History has preserved for us two magnificent silver cups from the boggy marshes of Ireland. The first is known as the Gundestrup Cauldron and comes from a century or two before Christ, a the time when the Irish worshiped violent pagan gods. It is adorned with pictures of gods and warriors. One panel shows a gigantic cook-god holding squirming humans and dropping them into a vat of oil. These gods demand human sacrifice to appease their appetite.
The second cup is called the Ardagh Chalice and comes from the seventh or eighth centuries after Christ, a time when the Irish had turned to Christianity. Like the first it is a work of magnificent craftsmanship, but the God it depicts is radically different. It has a simple but intricate patterning. But this is a cup of peace, designed to be used in communion. As the worshiper lifts it to her lips she is reminded that this God does not demand human sacrifice, but instead sacrifices himself for us.
Source: reported in T Cahill, How the Irish Saved Civilisation (Hodder, 1995)
What should have been a joyous occasion turned into a nightmare of grief. Randy Hoyt watched helplessly as his wife Kris went into hospital for an emergency Caesarean section operation when only 5 months pregnant. The bleeding was tremendous. Kris required 30 units of blood. As the doctors battled to save her life Randy cried out to God “God, what do you want? I know you can heal her; why don’t you?”
God didn’t heal her. Kris and 16 days later their prematurely born daughter Grace lost her struggle for life. Randy was left the single parent of six children.
“What about our plans, God?” he asked. “Who will teach the kids, guide them, and love them like their mother?”
Randy soon found out. A program was started which became known as “Help Bring Hope to the Hoyt Kids.” Over the next six months, hundreds of people worked, sent money, donated meals and supplies and poured love into Randy’s family. Randy received more than 500 letters, e-mails and cards from people who said they were praying for us.
At the end of the six months the medical bills are all paid, the mortgage has been paid and Randy is back at work. God did not save his wife, but God’s love was ministered to Randy and his children in deeply profound ways after Kris’ death.
The pain of Kris’ and Grace’s death of course remained. Yet when he started to sink into despair Randy could imagine the two of them in heaven together, fully alive, healthy and full of joy. “See her as she is now,” he felt the Holy Spirit saying. “She is alive.”
Reflecting upon his experience Chris says, “I asked God for the life of my wife; I received instead a lesson on the nature of God. God is good. Armed with that knowledge, I have no fear for today or the future. God will always be enough…for any situation.”
Source: reported by Randy Hoyt, “Seeing God,” Pentecostal Evangel, January 21, 2001, pp.14-15