I dedicate this writing to my brother, Bennie who now calls Heaven home. Bennie a name given to him by God, and his parents meaning "Son of the right hand"
"In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." Psalm 16:1 ESV Glory! I can only image what you are experiencing now.
I had an encounter in my prayer room yesterday and I awoke this morning to the Lord asking me to share it so I hope you will find encouragement here and in the Promises of God!
As I have walked through the events leading up to the death of our Risen Savior, I found my grief escalating. It is interesting to me that the thought of we will live forever somewhere has shaped every culture, civilization in history- one thing is for sure- this world is not all there is.
My brother loved old church hymns. Actually, he liked a variety of music that spoke to him.One in particular is "I Believe" by Brooks and Dunn. I remember one Sunday morning he texted the song to me. I sensed he was in a deep place that only the Lord could fully know. The lyrics today still sting, but yet comfort me: "I raise my hands, and bow my head, Im finding more and more truth in the words written in red, they tell me that there's more to life that just what I can see, Oh I believe"
Little did I know at that time, how limited my time was with my beloved brother. Do we ever? Only God knows. More lyrics: I can't quote the book, the chapter or the verse, you can't tell me it all ends with in a slow ride in a hearse, you know Im more and more convinced the longer that I live, oh this can't be, no this can't be, no this can't be all there is"
Just like that he was gone, forever from my life. My brother, my friend. Just like that my childhood was stripped away, someone that I connected with like no other on this earth, in a unique way. Gone. I can't hear him anymore, I can't hug him anymore. I can't imagine the rest of my life without him and I don't want to. All that is left is memories and a fog in which I live in as I try and figure out a way to navigate through it all..Or is there more?
Yesterday I sat recalling last conversations, the last time I saw him, you know the things we all do when we have lost a loved one. I began trying to work through my regrets..You know the words..I should have done this differently, I wish I would have done.. If only I could have seen more clearly...All of these things produced guilt and I found myself in a dark, sad place.
Then, GOD began to give me a different perspective. He painted an eternal picture for me. As I share, I hope you will find a treasure for yourself and be able to apply it to your situation as well.
The first scripture God took me to was "Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time, but no one seems to care or wonder why, no one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come. For those who follow godly paths will rest in peace when they die" Isaiah 57:1,2 NLT. In that moment- God returned me to a time right after my brothers passing when I was in agony questioning Him. Why did you take him? Why did you do this Lord? Did you not hear your servants cries, my prayers? I fasted and prayed and you did not respond. Why did you do this to me? Suddenly, The Holy Spirit spoke...Jeannie, it was not about you that day. It was all about my love for him. My thoughts returned back to the present and then the Lord spoke again..Look at the prayers you were praying..read them.
"I pray that you Bennie being rooted and established in love may have power together with all the Lords holy people to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge that you Bennie will be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. I pray that the eyes of your heart Bennie may be enlightened in order that you Bennie may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance for his holy people and his incomparable great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms" These prayers came from Ephesians 1:16-19, Ephesians 3:14-19
As I read through the prayers the Lord returned me back to the cross... his son Jesus and what he accomplished when he said "It is finished" John 19:30 "With that he bowed his head and gave up his spirit"
We grieve the loss, but we must celebrate the LIFE! because of what Jesus provided for us we have the hope and PROMISE of seeing Jesus and ALL our loved ones again! The same power that raised Jesus from the dead has raised our loved ones from the grave. They are not in the tomb, the grave. They are ALIVE with Jesus!
The Lord whispered, Jeannie I did answer your prayers. I healed him, I set him free, I brought him home. He is now experiencing all of the things contained in my WORD in the Ephesian prayers. He is in the Father's arms and experiencing the fullness of my love. Is there anything better? The earth could not offer what I have provided for him...because of my great LOVE, because he believed..John 3:16 I had to choose what was best for my son and it was eternity.
This left me speechless...
