Tag Archives: hope

Some Thoughts

DSC_0655It’s difficult for me to string two thoughts together right now, let alone write them down. But, I’ll try.

Last summer, my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer. This turn of events brought about lots of traveling to and from my parents’ house (a five-hour drive to Northern California) for my siblings and me. We tried to help and encourage as best we could. Many, many prayers were expressed for her. Mom suffered through chemo, hospital stays, 2 strokes and anxiety attacks.

On February 13 mom was admitted to the hospital with trouble breathing. She was treated there for two weeks and then transferred to a skilled nursing facility for rehab. Our goal was for her to get strong enough so that she could come home to Dad. Instead, she became weaker and more sick.

On March 17 my dad and brother called to say that Mom had taken a turn for the worse and that my sister and I should probably make our way up north to see her. My sister, brother-in-law, my aunt and I arrived at the rehab facility about nine o’clock that evening. We spent the next several hours sitting with Mom, praying for her, stroking her head and telling her how much she was loved. At about three that next morning, March 18, we escorted our Mom into the loving arms of her Savior. I have no doubt Jesus was waiting for her on the other side.

Here are some things I am thankful for:

Up until the last few days, Mom was not in pain.
I do not work so I was free to spend time with Mom and Dad over the last few months.
My Dad was able to take care of her. He cooked, cleaned, grocery shopped and gave Mom her meds. Amazing man.
We were able to have her with us at Thanksgiving (the biggest holiday of the year for our family).
My sister, brother and I were able to help and serve Mom while she was sick.
Mom had many amazing doctors and nurses who showed her mercy and kindness.
I have become much more empathetic toward people who have gone through similar circumstances.
Mom was surrounded by loved ones when she passed away. She did not die alone.
God has shown Himself faithful in a million different ways.
God’s Word is true.
My mom is with Jesus and I will see her again someday.
Mom was dearly loved by so many who have expressed to me what she meant to them.

There’s so much to think through and process regarding my  mom’s illness and passing. One thing I know to be true, I need an eternal perspective to see all of this correctly. I am leaning heavily on the Everlasting Arms. God is faithful, and I know that my Redeemer lives.

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His Saints. Psalm 116:15

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


But This I Call To Mind

I am learning that Jesus must be enough. I have not fully apprehended that yet. Being honest, I would say that for me it is more like: Jesus + all of my kids leading good and settled lives is enough. Or, Jesus + health is enough. Or, Jesus + a life completely void of stress or pain or worry is enough. But, these are false equations and life this side of glory will never be perfect. If I count on “Jesus +”, then Jesus will never be enough.

I confess, it is hard for me to trust God!

Day by day looms a battle, will you trust God or yourself? Will you trust God or your circumstances? The truth of the glorious Gospel may be right in front of me, but I grope this way and that and so often fail to grab on to it. What a needy sinner I am!

Thank the Lord that the point where I am overwhelmed by my failure to trust Him is the very point where the truth of the cross still reigns.

Campfire

Campfire (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No matter how useless and dark things may look to me, the Lord is faithful to keep a tiny spark of hope burning deep in my soul. Sometimes I can barely see it, let alone feel it.

A tiny flickering fire seen from a distance does not warm a man, but it will make him remember what warmth feels like and how cold he feels so far away from it and that it is none else but the Lord Himself that bids him to come near.

I would have extinguished any glimmer of hope long ago had the spark not been eternal and so graciously set ablaze by the Lord and His blessed promises.

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness.
 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him.”   Lamentations 3:21-24

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


A Perseverance Not My Own

The last 4 or 5 months have been the most difficult I have ever faced.

There, I said it.

My struggles have to do with people in my life that I love very much. These trials do affect me, but what hurts worse is watching those close to me suffer. Loved ones are battling against disease, facing single motherhood, reaping life-changing consequences for sinful choices, awaiting family custody hearings, and grieving prodigal children.

I am sure I have shed more tears in the last few months than I have in my whole 57 years on this earth.

But today, Paul’s assurance to the Philippians, written so many years ago, has encouraged this believer as well. In chapter 1 verse 6, he writes:

And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

In the darkest hour, God never fails to light the way with Grace. Grace that works itself out in encouraging words written centuries ago that remind us: God is still at work not only in me, but in the people I love.

Our stories are not fully written yet!

Our lives get messy. In fact, life stinks sometimes. There have been moments over the last several weeks that I have positively squirmed under the pressure. I have let it get me down. At times, I have felt downright hopeless.

That’s why the eternal perspective we enjoy by virtue of the Gospel is of such great importance. Without it, our hope would wither and die.

Thank God for assuring me today that even in the mess we make of our lives, He is still working. He will complete what He started. I will hold on to that truth as tightly as I can, all the while knowing that when darkness overwhelms me and I let my grasp slip, that the perseverance of the saints of God lies not in their own ability to hold on, but in the power of the Gospel of Grace.

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


Old Woman

OLD WOMAN
by Terrie van Baarsel

English: Portrait of old woman sitting by a wi...

