Today is a pain day. Every once in awhile, they creep up. The pain is severe and uncontrollable and obviously, unwelcome. I have had people ask me why God doesn’t heal me. I’ve had people ask me if I have even asked for healing. I have had people ask me if I believe He can do it.
Yes, I do believe He can. But right now, I do believe He won’t.
I don’t believe He doesn’t heal people – I know He does. I have seen it happen before with my own eyes. I just believe it is not the time for me to be healed. Sometimes healing doesn’t happen. But I believe healing doesn’t happen because God has a different plan for you.
When it is just you and pain, you join with Christ for relief. Even if there is no healing. Sometimes He allows the pain to…
“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:6-7 NIV
In forty-five years of walking with Jesus, I’ve suffered grief in all kinds of trials. Losing our firstborn daughter in an automobile accident. A miscarriage. A severely handicapped son who is totally dependent upon others to meet all his needs. Alzheimer’s touching our lives twice. My own long list of chronic illnesses. None of these circumstances have been easy to walk through.
Yet God’s purposes are being accomplished in and through my life. As I look back over my life, even I can see how much my faith has grown. According to human logic, faith grows as we experience miracles and are blessed. But according to God’s reasoning, faith grows as it is refined by fire. It may not make sense to me, but I know it is true.
And as I reflect back on my life, I can only reach one conclusion. The more I’ve gone through, the more my faith and love for my Lord has grown. Lord, You are worth it all!
The following is a short devotional I wrote on Psalm 55, to share with a group I work with. I decided to also share it on my blog today, since it is a subject many ladies with chronic illness struggle with.
Few things are more painful than the betrayal of a close friend. The pain of unfaithfulness by someone we trust is difficult to deal with, and though Psalm 55 does not give us any details on what had happened we can feel David’s hurt.
In this situation, David knew what to do. In his distress, he cried out to the Lord for help. Three things stood out to me in these verses.
1. David honestly expressed the pain he was feeling, pouring out the anguish of his heart to God.
2. David also prayed in faith, expecting the Lord to hear and respond.
3. This was not a one time prayer: evening, morning and noon David cried out the his God for help. Apparently, peace did not come the first time David prayed, so he continued praying until he was confident that God was in control and would help him.
Victory over worry isn’t always a quick and easy process. But honestly telling the Lord (and sometimes others whom we trust) what we are facing is a key to winning over worry. Pray in both honesty and trust, and keep praying until you sense breakthrough. No matter what you are facing today, apply these three steps of prayer to have victory over worry.
O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you: my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. -Psalm 63:1 NLT
Dry. Hot. Weary. Thirsty. Oh, so thirsty.
I have never been or had the desire to go to a desert. However, I know what it’s like to be really dry and thirsty on a hot summer’s day. All I want at this point is a very large glass of water. Until I get one, I complain about the heat and the thirst and fuss about things until I get that glass of water.
When I finally get a glass of water. I guzzle it down instead of sipping. I don’t enjoy it. I am just desperate to be hydrated. I’m so thirsty, I don’t’ savour the water. I just get it down my throat…
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, to expect is:
to anticipate or look forward to the coming or occurrence of
to consider probable or certain
That sounds just like the biblical definition of hope, which is my Word of the Year for 2017. And hope is exactly what I’m needing to hold onto today.
This has been a difficult week for our family, a week of problems that in ourselves we have no solution for. But it has also been a week of choosing to hold onto hope. Hope that our problems, while they seem huge to us, are not too big for God.
This has been a week of expectancy, of believing that God is able to meet the needs we have no way to handle on our own. Of expecting His help. It has been a time of wondering how God is going to come through for us this time, but still trusting that He will.
When we fail to stand in hope in the midst of difficult circumstances, fear and anxiety invade our hearts. My decision this week has been to win over worry and fear by holding onto God’s Word.
“There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.”
Proverbs 23:18 NIV
“We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.”
Psalm 33:20 NIV
“Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”
Psalm 27:14 NIV
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14 NIV
As I was seeking God’s direction concerning what to write for this week’s Five Minute Friday post, the above words of the apostle Paul came to mind. And along with them, the realization that this is God’s direction for our future.
Leave Behind. The first thing God calls us to do as we look toward the future is to let go of the past. We usually think of this in terms of leaving behind our failures and regrets, and that’s a part of it. But in context of Philippians 3, Paul was referring to leaving behind the good things too – the things he had done that made him appear righteous according to the law.
Press On. We are to press on with understanding of God’s purpose for our lives. As Paul said in Ephesians 2:10, we were “… created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” We are to press on with the goal of fulfilling those good works.
Keep Our Eyes on the Final Destination. Know we are on our way to heaven, and turn our eyes and heart in that direction. Keeping an eternal perspective is an important part of moving forward through the difficulties of our current lives. It helps us to keep our eyes on living to please God on every step for the journey.
So today, let go of what lies behind, whether good or bad, and press forward into the future God has for you. And all the while, keep your eyes on our end destination, our ultimate future when Christ returns for His Bride.
When was the last time you actually visited someone? I’m sorry to say for me it has been a long time. There are some practical reasons for this, but that doesn’t negate the fact that in-person visits are of value.
Living with chronic illness makes it unsafe for me to drive. That combined with difficulties traveling by myself, limited stamina for outings, my husband’s busy schedule, and financial pressures have made me basically a stay-at-home person. With my husband’s help, I make it to doctors’ appointments and to our church most Sunday mornings, but otherwise I’m home bound. Most of my friends are ladies I either haven’t seen in years or have never actually met in person.
With today’s technology, I’ve become accustomed to online relationships, and that in itself isn’t bad. In fact, many times my online contacts are my main source of both daily encouragement and of encouraging others. But the value of actual in-person visits can’t be totally replaced by typing a message into a text, Facebook post or email. I long for a way to visit extended family and friends more often.
The apostle John understood the importance of visiting the people he was called to minister to. He used letters to send messages to the churches, but he recognized this was not a substitute for actually seeing others face-to-face. In 2 John 1:12, he made it clear that sometimes we really need to make a way to visit others in person. To fail to find room for this in our lives is to miss one of the major joys of the Christian life.
Right now, infrequent visits are a fact of life for me. But my hope and prayer is that this won’t always be true. I long to meet some special friends I’ve grown to love and yet never actually had an opportunity to visit with. But until that happens, I choose to rejoice in the few local friends I’m able to have contact with and my circle of online friends. And I never want to forget my “friend who sticks closer than a brother,” the Lord Jesus Christ.