Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast Episode 122 - Trials and Tragedies

Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast Episode 122 - Trials and Tragedies

Welcome to the Terri Hitt – Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast
Episode #122 – Trials and Tragedies

Thank you for entrusting and investing your precious time with me to seek, find, and follow Jesus together as we live with purposed eternal perspective.

On the last Live With Eternal Perspective episode we shared a beautiful reading from Hebrews 11. I thought we would be discussing the verses on this episode, but guess what? Life happened and interfered with the plans I had. Our Heavenly Father cautions us to hold plans loosely.
Proverbs 16:9 says, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.”
And Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”

Because of an unexpected event last week, I’ve changed the plans I had, and honestly, it fits right in with what was read in Hebrews 11, and the faith that God desires we carry, yet also allows me to spotlight the goodness, protection, and provision of God right now.

Please let me back up a bit with some explanation. One of the main driving factors behind beginning the Live With Eternal Perspective podcast was of course, the belief that God impressed a responsibility within me to create it. I knew nothing about getting a podcast started, but when we are obedient, God shows us the way to achieve His desires.

Like you most likely do, I love and serve Him with a humble, grateful heart that recognizes the need for each one of us to view life through an eternal lens. In the back of my mind, I always knew that as a believer I was supposed to live in that way, yet when my oldest daughter passed away in 2009, a responsibility to share that life perspective with others became so strong. Like a surprise that you just can’t hold in, I yearned with great urgency to alert others to focus on Jesus and to live with great expectation that we are here for a short time and with great and intentional purpose granted by God.

It may come as no surprise that I love to talk about the Lord wherever I go. I will share Him with anyone I meet at any time. I adore hearing the stories other people, as well, whether they be friends or strangers. When someone mentioned to me last week that life can change so suddenly, and we need to live with that knowledge, I was able to honestly reply that I do. I truly, truly do. It is always in my mind that life can change in an instant. In my heart, I knew that before my daughter died, yet before she passed, I didn’t live with that knowledge impressed in my heart, actions, and responses like I do now. After your life has been affected by hardship, tragedy, or death, you are changed. Each event alters the person you were into the person you are meant to be if you use the occurrences to carry you closer to the Lord. We can only pray that the changes within us are a beautiful expression of love for Him, as well as gratitude despite circumstances.

So when my husband was involved in a sudden accident on a recent Sunday afternoon, I wasn’t surprised. Although I don’t look for trouble or live with the expectation of difficulty lurking behind each corner, I do live with the joy of knowing that anything can happen at any time and I must be present, or involved in life fully now so that I don’t miss the blessings before me. All we have, all we cherish can disappear in an instant. How have we used it while it was here? What ways have we honored God with what He has gifted us? Once gone, those beautiful gifts may never arrive again. Especially when what you cherished was a human being. Those we love are here for but an instant of time and always gone before we are ready.
I wish I could show you the photo of the accident my husband lived through. The pictures are as bad as any Hollywood film effect, except this was real. When I review them, it almost doesn’t feel like it really happened.

By now you’re probably wondering what type of accident he was involved in, but before I get to that part of the story, let me share with you just how God was working in advance. I’m always in awe of the majesty and intimate goodness and faithfulness of our Heavenly Father.

We have been waiting for years for the time we could finally get some much needed new siding installed on our home. This is the summer we are planning to move forward to do it! In preparation of this major home improvement, we had several trees and bushes pulled from our yard, both front and back. They were messy, not very attractive, and were ruining our siding! Even though our yard is still a disaster (we couldn’t grow grass with all the shade the trees supplied), I honestly cannot get enough of looking at the difference losing the trees and shrubs has made! I’m surprised at the freedom I feel not having to wonder when we will be able to get rid of them.

This bit of change makes me think of how often people keep things in life that need to be extracted. How often do we wait to stop a habit or association with someone that needs to end? Our excuses, no matter how legitimate they may seem, are sometimes just weak justifications for putting off what we don’t want to handle. Those trees needed to be out years ago!

By the way, the company that removed all of the trees and shrubs and did quite a bit of trimming for us make a simple mistake while they were at our home. Instead of facing the stump grinder away from our house when grinding down the stumps of trees removed in front, the person running the machine faced it toward our front door and completely shattered our storm door. There was simply no large piece of glass left. Everything was shattered into tiny bits and barely holding together. I didn’t know that the damage had occurred until the first time I opened my front door after the workers left; the suction of opening the front door caused the glass from the storm door to suck inwards towards me. The entire center of the glass panel broke out in the shape of what I saw as a heart. My sweet neighbor saw it as a pair of angel wings. Look for the blessings, right?

