Jesus knows all about your trouble


_____sorrow_longing_tears______by_WestiaFor a Christian to want to be like Jesus is the most noble of desires. Those who love and serve him want to imitate him. All of us who march under his banner want to love like he did. We want to be righteous as he was. We want to be devoted to our heavenly Father as he was. The list of qualities that define his holy character is long.

The result we expect from living like Jesus, the best we can, is that we will be full of joy, know true peace in our hearts, and live above the cares of the world as we look for his appearing. I am sometimes amused and sometimes angry when on the rare occasion I watch a TV preacher. It seems that most of them teach that if you follow Jesus you will have no want, spiritually or financially, and live in good health. They didn’t get that from the Bible.

Being like Jesus will be painful. Hundreds of years before Jesus became a man the prophet Isaiah said of him.

He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.(Isaiah 53:3)

Jesus knew the pain of rejection, experienced deep sorrow, and was acquainted with grief. Did you know that when you are rejected you are living like Jesus? Do you realize that when you are in your deepest sorrow that Jesus has been there too and knows how you hurt? And are you aware that in those times when grief has almost completely overwhelmed you that you are perhaps more like Jesus than at many other times?

Jesus was fully God but fully human too. Joy springs from our hearts when we talk about, and sing about Jesus calming the raging sea, giving sight to the blind, and forgiving the sins of many. We glory in his deity and we should. Oh, but he was just as human as we are.

Because Jesus was human there is no depth of loneliness, no sense of rejection, no storm without or within that he does not fully know and understand. There is an old song we sang in little mountain churches in the hills of North Carolina that says, “Jesus knows all about our troubles…” and “There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus”.

May we not only glory in Jesus’ deity but let us also glory in his humanity. But for his humanity his deity would be pointless. It was in a human body that he always did the will of his heavenly Father and in that human body, though tempted in every way we are, never once sinned. It was that righteous life, that lifetime of loving obedience, that Jesus offered when he willingly gave himself to die for us. It was in a body like yours that he was beaten, humiliated, was sorrowful, grieved, cried, and was rejected. Because he loved us so he gave his holy life by dying on a cross where he took the full measure of God’s wrath against sin, for you, for me.

It’s the greatest love story ever told. Because he lives, even death is not a threat. And you can know that in the middle of your deepest trouble (you will have trouble…) Jesus is with you and knows in the most intimate way possible what you are experiencing. You can rest in the truth that he has your best interests in mind and that in that awful pain you are being like him.

Have you lost someone you love? Did you just learn your child has a disability? Did your business fail? Did a loved one betray you? Jesus knows all about your troubles and he will lead you through them all into the sunlight of a better tomorrow. He has been where you are, he is with you now, he will never leave you, even in death, he is there.

So, when trouble comes, don’t try to run away, run to Jesus, you’ll find him right in your worst troubles and where he is you are safe and secure. In Jesus’ life of suffering and dying there came a resurrection morning. Because he lives you will have one too!

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Death…when a person is reduced to memories


Just over 15 years ago I was at work on a Wednesday afternoon when I received a frantic phone call from a neighbor. He advised me that EMT personnel were outside my home with my wife. I immediately started to drive the short 6 1/2 miles home but somehow knew that I would not find her alive. My suspicion was confirmed when I got out of my vehicle and was told by this same neighbor, “Royce, don’t go to her…where they are…it isn’t good”. I complied, and in a few minutes I saw them load my wife’s lifeless body into a van. It would be much longer before the doctor came out to me with a sad face giving the news I fully expected, “I’m so sorry Mr. Ogle, we couldn’t get her back”. It was official, my wife was gone….forever.

Now, fifteen years later as I reflect on that day, and the days and months that followed, I am amazed at how God helped me through one of the toughest times of my life. I remember the pain as sharp as a knife, the loneliness, the utter sadness, and all the flood of emotions that continued to ebb and flow as I walked the lonely road of grief.

Now I have been married to another Texan for almost thirteen years. Carol is a wonderful wife, the perfect one for me! I am so thankful that it pleased God to bring us together as He did. Two broken and battered hearts who when joined together would be used to help and encourage many others who too were in the darkness of grief.

Today, that bubbly, funny, wild and beautiful woman I married in 1980 is only a memory. When we exchanged wedding vows we said these words, “…’til death do us part.” Death did it’s unwanted and unacceptable work, it parted us…forever.

Marriage is only for living earthlings. Every marriage begins at some moment in time and ends at some moment in time, either by death or divorce. The key word is “time”. Marriage, and other familial relationships, are only for time, they are not for eternity. When we all get to heaven there will be no marriages, the Bible is clear about that. You see, when my love and yours is perfect like our heavenly Father’s, we will no longer discriminate between people. When I love like God loves, I’ll love your mom as much as I do mine. Those family relationships that are only intended for time will be no longer needed, they will be obsolete.

It is against the back drop of these truths that memories of loved ones who have gone become even more precious and guarded. I think it is God’s design to give us sweet episodes to relive in our minds, to remember good times with those we love so much, until….. Until we see Jesus our Lord face to face and finally know fully what it is to love and be loved…unconditionally, forever.

I have had good cause to contemplate these things. Deaths of parents, loved ones, family members by the scores, and a wife… and now in the autumn of my life I am very aware that my time is drawing near, a myth doesn’t satisfy. I want to realize the goal of my faith. I want to see The Lamb of God.

