God, the Week from Hell, and We Won Anyway
Like many of you, I spend much of my time encouraging and equipping my faith community to stand strong against Satan. Resist him. Do not listen to his lies. But sometimes leaders need to practice what they preach.
So here is how I survived the week from hell.
I was up in Oklahoma conducting a seminar on how to share Jesus. Early Sunday morning I got the phone call that a cousin of mine had passed away. We set the funeral for Wednesday morning. I was to teach Wednesday night in Abilene, so the plan was for me to fly home Sunday night, then my wife and I would drive four hours Tuesday night, do the funeral Wednesday morning, then drive four hours home to preach that night.
Late Tuesday night, the phone rang and it was our daughter telling us that my sister-in-law was on the way to the hospital with what they thought was a heart attack. There was nothing we could do to help. But my daughter and one of my wife’s cousins assured us they would take care of our sister. So we were up most of the night praying and calling back and forth for updates.
Early Wednesday morning, we made two phone calls. One to my brother-in-law in Fort Worth, so he and his wife headed for Abilene. And one to good friends from church. And we buried my cousin. Lots of stories and laughter through tears. Lots of talk about Jesus and confidence that we would all be together again. While saying goodbye at the family meal, we got a call that my Mom was on her way to the emergency room with severe pain. And again we were four hours away.
The couple from church relieved my daughter so she could get her kids to school and the cousin could go to work. My brother-in-law relieved them and then he and his wife took turns staying with my Mom and my sister-in-law. My daughter came back to coordinate medical decisions.
My cousin was dead, we thought our sister was critical, and my Mom is almost 88 so any health scare could be critical.
Satan wanted to rob us of our joy and peace. He wanted us to be afraid and to panic. So he used death and the possibility of death, wanting us to feel helpless and hopeless.
But my cousin’s funeral was a celebration of a life lived for Jesus and a certainty we would be together again. My sister-in-law did not have a heart attack, just some issues that mimicked the symptoms. My Mom had a kidney stone.
So here is how God turned the week from hell into a victory.
Our family believes. Jesus has already defeated death. We do not fear the future. We are—and will be—hope grievers. No matter what.
Prayer. Lots of prayers by lots of people. We prayed and expected God to act. And he did.
A couple of phone calls to family (both blood and spiritual). And our people took care of our people. Just like if we had been there.
Faith, prayer, and a community of believers.
And Satan lost again.