I don’t really know where to start with this post…
I thought about listing all of the difficult things going on in my life right now, and then direct you to an ending claus regarding how faithful God is in spite of it all. But that is an excellent formula to make myself feel overwhelmed. So I will approach this counterintuitively, and tell you of the goodness of God right off the bat: GOD ALWAYS HAS THE UPPER HAND.
Allow me to explain:
Just so you have a glimpse into my world right now: my brother is currently in the ICU, my grandma had a heart attack this weekend and had to get an angioplasty done, and I am leaving to go to Asia tomorrow on a missions trip. When I first received the news of my brother Saturday morning, I didn’t know how to react. I was with people all day, constantly on the go, had people depending on me, and didn’t really have a moment to gather my emotions and process all that was happening.
And so, I began to question everything out of fear, “Should I go on this trip? What if I get horrible news while I am gone? Is he going to be able to recover? My family needs me right now, and I’m leaving them…”
As I battled with these thoughts all day Saturday, I nearly broke down and lost my sanity. As I was descending rapidly towards my breaking point, I decided that I needed to step aside for a moment and give God room to speak. He began to remind me of his promises over my brother, and that many of them have yet to be fulfilled. God peacefully reassured me that He sees long term, and I only see the moment. He spoke to me that though all I can see right now are the injuries that my brother is facing, God can see the point in time when complete healing and restoration occurs.
Just because I don’t yet see it, doesn’t mean that it is not a reality–I mean, faith is indeed the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not yet seen! (Right?!).
As I yielded to this thought, I was able to surrender my attempts at “pulling myself up by my bootstraps”, and God began to lift me up.
Fast forward about twenty four hours: Sunday night, as I was about to go into a church service, I received a disheartening phone call. My dad began to inform me that my grandma was in the hospital, recovering from heart surgery and that she had suffered a heart attack. Too shocked to cry, I thanked my dad for letting me know, hung up the phone, dry swallowed my discouragement, and stood up. As I reflected on the awful news that I had received throughout weekend, I was flooded with mixed emotions and thoughts that were too scattered to quantify or understand. I exclaimed out of anger to God, “I feel like you are teasing me! Every time things look like they are getting better, they seem to just fall apart again!”.
Well, when one exclaims such an audacious claim to God, they can expect a humbling response. Instantly the Lord reminded me, “Don’t you dare think I am teasing you with anything! People and situations are imperfect, but I pursue them anyways, heal anyways, and display my power anyways.”
And at that, my thoughts began to align and correct themselves. Yes, my brother took a four story fall…BUT, he didn’t break his neck, back, or die! Yes, my grandma is in the hospital because of heart issues…BUT, the surgery went well, she is in good spirits, is expected to return to life as usual, and will be released from the hospital in a few days! Yes, I am leaving to go on a missions trip in the middle of a crazy mess…BUT, God has clearly guided and directed this entire journey, therefore I can go into it with confidence!
Prior to going through an experience like this, I was intimidated by the thought of facing a difficult situation. While I can be quoted encouraging others that difficulties are intended for good and to build you up, I still obviously never wanted to go through anything trying or traumatic. But the more I yield to God’s perspective of this situation, the more I realize that it is not time to be discouraged or fearful, but it is time for faith to arise and stand firm through this trial!
In the midst of all of this, I am living in and experiencing the peace of God which transcends understanding. God is showing me that yes, in this world I will have troubles–but that no trouble is too big for him, because he has overcome the world!
While the facts of this situation are discouraging, God has already won victory in it, restored everything that is broken, and is using this to bring about a miracle in my family that will testify of his goodness! I am learning that you really can be encouraged by every bad hand the enemy deals you, because it simply is an opportunity for God to display and prove who really has the upper hand! God specializes in, and LOVES to take the dirt that life dishes out, and produce gold. We serve a God who turns water into wine, raises the dead, brings sight to the blind, and brings joy from the most unlikely situations–friends, there is NOTHING too difficult or intimidating for God. He ALWAYS has the upper hand.
What the enemy tried to do was dim my light, but what he ended up doing was light my fire.
“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” James 1:2-4 [MSG]
“So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst be sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us–who was raised to life for us!–is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in scripture.” Romans 8:31-35 [MSG]
“Greater is He who is in me, than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4 [NKJV]
***Please be praying for my grandma, Barbara, and my brother, Travis. Please pray for full and complete healing, and that in the process God eases their pain.***