January 24, 2008

All that we Need in Every Situation

I have been sitting here this Wednesday afternoon, trying to make sense out of the loss of our dear friend, Amber Mathenia. I do not know what to say, except that this, even this, is included in the “all things” of Romans 8.28. God works all things, even horrible things, for the good of His people. I know that because the horrific death of God’s own Son proves it. Beyond that, there aren’t words.

I thought, instead of my words, it might be appropriate to let Amber speak to us from the grave. The following lines are from her journal, the day after the Baptist denomination in Ethiopia (God really) had dropped Pastor’s Training Institute into the Mathenia’s laps. It reminds me that Amber was a human…in need of greater faith…but also that there was in her a depth of commitment to the Lord Jesus that we can all learn from. Her closing sentences, in particular, speak to the events of the last week:

I was ashamed this morning as I thought about all this (the opportunities for ministry the Lord had provided) and how it is really more than I ever expected and sooner than I ever expected. I want to think that this was more of doubting self and not God, but I don't know. I imagined Anthony training a few ministers in the city and maybe seeing some reform in a few of them. That was my hope. This is far more than I could have ever dreamed up. It seems so serious and weighty to me. Now I am only asking that God will make this goal the burning passion in my heart and all would be poured out in prayers to Him…That I would love His glory and long for the spread of His kingdom across this land…That my desire for these things would be in no way connected to self, but that I would long for this no matter who God was using. This is just like the Lord, isn't it? To exceed our expectations in every way. I do not doubt that this work will bring trials and difficulties, but is our God not sufficient for these things as well? Lately I have found myself holding back from boasting in Him, for fear that He will not do what I have hoped. I want these fears to be taken away that I may boast confidently in my Lord and fully believe that He will be all that we need in every situation.”

Yes, Amber, there will indeed be “trials and difficulties”. And yes, our God is “sufficient for these things.” Now we pray that He will use the trials and difficulties to, in some way, advance “the spread of His kingdom across” Ethiopia, and Mississippi, and Memphis, and Cincinnati. And we pray that your dear husband, Anthony, and your precious children, Ellie and Isaac, would be able to boast in the Lord, and say that He truly has been “all that we need in every situation.”

3 comments:

Audrey said...

thank you so much for sharing this. i needed to read this today. (i went to UU with Amber)

audrey

AnnieLaurie said...

Thank you so much for sharing these truths with us.

casey said...

Thank you for posting that from Amber. I was friends with her in high school and we had lots of the same beliefs but, she always listened and never judged when we differed on opinions. I'm glad to read her eyes never left looking up.
Her daughter is beautiful and I love the pure simplicity of that pic. posted with her.
My thoughts,prayers and hopefulneses through this tragic time in their life go out to ALL of her family and friends.

Casey Merryman-Herring