Monday, March 21, 2011

There's nothing anyone could have DONE...

“There’s nothing anyone could have DONE...”

This phrase keeps going through my mind this morning. We received the information back from the autopsy on my nephew, Justin, this weekend. He died of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Basically it’s a ventricular fibrillation that causes an electrical problem, and the heart stops, killing the brain within 30 seconds. No one and nothing could have changed the outcome. There is some comfort in that, don’t you think? No one can feel like “if I’d only just...” At 35 he was just taken. And he felt no pain. As his brother, Jared, put it, “He kissed Stephanie goodnight and that was his last memory.”

There’s nothing anyone could have DONE...

The reason that is resonating with me this morning, is that it is exactly what our pastor said yesterday at church. We are going through the wonderful book of Romans - the book that absolutely changes lives - and he has been speaking out of the first three chapters for the past few weeks. As he puts it, in referring to these chapters, “Paul is telling us the bad news, before giving us the good news, because you can’t appreciate the good news, unless you know the bad news.” In a very organized way, Paul points out that NO ONE is righteous in God’s eyes, NOT ONE. ALL have sinned and fallen short of God’s standard of righteousness. That’s the bad news.

Our pastor gave the example of the challenge to swim from Southern California to Hawaii. He said that we have some amazing swimmers in our area - many of Olympic caliber. So, if we were told we all must swim to Hawaii, there are some who would only make it a few yards before they would drown. Certainly the Olympic types would swim much farther - even miles, but, they, too, would drown before making it to Hawaii. ALL would come short of the goal. Well, if our goal is to get to God, no matter how good we are, no matter how self-sacrificing or attentive to religious activity, no matter what we DO, we will never meet God’s standard of righteousness. Again, that’s the bad news.

The good news? Jesus has DONE it for us. By His obedience to His Father, by His death on the cross and His resurrection, He has DONE it. And, as our pastor says, that is the difference between ALL other religions and Christianity. All other faiths are built on the idea that we must DO something to get to God: meditate until we reach our inner god, do humanitarian works, perform certain sacraments or say certain prayers, assume a particular posture when we pray, say the right words, address God in a certain manner, etc., etc., etc... But as Paul clearly teaches in Romans, there’s nothing anyone could DO. Thank you LORD, for our wonderful savior who pronounced it as DONE, when He said from the cross, “It is finished.”

Have you been feeling under the burden of what you must DO? Are you craving assurance that you are right with God? Just accept what Jesus has DONE for you and receive the gift of salvation, which is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Read through the book of Romans - read the bad news, then rejoice in the good news!

We are making our plans to head up to San Jose for Justin’s funeral, which is on Friday. Everyone is coming from all over the country - and Jodi and Ed arrived yesterday in Chicago, to get further tests done on Jodi, before flying out here on Wednesday with their son Jared and his family. Please pray for travel safety for all of us. Apparently, we will be driving up in the rain on Thursday. Pray for sweet Stephanie and her boys and the unborn baby, that God would just surround them with comfort, strength, and peace. We are all anxious to finally be together - and although the circumstances are horrible, this is what family is for - to mourn together even as we rejoice together.

Love to you all, and many thanks for your prayers!



  1. Dear Ones,
    We certainly will be praying for this upcoming weekend for you. I pray that the minister that does Justin's memorial service will speak the words Jesus wants everyone to hear. I always think at Memorial Services that even if just one person receives Jesus and the free gift of salvation, it is worth the price paid by those who are grieving. It will be very difficult for Stephanie and her darling children, but I know the Lord will provide for her. One of the ways He will provide is through your families, Sally, Molly and Emmy. God will go with you all. Joe and I love you and send our ardent love, prayers and sympathy,
    In His Glorious Name,

  2. I have recently been searching crafting blogs and ran upon your daughters last heart broke when I read the story of your nephew. I have 2 littles ones so I placed myself in Stephanie's shoes and tears came to my eyes as I hurt for her. May He be so very close to her and you all as you mourn your loss. I have added your blog and your daughter's blog to my daily read list. You're an encouragement - thank you for taking the time to write out your thoughts and great truths from God.
    Peace and Joy from Christ our Lord!

  3. Thank you, dear Ree and Julie, for your wonderful words of encouragement. I can't tell you how your posts comfort me! I will keep you all informed as we head up for the funeral, which is in San Jose on Friday. Please continue to pray, too, for my sister, Jodi, Justin's mother, who is so weak with anemia due to the multiple myeloma. Julie, welcome aboard! It's great to have another lover of Jesus along for the journey!