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October 4, 2013

Apples for sale at Village Farm Market 10/3/13
Apples for sale at the Village Farm Market east of Ephrata PA.

"Violent Death"

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"The men of Ai struck down about thirty-six of their men, and pursued them from the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them down on the descent, so the hearts of the people melted and became as water" (Joshua 7:5). "So it was as Joab kept watch on the city, that he put Uriah at the place where he knew there were valiant men. The men of the city went out and fought against Joab, and some of the people among David’s servants fell; and Uriah the Hittite also died" (2 Samuel 11:16,17).

Yesterday Brooksyne and I had a conversation with Ken, a friend who experienced a great loss last year. His young grandson was killed in an accident caused by a drunk driver. Ken is a man of faith with a tender heart. We spoke to him shortly after the accident, attended his grandson's funeral and periodically ask how the family is coping. He and all his family continue the process of overcoming.

The death of a loved one is always hard whether due to old age or an accident or disease. But today we want to consider those deaths that result from the specific sinful or reckless act of another. It may be premeditated such as a murder or the result of irresponsible, sinful behavior such as a death caused by a
drunk driver. It is especially perplexing when the one who caused the death may go on to live a full life and only experience minimal consequences. Of course there are also deaths due to one's own self-destructive behavior which leaves a legacy of unresolved and ongoing grief for those who loved them. But today we especially consider those who were killed by someone else.

If you have read through the Bible you would have read the two texts used in our daily verses. In the course of reading the longer narrative it's easy to sort of gloss over these verses.

The first passage involved Achan's sin in stealing from the Jericho conquest, which was specifically forbidden. Joshua sent a contingent of warriors to Ai, confident of an easy battle. But due to Achan's sin the battle force was routed and about thirty-six men died. These men had no direct relation to Achan's sin but certainly paid a price for it. They had seen  many miraculous victories and expected no less, but now they faced defeat with their own being struck down. Those who remained were utterly discouraged; they became faint and feeble and surely fear seized them.

The second passage is part of David's cover up following his adultery. He arranged for Uriah to come home from the battlefront and have relations with his wife, Bathsheba, and thus cause deception regarding who had impregnated her. After this plan failed David devised a more deadly scheme instructing his general Joab to place Uriah in a battle position to be killed. Not only was this "successful" in eliminating
Uriah, an honorable and innocent man, but also "some of the people among David’s servants fell."

The consequences of sin is far-reaching as seen in the first violent act recorded in Scripture when angry Cain killed his younger brother Abel. In fact history is full of the deadly consequences of sin, something we can read about practically every day in the news and are also reminded of when we lock our doors for protection.

What we really want is an answer to the "Why" questions. In general, why does God allow such absolute injustice to occur? In particular, why me or someone I love or am close to? Do I have an explanation for this? No, and I have never found a fully satisfactory explanation, even from the greatest Bible students and theologians. Certainly many authors have tried and I commend them for it. Three books Brooksyne and I have valued and recommend are "If God is Good" by Randy Alcorn; "Trusting God" by Jerry Bridges, and "The Providence of God" by R.C. Sproul. I also still recall an intriguing book I read while in college titled, "The Goodness of God" by John Wenham.

But no one has ever provided a fully satisfactory answer to these "why" questions. Rather by faith we see only through a glass darkly and must hold onto the oft quoted verse from Romans 8:28: "All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose." Admittedly we must be intentional in looking for the "good" when sorting through the very bad consequences that come to those who lose a loved one through violence.

C.S. Lewis wrote about his spiraling emotions in his book, Grief Observed: "What we would all like is the happy past restored. Am I going in circles, or dare I hope I am on a spiral? But if a spiral, am I going up or down?  How often - will it be for always?"

Only God knows how long "our hearts will melt like water", but a deep settled peace and confidence will be restored, even in the midst of the pain, when we realize He is working things out in our lives in light of His eternal and good purpose.
Remain faithful and you will see it unfold in His good time.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You love us and work in our lives to accomplish Your eternally good purpose. We can have full confidence in You especially in times of suffering and senseless loss, but only as we learn to trust You. Like a master weaver, You weave the dark strands as well as the threads of gold and silver and intertwine them to accomplish Your eternally good purpose in our lives. Keep us steady, trusting, and looking to Your promise to work good in our lives in the midst of the bad that life throws our way. We'll be better for it and can use that good to funnel Your love to others in similar pain. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Yesterday we shared a photo of an old mill we often pass and I had commented on what appeared to a trailer on top of the silos and wondered how it got there. Lee, a friend of ours responded informing us his Amish uncle had hand built it piece by piece back in the sixties. It was used to check the fill of the silos and possibly keep the hatches dry. Lee also told us that the builder is married to his mom's sister and they were both married at a double wedding at their parents' house in 1950. His Uncle John and his wife Mary are in the mid 80's.

The mill now houses an art gallery and Howard, another friend informed us he knew the artist, John Stevens. Howard is a professional photographer we have referred to periodically.

Yesterday morning we visited the Village Farm Market

Village Farm Market 10/3/13
View of the Village Farm Market early yesterday morning from an empty parking lot (a rare opportunity since this is a very popular spot). We have shared photos of this interesting shop before. It's in an old steer barn. The market is located East of Ephrata, PA on Route 322

Gourds at Village Farm Market 10/3/13
A colorful
variety of Squash
(our favorite is the Butternu
t in lower right corner)

Mums at Village Farm Market 10/3/13
Chrysanthemums (mums) provide bright fall colors and are available everywhere.

View from Village Farm Market 10/3/13
View from the porch
(Click on the image for a larger view and you'll see an Mennonite woman passing by in open buggy)

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

The following musical selections are Christian songs on death.

"Tears Are A Language God Understands"  Video  Amy Lambert

"My Jesus I Love Thee"  Video  Selah

"He's Walking Her Home"  Video   Mark Schultz

"Homesick"  Video 

"Save A Place For Me"  Video  Matthew West  A powerful perspective

"Heaven's Song"  Video   Phil Wickham

Death Is Gain "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."  Video 

"To Live Is Christ"

"To Live is For Christ to Die Is Gain"  Video  Incredibly moving video

The Village Farm Market  Our Mission: At Village Farm Market We Set the Example of A Christian-for Each Other, Customers and the Community. We Inspire Individuals to Find Self-Worth and Fulfillment by Providing a Meaningful Workplace.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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