Thursday, May 8, 2014

Rain from a Blue Sky - For all who mourn

At the closing of this last month, a tornado carved a path through the home of a family, and it carved a jagged tear through our hearts. The following blog post was written to all of those who mourn the loss of Mr. Rob, Rebekah, and Tori Tittle. May the peace of God be wrapped around you and may you mourn with the hope of God. May you know that you are loved and prayed for…

What do you do when 27% of your family is suddenly gone? What can you do when you lose a dear friend? As the questions swirl in your mind, and the emotion rises up and lets those questions violently explode from your soul…

Why do bad things happen?
Why didn’t God stop this from happening?
Where is God in this tragedy?
How can any good come from this?
Why did this have to happen to us?
Why the Tittle family?
Why any of those who died and lost so much?

As the soul is in turmoil and tremors run wild in your body like a live current set free, yet you never asked to hold the fork as it was jammed into this live outlet. You simply ache and hurt as all your life goes rigged in disbelief and horror. This wasn’t the plan, this wasn’t the life you hoped for, it wasn’t even something you ever thought would happen even less thought even could possibly happen!

But the hard truth, the harsh reality did happen.

Now as the storms move on, the blue sky returns, yet ruble remains, we must face a new and wretched question.

Now what?

But it brings to mind all those other questions we try to block out of our minds and you try to stave off from your soul because the pain is just too much to bear.

How do we comprehend death?
What does it mean…that we won’t see Rob. Rebekah. Tori. again this side of heaven?
How can something be that permanent?

If you would allow me, I would like to make a small attempt to encourage you, to offer an internet version of a hug, or rather my purpose is to spur on your faith in this crisis. That you would mourn, but as one who has hope in the resurrection Jesus Christ.

Why do bad things happen?

This assumes there is a “bad” and if there is a bad, there must be a corresponding “good”. These two must have predetermined perimeters or they are simply arbitrary. If they are arbitrary then it’s pointless to ask “why do bad things happen to good people?” because there is no set limits to good or bad,  so how do you know if it was bad or good?  But I propose to you that there are perimeters to good and bad, that there are limits, and that there is a God who decided those limits, and He is therefore the Judge of good and bad (evil).

I will go further with this and explain my point so that you can track with me on my thought line.

God set Laws, Adam broke those Laws, and because of one man’s sin, death entered the world. Because of sin, things happen. But this is not to say “because ______ didn’t take out the trash…there was a forest fire.” Rather because of sin, death is rampant, and entropy (all things tend towards destruction) is here to stay…for a while.  God allows evil/bad things to happen that through it He might be glorified. Does this sound horrid…maybe at first. But ask a Christian this question: Would you lay down your life, so that someone might come to know Jesus Christ as his Saviour?

The Christian will always ache and strive to be like Jesus, and Jesus laid down His life for the Church.

Sometimes it takes enormous sacrifice to bring life to a dying world. Mr. Rob Tittle gave his life for his family. He died as he lived, wholeheartedly believing that a Christian lays down his life for others, that Jesus laid down His life for His bride, that we might be called children of God. Mr. Tittle laid down his life for his wife and children.

What good could ever come of this?

I can now testify that such men of honor, valor, mercy, and grace live and die that the name of Jesus Christ might prosper. If I could tell the Tittle family something, I would let them know that the sacrifices of Mr. Rob Tittle, Rebekah, and Tori has strengthened my faith!

This tragedy has brought closer the hearts of around 100 CollegePlus students, not just a “campus”, but rather internationally, this has rippled around the world and these people love deeper, mourn together, pray harder, hold each other as more treasures not to be taken for granted. These kids are going to their fathers and reminding those Daddies that they are dearly loved. Churches and organizations are pulling together in honor of the Tittle family.

Sometimes we want to know, “will my life make a difference?” Let me say this, the Tittle family is rocking the world because of the HOPE God gives them and us who mourn. The legacy left by the ones who died is a massive one.

