Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Hand of God

It has been said that God works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform. I'm a believer. I have written a few times over the last weeks about the death of our friend, Lynda. It's tough to lose a friend. It hurts when God calls a long time "pal" home. We all know that we are suppose to celebrate for them. And we want to. We really do. But sometimes the pain is so real that we forget to be happy for the one who no longer has any pain. Sure, it's selfish. But it's also true, honest, and real.

When Lynda passed away her husband Dave, who is my equally good friend, asked me to not only conduct but to totally PLAN her funeral service. The friendship that the four of us shared was always a little warped. In a good way. We always knew that with Dave and Lynda we could laugh at the misfortunes of life. Humor was abundant. Along with chocolate. And steaks. It's just that kind of friendship. And the loss of 1/4th of this equation makes it all the more difficult to fathom the fact that things will never be quite the same.

Oh, that and the fact that she stiffed me for Debbie's birthday present. She decided to have Debbie's bible rebound for her as it was falling apart. Ephesians was literally taking a plunge to the floor. So I got it to a re-binder, paid for it, and Lynda was going to pay me back. But God called her on home and she skipped out on me. (Please know that I'm saying this with a HUGE smile on my face knowing that in at least one way she got the last laugh on me! I'm honored to be a part of this process between her and Debbie. And when I arrive in heaven ... you betcha ... she owes me!)

But God did a couple of really weird things to drive home the point to Dave, Debbie and I that HE was the one sending for Lynda. She did not die by accident, chance, or fate. God dialed her up. He sent for her. And as He so often does He left His fingerprints all over this event for us to see and learn from.

For instance ...

Since I planned the entire service I determined that all music would be from prerecorded CD. No live music. Lynda loved contemporary Christian music. And so I chose two songs. (Dave later added a third.) The songs I chose were "I Will Rise" a very new song by Chris Tomlin and a very old hymn, "Come Ye Sinners," performed by Jami Smith. I had never heard either song performed live by anybody. Yet I felt strongly that they were the songs to be sung at my friends funeral service.

And then God's Hand left their fingerprints.

The day after her funeral, at our church, a young man who had just returned from college in Alabama picked-up his guitar and sang a solo just before I spoke. The song? "I Will Rise." I talked to him later. He had just found out the day before that he was singing and he just selected that song on that morning. He didn't know the music and had never played it before. He just felt that it was what God wanted him to sing. Yeah ... I'd say so.

That was the day Dave flew back to his home near Fort Worth. He didn't get to attend church until the following Sunday. He emailed me the next day and mentioned that at their service they celebrated "The Lord's Supper." As the elements were being served several men stood up and performed an acoustic version of "Come Ye Sinners." Dave said he chocked back tears and then "smiled at Lynda" knowing that she was getting a kick out of it. That was the first time Dave had heard the song since his wife's funeral and the first time he had heard it performed at church ever.

So what do you think? Two songs that we had never heard performed live but that I chose for my friends memorial service are suddenly "front and center" at the very next worship services that the three of us attend? In two different churches in two different states 600 miles apart. Chance? Coincidence? The Hand of God? I can't think of a third option. As for me I believe my Father, "Abba," was wrapping His Holy Hands around the hearts of three hurting people and, in so doing, was reminding us that "precious in the eyes of the Lord are the death of His saints." (Psalm 116: 15)


Anonymous said...

I was blessed to be at Towerview and hear that young man sing "I Will Rise." I can't believe he had never played it before, it was so beautiful. Wait. Yes I can believe it. He was able because it was God's will and he was obedient.

How very, very cool. Thank you for sharing this.

Anonymous said...

It is hard to believe your story.

I have a lot of mental and physical problems and I am afraid the Lord does not have the time to deal with you or any one else because I am so demanding.

It is good we have an all-powerful, all knowing, all seeing, all merciful, all loving God, that he has time for all of us in all our needs.

What is bad for me is that after I see the “Hand of God” working in my life that as little as a day or week I cry out to the Lord. “God help me!” “Lord are you there?” Some times I think I am like Jesus on the cross. “My God, my God, why have thou forsaken me?” translated that is “Eli Eli Lama sabachthani!” When Jesus said this on the cross he too was singing or quoting a song.

If you read Psalms 22 you will see Jesus sang out the first line of that song. (Which was on the Hebrew top 40 songs.) You would also see Jesus showed us through the connection of song that David 800 years earlier was touched by song in his heart about the vision of Jesus.

A couple of songs touched you and your friend and your wife.

I guess I do believe. Thanks for reminding me.