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Monday, March 31, 2014

When The Knock Out Punch Seems Delivered, The Cross and Resurrection of Christ Prevail.

Yesterday I had the privilege of bringing the message to a community of Christ-followers a few miles north of us. We've come know some of the people there and were looking forward to seeing a couple we'd gotten to know pretty well who'd recently been through a devastating attack to their homestead and farm. God gave me a message I knew would be a comfort to them and anyone else going through the unthinkable. I wanted to refresh and encourage them that El Roi, (the God Who Sees Me) in Genesis 16:13, was going to walk with them through this.

Early last Wednesday Bob and Lisa were awakened in the middle of the night by a loud bang and a vehicle leaving quickly. Something wasn't right. Upon going outside to see what was happening they were assaulted by the terrible sight of one of their two barns being engulfed in flames. The fire was roaring leaving no chance to extinguish it. Soon, the second barn would be destroyed too.Worse still, it had been deliberately set by the hand of a family member.

Added to their horror, was the reality that in one barn they'd housed all the tools Bob collected over the years and used in his business. In the other barn was furniture, personal records, and family stuff they were storing until a new home was built beginning in a few weeks. They'd been temporarily residing in a modular home across the street. In other words, they lost almost everything in a few minutes. You can imagine what it must to have been like to stand there knowing what was happening. And their realization that one of their own kin did this deliberate act of violence and contempt, could have been a knock-out punch.

But it wasn't. These folks are resilient, hardworking, do-what-it-takes-to-get-it-done people. They shed tears and felt the shock of what was happening for sure, but the very next day, they took one of the most beautiful actions I've ever heard of.

They decided the evil one would not succeed in trying to destroy them. Bob told me, as his barns were burning down, he said directly to the devil he could go ahead and take all his tools and furniture, but God would restore it seven to ten-fold. In other words, "you will not destroy us because we belong to Christ!"
Then the very next day, he and Lisa found two very large pieces of wood, and decided they'd put together a cross. They thought the best place to put it would be right in the middle of the scorched earth where the barns had been.

So they dug a hole, built the cross together --which turned out to be 16 feet tall and very heavy -- and drug it slowly across the road where it stands today as a testimony to the reality of Christ in the midst of devastating attack.

The Cross and Resurrection of Christ Prevail!

They said yesterday because the barns were built in the 19th century, and had been told of the very real possibility of being placed on the National Historic Register, they would do everything they could to rebuild them just as they were.

The Cross and Resurrection of Christ Prevail!

They also testified to the goodness of God in that the fire came right up to where their berry bushes were, and damaged none of them.These folks are gradually building a farming business too. They would've had to start from scratch and miss out on needed income from this growing season. Bob also told me he had more work for his business to do than he could handle and had to add new employees last week. He also said friends in the business offered him the use of their tools as well.

The Cross and Resurrection of Christ Prevail!

Because these people are followers of Jesus and know forgiveness is the life they are called to, they  must come to grips with forgiving this person in their family. Both of them acknowledged it will take awhile, but they want to do what Jesus has called them to as forgiven people.

 The Cross and Resurrection of Christ Prevail!

I have to say my own load was lightened yesterday by their courage in the midst of sorrow, pain, and loss. I could see through their example a way I should view the trials and challenges we are currently facing. While our trying circumstances are different, we have felt in the last 6 weeks as if Satan's was attempting a knock-out punch for the McDermott's. But Jesus showed me through the words of these two not-gonna-quit followers of his that because the cross and resurrection of Christ prevails, I must do the same in attitude and action as them. The fight goes on and my Lord has overcome the world, including my world.

Talking to them was an unexpected gift. Their spirit and grit left me feeling hopeful, even refreshed a little. I told them we'd love to help in the clean-up or anything else they need. I hope they let us. For now, their church has gathered around them, and will fight side by side through love, giving and service until God is glorified. They will show forth generosity in all manner of ways, and I suspect Christ will marshal His followers who hear the story of the cross planted where two barns burned to the ground

The Cross and Resurrection of Christ Prevail!

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