I’ve been through a dry season lately. I’m not sure why, but I haven’t been able to write. The truth is, I haven’t been reading much either. My health is good; I’ve been healthy for a while now. No real liver news so that’s a great thing. Turmoil has been happening around me, but nothing is beyond the sovereignty of God and therefore the redemptive plan is not in jeopardy. I still love the Bride of Christ, the church, and am actively pastoring many. But I think I am going to remain quiet on this blog for a long time; I can really only update the http://www.danielparkins.com site from time to time. I’ve written there for the past two weeks, and though I can’t make promises to write, many of you have been encouraging me to write whenever I see you. So to that I say “thank you”, that all is well, and that my passion for Christ has not grown dim. If you’d still like to receive updates, then you can read on my other site. I’ll send a health update soon I promise! I’ll also let you know about my amazing family, but please know that I thank you and look forward to hearing from you on the other blog! With love and devotion to Christ,
There was something incongruent in me, something perplexing that I couldn’t get to the heart of. I had not properly grieved for Samuel; the Lord was not through with the entire process and with letting me know of his loving-kindness and compassion as a Father. I had not learned to be weak so that God would be strong. Even as I write this now, I see waves of empty stares within many in churches who have not learned this either. Many men, particularly, struggle with this reality, and their hearts are deceiving themselves. Oh, let the Spirit wash over us and humble us.
I’ve alluded throughout this book that I have had three liver transplants. I’ve experienced a lot in life and actually was blessed to write a book about two of the transplants along with a host of other things. I’ve experienced the loss of family members, even a close brother a few years ago, performed funerals for close friends, and experienced the worries of life. I speak not as a person who understands fully the depth of God, and I write too on a journey with you to understand God more fully in the course of our trials.
I want to see God’s glory break us free from the shackles of lies that we have believed when it comes to the Lord’s sovereignty in trials. But please understand that I speak from a place of experience, not giving me greater wisdom, but simply asking the reader to give me a platform of trust. I will not talk about pain and not having gone through pain myself. I hope you trust me in this. I have and will continue to struggle through these things; it takes great faith to believe. But praise God, faith is a gift, a treasure, that has been given to us. It is not something we muster in us. So with the faith that you have been given, let’s grapple with some of these issues.
It takes an act of God to carry us through difficult things, and though by no means have I completely understood everything, I seek humbly to reveal to you what the Word of God says about some of the issues I raised and struggled through. I wish I could wave a magic wand that would cause many of us to open our eyes to the reality of weakness and the freedom we have in being weak (which needs to be qualified), but alas, it takes the formation of the Spirit, not the formation of our flesh.
Samuel’s life would have been a waste, truly, if it were not for the person and work of Jesus Christ. It is indeed safe to say that God was glorified in the life and death of my son, particularly as I look back on it, yet I also know that some would still argue that God may have been more glorified in the healing of my son.
Perhaps the biggest question on my mind, and perhaps yours as well as you contemplate your own trials and pain, is this: Was the death of Samuel truly within the realm of the sovereignty of God? Is your disease, your sickness, your hurt, and your loss within the realm of the sovereignty of God? Is it in God’s control or providence? I ask this question because to me it is the fundamental aspect to understanding the safety net of weakness and strength that we can fall into. The implications run deep; if God is not sovereign, then indeed we are left with questions that will never be answered and a host of new problems that arise. If God was not in control of the events of Samuel’s life, then that would mean many of the things we find ourselves flung into are dependent upon our own wisdom, technology, or strength to endure. And if this is the case, what would be the point of the glory of God in our lives save to make a weak God stronger due to our faith? It would also imply that God would need us in some capacity to fulfill his will, that God is at war with a very strong and capable foe in the form of the devil, and the outcome, though bloody, would seem to be God’s. What security is there in this? God cannot be at the mercies of the situation, wholly dependent upon us, but is far beyond and above.
However, if Samuel’s death, my transplants, your pain and loss, addictions, and frailties are in the realm of God’s sovereign plan of redemption, then by faith don’t we understand that God is allowing these things as in the case of Job 2:3? Is it not our duty then to press this truth close to our hearts, not judging God based upon our limited view of our trials, hide it in our hearts, and allow the Spirit to show not only the truth of it to our minds, but our hearts as well? If this is the case, shouldn’t we seek to justify Christ in all of life’s circumstances as his perfect will is displayed throughout history for his glory in our lives? Is he not the author and perfecter and finisher of our faith? And since he is perfect in all his ways, shouldn’t all that is dealt to us be used to glorify God and cause us to run to him for security and refuge, even when we do not understand? Do we think God cannot take our questions, that he is insecure in any way, and that our demands in this life will somehow make him angry with us?
It has finally arrived. November 19th, 2013, almost three full years after the event of Samuel’s life, I finally get to share what the Lord did with him with the world. Samuel’s life was tragic at times, blessing us more than we could imagine, and yet his story is much like many of ours.
I know many of you prayed for him and Kelly and I during those difficult events. Would you do me a favor now? Would you tell “your” world about this book and encourage them about God’s story in Samuel and what it means to wrestle with God amidst tragedy and pain? Do you know of anyone experiencing loss or hurt, a broken marriage or estranged relationships, or even disease and pain? This book does not cure anyone; only Christ does through the cross. But I believe this will help some as a catalyst to see God’s glory amidst their pain. So please, repost this on Facebook, link this link on there, take a picture of this picture on your phone and post it to your instagram account, tweet it, and email people. I know it may seem like a lot, but remember when you did that during Samuel’s life? It was only through community and the power of the Holy Spirit that Samuel’s story went “out there.” I am asking for that again. Here’s the link:
Here’s what’s written on the back of the book:
What happens inside us as we experience the agony of the loss of a child? When the loss of it grieves you at first, and then, as time passes, doesn’t seem to go away but comes in waves upon waves? Tragedy befalls all of us, circumstances are beyond our control, and it is in these moments when God beckons us to the mat and wrestles us into submission out of His great love.
