A few weeks ago a dear friend of mine passed away, and her “Celebration of Life” was last Friday. Lisa and I met a few weeks before we graduated high school, but from the moment we became friends we stayed in constant contact with each other. Lisa was an amazing women, who lived an adventuresome life, and she did many things that I can only dream about. For instance… jumping out of planes, hanging with lions, tigers and bears! Her love for life was contagious, and at a young age Lisa was diagnosed with MS, and spent the majority of her time living each day to her fullest. I was blessed to be given a moment to share a story about my friend, as those were gathered to celebrate her life, and being that I believe the most important words we share with others are the memories of others… I wanted to make sure that I placed this moment within yet another… Appointment with God!
My words shared…
Each day I’m surrounded by adversity, and because I happen to believe that God allows things to happen for a reason, people always ask me this question…
“If God is such a loving God, why does He allow bad things to happen to good people?”
Up until a few days ago my answer was always the same.
“I have no idea why God allows bad things to happen to good people, but I trust Him in all things.”
Most the time that answer never sufficed the people who asked me, and needless to say they would leave our conversation more confused!
But last Sunday I was sitting in my office and I decided instead of not understanding “why” God would allow bad things to happen to good people, I decided I would simple ask God to show me the answer, and that’s what I did, and it didn’t take but a moment for God to remind me of these verses in the book of Matthew…
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Now, I am not sharing these verses to preach a sermon today, but to share with you “why” God allows bad things to happen to good people.
And the answer is… because God is blessing us!
We think blessings should arrive within the perfections of: relationships, children who never screw up, great jobs, enough money, the perfect house, vacations, life without sin, and bodies that never tire, but in the reality of what Lisa and I believe… Jesus never said those things were the blessings, but rather, He shared with us that the blessings arrived within the adversities within our lives, and even today… and through Lisa, I realized the truth to what He was sharing.
Lisa was the blessing!
And because He loved Lisa so much He gave her the hardest job in the world and that was to learn the lesson of living each day to “her” fullest, and reminding us of what truly is important, and that is each other!
Lisa had time for everyone, and when I would show up at her door, she would greet me with her smiling face. She would share stories with her dry and witty sense of humor of her animals, family and friends, and she never had unkind word to say about anyone that she considered her friend.
I happened to be with the Lisa the day of her “ah ha” moment when she realized that God wasn’t punishing her with an illness, and that she didn’t do anything wrong, but because he knew her heart so well, He knew that she was strong enough to handle the adversities that He would allow within her life, and when Lisa shared with me that she understood what it meant to allow Jesus into her heart, I told her to hold on a minute… I ran to my car, got my notebook and when the two of us were face-to-face again I said, “Lisa, each day I make an appointment with God, and when something grand happens or I learn something I write it down, because I want to believe that life isn’t about the disappointments within our lives, but the appointments that God makes with us, so we can see the beauty that arrives within our hearts!”
When I had my notebook in hand I said, “LISA! Okay. The roving reporter in me wants to know why you decided to accept Jesus into your heart today,” and she said, “Because this morning when I woke up I asked God if He was real to send someone to knock on my door… and today you knocked!”
The two of us smiled, and I shared with her how I was passing by and God put it in my heart to stop and check on her, and that is why I knocked, and when we both realized that my knocking and her opening the door was not an accident, but an “appointment!” Lisa smiled at me and said what Lisa always said to me… “Alrighty then!”
I believe God has me scribe these appointments, because there always seems a time when I get to look back to finish the story, and the beautiful part of the story of Lisa is the moment she entered heaven… God pulled her aside and she got to see the story of her life, only as it played out she didn’t see the adversities she once had, but she was able to see the love and joy that she gave to others.
And, I for one am so blessed that she was willing to call me her friend, because the friendship of “Lisa” was one of the greatest gifts God could have ever given me!
And to verify that the story I just shared is true and correct I have to add that God gave me one more appointment that I HAVE TO SHARE!
As I was finishing writing the above I stopped typing and looked up to heaven and asked God, “Is this the story you want me to share with her family and those who loved her. If she truly is with you, and is happy and whole, let my heart know?” I waited for a moment and my phone rang and on the other end I heard my mother say to my father, “That was weird!”
Immediately I said, “What’s weird, and my mother said… “Gina, I know your cell phone number. Your number is 210-1403, but as I was dialing you I got an answering machine and it said, “You have reached the number for Lisa Smith! Gina, I hung up the phone and I dialed your number again, and it said the same thing…
She then had me call the number, and my mom was right. God confirmed my heart that we have reached the number for Lisa Smith only her number has been changed to 523-2013 because….
May 23, 2013, is the day when God “called” Lisa home!
ONWARD TO THE MEMORIES!