Posts Tagged ‘death

14
May
13

Death, sorrow, baby einstein, sundresses and hope

In the midst of reading about an abortion doctor crushing innocent babies because their parents decided that the babies were an inconvenience, and thinking about lots of personal and family related problems that require much attention, prayers and miracles, I was sitting on a public bus going through the streets of Copenhagen, Denmark with tears in my eyes. Tears of pain. Tears of anger. Tears of frustration. But also tears of hope. My iPod was playing a song that seemed so out of touch with what I was thinking about, Steven Curtis Chapman’s Our God Is In Control from his majestic album, Beauty Will Rise. God is in control? Really?

As I sat there and pondered this, a beautiful 5-year old girl smiled at me. I had noticed her running to catch the bus with her dad who looked like he had the day off. They made it, and the little girl in a flowery dress was beaming with pride when she walked through the bus and found two available seats. They sat and talked, and got off at the center of the city, ready to explore. She smiled at me, jumped down from the bus, and walked happily away with her daddy. Just the way life should be.

Early this morning Marcus and I were watching a Baby Einstein DVD about colors while eating breakfast together, and my 15-month-old son got very excited when the color yellow was presented with a picture of a field filled with yellow, perfect daffodils. He was so happy. So out of touch with everything that was going on in his daddy’s head. He came with books and toys for us to play with. Laughing, smiling, ready for a new day.

“This is not how it should be. This is not how it could be. Our God is in control. This is not how it will be. When we finally will see. We’ll see with our own eyes. He was always in control”, the song was playing in my ears. It’s true. This isn’t how it should be. Death, disease, pain, lack of finances to pay for health insurance, fear of losing your job, intense loneliness, fear of going through life all alone and depression. None of this was part of the original package. Sin, destruction and death entered the world. And it’s so easy to be swallowed up by the existential hopelessness that is our lot if we don’t know God. If we don’t know someone who is in control. In control even when it sure doesn’t look like he is.

The little girl is right. Marcus was right. Life is good. Yellow is a wonderful color. A day out with daddy is wonderful. It’s epic. It’s eternal. It’s what will last. Yellow daffodils will last. Death and sorrow will wither and pass away. Wearing a sundress with daddy and laughing at his old jokes won’t.

And life is found in the midst of this tension. The tension between aggressive diseases, unbelievable cruelty, loneliness, shipwrecked marriages and daffodils, teddy bears, sundresses and wonderful, patient dads. Hope and light is breaking through. Jesus is real in the midst of this mess we call life.

Torben

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12
Nov
10

i will trust you

Hopes turned to fear. Joy turned to tears. Life turned to death. And I sit here again. Not knowing what to do. Not knowing what to say. Not knowing what to feel.

Lost in time. Lost for words. Thinking ahead makes no sense. Thinking about yesterday hurts. So today is all I’ve got. I feel like hiding. I feel like hibernating. I feel like disappearing. But here I am.

Your plans are good. Your plans are perfect. Your love is perfect. You are perfect. You love me. Just the way I am. You don’t judge me in my darkness. You call me into the light. I want to come, but I can’t. Not yet. Not now. You wait. You invite me. It’s okay to say no.

You will always be there. You will always guide me. Even when I don’t believe that you will. You are not mad at me. You embrace me in my disappointment. You cry with me. I cry so much. Tears are tiring.But tears are all I have.

I can’t express what I feel. What’s there to say. Nothing I say will change what happened. It hurts. But I will trust you. I choose you God. The ball is back in your court. I trust that you will bring life, joy, and hope back in me again. I don’t have it in me. But you do. And you will give it to me. The way you see it’s best.

I know trust is shattered. It’s okay. You don’t judge me for my apprehensiveness. You will rebuild the trust. That’s your job. Not mine. You are the one who works out my salvation. Not me.

 

Thanks for being here. Somewhere. I will trust you!

Torben

 

30
Nov
09

The healing power of forgiveness

There is nothing quite like it. Nothing that has the same power to set you free. Often there is nothing quite so difficult. Often you have to practice it over and over again. Often it doesn’t produce change in anybody else but yourself. And yet, it’s always well worth the agony of doing it. We’re talking about forgiveness!

It’s essential to forgive to live in freedom. There is no way around it. I know many people who don’t live in forgiveness with other people and who are suffering because of that. I have been in situations where I didn’t forgive people. I was also suffering. A wise person once said these clever words:

Unforgiveness is the poison I drink while waiting for someone else to die!

These are powerful and true words. It’s always sad when you see people who choose not to forgive. So often it’s small things that hinder deeper and more fulfilling relationships. Words were said, value statements were put on people, and people choose to hold a grudge, stay in a place of self-righteousness, and the cancer of bitterness grows inside of you. It’s always like this. Whether you agree with this or not. Whether you are a Christian or not. Unforgiveness is a cancer that kills. It slowly takes life out of you. Whatever person you choose not to forgive, you’re tied to. You give the other person power. Power to control your life. You think about the other person, and you know that you lack peace and joy inside of you. It’s the power of sin. As Christians, as children of God we are forgivers per nature. We have been given a new nature, the very nature of Christ. And since he forgave us of everything, we are free to forgive other people for whatever they may do to us.

It’s the way of freedom. It always brings life. It always builds up relationship. It’s the road of brokenness. It’s the road less traveled. It’s always easy to find people, inside or outside the church, who will agree with you that it’s not reasonable for you to forgive, and that you’re right in holding a grudge. But the truth is that forgiveness has nothing to do with ‘fairness’. It’s a choice of life or death. If you forgive, you experience life in your relationships to God, yourself and other people. If you choose not to forgive, you experience bitterness and a lack of life.

Is forgiving easy? No, it rarely is. True forgiveness is painful. Often very painful. But it’s also freeing. I let go of the right I feel to judge and condemn other people, and I’m free to just be me, a human being who is aware of the fact that I often make mistakes myself and hurt other people and need their forgiveness.

Unless you’ve been broken by God and understand the power of living as a broken cup and relying on his strength and not your own, it’s nearly impossible to forgive. Why would you? You can always finds reasons why you shouldn’t take the first step towards forgiveness. Your flesh will tell you that your anger and lack of forgiveness is well justified. And other people will too. Misery attracts company, so it’s often fairly easy to find somebody to sit and whine with. It doesn’t bring any life at all. It just fans the flame of bitterness inside of you. Forgiveness is the highroad that’s painful, but life-giving to travel. It’s the road where Christ is and leads you. “Forgive them Father, they don’t know what they’re doing” were some of Jesus’ lasts words. He left us an example of how to live our lives. We are free to forgive, because we’re forgiven. Forgiveness, like anything else of great value in the Christian walk, is a response. We forgive, because God forgave, just like we love, because he first loved us, and we can draw near to him, because he first drew near to us.

I encourage you to forgive whatever wrong people may have done to you. It will bring life. Guaranteed.

Blessings, Torben

I love one of the first lines in this song: “You are strong when you feel weak, in your brokenness complete”

18
Nov
09

Up

It’s not often that I watch a cartoon that I really enjoy and keep on quoting, but these wonderful scenes from the latest Disney Pixar movie “Up” I just can’t get over 🙂 The movie itself is an interesting creation with very serious themes such as death of a loved one, loneliness, an absent father, inability to have children, and how to let go when a loved one dies mixed in with lots of silly stuff and laughable characters. The movie is held in a surprisingly melancholy tone, and yet it’s uplifting with beautiful, bright colors and delightful music throughout the movie. It’s definitely worth watching!

Meet Russell and Mr. Fredrickson:

And the dog, Doug:

Blessings, Torben

06
Jan
08

Bible highlights

Top 12 Bible passages  – it was very hard to pick! God has been good and has revealed much of himself through his Word in 2007. 

Matthew 5: 3-12 – The Beatitudes – I could talk for hours about the impact these verses have had…! (Maybe some other time!) 

Psalm 23 – this wonderful and well-known Psalm has come alive these past seven months. Wonderful description of my journey with God “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me!”

Romans 8:15 (really all of Romans, but I’ll pick one verse for this purpose) “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry ‘Abba, Father’”

1. John 3:16 “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers” Universal truth. We actually do know what love is, because Jesus demonstrated it for us!

John 8: 31-32 “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free!” I have loved this verse for years, but I see the simple truth of this verse more in more in my life and in other people’s. If you encounter and live in the truth in any area in your life, it really does set you free!

John 6: 28-29 “Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires? Jesus answered: “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” Nothing more, nothing less!

John 7: 38 “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him” When I believe in Christ and abide in him, the life of Christ flows through my broken cup

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” I’m dead, Christ is alive in me. He does his work through me, and he gets all the glory!

Ephesians 1:17 “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better” It’s all about God’s revelation. Without that all is just words and information without life.

2. Corinthians 12:9My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness” When I’m weak, I’m strong – kingdom of God logic!

Hebrews 10:14 “because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” in Christ I AM PERFECT!! And nothing can or will change that!

Matthew 1:23 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel – which means, “God with us” God is with us. God is here. God is alive, and because he drew near first, we can draw near to him who will then draw nearer to us.

 




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