by Edy T Johnson
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Mornings when our schedule allows, my husband and I like to sleep in and listen to the radio. Well, I'm the one sleeping (since I'm usually up way too late every night). And, he's listening with earphones. I do like to hear the book review at 8:30 (WCTS-AM, 1030 on the dial). So, I'm glad I woke up in time, this morning, to catch the last few minutes.
The book reviewed is titled CALLED. The woman telling her story is Lisa Jefferson. Program director, Steve Davis, conducting the interview by phone, called her a "national treasure." Without her, the rest of us would have never known the inside story of United Flight 93 on September 11, 2001. Lisa is the operator that took the call from Todd Beamer. She is the one who prayed the Lord's prayer with him in the last minutes of his life.
I'm sure he found her rich, velvet voice a comfort, when he heard her on the other end of the line. Todd was the "Let's roll!" hero on board, one of those Lisa insists were all guardian angels seeking to thwart the intentions of the hijackers and save the lives of those targeted on the ground.
But, her story begins before the events of that fateful day. My husband told me what I missed while I was asleep, that God had been preparing her in advance. She had "lost it" earlier in her life when she had a child born with a brain tumor. Her husband was the strong support God provided for her through that ordeal. In the words of an online reviewer at Amazon.com, "Not only does Jefferson recall the conversation with Beamer, but she also broadens the scope of the book to include the perspective of God's role in our lives and our role in God's life. She firmly believes that we all have a calling to which when the time comes, it is our opportunity to be of service to God." [Reviewer: Erin Esposito "esposito" (Rochester, New York)]
Her story probed into my own mind as I recalled words found in 1 Thessalonians 5: "16 Rejoice evermore. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
Now, in the face of tragedy from personal to international, I am at a loss to tell you HOW to do that. I can only tell you WHAT God's Word says. At the time I faced a biopsy with the potential for radical implications when I was in my twenties, was I rejoicing? Was I able to "give thanks" in any of it? To be sure I was praying, but it was more like a fear filled raging against what I wanted only to run away from.
When I fell into a two-week long depression following my last trip to Vietnam in 1975, I certainly had no energy for rejoicing, praying or giving thanks. I didn't even see a reason to get out of bed in the morning and no appetite for food. Much as I could not comprehend it then, now with the perspective that comes with the years, I wouldn't trade either of those two experiences. God touched me in such a special way, as He brought me through both events, that I know He was making use of them for more than my benefit. He was softening my heart, giving me more understanding in relating to others, and teaching me more of His powerful mercy.
I was well acquainted with the verses in 1 Peter 4: "12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy."
But, it took my brother Joel to point out to me the words of Paul in Colossians 1:24 that had escaped my attention: "Now I rejoice in my sufferings FOR YOUR SAKE, and in my flesh I do MY SHARE on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions." (New American Standard Bible © 1995 Lockman Foundation) [EMPHASIS ADDED]
As we tell each other at FaithWriters.com, God writes the best stories! Whether comedy, tragedy, romance or mystery, He prepares us. He promises to be with us, our Good Shepherd on our journey home. And, He gives us a glimpse of "the end of the story" so we can rest assured that, no matter what, Jesus makes all things new.
Copyright (C) 2007---Edy T Johnson---
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Thanks for this encouraging article. I love how you summed up the different types of stories, making it so relevant to all of us who are striving to honor God through our writing here at Faithwriters. So many have gone through trials and have come out rejoicing on the other side if not in the midst of them. It's so important to share those experiences for the benefit of others who might be at the point where they think they can't go on.
Thank you so much for this! It was a "God thing." I am in need of God to prepare the way ahead of Secure the Fort's release in coming weeks. I am already feeling the flame of a raging inferno "out there." All day today God kept reminding me, "Though you go through the fire you will not be burned!" I am expecting great things of my God in the midst of all of this! Thanks, again...Lucy
Edy - Thank you for sharing your words of hope and encouragement. Throughout life we will all face trials and times of difficulty, but we must remember that Jesus is our hope, He will never leave us and will be with us to the end. Amen (BTW, WCTS 1030 am is on four radios here at home and cars - I love it) - Don