I just attended a 4 hour funeral in Romania this morning. Well, it felt like it—it was a live webcast. My dear friend Calin’s dad, Theo Ciuciui died unexpectly three days ago from a heart attack. You met Calin back in May (http://wp.me/p2mA2B-bh).
First, let me say, I’ve never been to a 4 hour funeral service. And second, I’ve never been to one as powerful as this one. His 4 children led worship passionately and ministered the most amazing faith message I’ve ever heard. I watched in tears. Their dad was a spiritual hero to them and thousands around the world. He was a pastor, missionary, visionary and amazing father and husband.
Even at the hardest junctures of our life, we are called to deny self, pick up the cross and follow Jesus. This family lived this on the hardest day of their life. They denied themselves and ministered sacrificially, so that others would hear the gospel, so that faith would be increased, so that weaker people would see the abundant life even in death, and so that God would be glorified.
It is easy to be a Christian when our circumstances are good. The true test of what you and I are made of comes in our darkest hours of trial. Will we be able to deny our own desires, pick up the cross and follow Him outrageously?
The path is narrow and steep, and hours of trial sometimes lurk around every bend. But it is in the darkest hours refined by fire that we are transformed into greater degrees of His glory.
I long to witness when the Son of Man comes in the glory of His Father with His angels and rewards this family for how they’ve denied themselves, picked up their cross and followed Him outrageously. I am overwhelmed by how they live and want to live more sacrificially as well.
Would you pray for the Ciuciui’s? Even though they are strong, it will be hard.
2 Corinthians 3:18 KJV
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.