Thursday. November 3. 2016.
I am learning to not be afraid of disappointment, broken expectations, and clearly marked hard seasons. We often ponder doing away with the latter, but Hebrews 2 wouldn’t have it. And rightly so. What I really wish we could ponder is our definition of bad. I can pretty much sum up our thoughts concerning such a definition… As bad being something that licked our expectations and left us puzzled and out of comfort.
More times than none, “bad” leans toward how we explain our disappointments instead of something that truly goes against the Word and the obedience to trusting His will. Tribulation doesn’t mean bad. Trials don’t mean bad. Bad is not Grace’s way to leading us heavenward. Grace’s way is finding it fitting to suffer, to refining us over a Holy fire, and redeem us back to Himself!
She said it without a crack in her voice, “The Lord has made me strong. I didn’t know how strong I was, but He has given me a strong spirit. The Lord has made me strong.” These were the first words out of her mouth as I bent gently over her hospital bed to tell her she had cancer.
A providential hush-a-by-baby quiet filled the room the next few minutes, and I did NOT want to be mad at God. I did NOT want to declare to my God that His way in this was bad. I did not want my heart or any of the hearts that will walk through this season, laying a blanket of bitter over the sovereignty of an endlessly GOOD God! If this takes us to the end of ourselves in complete desperation of life, of sustainment, of breathing in obedience… May our hearts know that the end of ourselves tap into something that will soon begin. What if we begin to be a people that chooses suffering not as a destined emptiness to destroy life, but we take suffering as something that steers His will to fulfillment THROUGH life?
The sun slowly rose upon our early morning whispers. Beeping IV boxes, slow silent life easing drips, and a spirit running to get the day’s first tastes of new mercies. “Open that curtain, Annie. Let fresh light in…” She morning voice echoes. “I do deep within me know this peace. I can’t rightly explain it, but I know it.” I started to see that He did give her a strong spirit.
Growing under her wing, her tune into Jesus has never really been a question. Her quiet, calming voice and universal face I know has been comfort to many as she spent much of her life nursing her own babies through its throws. But also nursing lives of strangers through theirs. Her given profession needs no explanation.
I began asking those questions no child wants to ask their mother, but I had to know the longings that beat hard in her chest. I had to know how she saw what was happening in her body, the temple He had given. I didn’t think I would see Him instead. Whatever longings that beat hard in any chest, could our ultimate cry be this – teach me to see what I don’t see! Seeing in any situation, no matter how tragic or desperate or bad we define it to be, seeing it as whole first starts with seeing Him. Seeing past the feelings and emotions that trigger to blame because we think He’s absent. And seeing Him first settles our wondering of His goodness.
Seeing that He is good.
Seeing that He is good to us.
Obviously, my mother having cancer was never in my plans. If I could, I’d probably try to exchange much for differences over her. However, there is nothing. There is no amount of tears that could be cried, no amount of begging, nothing I can do to make God change His good plan. But I can see that He is good.
I’m learning to know this… In any life when suffering becomes present, if we live a life willing, our beg will not be for an escape or an exchange. Our beg is for Holy Maker to fine tune our view of Joy. Joy because it is lasting. When we discover its infinite depth, it is lasting. No sickness, no fear, no death can outlast joy! That is good.
So as we embark on such a journey, let us take this… Let us take cancer as accepting the Lord’s invitation to something deeply nurturing. May we trust that He will cover it with good things and nourish it with living water. May we be willing to be brought back to the great truths of the need to sanctify us, over and over, forever and ever. And this will be our song… Be enthroned upon our hearts. Let Your will be done in us and let Your Kingdom come in us. In this life… let it be as it is in Heaven.
Father. We’ve tasted the fullness of your grace over the previous forty-eight hours. I feel like I’ve just began a slow dance with you. And as my feet try to trek in Your rhythm, my heart will be lifted. Sustain this heart to dance in the Light. Hold the Joy portions of me closest to Your depths. And bind me up in fearlessness. I pray for healing. I pray for an ease of pain. But I know deeper still that Your cross made suffering fitting. Bear down on me. Bear down on my family. Bear down and grip and hold like there’s no tomorrow. I comfort in Your timing. That now is clearly time for lifting souls. As we dwell in the household of faith, may we dwell secure clinging to the Builder. Faithful King, may we know that Your many titles define You! Forever and ever, my Love!