I posted this comment over at our other blog, His Gathering Place.
"My nugget today came from the very dry reading in Numbers 33 which is basically a detail of Israel's journey from one place to the next. But the comment on my ESV Study Bible opened it up for me:
It therefore serves as Moses’ testimony of what God has done for Israel during his lifetime. By mentioning Aaron’s death in vv. 38–39, Moses indirectly reminds the people that he too will die soon because of his disobedience (see 20:10–13). But this is not to suggest that God has failed his people; rather, this list of places where Israel triumphed over her enemies, was fed and watered, received the law, and was preserved for 40 years in the wilderness is proof that the Lord can bring Israel into Canaan—provided that they do not imitate the unbelief of their forefathers. The list therefore concludes with an urgent plea to make sure that all pagan worship is eliminated from Canaan when they enter it (33:50–56).
Moses is going to die soon and he knows it. But before he leaves he wanted to give the people something to remember how God triumphed over their enemies, how they were fed and given the provision and preserved during their journey. To us it may just be a boring list of places we've never heard of, but to them these were their places of triumph."
The thought of death and dying have been on my mind lately. Not mine but someone whom I consider a friend. Her name is Carolyn and she's 77 years old. She was the one who trained me when I first worked for this firm. Last fall, she was diagnosed with lung cancer. She came out of that in a miraculous way. But last week she emailed that she now has a cancerous tumor in her brain. I continue to pray for her healing and for God's will to be done. In one way or another, I know she will get her healing. What I don't know is where - whether here or in eternity.
What do you do if you know your days are numbered?
For me, I want to be like Moses and leave something similar for my children. A tangible proof of what God has done for me during my lifetime. How God guided, preserved and provided our family during the difficult days. Basically, to look back so they can look forward. Yes, we will come against the enemy but God is always faithful. I want them to see that. I want them to know He can be trusted.
I think back to the diaries I kept all the years. Most of them detailed my heartaches. I can read some of them and relive the pain over again. Not very healthy, huh? When I'm gone, I want my children to know that there's more to their mother than the pain and suffering. I want them to know there were joyous times as well. And these joyous times do not come from circumstances or even people (especially not people if they've read my other journals) but only from a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Because if He is in our hearts, then whatever happens whether joy or sorrow, it matters not because in the end, we can trust that Romans 8:28 is true. God does work all things together for good.
How do I counteract years of negative journals? I don't want to throw them out because they were part of my history. Those things happened. But from here on out, I am going to be more proactive about finding the blessings in each day.
Then it occurred to me that I have already started doing that.
The red notebook is the one I use for writing my One Thousand Gifts (we're somewhere in the 3,000's now), the black Moleskine with Snoopy is for my bible studies (currently Revelation thru Precept Ministries International), then the little spiral is my Siesta Memory verses (thru Beth Moore's ministry) from last year - maybe not all 24 verses memorized but they are there. I also discovered that the verses coincided with what happened or what was happening during the year. Funny how that works.
Eventually my goal is to have more journals detailing God's blessings and the lessons He taught me than the angst-filled journals of the years gone by.
I have a lot of writing to do.
How about you? What kind of testimony do you want to leave behind?
UPDATE ON CAROLYN:
Not even an hour after I published this post, I received an answer regarding my prayers for Carolyn. Here is an excerpt from the email she sent to our office:
Thanks, Mike... I feel yours and God's love. have been home since afternoon of surgery -- sooooooo strung out on drugs (steroids) that I drive everyone crazy -- INCLUDING me!!! So high that it will take two weeks to get me done. BUT THE CANCER IS GONE and I do not have to have further treatment -- no chemo, radiation, etc.
I AM DOING UNBELIEVABLY WELL!! Please pass this on to Jan and Bob as well.
Isn't that wonderful? Praise God!!!! How is that for Godspeed?