Monday, July 1, 2013

spent


Let it be...

It is SO hard to be sick....and for so long with so many twisty turns and dips and peaks.  It can be so tempting to try hard to look for "meaning" in our circumstances or for a reason WHY we must suffer, or wait for something we think is the "normal" ending for what we are going through (ie: healing).

But I've found that sometimes looking for this "meaning" can be utterly exhausting.  We want so badly to know the value of our suffering because maybe that would help us appreciate it better while we are going through it; we want to see how it is being used for some sort of good since we're always entrenched in so much "bad".  You know what, though?  We aren't promised those kinds of answers or validation.  Sometimes we get them, more often we get them after the fact, and I would wager that most times, we just don't find out at all the full story of how God uses our suffering for His greater good.  His purposes in His kingdom for our lives are not usually known to us right now, and we feel this especially when our circumstances are not to our liking.  He has a heavenly plan being played out and His purposes are eternal and huge and when we can't see them, we tend to doubt.  But we must trust that His plans are secure.

Because if God is who He says He is, then He can be trusted during the times we are not given answers to our "why" questions.  He DOES use our suffering for His glory and has put us in this position for a reason.  He wouldn't have us here if He wanted us out of it.  And if we widen our lens surrounding our present place, there are just so many ways that God could be using us without us even knowing.

I often think of Hannah in I Samuel; how she waited and how she wept in waiting at times. I am her but with different details. The Lord eventually blessed her with the details she so longed and prayed for (children) and I wonder if she ever did know just how much her situation effected history. I don't know that she got to see wider meaning in her suffering, but she did endure - yes there were tears, but there was endurance and trust and she was blessed.

Will I ever know in my lifetime, the reason for my pain and suffering? I really don't know. But I do trust God and I know He'll carry me through and I know that no amount of fighting or whining will move me out of my present circumstances.  God wants to give us His best; the scary thing to us sometimes is just what that best may be.


One thing I try to do in my most desperate moments of self-pity and questioning is look for God's "graces" - where He has shown grace in my life or in my circumstances ....even in a small moment of my day.  You can always find them if you look for them.  It can take your mind off of the "why me" part and back on to the glory of God. We should want HIM to be greater and more glorious in our own view and in how others perceive Him through how we deal with suffering.

Another wonderful thing to practice is to look away from the chiseling that God is doing in our own life and look to the life of others who are suffering and being "chiseled on" and need encouragement, prayer, or just a shoulder to cry on.  Many times in my own sickness, I have no energy to entertain a guest with even the best of intentions to come help me or encourage me.  The best friends and family I have will come and sometimes just sit knowing I don't have energy to talk.  And yet, their company keeps me encouraged.

On the other hand, if I am the one wanting to encourage but do not have the energy or physical capability to go tangibly help someone, I offer my prayers for them and let them know.  I have even prayed over the phone with friends before and you just don't know how much that can bring encouragement.  Even a simple texted or emailed prayer to a friend can bring a glimmer of joy to an otherwise discouraging day.

Remind yourself that you are a vessel. View yourself as a vessel; a vessel is filled.  You don't know all that God is doing through you or what God is doing IN you.  James 1:3 "....the testing of your faith produces perseverance."  But you can know for certain that God is teaching you to persevere and that He's there with you each step of the way HELPING you endure.

It's interesting that over the course of a few weeks that I've been able to work on this post, that now, when I am finally finishing it up, our sermon at church yesterday was on "The Will of God".   There were many very prescient points that seemed to agree with what I had been working on here.  One of the concepts that helped me a lot was a very simple "things we can do right now".  In the moments when I want to ask "why" instead of pressing on or "doing the next thing", it helps to have a plan right there in front of you and to know for certain these are things God wants me to be doing.  If you are going to do anything, at least do these two things:

1) Pray and give thanks. "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." - I Thessalonians 5:16

2) Delight in Him and His word. "but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on His law day and night.  That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruits in season and whose leaf does not wither - whatever they do prosper."  Psalm 1:2-3

We must take our mind off of SELF and turn our thoughts to Christ and the Word of God.  In doing so, we allow God to chip away at our sins and make us bright, shining jewels for His glory. Decide to say, "How can I know God more?"  We will be blessed if we turn our focus on THAT rather than the all-consuming "whys" of our despair.  Think - "God has sovereignly put me where I am right now at this moment in history.  God has given me a role here on earth that no one else can fill (I think of the story of Esther here)."  We have been called to this earthly kingdom "for such a time as this" - we can be used to further God's heavenly kingdom through our suffering right now and while doing so, we can know that whether we know why NOW or whether we know why in eternity, that God is indeed using us as individuals. Be encouraged!!

And I don't know about you, but whether or not God has chosen in my life here on earth to heal me, I can look forward to the fact that even just that first minute in heaven will be worth ALL of the pain, disappointment, waiting, and suffering I have experienced in this lifetime and this particular trial.

5 comments:

  1. Thank you for posting this! Beautifully written on points that are spot-on without missing a beat. Truly inspired writing. You brightened my day with this :) Lyme isn't the end-all!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is really beautifully written, Heather, and certainly will be used by God to bring comfort to anyone who finds themselves in a time of suffering. As always, Dear One, you are in my prayers.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dear Heather,

    Thank you so much for this beautiful post, full of truth and hope. It is just what I needed today.

    Blessings,
    Paula from Canada

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hello! I discovered this blog through a friend who also has Lyme. I was diagnosed with chronic Lyme and two co-infections 18 months ago. I have ups and downs--the ups are good, the downs are horrifying. I am currently in a "down" place and was encouraged to read this today. My two little bundles of joy are downstairs watching cartoons. By God's grace I got them fed, dressed, combed and brushed this morning and settled them in front of the TV so I could force some breakfast down and try to wrap my mind around getting through the day. You know how it goes! And you are right--it is just SO hard. I am a believer and know that God will not waste this pain we are going through. As I continue along this journey, I hope to be able to encourage others the way you are encouraging folks here. I keep a blog as well, and you're welcome to check it out! www.bellinghamtigers.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete