You can make your own choices, but you can’t choose your consequences.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)

This is a true story of an unshakeable faith in the midst of great sorrow, grief, and suffering.

After returning from a week’s vacation with my husband, Jeff, I wrote the following in my journal.

“I can’t even imagine the grief, sorrow, pain, and hurt they are going through, and yet, their faith in Christ is secure.”

SAM_1280Jeff and I had the opportunity to attend a pastors and wives retreat in Buchanan, Michigan, at a beautiful facility called The Lodge. We spent four nights and five days with three other pastoral couples and our host couple, Ed and Gayle, who facilitated our sharing sessions.

Prior to beginning our sessions, we sensed a spirit of love and grace within the lodge. We are thankful for our prayer team who were praying for us, along with others. I know now that these prayers were not only meant for us, but also for our host couple.

We quickly learned that Ed and Gayle lost their precious adult son six months prior, through a tragic death. I don’t feel led to share any details, for they seem inconsequential in relation to the deep loss this dear couple has experienced. I will say that I’ve never been with anyone who has demonstrated such grace and faith in the midst of severe suffering. I didn’t mention the second part to their faith journey. Ed learned he had a large cancerous tumor in his bladder just a few months following his son’s death.

Ironically, I heard the following statement twice during our vacation/retreat week, “You can make your own choices, but you can’t choose your consequences.” This was spoken first by our retreat host and the second time by my sister-in-law. Both were restating what they had originally spoken to their adult sons.

I think this statement grabbed me to my core, as I thought of how God allows us to freely make our own choices in life and how these choices will either result in pleasing God or the folly of our own flesh. When we choose to go our own way, apart from God’s direction and leading in our lives, we really are saying to God, “I know what’s best for my life and I really don’t need your guidance or authority to rule over me.” Sounds familiar doesn’t it…the first sin in the garden.

Fletcher 2My thoughts quickly race back to our retreat hosts. Although they feel that their son made some wrong choices toward the end of his life, they also know and testify to the unmerited favor of God in their lives. Throughout our week together, they shared how in the midst of heartache over the loss of their son, they are choosing to hold God’s hand as they continue to serve faithfully in the ministry God has called them to. Their unwavering faith and commitment to Christ brings hope, healing, and encouragement to pastors and wives through Life Action Ministries https://lifeaction.org/. For more information about The Lodge, please go to: http://www.retreatatthelodge.org/.

Holding His Hand

In the deepest despairs of life, God is near. His promises are true. If you are overtaken with grief and sorrow over the loss of a loved one, I encourage you to cry out to Jesus. The Psalmist declares: “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:17-18).

For those wrestling with decisions, please consider the words of the Apostle Paul.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:7-10).

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About Jeff & Charmé

Over the past several years, I've (Charmé) written blog posts about my greatest passion--intentionally passing my faith in Christ to the next generation, beginning with our family. I've been married to Jeff forever! We love spending time with our three children, six grandchildren, two son-in-laws, and our rabbit-chasing beagle, Pepper. Jeff and I are blessed to have served as pastor and wife for twenty years at four Nazarene churches. In June 2019, we prayerfully stepped away from pastoral assignment so that we could spend more time with our family (especially our grandchildren), and to serve the LORD wherever He leads us. We are passionate about living for Jesus and helping others do the same. Realizing that we are living in a world that desperately needs a Savior, it is our desire to come along side of families and churches by providing resources that will strengthen and equip parents, grandparents, and families live out their faith in Christ in their homes and everywhere they go. Covenant Heirs provides this blog site along with a speaking ministry to help encourage and equip parents, grandparents, and others to intentionally live a life of faithfulness to God, so that the next generation will know God, love God, and follow His commands. Please contact us at covenantheirs@gmail.com if you are interested in learning more about us and our ministry. Holding His Hand blog (2016) is dedicated to my mom, Audrey Lewis, who learned to trust in Jesus during her battle with cancer. This blog testifies to God's amazing love and provision in our lives.
This entry was posted in Cancer, Death, Faith, Loss of Loved One, Pastors Retreats, Suffering, True Testimonies of God's Grace and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to You can make your own choices, but you can’t choose your consequences.

  1. Virginia Phillips says:

    I’ve known Charme’ for several years. She is a true Christian & loves God with her whole heart. I believe in her & love her. God bless she & her family as she continues to pass on to the next generation the Love of God she has in her heart, and holding the hand of Jesus through out her life.

    Like

    • Charmé says:

      Thank you, Virginia, for your kind and loving words of affirmation. May God continue to bless you and hold your hand throughout your personal faith journey. Love in Jesus, Charmé

      Like

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