Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Post from Greg – Jeremiah 29:11

I felt like I was going crazy last night and went outside for some fresh air around midnight. Jesus brought a song to mind that I've really loved for a long time, and I wanted to share the lyrics with you:


I take my refuge in the palm of Your hand
I take my comfort in Your perfect plan
I take my sorrow and lay it down at Your feet
I take my refuge where I can be free
I take my shelter in the shade of Your wings
I take my pleasure in the hope that You bring
I take my weakness to the foot of the cross
I take my refuge where I can get lost


In You, Oh Lord, In You, my God
When there's no where to turn
And there's nothing that's true
I find my peace here in You

Right now I don't know if one bit of this song can be said truly about my spiritual walk. Its all stuff that I know is true in my head, but I have a really, really hard time knowing it's true in my heart.


When I posted yesterday, I was writing in desperation. Please forgive me for that desperation, and know that I've asked God to forgive me too.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Sometimes I don't believe a word of it. But it's all true. And I need to believe it - I want to believe it.




  1. Hey Greg and Elise,

    This is out of the loop from what you wrote, but I thought it'd be cool to update you guys briefly on my Big Break experience.
    One thing that was diff. this year than any other years is that I have felt more compassion towards those who are hurting and wasting their life away w/o Christ. As I walked the beaches, I felt some what a frustration that these people do not have relationship with God. For those who are drinking away, have sex all night long, partying, etc. I felt really discontent by what I was seeing.
    Another experience I had was with a 50 somewhat year old man who told me he is a struggling Christian. He was a drug addict, alcoholic, pimp, sent to prison at age 19 for about 34 years, went again for 4 years, found out he has cancer, HIV, and I think aids too. Although he was somewhat drunk at the time, he seemed very pleased and satisfied with his relationship with the Lord. This reminded me of you two and how much you love the Lord despite your circumstances.
    I hope this short story was encouraging and not discouraging for you two. Know that you guys are STILL in my prayers.

    Andrew Kim

  2. Greg do not be ashamed in fear and desperation. Christ himself felt it on the cross. It is not sinful, it is human. I would be more afraid for you if you did not feel the emotions you write about and the fears Elise has. Why? Because then you would have no fight. People with no fear have given up or are numb to all things, and neither are good. And with out the fight and will to live both physically and for Christ your life would mean nothing. You are brave and strong man. No your not.... your a strong, brave Godly man. It is ok to show emotion, and it is also ok to let us your friends, family, and loved ones to see it. We need to see it, and you need to let it out. It's ok Greg. Really it is. We are all praying for you, and we all care deeply for you. And Elise..... The same goes for you.....

    Take Care Greg and Elise....

    God Bless you both.

  3. Greg,

    I'd like to respectfully push back against a couple of the things you said in the last two posts.

    First, the idea that praying for Elise to be with the Father before you somehow displays a lack of trust in God. Sidestepping the content of your prayer, I'd like to confront the idea that praying for a desired outcome in your situation is sinful and/or shows a lack of faith in God's plan.

    I know you would affirm that "God from all eternity, did... freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass." If one had a really awful theology of prayer, they could from this draw the conclusion that praying for ANY particular desired outcome in ANY situation displays a lack of faith and trust in God and His plans because God has already perfectly determined what will happen and you are potentially praying against that. The problem with this is that there are far too many Biblical counterexamples of God's people praying for a particular outcome and God being pleased with it. Specifically, I'd like to draw your attention to Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane (Luke 22:42). The audacity of this prayer is staggering. Jesus is eternally, including at the moment of this prayer, a member of the Godhead. Jesus planned every aspect of His own death before time began. Even at this moment, Jesus is sustaining the lives of the soldiers that are coming to torture and kill Him. Jesus knows the perfect will of God and that it is unchangeable. Jesus knows better than anyone how necessary His own death is. Jesus knows that all of eternity and the full revelation of God's mercy hinges on this moment. And Jesus still prays this prayer. Jesus still asks that God would deliver Him from this suffering, even though He KNOWS that this is not part of God's plan and He knows EXACTLY the (non-)answer He is going to receive. There is lots to explore here, but one necessary conclusion is that it cannot be sinful to go to God with your desires in faith - merely because it is possible that your desires do not line up with His plan. Of course, we can't ignore the second part of the prayer - Jesus is still humbly submitted to the Father's will. And this is necessary. But as long as you are praying that above all God's will would be done and have an attitude of humble submission towards this, it cannot be sinful to pray for a particular outcome that MAY NOT be part of God's plan; because Jesus prayed for a particular outcome that he KNEW was not part of God's plan. You and I do not know what God may be pleased to do.

    Secondly, it is obvious that in this same moment, Christ is experiencing fear and desperation. Fear and desperation, like anger, are not in and of themselves sinful. They become God-glorifying or sinful depending on what is done with them. And going to God in faith with your fear and desperation must be God-glorifying because it is what Jesus did. To use the song you quoted, I believe that for you right now, the way that you "take [your] refuge in the palm of [His] hand" is to go to Him with all of your fear and desperation and desires. This does not mean that you do not experience these emotions. It means that you trust Christ in and through them.

    Greg, God has chosen you and Elise for this particular suffering at this particular time because He has a purpose in it. I know you know that. If you have not already, think about that and the fact that Christ has counted you worthy to share in His sufferings in a way that few people will because by doing so you will glorify Him in a particular way. That is a weighty thought. It is not an easy providence and none of us would chose it if given the choice, but God has chosen you with a purpose.

    I know you probably don't believe this, but your faith is an inspiration to so many people. You are not suffering perfectly; no one but Christ did or will. But I think you are doing a pretty incredible job. You would not be able to if Christ wasn't actively at work in you. Please keep looking to Jesus.

  4. Greg,

    Just re-read my last comment (probably would've been a good idea to do this before posting it) and wanted to offer some clarifying thoughts.

    First, I am not implying that you have an awful theology of prayer. One would be a fool to think you have an awful theology of anything. I was merely pointing to an extreme example of a certain line of thinking in order to illustrate the fallacies in it.

    I also know that you already knew just about everything I wrote. I wasn't writing that comment to give you new knowledge. But sometimes we have to remind each other of the obvious. I know if our situations were reversed you'd probably be doing the same for me. One of the most important duties of Christians is to daily preach to themselves the gospel, and that is something we all "know" to a certain extent.

    Also, it occurred to me that it could be that the reason you feel that your prayer displays a lack of faith is because it indicates a lack of trust that God will provide for Elise should you die before her. Only you and Elise know your own hearts so only the two of you know your motivation for this prayer. However, I would still maintain that this prayer does not objectively or automatically indicate a lack of faith in God. I can and do believe that God will provide for me and comfort me and be there for me if my entire family were to die. This does not mean that I want it to happen, or that I shouldn't pray for their safety, or that somehow praying for their safety indicates a lack of faith in God's provision. As long as you acknowledge and believe that God can and will provide for both of you no matter what happens, I don't believe at all that praying for a particular outcome demonstrates a lack of faith.

    I love you and I'm one of hundreds of people praying for you Greg.