Monday, December 18, 2017

Overcoming Tragedy / Restoring Glory

November 10, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Manna, Monthly Articles

“This is what the LORD Almighty says: `In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the LORD Almighty. `The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the LORD Almighty. `The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the LORD Almighty. `And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the LORD Almighty.” Haggai 2:6-9

Did you ever experience a tragedy that totally altered your life? I think about our young American heroes who go off to serve us on foreign soil but come home permanently disabled. I can’t imagine the stress and hardship that this puts on their young families.

Although I have faced many struggles in this life, my only tragedy came at birth as I experienced a delay in breathing for 26 minutes. This single event drastically changed my life as well as the lives of my family members. I’m sure my parents had times of depression as they pondered how my life could have been. They must have felt so inadequate to raise a son with a serious disability.

The Bible says that God’s people faced a tragedy over 2,500 years ago as the Babylonians came and took them into captivity. Their captivity would last for 70 years before they could return home. The real stunner was that their temple was so majestically beautiful before the Babylonians destroyed it. To add insult to injury, the Babylonians stole gold and silver articles from the temple.

In 520 BC, the prophet Haggai begins his ministry to God’s people in Jerusalem: finishing the building project of the temple. Haggai’s ministry takes place some years after the exiles return from captivity. The reconstruction effort actually began in 539 BC, however, the exiles became very discouraged and reluctant to obey Haggai’s message. There were several reasons for this discouragement: too busy building their own homes, political instability, a desperate economy, and oppositions from enemies in their homeland. They felt trapped with no way of completing the project or restoring the temple to its’ former glory.

Have you ever felt trapped in a situation where you thought you lacked the resources to get out? God says in this passage that all of the gold and silver is His or that He has all of the resources needed for us to overcome our tragedies. Sometimes our situations look so bleak that we are tempted to lose hope.

I had a lengthy recovery after a recent surgery and many days I wondered if I would ever get through it. I had such bad headaches and was so sick to my stomach that I spent most of my days in bed. This went on for several weeks before I could return to work. Some mornings before work, I would pray for God to give me His strength because I was weak and did not feel well. The long recovery convinced me that God has all of the resources I will ever need. It took a lot of patience, but the Lord did show Himself faithful. Sometimes the Lord miraculously heals me, and other times He asks me to trust Him and persevere through a challenging situation.

The Lord, through Haggai, says that the glory of this present house shall be greater than the former house. The exiles had in their minds that God had to reveal His glory in the same way, but God wanted to do something they were not expecting. Most Christian scholars agree that this passage has messianic implications pointing to Christ. The glory was not about the gold and silver as in the former house, but the glory in this house would be God revealing Himself.

I have several friends who say their accidents that left them disabled were only setups for them to meet Jesus. They say that being disabled with Jesus is better than being healthy without Jesus in their lives. Though my disability presents me with many challenges, I have all of the expectations of other men such as: a family, a successful career, a house, and a sports car. It’s so easy to get caught up in our own expectations that we miss what God wants to do, however, I have found that the Lord often reveals His glory in ways I least expect. If Jesus’ only desire was to please His Father, then I must abandon my own agenda and seek to fulfill my Father’s desires.

The Lord says that He would fill His house and grant peace there. His temple would be all about the presence of the Lord. As God filled that house with His glory, He longs to fill us, His temple, with His presence. It is not about the gold and silver but it is all about Him. When we make it all about the Lord, He will give us peace even in the worse tragedies.

At the time of my birth, I’m sure that my parents never dreamed how the Lord would bless me. Praise the Lord! He exchanged the bleak outlook that the doctors gave my parents for a bright future in Him. I believe that Jesus wants to take our tragedies and turn them around for His glory.

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Bradley Mattrisch
Special Touch National Coordinator of Support Ministries

As a result of a delay in breathing for 26 minutes at birth, he has Cerebral Palsy. Brad has been involved with the Special Touch Summer Get Away Program since the summer of 1982. At the first Get Away, he sensed God calling him to help people understand the Bible.

Brad later earned a Bachelors of Business Administration degree in Management Computer Systems as well as a Bachelors of Arts degree Bible & Theology. After graduation, he participated in several ministry activities with his church and Special Touch. Brad was given the opportunity to learned about church planting as well as speak and teach. After working for several years in Information Technology with a large consulting company, he decided to make his ministry hobby his full-time calling.

Despite Brad’s disability, he is an U.S. Missionary Associate as well as an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God. Brad now oversees the ministry’s Pastoral Care department that includes a fair amount of writing and speaking. He wants to develop friendships with others that need encouragement and Biblical counsel. Brad also coordinates the ministry’s Information Technology needs. He lives with his cats, Penny and Oreo, as well as his dog, Daisy, in Appleton, Wisconsin. Brad currently attends Radiant Fellowship in Waupaca, WI.

Brad has a message to share with the church, especially to those who face challenges. Brad’s sermons are often accompanied with laughter, tears, and lives touched by God. He writes a manuscript and transfers it to a PowerPoint presentation which is projected, so the congregation can follow along as he speaks.

Contact Information:
715-258-2713 (office)
bmattrisch@specialtouch.org (email)

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