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As God by creation made two of one,
so again by marriage He made one of two.


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Stuff’s going to work out.

I know.  I’d probably grimace if one of my kids started an essay: “Stuff’s going to work out.”   But, it’s on my mind today: stuff — and how it works out.   But I want to begin by saying: stuff’s probably not going to work out how you thought it would — or even how you hoped it would — but, truly, in the end, stuff’s going to work out.

Last year, the year you’ve heard me describe as the most sorrowful year of my life,  I heard a song… it was one of two songs that so resonated with me that I played them over and over and over again.  Hymns and psalms and spiritual songs minister to my heart, they lift my thoughts heavenward and they seem to dispel the darkness of doubt and despair.

Over and over in my head I would hear the words, It’s going to be alright.  I knew this — because I knew that God only does all things well — but I also didn’t know this — do you know what I mean?  I didn’t know – know – know this because of what I was *seeing.*  What I was seeing looked to be anything but alright.  But in my wrestling, I knew the it was so big God must be in it.  In my wrestling I knew that none of it had escaped His gaze and that He would work it together for good.  He could not do anything other than that.  And I knew that.   But for ninety-seven days I struggled.  Struggle still.  Sometimes.

On the night that my whole world seemed to come crashing down around me I didn’t see that it was going to be alright.  I didn’t see how it could be alright.  Through a series of events, that led to one of our children leaving home for ninety seven days, I learned to see, believe, trust and hope in God as I never have before — and what I didn’t know at the time was that God was, indeed, using that event as an instrument to both chasten and strengthen me — to both humble and lift me — to crush me and to fill me.  I needed all of that — I needed it much more than I needed to know that it was all going to be alright.  What I needed to know was something I thought I knew but didn’t.   It was something I taught I knew but didn’t.  Maybe that’s a bit harsh — I guess, in reality, I knew as much as I knew of that truth — but I didn’t know as much I know of that fact now.

That child was longing for love, attention, time, affirmation… and I was busy.  I was distracted.  I was doing good things but not best things.  And that child went away — to my great shame, regret and sorrow — but by the grace of God returned ninety-seven days later.  Returned home, broken, completely restored and strengthened in faith and was genuinely welcomed home — such a beautiful testimony of the mercy and grace of God.  I, on the other hand, very humbled, broken and filled with such regret and sorrow, was still trying to gather up the shards and pieces of my life.  I am only now beginning to understand all that the Lord had for me in that lesson.  And,  I so do not want to miss anything He had for me in that very expensive and painful lesson — and though I’m not speaking financially at all, it was, truly,  a very costly lesson — I cannot afford to miss what He had, or has, for me in it/through it.

I won’t elaborate on the details of those days — but I’d like to say that the lessons I learned in that valley were and are very, very precious and have given me great hope and great faith in the Lord’s dealings with me — with us all.  He showed me, in so many ways, how resourceful and creative He is.  He showed me that none can pluck one of His little ones out of His hand.  He showed me that He cares for my child — my children — more and better than I ever could and He showed me He loved that little one… and never shifted His gaze.  And He loved me, too.  No matter that I did not deserve His mercy and His love.  He showed me that He loved me too much to leave me where I was – going on the track I was going.  I needed that correction.  I needed it so much.

One thing kept ringing through — I knew for certain all through that dark valley was that I was going to to need what I received there – I was going to need that faith, that hope and that trust in God.  I didn’t know how, I didn’t know why and I didn’t know when — but I knew I was going to need it.  I said to myself over and over: you’re going to need this.  You’re going to need this one.

And I did need it — not only for the following, but for many things since:  Only a couple of months later…  it didn’t take long and it wasn’t at all difficult to figure it out  when our missionary son returned from Africa – and then the following week lay sick in the hospital — in a coma, very sick with cerebral malaria.  It was then that I knew that I knew… the Lord truly is all I have and all I need.

It’s a real risk sharing stuff sometimes — but I think it would be pretty selfish not to.  If you barely hanging on… if you feel like you’re sinking in too deep… if there’s some pain that’s tearing you apart, then, would you cast your cares upon the Lord Jesus — would you trust Him that it’s all going to be alright — that He truly is going to work everything together for good — for your good and His glory.  He who cannot lie — cannot fail.  And He, who loved you first… loves you still.  And stuff’s going to work out.  Really… you have His Word on it.  Maybe not like you thought and not like you hoped… but stuff’s going to work out.

The words to the Sara Groves song: It’s Going to be Alright

It’s going to be alright, It’s going to be alright

I can tell by your eyes that you’re not getting any sleep
And you try to rise above it, but feel you’re sinking in too deep
Oh, oh I believe, I believe that

It’s going to be alright, It’s going to be alright

I believe you’ll outlive this pain in you heart
And you’ll gain such a strength from what is tearing you apart
Oh, oh I believe I believe that

It’s going to be alright, It’s going to be alright

When some time has past us, and the story if retold
It will mirror the strength and the courage in your soul
Oh, oh, I believe I believe,

I believe, I believe

I did not come here to offer you cliche’s
I will not pretend to know of all your pain
Just when you cannot, then I will hold out faith, for you

It’s going to be alright, It’s going to be alright

It’s going to be alright
It’s going to be alright 

I can tell by your eyes that you’re not getting any sleep
And you try to rise above it, but feel you’re sinking in too deep
Oh, oh I believe, I believe that

It’s going to be alright
It’s going to be alright

I believe you’ll outlive this pain in you heart
And you’ll gain such a strength from what is tearing you apart
Oh, oh I believe I believe that

It’s going to be alright
It’s going to be alright

When some time has past us, and the story if retold
It will mirror the strength and the courage in your soul
Oh, oh, I believe I believe,

I believe
I believe

I did not come here to offer you clichÈ’s
I will not pretend to know of all your pain
Just when you cannot, then I will hold out faith, for you

It’s going to be alright
It’s going to be alright

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Thank you for joining me here today, may the Lord bless you and your home.