Despite that bit of damage, we were still feeling great about getting the tree work completed. Next up was getting a window replaced. The company doing the siding won’t start until the window is finished. Did you know that windows are taking months to come in? You’re probably aware that many things are taking way too long to arrive right now. Well, our window finally came in and the manufacturer that received it broke it in the warehouse before our installer could pick it up, so now we are in the process of waiting for a new one. So the siding is postponed again.

But the one job that could be completed deck removal from the back of the house. Since our deck needed to be rebuilt, and it is best to replace siding with the deck off the house, the siding company asked us to have it removed before they began their job. After working with several contractors who honestly must have a lot of work and not need another job because they would not follow up with quotes, and getting a high price from one who didn’t seem too excited about doing the job either, my husband and son decided to complete the project together.

Although I agreed, and was ready to save the money we would have paid this person to tear down the deck so we could use it toward one of the other projects we were committed to completing this year, I kept having a nagging feeling that my husband was going to get hurt removing that deck. This feeling wasn’t an irrational fear, but a “knowing.” It was more of a feeling that was calm, yet always present, simply letting me know to pray in advance and remind everyone to be careful.

For weeks in advance, I let my family know to pray, because I shared that I thought he would get hurt. You may be thinking I was worrying or that I would cause something to happen by getting them concerned, but I sincerely believe in my heart that God was going before us, reminding us that He is in control and that we needed to be praying and watching for Him. Which is exactly what we did.

It has been so hot here! We really didn’t get a spring. May was cool and rainy, then June arrived with very hot temperatures early in the month. So, it took about three weeks of my husband and son working together for a couple hours each Sunday afternoon to get the deck off.

On the third week my husband and son were working on the deck removal, they had only been outside together for about ten minutes when my son ran into the house yelling for a towel. He said my husband had gotten hurt and he needed something for the bleeding. I gave him a beach towel and went outside with him to check my husband.

Since this is a story with many details, let me just say that at this point, I was unable to see the wound because my husband had the towel pressed against his forehead. I asked if I should be calling 911. My husband said he was okay, although he was sitting on the ground with a large puddle of blood in the rocks next to him, but my son disagreed. He told me it was bad. At this point, I believed my son, who had seen the wound, so I rushed back into the house to call an ambulance.

After paramedics came and rushed my husband off to the nearest head trauma facility, I left to meet him and my son at the hospital. When I entered the ER and saw his wound, I felt like I was on a movie set. The film, “The Terminator” was all I could think of. Although my husband didn’t look robotic, of course, the gaping wound on his forehead exposed 4 ½” of his skull and the surrounding tissue didn’t look like it would be ever able to stretch back into place.

By now, I’m sure you’re wondering what happened. In a nutshell, one of the large, heavy, main supporting beams fell on my husband. After attacking him on the head, the beam finished assaulting him with a blow to his right hand.

During the almost 7 hours he was in the emergency room, my husband received a CT scan of his head, which thankfully did not show brain bleeding or skull damage. He also had hand x-rays that revealed the reason his hand felt uncomfortable. Just to speed the story details up a bit, four days later, my husband had to undergo hand surgery. The experienced surgeon said the damage was worse than he could see on the x-rays. In fact, he said it looked like someone took a sledgehammer to the base of my husband’s thumb and shattered it.

Now, eight days after the accident, he is learning to live with using one hand, and not being able to use his dominant hand is challenging, yet he never complains. I don’t think I could say the same about myself. He’ll have the pins in his thumb base for a couple of months, then have to endure extensive physical therapy in order to have a usable hand. The surgeon said his thumb will probably always be stiff, and every doctor has said that my husband is lucky to be alive.

Lucky? We don’t think so. We know he is blessed to be here. Instead of going to a doctor appointment or surgery every day last week, we could have been planning a funeral.

By faith, I know God warned me that my husband was going to be hurt, so we could be praying for protection and provision in advance. God was so good to make sure we knew to pray and to remember that He is in control. Life events are going to happen, but no matter what, we must always keep our eyes fixed on Him.

What is the biggest requirement for being able to live with our eyes, heart, and mind centered on Him? Faith.

As I was preparing to leave the house to meet my husband at the hospital that day, I was trying to hurry. As I was taking care of last minute things before leaving, I noticed my hand shaking. I’m never the type to be nervous or shaky, so I immediately stopped to pray. Centering myself by speaking the name, “Jesus” aloud several times before I prayed, I then asked my Savior to give me His peace and calm. His perfect peace immediately flooded my spirit, and my hands never shook again.