In Nineteen Days, Daniel Parkins gives insight into anyone who has ever experienced pain in this life. How do we cope when unmet expectations seem to surround us? How are we to navigate the rough waters of divorce, heart ache, loss, disease, or any kind of hurt? Nineteen Days is raw, but intensely real as Parkins reveals to all of us an honest portrayal of pain, yet in the midst of it, the undying love and sovereignty of a patient God who is still and forever good. Inside he challenges each person to look beyond the hurt, and see the love of Jesus Christ as not just a good idea, but truth that carries us forward for His glory.
Thank you! Kelly and I are more than excited, and genuinely love you all!
Here the latest news on Samuel’s book!
I just have to write really quick, that the culmination of many years of going over and through a very intense trial is finally going to print and I am more than excited. I ordered some of my books today, and tomorrow (supposedly) they go live for everyone to buy as well. Would you please join me in praying for this venture and asking the Lord to use my book to minister to any and all who chose to read it? Thank you! I’ll be “spamming” most of you in hopes to get the word out, so please give me grace as I am more than excited about it. After all, if I’m not excited, who will be? Use this for your glory Lord…
Today, I’d like to write and direct our thoughts to Christ. Let’s be about Him today, and about Him crucified on our behalf. Let’s look to Christ, the author and finisher of our faith, who, for the joy set before Him endured the cross. We are His people, called out ones, set apart ones, who have been made holy purely by the work of Christ Himself. We know this don’t we? We are the body of Christ, the bride, the loved and cherished ones. He is our husband, our priest who was sacrificed for us. And in this act, don’t we see the incredible affection of Christ to us? Weren’t we, as the act of Christ on the cross took form, absolute sinners? That Christ should die was more than if all the angels had been turned to dust; particularly that Christ should die as a criminal with all the weight of men’s sins laid upon Him. Even more so, that He should die for those whom hated Him, mocked Him, yelled out “crucify!” to Him.
Thomas Watson writes, “The balm tree weeps out its precious balm, to heal those that cut and mangle it; so Christ shed His blood, to heal those who crucified Him. He died freely. It is called the offering of Jesus’ body (Hebrews 10.10).”
And weren’t the sufferings of Christ beyond anything we could ever imagine; us in our creature comforts, our metal cars, our houses of ease? They were so great that they made Him sigh and weep and bleed out in anguish. He was tortured, but in all of that torturing, think on this: they could not make Him repent. He would not be turned. Christ’s sufferings on the cross was great beyond measure, but He does not think that it was pointless or that each drop of His perfect blood spilt for us was in vain. No. He sees redemption brought to a dead world.
Can you believe it? We must un-callous our hearts and weep in thankfulness at the act of our Jesus who, beyond our understanding, underwent hell for our sakes; what man or angelic act could ever compare to this? Oh what love the Father has lavished upon us, that we should be called sons of God because of the work of Christ! Shouldn’t we be affected in our very cores with this intoxicatingly beautiful truth? Shouldn’t our hearts rend like the veil that was torn? Shouldn’t the very stoniness of our hearts break apart like the rocks on the day of Christ’s death?
To not be affected with Christ’s love in dying is to have hearts harder than rocks. Let the truth of the gospel act break us today, send us to our knees in repentance and thankfulness, and cause us to worship Him in greater measures.
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” – Deuteronomy 6.6-9
Christians, when we meet together, should use a sort of “holy conference” according to Thomas Watson. In the beginning, what we read, is that Christians with a love for Christ and the glory of Christ “spoke often one to another.” Our language in this conference is one of grace, and when we pour grace in, grace comes out. Grace changes the language of any person and makes it spiritual. But grace is not the goal, as that is not what is sweetest on our lips. Christ is sweetest, and that is like a honeycomb dripping wherever He dwells. The world should know our lips and tongues as the sweetest with love, and the most powerful with truth.
What do we talk about when we meet together as believers? Is it really a question? We proclaim Christ and Him crucified; at church, in the home, amongst friends and when we have times of recreation. The country that we belong to, as many read this, is the country of the United States. English, without the accent of Britain, states where we reside and shows us where we live and belong. Likewise, the language of heaven, that is a “wellspring of wisdom” (Proverbs 18.4), means that every believer of Christ speaks wisdom and grace in full measure.
We are the temple of the living God, and as such, the tongue is the manifestation of the temple. But it begs the question as we seek to conference with one another, what it is that fills our temple? Is it smoke and incense from a burning world that saturates and putrefies the senses, or is the sweet smelling incense of the sacrifice of the life moved and placed upon the altar of God, living, holy, pleasing, as a spiritual act of worship? What constitutes the aroma of your life? Are you always carrying around in you the death of Christ, so that the life of Christ may be made manifest?
These are words to pray about, to ponder, to think over. What am I speaking, what are others getting from my words? My words, because of the grace of Christ and fact of His resurrection reality in my life, should be the sweetest, most potent words in this world. My family should be edified by my tongue. The church should be edified by my tongue. My friends should be edified by my tongue. The world should be edified by my tongue. Everything should be edified, for by the grace of Christ, we are His ambassadors.