Guest Post — I am Determined / God is Good

Pastor Mike Harrigan of Community Baptist Church in Slidell, Louisiana, has been a great blessing to our family over the years.  Pastor Harrigan graciously gave me permission to post this.  I pray that you will be challenged and encouraged by what he has written.

In June, Pastor Harrigan and his family suffered great heartbreak when his beloved three-year-old grandson Ayden passed away after a swimming pool accident.  I’m posting two emails that Pastor Harrigan sent to his “Monday Praise” email list.  The first is a summary of the sermon he preached the Sunday after Ayden’s death.  The second is his Monday Praise from last week.  All Scriptures quoted are from the Authorised Version (KJV).

Sent 25 June 2011

So many of you have prayed for us and we are very grateful. I wanted to share this sermon with you so that you may know our heart. May God bless you for your love and support given to us during our hours of devastating grief.

 I AM DETERMINED…

1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

…TO SAY THAT GOD IS RIGHT NO MATTER MY OPINION.

Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

…TO NOT ALLOW SATAN TO CAST ME INTO THE PIT OF DESPAIR.

Psalm 61:2 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

…TO READ MY BIBLE AND STUDY HIS BOOK WITH CONSISTENCY.

Psalm 130:5 I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.

…TO PREACH THROUGH THE WORD OF GOD TILL I DIE.

2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

…TO TRUST IN HIM DESPITE THE CIRCUMSTANCES.

Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.

…TO PRAISE HIS NAME IN THE MIDST OF TRAGEDY.

Psalm 100:4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

…TO PROCLAIM THAT HIS ETERNAL GLORY SHALL PREVAIL.

Psalm 72:19 And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen.

Psalm 148:13 Let them praise the name of the Lord: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.

MONDAY PRAISE (27 July 2011)

For many years I have closed my Monday Praise with “God is mighty good…He is mighty…and He is good…all the time.” My belief in this statement has been tested by the loss of my precious Ayden Michael Phillips. However, I am here to state today that it is still the truth. Even as the tears begin to creep down my cheeks, I state again that God is mighty good…all the time!

  • God is mighty good to have given me a daughter and son-in-law who so willingly shared their children with us.
  • God is mighty good to have provided us so many opportunities to make precious memories with our grandchildren. They are beyond value now.
  • God is good to have given us a daughter who believes in taking a multitude of pictures.
  • God is good to have given us a church people who held up their preacher when he could not stand.
  • God is good to have given us some men who stayed with us at the hospital through the evening. They made themselves available to us. I will never forget their efforts of love and loyalty.
  • God is good to have taught me that it is not I who held on to the Lord, but that it is the Lord who held on to me. Divine strength and grace.
  • God is good to help me preach my Ayden’s funeral. It was the last thing that I could do for him on this earth. I didn’t want to let him down, and it was the Lord that got me through it.
  • God is good to have reaffirmed my belief that God is always right, despite what it cost me.
  • God is good to have given us a son who would stand by his sister during her darkest hours.
  • God is good to have given us a son who shared with my people the truth of “running to the rock that is higher than I.”
  • God is good to have given us His Word to rely on when our lives have been shattered. It is truly the healing ointment for the soul.
  • God is good to have given me so many preacher friends to support me in my deepest agony.
  • God is good to have given us so many prayer warriors to carry us before the throne of grace. We still need those prayers in the days ahead.
  • God is good to give us family members to love us during these difficult days.
  • God is good to give us neighbors and friends that supported us by words and actions.
  • God is good to teach me to look for small joys when my heart cannot comprehend that joy is available.
  • God is good to allow my ears to enjoy the simple singing of the birds.
  • God is good to send us on a mission trip so that we can serve others while battling with a broken heart.
  • God is good to allow me to watch a group of teenagers, young adults, and adults work serve so diligently to make a difference at Maranatha Baptist Church near Wiggins, Mississippi.
  • God is good to give me Philip Duffy, Joey Matrone, and Jason Verges to assist me in leading the mission team. I could not have done it without them.
  • God is good to have allowed me to share the grief of another man who recently lost his ten year old grandson. His name is Mike also.
  • God is good to remind us daily that our Ayden is in the presence of the Saviour. No pain, no sorrow, no danger, and is loved by the one whose very name is LOVE.
  • God is good to have approximately 375 hardback KJV Bibles sent out in Ayden’s name. Some 350 of them will be sent to missionaries to use in their ministry on the foreign field. More money is still coming in, so the final number has yet to be established.

The wound in our hearts is deep and slowly healing. Our lives are forever changed and will never be the same. We are new in facing such tragedy in our lives. We will do our best to carry on as we should, but forgive us when we fail. We are walking a path that we have never trod before. However, we do rejoice that our Saviour, who walked this path perfectly, is here to guide us along the way.

The best way to end this Monday Praise is from Scripture. Job said it best.

Job 1:21 ……: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.

About Jon Gleason

Pastor of Free Baptist Church of Glenrothes
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