Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Anxious Moments – Again

1 Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

RayMcDLet me begin by apologizing for not having a devotional post yesterday. I may not have one every day this week. My mom passed on Sunday evening. Yesterday I had a hard time focusing. I found this devotional I wrote just before my father passed and thought I would refresh it for today.

As a pastor I have seen way too many medical issues strike seemingly healthy persons. I’ve mentioned before having a friend die a few feet away from me while playing basketball one morning several years ago. I’ve also seen friends who seemed to be very healthy die a few months after being diagnosed with a sickness like cancer. It is enough to give anyone a few anxious moments. I know I have had my share!

While in Florida on vacation (back in 2012) – my father entered the hospital (remind me to talk to him about his timing later – when he is well and home). Have I told you recently that I love this man! He is 84 and common sense says he is in the last chapters of his life – even if he lives to be 100. While talking to my brother and sister by phone – I heard anxiousness in their voices (and for my brother to be anxious I knew it wasn’t good). I sat in the dark and cried out to God for help and comfort for my dad and family (and me). My wife came out and tried to comfort me – but only God could bring me comfort at that moment. Today’s passage came to mind – Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. As I made plans to return home I could only trust in God – because this was something I couldn’t control. I had to place my trust in Jesus – because – well – just because! (My father would die that fall.)

As I sat there in the dark this passage came to mind as well – Philippians 4:6 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. It was only through putting my faith and trust in Jesus that I was able to pull myself together. Ever been there? I mean – am I alone?

mom-and-dad-marriageWell – the story continues. Mom had been in a battle with dementia for the last five years. For nearly two years she has been in an assisted living facility that specializes in dementia. Several months ago she had a minor stroke. We thought we had lost her that night. As I arrived that evening – I found a non-responsive mom. Having experienced this many times in ministry – it just seemed like this was the end. The next morning – much to our surprise – mom had rebounded (she’s a tough old West Virginia girl). She seemed to be the same in a few days – returning to her pre-stroke days.

Fast forward to this past week. My sister this time was away from home. She was visiting with her in-laws and mom was taking a turn for the worse. This time my sister and I were FaceTiming and sharing our concerns for our mom. I came to visit her every day and it became clear the end was near. My sister headed home and arrived in time. There were some very anxious moments. Not sure whether we should stay with her overnight or not. I asked the hospice nurse whether we were talking hours – days – or weeks (even though none of us could play God). She said days so we went home. The next day I led worship and preached a message I know was God inspired (we talked about fresh starts and how my mom was preparing for her fresh start in heaven).

Well – as most know – it was Super Bowl Sunday so my wife and I were sitting in our seats at home watching the game when my sister called. She was with mom and said that mom had stopped breathing a few times. I became anxious – for the moment. I began to remember the last moments of my dad’s life and this original devotional. A few minutes later she called to say mom was with our Lord. We went to be with the family.

Yesterday was a blur. I had several moments where I cried and where I couldn’t focus on much. I posted several times on Facebook – we met with the funeral home – we spent time in prayer – and we tried to take to heart today’s passage – Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

My mom and dad are once again reunited. It has been four plus years since they were separated – but now they are together again. It was hard when we lost dad – because – in theory we had lost mom about a year before my father passed (because of the dementia). There is a sense of relief with my mom’s passing – because she wasn’t enjoying life and she is reunited with dad. I had actually been praying for God to receive her home – to remove her from this painful life so she could receive her fresh start. You can listen to Sunday’s sermon here.

God is here – sisters and brothers – to help us in all our circumstances. He does not want us to be anxious. God wants us to lean on Him. This passage comes to mind as I close. Matthew 11:28 – Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Mom was 88 – nearly 89. She lived a full life and now has her rest and fresh start in the Lord. My anxiousness is eased because of my faith in Jesus and mom’s faith in Him as well. My parents are reunited in the presence of Jesus! Thank you Lord! We will celebrate her life with family and friends.

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

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February 7, 2017 - Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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