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Saturday, 7 April 2012

Our God Is Great!-How I Believed

Easter weekend 2012. This time of the year we remember the death of Jesus Christ by crucifixion, and his Resurrection three days later. What love! What joy! That Christ loves us enough to take upon himself every sin we have, and will commit, upon himself. So we can be with him, our maker, in Heaven for ever!

It had to think hard before writing this article, but I guess, being Easter, I decided to take the risk and do something I was reluctant to do in the past - but felt it was something I always wanted to do for a long time - to open up and to reveal that no matter how dark our lives has been in the past, God is in control. God is sovereign, therefore I have nothing to fear what other people may think. God loves me as I am.

I flown the nest in 1976, then aged 23. To me, I thought that was old, because I had friends attending our church fellowship who had graduated from their universities and colleges, having left home at 18 years of age. I guess I envied their independence, to be free from the restricting house rules imposed by my Italian parents. Rules such as not to stay up too late. Then the want of the freedom to go out in the evenings to paint the town red, and not be asked either one of those dreadful questions:
Where have you been last night? Or What did you get up to last night? Or even, What time did you get home last night?

To be asked such questions in my early twenties while knowing that students younger than myself were greeted by an empty apartment or college room co-occupied by one or two fellow students really got up my goat! This might have been the start of my feelings of inferior complex, that I was not trusted by my parents for the reason, as I believed then, that I was rubbish at school. In fact, I clearly remember my Dad back then telling me in so many words that these students have proven worthy of their greater independence at a younger age. Massive arguments broke out as a result. In 1976 I found it a joy that I was given a bedsit accommodation by the Council which was the necessary launch pad to start out on a life of my own.

It was after a long while after moving out that I began to feel closer to my parents with a greater warmth. But being single, I still kept them at a distance. At least our loud disagreements began to be the thing of the past.

Being single, even on my own, had mixed blessings. True, I was able to stay up until two in the morning and no one would bat an eyelid. Ditto if I suddenly decided to go away for a couple of days, and in the 1980s, this was a frequent occasion. As a competitive triathlete, many a Saturday night was spent at a hotel in the location where the event would be staged early the following morning, as the Sunday roads would be considerably free of traffic. Then not to mention my backpacking days, where I traveled solo across Western Europe, then to Israel, Canada, the USA, Singapore and Australia. The things I can do as a single person. This is testimony that God had his protective hand on me by pure grace. I did not have to work to receive it.

But being single also had its downsides. I found relationships with the opposite sex very difficult, if not impossible. I lacked confidence, I had a speech impediment, I was into a manual occupation - something our middle-class church girls, as it looked, wouldn't be seen dead with. I was also a loner, not good with team work, and enjoyed reading rather than play footie with the boys (as many of my church friends of my age did).

But that is precisely where God stepped in. After conversion to Christ, one of my greatest joys is studying the Bible. I also poured into books written by trustworthy authors to help me get a better grips with the Bible. The end result was my love for Israel, the nation and its people, and the prophetic plans God has for them.

Then in 1998 I found Alex, my future wife. I was already 47 at the time. We married ten months later during the Autumn of 1999. My first daughter was born in 2001, three years later, my second daughter was born in 2004.

But in the months to follow, we found parenting very difficult. The Health Visitor (who calls at the home of every parents of newborns here in the UK for the first couple of months) noticed this and she was very concerned, and called Social Services. To cut a long story short, after months of assessments, it was decided that our two daughters were to be adopted.

We were devastated, and I felt shame and embarrassment. I only told my family and those at church. During one service, I broke down and wept aloud publicly. But my faith in God never wavered. In fact, if there was a time I felt that I desperately need God in my life, it was then. Although I hang my head in shame, I knew that my two daughters would be in a better environment at their adoptive parent's home, and better provided for than we could have provided.

One morning, while pouring through the prophet Jeremiah, I came across these verses:

This is what the Lord says:
"A voice is heard in Ramah,
mourning and great weeping,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
for her children are no more."
This is what the LORD says:
"Restrain your voice from weeping
and your eyes from tears,
for your work will be rewarded,"
declares the LORD.
"They will return from the land of the enemy.
For there is hope for your future,"
declares the LORD.
"Your children will return to their own land."

Jeremiah 31:15-17.

Of course, the literal meaning of this passage is that after all the Jews had been exiled from their homeland by the Assyrians and the Babylonians, God promises their safe return. But Matthew also quote part of this text as referral to the slaughter of the innocents by King Herod, after being let down by the Wise Men. Obviously, the grieving mothers in Bethlehem will never get their kids back - not in this life anyway.

But reading this myself, I strongly felt God speaking directly to me. I believed. One day, God will return my daughters "from the land of the enemy." The "enemy" are not the adoptive parents of my daughters - they are treating them well and they are well provided for. The "enemy" refers to the Social Worker who had them snatched out of their beds at three in the morning, with not a sliver of compassion or sympathy for my hysterical wife and grieving grandparents.

