Hopefully you’ll enjoy my new pics. They’re cute. Kids are just cute, you know? Every one of them. Even an ugly kid would still be cute. Jack says its so we don’t eat them…evolutionarily speaking…lol. Okay, that’s the hunger speaking. I think I have a little stomach bug and haven’t eaten in a day or so. I feel like I’m over it, but at the same time, feeling a little headachy and queasy still. I want to be WELL so I can go volunteer in Selah’s class tomorrow and have friends over for dinner tomorrow evening, but we’ll see what happens. I have learned from (sadly) years of not knowing what to expect with my health to accept what comes…
Actually I’ve been thinking a ton lately about how accepting the chronic illness/fatigue God had allowed into my life LED to more deliverance than all the fighting against it ever did. What I think I’ve learned is that there are different kinds of suffering, and I’ll be quick about explaining it, or at least my take on the matter…
Some suffering, we cause ourselves. We make poor choices or we’re ignorant, but the good side of this kind of suffering is that knowledge and discipline can bring healing. When we ask God for miraculous healing, I think it would be wise to ask Him to help us get a clue on what we are doing wrong (physically, spiritually, emotionally), and then take responsibility for it, if that’s the case. Some suffering is just plain from the enemy, and he will have whatever authority in the situation that we believe he has. If we know the truth, that he has NO authority, actually, and that prayer and worship can shrink his territory (hallelujah!), then this kind of suffering can come to an end quickly, no need for it to stick around in a believer’s life. And lastly, some suffering is handed straight from the Lord for our good and His glory. If we’ve worked through deciphering our personal suffering, its origin, and we get to this last one and find ourselves in suffering God has brought into our lives, we can know it is beauty. It is a gift. It is as beautiful as the cross of Christ. It, in a way, is the cross of Christ, and He is asking us to carry it with Him. He doesn’t always want it to happen quickly, this thing of deliverance. Sometimes He does, for sure, but let’s remember we are people of faith, not sight.
Three things these types of suffering have in common: 1) God is in control of it. Nothing comes to us without first passing through His hand. We don’t want to believe this; it’s painful. But it is more painful to believe God is powerless sometimes, because we know that’s just not true. He’s either ALL powerful or NOT powerful, we can’t have it both ways. Either His word is true and He sees the sparrows, or not. 2) God is beckoning us closer to Him in every moment of trial, no matter the origin, He wants to show His faithfulness, compassion, and presence. He wants to show us what matters, as we die to our strong will about our and other’s destinies. 3) God promised it. The Word is full of what to expect, its just that in our culture, and especially our North American Christian culture, somehow people have decided all suffering is from the enemy and therefore if you are suffering, you are somehow not in His will, not praying the right way, not standing strong enough, not knowing what you should know. After ten years of going round and round with this, I have peace in believing my God is not waiting for a magic word.
So, what is He waiting for? I don’t think we are to just coast obliviously through. There is a battle, there is a race; we just want to make sure we’re spending our energy on the right ones! A few ideas of maybe how He’d like us to respond: Believing in His power and sovereignty in all things, even when it appears His will is not being done; learning humility and the fear of the Lord which ultimately demands nothing from Him, puts us in a place where we do not concern ourselves with matters He has not given us to fix; prizing intimacy with Him above any goal, relationship, ministry, or even calling He has put in our hearts and lives; bringing a sacrifice of praise.
My time in Africa and the “sickness” that resulted from it are a mixture of all three origins of suffering. I wanted God to bring glory to Himself by healing me, and one time He did, for a season. But the things I have learned…I absolutely am so thankful for how these difficulties have changed me. I would be so busy, so lost in people’s opinions and praise; I’d be a worker, not a daughter; I wouldn’t be learning to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength because I’d be worshipping all I could do for Him instead of Him. And that’s just the beginning. I’m going to let suffering complete it’s work in me, all the time stomping on the enemy who wants to make things confusing or worse than they are, and all the time learning about how to be as healthy and wise as I can. (This is the goal anyway!)
So…nothing specific to winter today…but it was last winter that I remember crying all the way home from a family gathering, where I was so sick and tired, and the only thought in my mind all the way home was, “God, You’re not going to heal me, are You?” My heart was broken. I had been praying and believing for 9 years, and this was the very first time I allowed myself to be in that place of, really, despair. I remember thinking, “Okay, I am Yours. If you want me sick and unable to care for my kids or do anything I believe You’ve called me to do, I surrender. It’s not my life anyway. If You want me well and able, You’re going to have to make it happen, because I give up! Don’t expect anything out of me, God, because You’re making it impossible, You know!!!” Somehow, peace entered my heart at that time. I realized I needed to go with the flow, trusting that this was His flow. God assured me He didn’t want anything from me anyway…not anything that I thought He wanted, that is. He wanted me to let go of my hold on my life, and really say “whatever”, even if it was going to be a life of embarrassment, weakness, and nothingness. The journey of weakness had begun 9 years before, but now the journey of accepting it and finding joy in it would begin. And would you believe that 4 months later I met the doctor that knew what was physically wrong with me in one conversation, and I have actually had more wisdom, knowledge, and steps to healing this year than in 10 whole years of searching?
This is not the journey I hoped for, prayed for, or believed for. But it is mine, and I am with Jesus in it, so it’s good! For anyone who read this far, bless your heart, and thank you for letting me share my life with you. I’d be happy to talk in person anytime!