English: Portrait of old woman sitting by a window. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The treasures of this world
Once held close
Are not so tightly clasped
Nor grasped
She wonders why they were once so important.

Years have fled
Paring down essential matters
Her history written
By a Sovereign Decree of Holy Love
And this is what stands out
Alone
Above the rest.

What stories she tells!
(While silent.)
What praises she sings!
(In the quietness of her affections.)
And to the God she once trusted
She extends her hands
And yet trusts.

She is almost there
And does not lose heart
She is almost home
And Christ, the lover of her soul
Gives grace.

Dull eyes see farther.
Still lips speak clearer.
Weak hearts love harder.
Aged beauty is beauty still.
A lifetime of dreams
Lie dormant
Tucked neatly in folds of skin
But dreams rise again
When watered
By eternal springs of glory.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18


Hopeful

“My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus Name.”
Edward Mote (1797-1874)

Solid Rock

Solid Rock (Photo credit: notashamed)

Hope.

Such a short word, but for the Christian, pregnant with promise!

Our hope is alive. This hope is no desperate gasp of a dying man. But rather, ours is a hope quickened by the merciful hand of God, causing us to be born again to a living hope and the assurance of an inheritance that is  “imperishable, undefiled and unfading, kept in heaven for you.”

This is no static hope, but a confident movement toward trusting in the promises of God. Our hope joins hands with faith and dances with bold conviction; it is a joyful expectation of things hoped for and not yet seen.

Our hope is tangible. Our fathers in the faith heard Him speak, saw Him with their own eyes, and touched Him with their own hands. They ate with Him, lived life with Him, learned from Him, and prayed with Him. No ethereal hope here. Jesus of Nazereth was a man, though no ordinary man. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory…”

Ours is a hope tethered to eternity. Immense in scope and eternal in perspective, this kind of hope will not disappoint. The hope of Christ is ours today and will ever outlive itself in the ages to come. Lay your dead hope at the foot of the cross and watch Christ breathe into it Life Everlasting. “Do not lose heart…for this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.”

Our hope is real. Unlike the “water” on a hot asphalt road that is always just out of reach, this hope is no mirage. It quenches real thirst and imparts real life. Those who place their faith in Christ build a foundation of hope upon the bedrock of Gospel Truth. This hope is as solid as the wood of the cross upon which our Savior died.

Oh, Christian, in the economy of Hope you are a very rich man, indeed!.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.   Romans 15:13

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel

(1 Peter 1:3; 1 Cor. 15:12-19; Heb. 11:1; John 1:14; 2 Cor. 4:16-18; Col. 1:27)


Job’s Window

I am a hoarder of details. In the midst of a trial, they hinder my vision. They stop my ears.  I trip over them. I lose my bearings. They form a carefully constructed (by me) bricked up window upon which I project my fears. Unbridled thoughts entertain the worst nightmare imaginings, and before I know it, anxiety steals in and trust in God flies out.

English: Piercefield House - bricked-up window...

English: Piercefield House – bricked-up window (with frame still intact) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I need a room with a view, a big picture window to enhance my perspective on the Sovereignty of God. I need a wide-angle lens trained solely on the certainty of trusting God’s Providence. A panoramic safe-house where vision is faith and faith is vision and where the Gospel of Christ is the axis upon which my view of the world spins.

Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.

From that vantage point I see what this trusting God costs, and I find the eternal perspective that I crave. From that window the Gospel becomes clear. From there I see the Lord agonizing on the cross, calling out to His Father in the ultimate manifestation of Divine Trust:

“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!”

Shall I shrink from the sufferings of this life and expect to see clearly the strong Hand of the One who rules the universe? Dare I refuse to share in the sufferings of Christ, thereby forfeiting the reality and sufficiency of His matchless comfort?

It is Job’s window I am asking for. It is a window to the objective truth that God can be trusted, no mater what.

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel

(See Job 13:15; Luke 23:46)


The Wedding

On June 29, our oldest son will be getting married.

That’s only a week away!

Bridal bouquet of roses and Stephanotis flowers

Bridal bouquet of roses and Stephanotis flowers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We are at the point where lots of things not directly related to the wedding are being postponed until after the big day. We are busy preparing for an after rehearsal party here at our home, the arrival of lots of family the night before and day of the wedding, and all the other little things that have to happen before June 29.

We put time and thought (and money!) into our wedding preparations here on earth. It’s a big deal, as well it should be! But I’ve been thinking about the church (that’s you and me as believers in Christ) and her role as the Bride of Christ.

My son and his bride-to-be chose June 29 as their wedding day, which is fast approaching! We do not know the hour and day our Bridegroom will return for His church, but we know that day will come. And what a joyous occasion that will be!

My prayer is that our response to the beauty of the Gospel of Christ be a readiness to wait in rapt anticipation, putting aside things that lack eternal significance to focus on our future marriage celebration to our beloved Bridegroom.

Let the Bride of Christ remain faithful and true, boldly declaring with a holy expectation:

“Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20)

Probably won’t be posting again until July. After all, we’ve got a wedding to prepare for!

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


%d bloggers like this: