Harder Family

Harder Family

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Coronavirus Fear: The Proper Perspective

Luke 12:22-31 "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you shall put on. For life is more than food and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you."

Psalm 73:16-17 "When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply till I entered the sanctuary of God; than I understood their final destiny."

I have to be honest, the last few days have stirred fear in my heart. I am sure that I am not the only one who has been having fearful thoughts surging through my brain. I have had a hard time balancing being wise and being prepared to feed my huge family for two weeks, and fearing about what all of this means, or could potentially mean, to our family. I have spent too much time reading articles about this virus than reading the Bible and that is where I believe I made my first error. 

This morning I woke up with a song on my mind that I haven't heard for years. The song was "God is in Control" by Twila Paris. Check out these lyrics! These were the words I needed to hear this morning.

This is no time for fear
This is a time for faith and determination
Don't lose the vision here
Carried away by the motion
Hold on to all that you hide in your heart
There is one thing that has always been true
It holds the world together

God is in control
We believe that His children will not be forsaken
God is in control
We will choose to remember and never be shaken
There is no power above or beside Him, we know
God is in control
History marches on

There is a bottom line drawn across the ages
Culture can make its plan
Oh, but the line never changes
No matter how the deception may fly
There is one thing that has always been true
It will be true forever

He has never let you down
Why start to worry now? (2x)
He is still the Lord of all we see
And He is still the loving Father

Watching over you and me

Two hours later, we were sitting in front of our computer enjoying our church service. The message today was exactly the reminder I needed...I need to have a proper perspective on this virus. God had a theme for me today...and it was to trust Him! He reminded me how He has been faithful with Wayne and has brought us so far with his cancer. How could I worry about something outside of my control? He has been faithful to us time and time again, and here I am worrying about Wayne and my kids. 

Below are some of the key points for the sermon this morning that I needed to hear. I'll link the actual sermon at the bottom so you can listen. Maybe this will help you balance the fear in your heart and mind too. We must battle this fear because fear is not from God. He is the author of peace not fear!

When we worry, we aren't trusting God. By not trusting Him, we can be filled with doubt, which could lead to disbelief if left unchecked. Worry is toxic to our souls. It keeps us from experiencing the power, presence, and peace of God. It also robs us of the joy and peace that is available to believers. Worry cannot coexist with joy and peace. Worry also neutralizes discipleship and spiritual growth. It also removes any gospel witness in our lives. As believers, if we are out ransacking the stores for supplies and constantly sharing fearful news, than the world is not going to see anything different in our lives. We have a hope that extends beyond our life here on earth. People around us are desperate. They feel out of control because they are having to face their mortality. I read that the purchasing of goods makes them feel like they have some semblance of control. As believers, this is our chance to rise and be beacons of hope to the world around us. 

1 Peter 3:15 explains this, "But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who ask you to give the reason for the hope that you have." We need to be ready to share the HOPE that only Jesus can bring." This tumultuous time is the perfect opportunity to share the hope that we have in Jesus with others.

There are two things we need to remember: 1)we need to keep God in mind and 2) we need to keep the end in mind. 

Just remember this, God is sovereign, omnipotent, merciful, majestic, holy...the list goes on. He has this! Don't worry, but keep Him in mind and the end in mind. When your mind starts to worry and fear, remember that you are the child of the King and that He is still sitting on His throne and is in control. 

Friday, March 13, 2020

Bigger Than Our Fears

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind.”

Psalm 94:19 “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.”

1 Peter 5:6-7 “Humble yourselves, then, under God’s mighty hand, so that He will lift you up in His own good time. Leave all your worries with Him, because He cares for you.”

Today was Wayne’s 5 year MRI. After experiencing so many anxious MRIs, I can honestly tell you that today I felt no anxiety. I have been allowing God to work on my heart to trust Him and His plans for our lives...to surrender my will to His and fully trust Him. It is amazing how God will work in your life when you allow Him full control. I still struggle, but it is amazing to see God slowly working on transforming my heart. 

We just met with Wayne's neuro-oncologist who informed Wayne that his scan is once again clear. The praise can only go to Jesus who isn’t done with Wayne yet. I’m light of all the fear surrounding everyone right now with the Coronavirus, this is a reminder that God is in control. He is bigger than a terminal brain cancer diagnosis, and He is bigger than a deadly virus. After walking this journey of faith trusting God with my husband’s health, I need to remember that I can trust God with my health and my kid's health. When I wrote my previous post, it was a reminder to myself that God is still on the throne and I can rest in His plan. Whether I live or die, I want my life to bring glory to Him. Worrying will not accomplish that. God is bigger than any of my fears.

Unfortunately, due to all the crazy things around us, we have canceled our trip to Omaha. We need to be with all of our kids during this scary and uncertain time. We also don’t want to spread any potential germs on to Emily. Please continue to pray for Emily, our country, and the world. Pray for those who are sick and dying that they will know the love of Jesus! May we bright lights and beacons of Hope to the lost and hopeless around us. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Walking Dead: Coronavirus

1 Corinthians 15:53-55 “For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’”

Coronavirus is a word we are hearing on a daily basis, sometimes on a hourly basis. My Facebook is inundated with posts from all extremes: those who say it’s all media hype on an election year to others saying we are all going to die.

