It's been a quiet 5 months on this blog, not to imply that nothing's happening in the Carey Family, but to say that I've been having a tough time forming words to truly express my heart.
The big question... How are Cliff, April and Peter doing? The short answer... okay! The long answer... this is a long, hard and winding road, filled with a lot of pot holes, and the occasional stretches of solid pavement.
We've adapted and come to accept our lives in this "new normal." It doesn't mean we like it, but we've accepted it. It's our cross to bear and one that we carry only with the strength and love of our Lord Jesus. We depend on Him for everything and are learning to thank Him for the most simple things, for the fact that He gives us shelter, food, family, friends, and the grace to endure through the most challenging times.
In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul laments the thorn in his flesh and his continual pleading with the Lord to take it away. Three times he prayed. (300 times I've prayed.) Yet Paul was willing to accept God's answer, "My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak then I am strong. I've studied and taught this passage for over 13 years and it's never been so personal as it is today. I've begged God to take this pain away over and over, yet He continually returns with His answer, "Cliff, my grace is sufficient for you."
A week ago I was in Papua New Guinea, having returned there for the fourth time with Hume to run camps for Missionary Kids. (See the pictures.) Several months ago the leader of the trip asked me to be the main speaker for the two camps. I accepted the invitation, scared more than I've ever been by a speaking engagement. First off, I haven't spoken to a group of teens in years. Second, what do I have to offer? Do I share our story of pain and grief? Will high school students even care? Will it impact them?
The message we took them was 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 - For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. It was through the grace of God that I was able to share the power of living our lives not for ourselves, but for our Lord Jesus Christ, and that it was only through dying to self that we could truly live for God. In that is also a message of brokenness that leads to an unmistakable dependence on our Lord.
On our final night in PNG, one of the high school students shared with me the following, "I know you were nervous about sharing the story of your daughter's death, and whether it would mean anything to us; but you need to know that it seriously affected me. I was in tears. Your story impacted my life."
All I can do is praise God and thank Him. His power is indeed made perfect through our weakness.