Friday, April 3, 2009

"Be Still and Know that I am God"

Part of me feels like I'm doing a book report, but oh well, here it goes. Yesterday I read the book "90 Minutes in Heaven" by Don Piper. For those of you who have not heard of it or read it, it is a true story of a Baptist minister that died, went to heaven for 90 minutes, and came back. After he came back he was literally in hell for months and to this day continues to live in pain. He was in a horrible car accident that he should not have survived. Anyways, I'm not going to cliff note the book for you, I'm going to tell you how this book impacted me. I realize that my opinions and beliefs differ from most of you reading this b/c of the difference in denominations (I'm Presbyterian), however, I think we can agree on a few things. The most important of those is that we all striving for heaven. In the book the author describes what he saw of heaven and and to the best of his ability tried to explain how he felt. I cried while I read this entire chapter of the book. One of the things that touched me the most was that he said he was not worried about those that he had left behind. That God does not allow you to worry in heaven. He knew that they would be taken care of it. I know for us mothers this is a very hard concept to grasp. As long as I'm living I'll worry for my children, I'll worry for my husband, I'll worry for my family, and my friends. I'm a worrier, plain and simple. I come from a family of worriers. To know that one day I will worry no more, helps me deal with my own mortality a little better. I have never feared my own death, but I have worried about those that I would leave behind. Would Joe know what bills needed to be paid, would Joe remarry, would he be able to raise the girls by himself, would my girls know how much I really loved them, and I could go on and on. But to be completely free from worrying would be heaven enough for me. Okay, not really, but most of you know where I'm coming from. My mind is my own worst enemy.

The second thing that really impressed me was the author learning how to let other people use their gifts. The author was immobile for months after the wreck. He completely depended on the doctors, nursing staff, family and friends. However, anytime a visitor asked to do something for him, he wouldn't let them. He didn't want them to see him as weak or needy. One day a menotr pastor friend of his confrotned him, actualy it sounds more like it was a chewing out. Long story short, the pastor friend explained to the author that by him not allowing people to do for him he was stiffling their gifts. All these people had to give him was their prayers and whatever else they could do for him, be it get him a magazine, milkshake, or read to him. Once he started allowing people do for him his attitude changed. I am one of those people that feels that if you want something done, you should do it yourself. I hate asking for help from others. I, like him, feel weak or needy. God created us to be communal people. He gave us all different gifts so that we could help one another. If everyone was the same, nothing would get accomplished. I, like the author, have to learn to open myself up to people. To allow them to do for me, as is God's will.

The last important thing that hit home for me was that throughout the entire book, he asked the question, Why? Why allow him to experience heaven only to bring him back to earth for months and years of tortoure and pain. Why him? So many times in life we ask the same question, Why? Why did this happen? We all know that God has a plan, but yet because we do not know the plan we are compelled to ask, Why? Years later, Mr. Piper finally realizes why this happend. We know that God loves us, we know that he has our best interest in his plan, we know that he will take care of us no matter the trial or tribulation, and yet our faith sometimes is not quite strong enough to say, okay God, I'm giving it up you, I'm giving in to your plan. I'm going to quit worrying and trying to figure this out. I'm going to quit trying to make you answer me. I think a lot of this goes back to the communal part of us human beings. Not only are we being taught something by God, but God allows others to learn from us. Mr. Piper has been able to touch so many more people that he would not have been able to touch had the accident not happened. This is what it all it boils down to: God loves us, he takes care of us, he wants us to take care of each other, and no matter the pain, trial, or tribulation he is always with us, holding us, reminding us that we need to be still and know that he is God.

1 comment:

Nancy said...

I, too, have read this book and much of what he says I experienced after a medical procedure went horribly wrong April 21, 2006. I coded, was rescuitated, and did not wake up for 77 days. Another year and a half of learning to walk, write, climb stairs and simply live have brought me to today.
The experience left me with many thoughts, but I shall but share a couple here~there is no pain when dying. True, no pain. I am convinced the He shields His children and wraps them in comfort.
I immediately thought, "Johnny will be so excited when he gets here". I remembered John but with no perception of time, only that I knew I was dead and he was still on Earth.
Time is of little matter in Paradise. I got the sense that it will seem as but a moment when we reunite with loved ones. And the freshness of it is difficult to put into words.
I know that there is nothing that will keep me from returning one day. It is more than we are taught and beyond human comprehension.