Since we know faith is a pre-requisite to a relationship with God through Christ, what type of faith do we need to carry? How does our faith change or help us?

First, let’s examine what kind of faith the Bible tells us to have.
1. Faith in God through Christ – Matthew 9:22 says, “Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.” One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 26:3, which says, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”
2. Faith that is obedient – Hebrews 11:8 says, “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” John 15:14 says, “You are my friends if you do what I command.” James 2:17-18 says, “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds. Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.”
3. Faith that endures – Romans 5:3-4 says, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 12:12 says, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” Hebrews 12:1-3 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

As we follow the example set before us in God’s Holy Word, we see that faith in God through Jesus that is obedient and enduring will draw us nearer to Him, and also heal, affect, and perfect us through Christ.
As we draw nearer to Him, we begin to resemble our Savior. Remember that in whatever situation or circumstance you may find yourself, any bitterness, fear, anxiety, loneliness, hatred, or anything emotion you can name should be used as a trigger. Let it be your reminder that although feelings are a normal part of being human, when what we feel is not a reflection of our Lord, we know our gaze has slipped. We are looking to self or others to manage our feelings and emotions, whether or not it is intentional. Let this warning direct you to raise your gaze to the Lord. Call out to Him! Say the name of Jesus aloud and ask for His peace and calm to flood you, call on Him to dictate your emotions and actions.

We need Him so much! Remember to fix your mind and heart on Christ. He is everything He claims to be. If you need more help in strengthening your walk with God through Christ, the absolute best source you can have is God’s Word. Make it a point to read the Bible, study His Word, and know His Word. I guarantee it will change you, Scripture promises that fact.

Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Get to know Him better. Trust in Him. See and feel the changes only He will make.

Dear Heavenly Father, we thank You for the hope You give us when we trust in You through Jesus as Savior. We praise You for the life changes we feel and see within us as we trust in You with obedient faith that endures. There is none like You. You are good and faithful toward us. May our hearts cry out for You and our steps run to You. Enable us to desire obedience and live with a faith that endures, drawing us nearer to You in all the ways You desire. You tell us to rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, and to be constant in prayer. Help us to do so, Lord. We also know from Your promises that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Help us to remember and to cast all trials, tribulations, and tragedies at Your feet and allow You to cradle us in Your arms. In the name of Your precious Son, Jesus we pray. Amen.

Thank you for listening to this podcast. If you find value in what you hear, and you would like more information on the topic we discussed today, I invite you to listen to previous episodes. To hear episodes that deal with faith, I suggest listening to Episode 072, Faith that Perseveres. You may find this episode on the terrihitt.com website. Just click on “podcasts” and type in the topic or title you wish to hear about in the search bar at the top of the page.

Again, thank you for listening to this episode of the Live With Eternal Perspective podcast. As I mentioned, the podcast may be found at terrihitt.com, but is also a part of the Spark Media Network, and the podcast may also now be found on the Edifi app.

Have you rated or reviewed this podcast on Apple Podcasts yet? For those who have, I thank you so very much! If you haven’t, would you please consider doing so? It is getting more difficult to keep from being shadow-banned on social media. Podcasts and social medias posts about Christian material simply do not get the same reach as secular topics. When you review my podcast on Apple Podcasts, it helps to elevate the standing of the podcast online so that more people are allowed to find and hear it. If you believe the content you hear should be heard so that more people can begin to deepen their walk with Jesus and live with eyes set on eternity, would you please write a review and rate the podcast for me?

I also want to ask if you have you listened to my second podcast, “Purposed Parent/Connected Child” yet? I hope you will listen to this new podcast, especially if you are raising children or influencing grandchildren. Please follow and share both of my podcasts with friends or family who would like to choose Christ over culture and be a parent (or be a grandparent) who connects with eternal purpose.

Remember, if we are not purposed in knowing Jesus ourselves and showing Him to the next generation, the world will direct them away from Christ. Live With Eternal Perspective helps us to find, trust, and follow Christ more intimately. Purposed Parent/Connected Child shares biblical, practical truths for parents and grandparents to influence and mentor Christ over culture.

I pray that what you hear on this podcast draws you nearer to God and helps you cling to Him, despite any circumstances in your life. Until next week, keep looking Up while focusing on new ways to Live With Eternal Perspective.