imprisonment and many other sufferings Paul endured for the sake of the Gospel only solidified his conviction to share the Gospel and Jesus’ love for others. It made him bolder to speak the Word without fear. Paul continues and writes that whether in good times or bad, he will proclaim Christ and in that he rejoices.
Clinging to Jesus outside Russell and Shawna’s home the night they died, was the beginning of “Hope and Healing Ministries”, although I didn’t know it then. As we started the grieving process we clung to Jesus like never before! Letting go of Him was not an option! As time went on, people would say to us that they couldn’t believe how strong we were. They wanted to know how we were able to cope with such tragedy! Well, I don’t know about being strong! Crying bitter tears every day was a new normal for us. I did know that we weren’t “just coping”. We were going to survive this tragedy. I for one didn’t want to “just cope”. I wanted to heal and learn how to carry on into the future without our loved ones. I asked the Lord, “Can good come out of such tragedy? Will You change our ashes to beauty? How will You accomplish this?” I didn’t want to throw my hands up and say “That’s it! I give up!” I didn’t want to wallow in self-pity and say, “Why me?” This was my cross to bear and I was going to survive with God’s help. Most importantly, I wanted to bring glory to God. The unthinkable happened. God didn’t cause it. It wasn’t His fault. To turn from Him in anger was not an option. I asked God to give me a work to do to bring hope and healing. I want His name to be glorified because He has done great things for us. Even in our Darkest Hour, God gave me something to grab hold of and use for His honor and glory. I wanted to shout on the roof top that God is still a good God. He still had a purpose for my life. To be able to share with others what Jesus did for us in our greatest time of need is giving me strength.
My prayer is that if you are going through a tragedy, or feel completely hopeless, that God would open your eyes to see any opportunity He sends your way that will cause you to turn your suffering around for your good and for His honor and glory. Jesus wants to walk alongside each one of us in our trials and sufferings. And He will ALWAYS give us a way out that will give us hope and healing.