My desire, my perspective, was that God would heal and restore him physically, emotionally, and spiritually on earth. My desire was to spend many more years together. I had plans, I had hopes..and now I grieve those plans and hopes as much as I do him. My desire was to see him serving the Lord and others through the power of his testimony, but my desires and my perspectives were not aligning with Gods. God knows best. Just because God didn't answer the prayers the way I wanted does not mean He did not answer them. My brother was healed, just not on earth. He was healed by Heaven. Is there any better honor? He was spared from living in and around the evil on this earth (Isaiah 57:1,2) He was chosen to fulfill his purpose in Heaven. Praise God! This gives me reason to celebrate. Would I want any less for him? No. In all honesty, even though grief is valid, I have come to realize that my agony is more about what I want, my needs. It is about wanting something I can't have and experiencing something I didn't want to experience. but how do I measure my love for my brother? Would I rather have him in Heaven where he is healed and full of joy or here hurting on earth with me? Well friends, as much as I miss him, in unselfish love, I choose Heaven everytime. I am returned back to the picture of the cross...
Then, the lord took me to Ezra 9:7-8. He begins to set me free from the bondage of guilt in regards to my loss. " ...we have been exceedingly guilty on account of our wrongdoings..."But now, for a brief moment grace has been shown to us for the Lord our God, who has left us a surviving remnant and has given us a peg (secure hold) in His Holy Place (Sanctuary) that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a little reviving in our bondage"
Then. I wrote in my journal "regret, guilt is a trap from satan.Turn the page, release, step out of bondage ( I begin to see action words, I add to do my part. I had to align with God) In Jesus name I am part of the surviving remnant that has been nailed in His Sanctuary where God gives enlightment, revelation, and relief of my soul from bondage. Lift up my eyes into the spiritual realm where my help comes from, where the living waters flow". I am returned back to the picture of the cross...
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" John 15:3.
For those of us that are experiencing grief, Lets focus on the beautiful act of love and obedience that this season is all about and because of what was accomplished we will see our loved ones again. Can you think of a greater gift? Can we just say Thank you Jesus and where are time on earth is limited with our loved ones, there in Heaven it will be limitless! There in eternity all our hopes and promises will be restored. They were not taken from us, they are being stored up for us! Glory! This will change our perspective as we focus on these truths. Heaven is not a dream, it is an absolute reality!
"The Voice of Joy In Heaven: .... Thou shall never suffer thy old temptations from satan, the world or flesh. Thy pains and sickness are all cured, thy body will no longer burden thee with weakness and weariness, thy aching head and heart, hunger and thirst, sleep and labor are all gone. Oh what a mighty change this is! from the dunghill to the throne! from persecuting sinners to praising saints! from a vile body to this which shines as the brightness of the firmament, from a sense of God's displeasure to the perfect enjoyment of him in love! from all my doubts and fears to this possession which puts me out of doubt! from all my fearful thoughts of death to this joyful life! Oh what blessed change! Farewell sin and sorrow forever,...welcome now my most holy, heavenly nature. Farewell repentance, faith and hope, and welcome love, joy, and praise" Richard Baxter, The Saints Everlasting Rest
Friends, Jesus is coming again and soon! I want to encourage you to look for the evidence of Jesus at work in your lives.
The day Jesus was crucifed many thought everything was lost.. they waited... in their despair, in their lack of understanding, their confusion, their sorrow. Something great had been accomplished that had not fully been revealed yet, but then the EVIDENCE came, it AROSE. Things were made clear. He conquered death. Our redeemer lives. It is because of Him we stand, we fight, we overcome, we see victory in our lives. It is because of him our zeal is renewed, our hearts our healed, our spirits revived to carry on. It is because of him we fight for life, eternal life, we free those that are oppressed and in bondage and because of his great power flowing through us we also conquer death.
As for your grieving heart give it back as an offering of thanks to the Lord. The cloud of witnesses are cheering us on! Hebrews 12:1,2 Focus on the promises of Eternity! Oh what a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see..Those that have gone on to Glory are the lucky ones, but we will be joining them soon. I am so thankful for the cross. I am so thankful that one day we will forever be in His Sanctuary, but until then he has nailed us to Him in Spirit and Truth!
Today may we experience his rest, His presence, His promises. His peace! Shabbat shalom! 🙌🏻 to the New Jerusalem!
May the Spirit of truth flow from you. Speak it over yourselves and your homes, families.
and as the saying goes...Sunday is coming!
Love you Bunches, and remember Live Life Abundantly,