The loss of our children has been very grievous for both of us, but seven years on, I'm happy to tell you that Alex and I enjoy a strong, robust marriage. We are just two of us, living in the quietness of our home, while knowing that God is in full control. Knowledge of his sovereignty is the key to Eternal Security. Security in him in this life as well as the in the promise of the next.

But what was the basic cause of all this trauma? The assessments showed that we both have Asperger's Syndrome, or "assie." It is a form of Autism. Several mysteries are answered straight away. First the way my parents looked on and treated me while I was still at home (since married, my parents and I are now very close). Then why the girls at our church did not find me compatible. And the inability for team work, including footie with the boys. But what could be surprising result of the assessment is that I also have above-average IQ. Both my wife and I have "assie". This could be the truth behind our robust marriage, despite the loss of our daughters.

The key to this article is Romans 8:28, which reads:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Let us quote the rest of the chapter, for want of such brilliant words:

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

What then, can we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all - how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring to any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is it that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died - more than that, who was raised to life - is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

"For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

There you have it. How great is our God!

Wishing you all a very happy Easter.


  1. Thank you, Frank, for sharing this amazing and honest testimony. We serve an awesome God Who overcomes all obstacles and arranges events perfectly for His will to be done. Praise God that He can restore His children and guide them through any trial, through His infinite mercy, wisdom and grace.
    May you have a blessed Easter,

  2. This is an incredibly brave post Frank, and may I add harrowing too. I salute your honesty and bravery and your unwavering faith; many other people might have given up, but there for the grace of God goes you!

    I guess quite frankly that we all have a story to tell, and we should all be grateful in life for the small comforts God gives us, and grateful for His mercy. I am truly sorry to hear your daughters were taken from you so cruelly and unjustly, I pray that whatever happens that you, your wife, and your daughters will be reunited, sooner rather than later. If only we all stopped to think about the other person now and then, instead of getting caught up in our own fleeting troubles, the world might be a better place.

    May God bless you Frank, and all your family too.

  3. Thank you for sharing, Frank. I agree with Laurie, it is wonderful to see how God can work through even the worst circumstances, when we allow him freedom to work things his way.

  4. Thank you for sharing Frank. What an amazing amazing God we serve! Conquering death, and giving us everlasting life!

    Leah Nicolette

  5. Hey Frank! What a Wonderful Post! I am sorry about the "loss" of your children. I do hope (and will keep you in my prayers) that the girls adoptive parents are kind enough to explain to the girls why they had to be adopted out. (if the adoptive parents know). I know it would soothe the girls minds and hearts to know. I do find it incredible that God brought you and your wife together with the same syndrome. Thank you so much for your comment on my blog. I know that this is a sign of the times, but it doesn't make it any "easier to swallow". Adults should know that children are impressionable and it's a proven fact that we "soak in" the bad a lot easier and quicker than the good. Ergo, even if this program is "meant to be of educational value" it is only going to serve as a catalyst to bad behavior. They say they are going to air "profiles of these "Killer Kids", so how many do you think will watch this and say to themselves, "the program said such and such person came from a broken home, was a loner, and had problems with authority figures. That sounds just like me. I must have killing in my blood. This program is so wrong from so many standpoints. It makes me sick just to think about it. OH WELL, GOD IS IN CONTROL. (That's the only thing sometimes that I think keeps me going).

    God Bless,

  6. Hey Frank!

    I know I have already commented, but I wanted to thank you for your comment. I have to admit you make a good case for Nabal's defense. I started to say "according to God's Word we are to love our neighbor as ourself, but Nabal didn't have God's written Word to go by, and I don't know if he even knew the Ten Commandments. Anyway, that being said, I still can't fee any sympathy for him no matter what his name was. I guess this comes from my own upbringing as well. My dad used to talk to me and about me the same way you described Nabal's, being called idiot, fool, and made fun of, but I reacted the opposite way. Rather than being mad at the world, I developed a very low self esteem, and became a "people pleaser". I would bend over backwards to keep people happy and make sure they liked me. That is not a good trait either, because you end up being a "door mat" and losing yourself.

    Anyway, I feel that deep down, people know right from wrong and if they would treat others the way they like to be treated we would have a lot less bad attitudes and mean spirits in the world. I'm not saying we wouldn't have any, because as long as Satan is around, he is going to cause havoc. We just need to be aware of them and when we feel the urge to say something mean, dial it down. Mean words don't help anything. Abigail was a good example for her husband. God says that a husband can be saved by the conversation of his wife. Conversation, meaning lifestyle. Therefore by Abigail's willingness to share their food, she was setting a good example for her husband. It's just sad that he probably didn't learn from it.

    Oops! I am so sorry! I didn't mean to write another novel in your comment section. I just enjoy it so when you bring up thought provoking comments, so I feel I must share. LOL!

    God Bless,

  7. Hello my friend Frank,

    Don't worry one day your Daughters will return, keep strong and all shall be well.