I have breaking news: we are all dying! What?!? Why would this crazy woman claim that we are all dying? Does she have insight on this virus that we don’t know about? Calm down. No, I do not know anything more than any of you. In fact, if I am honest, I am daily surrendering my fear to the Lord. What I am talking about is the fact that since the day we were born, our bodies are in the process of dying. Apart from Jesus, we are all dead. Yes, the world is full of walking dead. I think this is partly what is causing this mass hysteria...a sense of hopelessness and fear. As believers, we need to first of all stop living in fear. Should we be wise? Absolutely! Even Joseph prepared for a famine that hit Egypt. But what we shouldn’t do is live in fear to where it debilitates us. As our brothers and sisters in China did, this is an amazing opportunity to point people to Jesus who is our hope! He is the only one who can give people hope. I don’t care if you have 200 rolls of toilet paper, thousands of wipes, and bottles of hand sanitizer. Do you have Jesus?

If Wayne’s terminal cancer has taught us anything, it is the fact that we should live each day to the fullest for Jesus. Do I want to catch Coronavirus? No. But even if the worst case scenario happens and I die, want to say like Paul in Philippians 1:21 “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” This reminds me that every day I have here on earth is a chance for me to live for Christ! If I die, I win because I’ll be with my Savior! 

Where are you at? Are you in need of the hope that only Jesus can give? Nothing in this world will fill that hole in your life but Him! If you are a believer, do you believe God is sovereign? God has a plan for each of our lives. Can you trust Him I’m the midst of these unknown times? Can you even go a step further and reach out to your neighbors, co-workers, classmates, and family with the good news and hope that God offers? Many of us have been praying for a revival in this country. Maybe this is the catalyst God uses to draw hearts to Him. I doubt the early church thought that their persecution would help spread the gospel and yet God used that time in history to spread the good news. What will your choose to do? Trust God and allow Him to use you or hide in your home surrounded by 200 rolls of toilet paper?

Prayer Request:

 * Friday is Wayne’s next MRI. It is almost exactly five years from the date the doctor walked in and told us the genetics came back and showed that he had GBM, not a grade 3 Astrocytoma. We are trusting God with the results, but the hardest part is waiting for the doctor to walk in give is the results after his MRI. There is something nerve wracking to wait in an office for results like these. Just pray that we rest in God’s peace!

* Please pray for us as we travel to Omaha after Wayne’s appointment to see Emily, the young girl we have been praying for. Her brain cancer is back and I am uncertain if her mom has found any doctors with additional treatments to try. Pray that this meeting is glorifying to God!

Friday, March 6, 2020

Month of Memories

Psalm 77:11-14 "I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember you wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. You way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples."

My Facebook "On This Day" memories have resulted in a mix of emotions. We are celebrating 5 years since Wayne's diagnosis with brain cancer, which means that there are so many pictures from that time. Pictures of Wayne at surgery, Wayne in recovery, family photos, and more. Seeing these pictures transports me back to that time as if it just happened. Isn't that weird the way the brain works? It makes me more understanding of the trauma kids experience who are adopted or are in foster care. One smell, sound, or picture can trigger such an array of emotions. I think this is true for our girls as well. As much as we "move on", there is still a piece of you stuck in 2015. 

There are other memories from March that pop up on Facebook. These pictures trigger great memories. It was 3 years ago that I was in China adopting our two sons. Yesterday was DJ's family day and Sunday is Shan Chen's family day. Our lives have been so enriched by these two boys. Although it hasn't been all rainbows and unicorns, we can see God's hand in it all. We are so thankful that God called us to adopt.

Whenever I see this crossover of memories, it reminds me of God's faithfulness and the importance of obedience. God asked us to adopt just a year after Wayne's diagnosis. I still remember asking God, "Seriously? It doesn't make sense at all to adopt NOW! We tried before and you shut the door and NOW you want us to adopt? That is crazy!" This was just another lesson in my life that God doesn't do things the way WE think He should, He does things for a purpose beyond what we can comprehend. It is crazy to think that on Wayne's 2 year anniversary of his brain surgery, I was in China with our two boys finalizing our adoption! Who does that? Who takes on two more kids when you have a spouse that has a cancer with a diagnosis of 12-18 months? Crazy people, that is who. We have actually heard that a lot in the last few years...You are crazy! But you know what, we aren't crazy just to be crazy and get "attention". We are so enamored with our Savior, who we know has numbered Wayne's days, that we want to follow Him wherever that leads, even if it is to crazy land! Where will He lead us next? Only He knows. But wherever He calls us, we will follow. How about you? Do you feel God calling you to do something but it feels crazy? Why not completely surrender and trust God to lead the way, even if it is to a place the world would call crazy. Being in the middle of God's will is the safest place to be! Never be afraid to step out of the boat and follow God.