*The Legacy of Rob Tittle*

He gave his life in the protection of his family. He died as a man of God putting his wife and children’s needs above his own. A hero to the end he strove to comfort them in the storm. What can be said of such a man, he was a shadow of the Jesus he was devoted to, giving up his own rights, that those he loved might gain their lives. By God’s Grace Rob Tittle preserved the lives of his wife and seven of his children. God be praised!

I want to go back to the question of why bad happens…

Bad happens because God doesn’t treat us fairly. What do I mean? I mean that if God were to be fair to us, we’d all right now be under the full measure of His thrice holy eternal judgment and fury. It is a precious and glorious thing that we are not under such unbearable circumstances. Jesus Christ took the wrath of God that we might not endure such punishment. Jesus died in our place. It was our sin that Jesus paid the ransom for and it’s Jesus’ resurrection that gives us life and hope! Because of His death and resurrection, we have hope that when we die, we will live again with Him. If God were fair, and we got what we deserved, then we would never have hope in Jesus.

While this does not make it easy to accept that we will not see Rob, Rebekah, or Tori again on this side of heaven, we mourn as a people who have hope. Because we know that right now, Mr. Tittle, Rebekah, and Tori are more alive than they have ever been.

Bad things happen and they are like neon signs pointing us back to God. It is in the midst of trials that God shines through us the brightest. Be it health, death, persecution or whatever it is, He gets the most glory when we surrender our broken hearts and crushed spirits. We have hope because He has promised that we will not always be broken and crushed. Psalms 34 says that He is near to the broken hearted and crushed in spirit. Because of this, it leads me to the conviction that God is holding the Tittle family tight in His grasp, and that Jesus Christ will be magnified in this painful trial and horrendous loss of life.

I want to make another thing clear.

It is okay to mourn.

It is healthy to mourn.

We need to mourn, we need to let the tears fall down, we need to cry out to the God who hears, we need to just let God be the only one in control of life.

We were created for life, not for death. Our minds were not designed to understand, comprehend, wrap around this unfathomable idea of “death”. We are beings created to live forever, so the price of sin that we pay, death, is so foreign to our minds that it is the greatest fear we have. When one of our own dear loved ones dies, all chaos breaks loose in our souls because we can’t figure out how it can possibly be really…real. But know this, Jesus conquered death. It is only permanent on this side of heaven. Rob, Rebekah, Tori, and all those in Jesus Christ will live again! They are alive! We just can’t be with them for a while, not until Christ calls us to Himself like He has with our loved ones. So we mourn as a people who have hope in this everlasting life!

If you are afraid that the tears will never stop…go ahead and cry anyways, God is right there with you, and Psalms says He has collected your tears in a bottle (yes, that is how intently He is paying attention to you!), the tears will end because while weeping may endure for the night, joy comes in the morning. Even if we have to wait a long time, there will always be a Son rise to our mourning nights.

We can mourn the things that will never be: Rob will never walk Rebekah or Tori down the aisle, they will never have families, and Rebekah will never go to Scotland…
But we can also glory in the things they do have now that we cannot do: They see the face of the Lion of Judah, they feel no pain, have no imperfections, they have glorified bodies with no injuries from a tornado, they are alive in the very essence of the word ALIVE!

To die is gain, to live is Christ.

Remember no matter how dark, desperate, destitute, doubtful, despairing the night...the Son will always Rise. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life, and He is why we have Hope.

I did not personally know the Tittle family, but the impact they have made in my life this past week is incredibly huge and lasting. I’ve seen people come together in ways I never expected them too. The outpouring of love and generosity has been such a blessing to watch happen. I doubt the Tittle family shall ever read this post yet if they were…the following is for them.

Darling Tittle family,

May the God of our Salvation be the God who gives you Mercy and Grace through this trial. May the Love of God be passionately poured upon you all.
You are loved. You are prayed for. God is with you. God is for you.


Just a servant

Psalm 46:1-3
"God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah"

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