It's impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe that He exists and that He cares enough to respond to those who seek Him. Hebrews 11:6 Message Translation
The gateway to a place of unsurpassed beauty and serenity on Maryland's Eastern Shore
The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. Hebrews 11:1
Jesus said, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes." Mark 9:23
[I say] with tears, "Lord, I believe, help my unbelief." Mark 9:24
Lessons from the Gateway
Lesson #5 Overcoming Unbelief -- A Picture
I had spent two days in heaven on earth at the Wades Point Inn on the Maryland Eastern Shore. The Lord had arranged every detail of my being there, and poured out blessing upon blessing over me in that place. I had arrived in a state of utter turmoil and left fully restored and at peace.
On my little two day retreat, My Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, very graciously helped me work through the “black hole” issues in my heart. Having been released of a heavy burden and my heart now filled with joy, I was eager to stop by Lilac Hill on my way home to see Margaret while she was down and to thank her for being there so I could get away.
As I drove up the driveway, I thought about Lee’s final days. Lee and I spent his last three weeks at Lilac Hill. We had made that decision right before leaving the hospital. He was so weak, he could not have managed the eight steps up to our front door. At Lilac Hill there was only one step into the house.
The Lord had arranged for Margaret and her family to be there the last week Lee was with us. They had come down during their son Bobby’s spring break for years. Both Margaret and her husband Steve had intimate, one-on-one last visits with Lee. He was a love magnet. We all wanted to be at his bedside, holding his hands, running our fingers through his hair, kissing his forehead.
Before they left, Margaret set up a Go-Fund-Me account for our family. She posted one of Lee’s paintings of a skipjack under sail and wrote a touching piece about him. The many responses that flooded in through Go-Fund-Me had been such a comfort and carried me through the initial, unspeakable agony of my loss. Sisters, brothers — family and friends! What a blessing they are in times of grief and trouble.
I parked by the Red House and went in to see my father - refreshed. He welcomed me warmly as if I had been away for a month, and informed me that Margaret and my youngest sister Melissa had just left for the pool.
“Maybe you could meet up with them there,” he said.
I quickly watered the gardens before leaving, and I drove down the driveway in a bit of a hurry, eager to get to the pool. But then was suddenly brought to a stop. Right where the dead branch had been was a large dead opossum, its bloody guts opened and swarming with flies. A long necked, black vulture rocked back and forth six feet away, ready to feast.
“What is this!?” I cried. “A dead opossum! That wasn’t there fifteen minutes ago when I went up the driveway. What are you showing me Lord?” Opossums are nocturnal. They look rather sinister, live and operate under the cover of darkness.
Lessons from the gateway -- at the point of entrance and exit. The dead branch had prevented me from going up; the dead opossum was preventing me from going down. I had spent the weekend in heaven on earth at the Wades Point Inn, and returned to Lilac Hill, our heaven on earth, but now I couldn’t leave. Something dead was preventing me from re-entering the world. Is this a picture of my unforgiveness? or maybe it's my unbelief? -- a lack of trust that You are all You say you are and have fully healed my broken heart.
I put the car in park, got out and looked for a sturdy stick to push the stinking carcass out of the way. I couldn't just think about it, talk about it, pray about it, I had to do something -- get out of myself, take responsibility (find the sturdy stick) and move it -- no falling back into old familiar patterns.
Jesus taught us to pray,
“Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name,
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
No stinking carcasses covered with flies litter the streets of gold, and in heaven there is no darkness. The glory of God illuminates it; The Lamb is its light. (Revelation 21:23,25) On earth as it is in heaven, I thought. That's me. The Lamb lives in my heart. I bring heaven to earth through my heart -- my heart healed and cleansed of all that is dead.
He who sat on the throne said, "Behold I make all things new." And He said to me, "write for these words are true and faithful. And He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. She who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be her God and she shall be my daughter.