While I’m here I want to fully enjoy and appreciate all the relationships God has been so kind to give. But when they are gone it is…, well it is…, as Paul said it “Far better..”. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take “Far better” anytime! No more funeral homes, no more grave side services, no more sickness, no more pain, no more broken hearts. Every child of God will be perfectly whole because “By His stripes we are healed”.

Cherish your precious memories. They are one of God’s best gifts to you, until you have it all! Whatever Jesus owns you and I will own, whatever He loves we will love without measure. I can’t begin to imagine how it will be one day when memories become as useless as the sun, no longer needed.

Precious promises and precious memories! God is good indeed!

Royce

 

Walking the Lonely Road


There is a lonely road we must walk, none are excepted. We don’t know the day or the hour but we will travel this road.

It is the way of sadness, no birds are singing, we notice no beauty, just a lonely road we must travel along.

It is the way of tears, anguish of heart, and all hope almost escapes us. Some of us are going this way the first time and others know the way quite well, but for every traveler this road goes in a direction none would choose.

Some walk alone, and others believe they are alone, but are not. It is better to walk a lonely road with a friend, even if he seems distant and doesn’t speak a word. Just knowing he is walking that way because you are gives a bit of comfort.

I have learned many of the twists and turns, the hills and valleys, for you see I have been a too frequent traveler this way. Several times I was on the journey for myself, and many times I chose to walk a while with someone else. I couldn’t walk for them, or carry them, or make it more pleasant, but I could be there and so I have.

Tonight Carol and I, and John and Maggy Dobbs, will become acquainted with some lonely travelers, and the best we can, we will encourage them on their way. We’ll say the road gets easier out there somewhere. We’ll tell them we want to go with them as far as possible.  And we will promise that as they start to cross the hill, some hill, around some curve, the sunlight will break through the clouds and inspire the birds to begin a chorus of praise to the Creator.

I wish we could say to them “It’s too painful, there is too much heartache, you don’t have to go”. But we can’t, so we will give a hug, a reassuring smile, and walk a piece down the lonely road with a sad friend. We can tell them for sure that God cares so much more than we care and He will be there too….every step ’til they get to the Light.

Grief Support Group
2nd Tuesday of each month
6:30 p.m. Forsythe Church of Christ
Monroe, Louisiana

Can we walk along with you?

Royce

Can you hear the music yet?…


December 9th 1997 was a crisp night in north Texas complete with a star-studded sky. It was the annual Christmas party for the large auto dealership I where I worked as a manager.

My wife and I dressed in our best and drove out west to a beautiful country club where we visited with friends and started to make new ones. A good meal was shared by all, it was indeed a good evening. J had picked out a Christmas present for me to buy her the following week from the club house gift shop. (A custom I still follow…)

The night was so beautiful we decided to take a longer route home to stretch the time of holding hands like newly weds and good conversation. We talked of our future and how blessed we were to be debt free, have a new job with a $12,000 annual raise, and only a few short miles from home. I will never forget that Tuesday night…

Wednesday afternoon I received a phone call from a neighbor, “Hurry home, the paramedics are with Jeanine”. I drove the 6 miles home knowing somehow that J was gone. My fears were confirmed when later that evening, a doctor came into the room and said, “I’m sorry Mr. Ogle, we couldn’t bring her back”.

Seventeen of the happiest years of my life ended with a gapping hole in my life that was loud and glaring and couldn’t be avoided. When I came home from work a deafening silence overwhelmed me. Late at night I waited for her boisterous laughter as she watched “I Love Lucy” or some other old sit-com. ….Only silence.

I’ll never forget the day I finally removed my wedding band. Inside was engraved our initials and the date of our marriage. I had never had it off for over 17 years, but I was not married now. She was not coming back….it was….final.

In the providence of God I met and married Carol who had lost a husband a few months before I lost J. Not very long after we were married she mentioned to me that she would like to reach out to people in grief, to walk along side them, to listen, to encourage, and to bring hope.

In September we will begin the last part of our eighth year of hosting grief groups. We have met some wonderful people, hurting, confused, angry, desperate, hopeless, and helpless, but each one precious to God, and hopefully to us. There have been great victories, healing has happened over and over again, and we have seen wrinkled brows and sad mouths change to warm smiles and tears of joy.

Along the way we met John and Maggie Dobbs. They lost their son, John Robert, just before he was to graduate high school. Even while they were and are still grieving the loss of their son, and John’s step-father, they care for others deeply. So, we are now a team. Carol and I are delighted to minister alongside John and Maggie as we continue to reach out to hurting people who have lost loved ones.

The date is the 2nd Tuesday of October. The place is Forsythe Church of Christ in Monroe, between Oliver and 19th St. on Forsythe. We meet at 5:30 p.m. If you want more information drop a note to RoyceOgle@gmail dot com. (sorry, have to keep the spammers on their toes!)

Have you lost a friend, a spouse, a parent, or other family member? Know someone who has? The way one person described the loss of a loved one was that it was as if the music had gone silent. The music of life is the joy of family and friends. Death stops the music.

Our only goal is to love people as they walk the dark path of grief until one day we can ask “Can you hear the music yet?” and hear the reply, “Yes, I hear it again”. That is our joy, to bind up the broken-hearted and send them on their way hearing the music again.

Agape’

Royce