Thursday, August 31, 2017

Home with the Father and His Dad

Riley is healed and whole, safe in the arms of Jesus and greeted by his earthly father and a grandmother he never met.  Just five days ago we celebrated Riley's life with a beautiful memorial service. Those of you who have prayed for our family may wish to view the short video his mom made with pictures and hear the message given by his dad's brother.


We are just beginning to fully realize all that has happened, and yet the peace of God truly does pass all understanding. We have not "lost" Riley, for we know exactly where he is! For Riley's mom, the days ahead will be difficult. . .  no husband, no eldest son. Thankfully, she is surrounded by loved ones and an amazing community of faith.  Their church has gathered around them like nothing I have ever seen.  Though they don't have their dad, the little brothers have men who really, really love them.  For me. . .  I have to think that the boys may be wondering, "First my dad, then my brother. . .  am I next?"  They will really need those in the family and the faith community to come around them and hold them up.  God has a much bigger plan than we can possibly know.  As incredibly hard as this road has been, it has not been without purpose.  Thousands have been touched by Jonathan's and Riley's testimonies of faith and assurance that the Lord of all the universe had them in the palm of His hand.

While giong through this devastation/rejoicing, we are of course witnessing the devastation in our country from hurricane Harvey.  It is almost impossible to get my mind around that much water... it is utterly heartbreaking.  It is also heartening to see people working and helping and loving their neighbors.  God has a plan even in those situations.  We may not know what it is until we see Jesus face to face... but then we will know fully.

"For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." 1 Corinthians 13:12

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Clinging to hope...

So sorry for the lack of communication about Riley... several of you have asked about him privately. (You know who you are and that means the world to me!)  Really, there is nothing new to report.  After two weeks in the hospital where his condition did not improve, his mom chose to take him home to die unless the Lord answers our prayers for a miracle of healing.  My step-father spent a good deal of time with him yesterday and said that his communication was at a minimum, with "yes" "no" and "I don't know."  When he asked him what his name was, he said, "I don't know." It is heartbreaking and yet the family still continues to be so thankful that there is a sense of the nearness of the Lord's presence as they walk this difficult valley.  Clinging to these words and taking hold of the sure and steadfast hope, "In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil..."

Psalm 23
(beautiful words of truth for dark times)

The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want. 
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters. 
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.