While today’s Post does include some incredible questions it is unlike anything I have ever posted.
I am a follower of Jesus. If you are not, please know that you are still respected and always welcomed by me.
Sometimes I will ask friends who share with me that they are atheist or agnostic, “Do you believe in Biblical Prophecy?” And of course their immediate answer is “No!” Please note that this is just my “Set-Up” question! Next I ask: “Can I share with you one Biblical Prophecy that Jesus made and then ask if this prophecy has been fulfilled in your life?” They almost always kindly say “Sure.” I share that in John 16:33, Jesus said “In this world you will have trouble.” And then I ask, “Has this Biblical Prophecy been fulfilled in your life?” They almost always smile and agree that indeed they have experienced “trouble!”
I wish that being a “Follower of Jesus” would mean that neither I nor any member of my family would ever experience any trouble. But that has not been my experience.
A bit over a year ago I flew to Sioux City, Iowa to be with my sister and brother in law during some of the final days of his courageous battle with lung cancer. One morning I left my sister at their home so that she could have some time to herself and drove to the hospital to spend the morning with Joe. As I got near the hospital it started to rain and a song came on the radio that I think I had heard before – but had never really listened to. But that morning, with rain falling as I drove into the hospital parking lot I heard every word. I sat in my car – with tears running down my cheeks. The song “Blessings” by Laura Story reached deep into my heart! The questions this song asks gave words to what I was feeling. So many people from around the globe had prayed for Joe’s healing and yet he was not healed. I knew it was likely that my sister Carol would soon be without her Joe.
Here are the lyrics to that song (I have bolded the questions). Below the lyrics is a link to a YouTube video of Laura singing “Blessings.” My post will continue after the video.
Written and performed by Laura Story
That morning as I listened to Laura sing “Blessings” I knew nothing of her story. When I shared my experience with my sister – she handed me Laura’s book, (Pictured above) “When God Doesn’t Fix it: Lessons You Never Wanted to Learn, Truths You Can’t Live Without.”
Laura’s story – like Joe and Carol’s story does not have a fairy-tale ending.
Newly married, “Worship leader and recording artist Laura Story’s life took an unexpected turn when her husband, Martin, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Their lives would never be the same. Yes, with God all things are possible. But the devastating news was that no cure existed to restore Martin’s short-term memory, eyesight, and other complications. The fairy-tale life Laura had dreamed of was no longer possible. And yet in struggling with God about how to live with broken dreams, Laura has found joy and deeper intimacy with Jesus.” (from the back cover of her book)
Those of us who are Followers of Jesus can think that if we share all the good things that Jesus has done for us that those who do not know Him will want to come to the Savior. It is a bit counter-intuitive but when we only share the good things those who are far from the cross many times may think, “I guess if God had blessed me like He apparently has the Follower of Jesus, who has only shared the good things in his/her story, then I too might want to be a Follower of Jesus. But apparently the “Follower of Jesus” has never experienced any troubles and he/she would never understand someone like me who has and is experiencing scores of trouble!
But when we, who are “Followers of Jesus,” share our whole story – sharing heartaches, broken relationships, illness, death, criminal acts done against us, lost jobs, financial setbacks, family members struggling with drugs or pornography or alcohol or gambling, suicide by a mate or child – challenges/hurts which are still present – then many who are not “Followers of Jesus” will actually come closer – thinking/feeling that even though their challenges may be different than ours, we might actually understand what they are going through.
Laura shares in her book that there was a time when she was hesitant to share her whole story – especially sharing her doubts – her questions about why God had not answered her prayers for Martin’s healing. She shares the:
MYTH: God can only use my story when there is a Happy Ending.
TRUTH: God can use my story when I trust Him in the Journey.
From Chapter 10 of her book:
Questions and doubts plague my mind more than I care to admit. the single word WHY haunts me most. Like a stuck needle on a vinyl record, there are days when it replays over and over again. In those dark moments when I’m obsessed with finding out why, I’m that if I just had an answer to my question, I’d feel better. Even on those occasions when I do get an answer, it rarely leads to satisfaction and always leads to more questions.
I’m not the only one who feels this way. Everyone wants to know why bad things happen. When I lead worship at a church or perform in a concert, hurting people come up afterward and share their stories with me. And each person’s story comes with its own list of unanswered whys. Here are some I’ve heard dozens, and in some cases hundreds, of times:
“Why did my husband commit suicide?”
“Why did my daughter die so young?”
“Why did he start using drugs?”
“Why can’t I have children?”
“Why was he born disabled?”
“Why did she get sick?”
“Why did I lose my job?”
“Why did she betray me?”
“Why did he molest my child?”
In the midst of broken circumstances, we ask why. We’re not the first to ask, and we won’t be the last. Ever since God gave us the ability to ask questions, we’ve been asking that question of him.
“Why, God why?”
Laura shares that she was driving to Bentonville, Arkanas with Martin in the passenger seat. They had passed through Birmingham, Alabama at 10:30 pm and driving through the night she began to think about their first five years of marriage……..
“While thinking about these things, words, seemed to flow and a tune came to mind. When we neared our exit, I knew I wanted to capture my thoughts and prayers, so I took a Sharpie and a gas receipt out of the cup holder and started jotting down the words:
So now that you know just a bit of the “Rest of the Story” you will want to buy Laura’s book: “When God Doesn’t Fix It.”
Yes, my Brother in Law, Joe Huff passed. You can read the “Eulogy” I was privileged to share at Joe’s Celebration Service by clicking “HERE.” It’s now been over a year and my sister has found strengths she never knew she had. But she also continues to experience both grief and God’s tender mercies.
It won’t surprise you to know that Carol requested that “Blessings” be sung at Joe’s service.
In closing I want to say thanks to Laura Story – for sharing her and Martin’s whole story! For being real! And for ministering to all of us through this incredible song – really a hymn “Blessings” that continues to touch our hearts!
Guest Post by Howard Pitler It’s that time again – time to think about that very first day of school and...
EXCERPTED WITH PERMISSION FROM CHAPTER 24 OF “THE ART OF PEOPLE – 11 SIMPLE PEOPLE SKILLS THAT WILL GET...
Excerpted from Chapter 16 of “Now That’s A Great Question.” In the 50’s the...
Guest Post by Marcel Schwantes “These would have been laughable to me when I was 25, but as I get...
Guest Post by Sandy Chernoff Many leaders hesitate to ask questions because they fear it might make them...
Note from Bob: I was recently privileged to be Mark P. Fisher’s Guest for two episodes on his...
Guest Post by Ken Downer How can asking questions be more powerful than answering them? In the effort to...