It’s been a bit of time since I last blogged, and I apologize, but the Lord has been doing some crazy stuff with me (my community) these past two weeks. He’s sent us through a wide range of emotions, highs and lows day-after-day, mainly to remind us that He is in control and we are not. It’s been tough to cling to that truth on occasion, but God is good and has strengthened us greatly.

So 2 weeks ago I was getting ready to take the train home with my girlfriend when we got a call telling us that a good friend of ours was taken to the hospital because of a heart attack/multiple strokes. She was like our “care-taker” when we were at U of I, and had watched us grow and trained us in leadership during our 4 years there. Just recently she had gotten married, and then moved out to California where she was working while her husband was beginning seminary. When we got the phone call, we didn’t know what to do. the outlook wasn’t good- the doctors pretty much said that there were pretty much to things that could happen…she would die, or she would be in a vegetative state. I don’t know how others would react, nor did I know how to react. It just seemed unreal. At that moment I was accepting the fate and just praising God that she was saved. Immediately we set up a prayer meeting during the time that she would be in surgeries, and were praying for a couple of hours. Not really knowing what to pray, we just worshiped, praised God, sang songs, read scriptures, and simply prayed whatever was placed on our hearts. We reminded ourselves of how God raised many from the dead, and knew he was able. We reminded ourselves that heaven was far greater than where we are living, and believed that God was calling her to a better place. When went back and forth with what our emotions were.
About 2 hours in, we received another call: some top notch neurosurgeons came by and were able to stabilize her. The doctor’s won’t call it a miracle, but said they hadn’t seen anything like it. There were still a lot of surgeries and tests to run, but they weren’t giving a ‘death-or-death’ judgment on her. My God is amazing. She is still currently recovering at the hospital, but is making great strides of improvement. She was recognizing people, being able to talk, has recently been taking a few steps, and a few days ago sent an e-mail out to some of us. My God is simply amazing.

That same weekend (Aug. 4) was a friend’s wedding, which was sort of like a huge party because we had people from Detroit and New York coming into town as well, which was a blast. The wedding ceremony was my first time using my 30D at a formal event (thankfully just as a friendly shooter), and I realize that there is so much that I need to learn. I spent much of the time testing various things out, and getting a better grip on ISO, WB, exposure settings and the like. It was fun though, and I was able to get some good shots (I think) out of it. [picture post coming soon]
The evening after the wedding was a day to relax. We all just got together and chilled- played games, caught up, and had an informal night of worship. This was such a blessing. It’s so nice to take a break from a hectic life and sit at the foot of Christ and just worship him. The guys were here all weekend, so on Sunday night was another group hangout: some went to Navy Pier while a handful of us just stayed at the house and watched a movie (waiting to go bowling with the other group).

Well, that group from Navy Pier stayed there a bit too long, as it was nearing 11pm and we were supposed to go bowling by 8pm. With some of us needing to work in the morning, we split up a bit. A group of 6 decided to go bowling by themselves, while the remaining 4 of us chose to go home and sleep. I feel so old having to do that nowadays. I love bowling, but I knew I’d be drained for work the next day, so off I went.
At 1:30am I received a phone call from my sister asking me where i was and told me to call her back whenever I got the message. So I called her a found out that from the group that went bowling, one of the cars got in a terrible accident, and so she wanted to know if I was with them or not. I told her to keep me up-to-date if she heard anything else. By 2:00am, I got the next call: One of the cars was involved in a hit-and-run accident, and one of my friends passed away, while the other two in the car were taken to the hospital for serious injuries.
Speechless. How do you respond to this? I didn’t know. It was just too unreal for me. I couldn’t believe. I woke the parents up and relayed the message on to them, and then just sat and prayed through the night. I didn’t know what else to do. Around 5am, our church got together to spend a bit of time in prayer for the family. I had no real words of comfort for anyone, as we all were trying to find answers. How do you console a family who just lost a 22 year old son/brother; or a church who lost a strong and passionate leader; or a community who lost a friend.
From then on, it was just encouragement through the word and others, again trying to accept God’s sovereignty over it all. Ultimately, we came to this: our purpose on earth is to worship God and bring others to Him. My friend spent the last 22 years doing that. And our goal should be that we would be willing to do whatever we could for maximum glory to God…to reach the most people with the message of truth. And this was the way God was reaching the masses through our loss. It brought us back on our knees in repentance and lack of focus. It reminded us of how our days are numbered and our time is short. It returned us to a point of full dependence on God.
About a month or so ago, this brother was able to share his testimony for the first time at our church. And not thinking much of it at the time, we had recorded all the testimonies shared then, both audio and video. We captured this video, and were able to play it at the wake as well as the funeral service. He might of thought he was speaking to only 50+ people that night, but through the past week, thousands have heard his testimony. We made DVDs and handed them out to people. We weren’t going to let anything silence the message he wanted to give. And God used it. Lives were touched, hearts were changed, and people were giving themselves over to Christ. God knew what He had to do to expand His kingdom, and He started right away.

We were able to receive some closure after the funeral yesterday. It’s not over, and things will never get back to normal. But we are a people changed: re-focused and re-vived. Our God is purposeful in everything, and His heart’s desire is for more to know Him as their personal savior. And now we are the hands and feet to continue getting this message in motion. Keep praying for revival, the Lord is stirring some amazing things here.

This is a very scattered and brief synopsis of the past 2 weeks. But its mainly just to say that God is good. Amen.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”