There has been a song on repeat this weekend after one line of the lyrics kept coming back to me over and over. I ended up just sitting there listening to the song and feeling His comfort wash over me. Hands lifted in thankfulness, all I could do is sit there and thank my God for always being the same – no matter if I am standing on the mountain or if I am in a valley. He is with me. In that I rejoice. How significant it was that this song reverberated in my spirit at this time.
This past week was difficult. Watching my husband struggle for air or constantly having to lie down due to weakness or pain was not easy. I felt helpless. I found myself often without words to say to him in the midst of his fight with discouragement. There have been times when I just had to cry out to God my own frustrations about my husband’s condition. Why have we not seen him healed? This man who has prayed the prayer of faith over others and seen miracles has been in the fight for his life.
Faith for healing.
It’s a topic that has often been debated and misunderstood. On the one hand we can say we either have it or we don’t. Yet, both scripture and history can tell us it is not always that cut and dry.
I know. I am living it.
If anyone asks me whether or not I believe that God can heal my husband, my first reaction is, “Absolutely!” Yet others will have the opinion that I actually live in doubt because they do not hear me proclaim that God WILL heal him. Although I understand where that opinion comes from, it really is not truth about me at all. Truth is I am not just focused on what I can see through my human eyes such as that day-to-day struggle my husband is fighting. Instead, it is on the Author and Finisher of my faith. He wants to know that I will remain faithful to Him no matter what He answers.
In the past couple of weeks, God has been showing me more about this perspective. As I go to Him seeking an understanding, He has not always given me answers. Instead, he has sent me messages by way of notes or calls from other people. And each time I read a note, it is as if I feel God tapping me on the shoulder saying, “See, it’s not about you. It’s about them.”
It’s about them! Ok. I needed to examine that more and also examine my heart in the process. As I read over words sent to us and think of conversations I have had, certain comments start standing out to me. Those comments reminded me that others are watching how we represent Christ during the hard times. Whether we want to admit it or not, human nature tends to sit back and watch events before jumping up to say, “I’m all in!” As believers we know His power to heal and we see the glory that can and does come when a miracle happens. Yet there is another glory at times that we tend to overlook. The glory of the fellowship of His suffering. It’s all the same.
Hebrews 11 gives us a list of men and women throughout the Bible that had strong faith. Yet was does scripture say about their life? “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” They didn’t get their miracle – BUT THEY HAD FAITH. They didn’t see the promise but it was all the same to them because their focus was not on the promise but on the One who promised.
Thankfully I can say that I believe death is not the ending to our story. But I wonder, would Hebrews still list me as a woman of faith even if I do not see what I am believing for? I hope so. I want to be that person.
While discussing this one morning during our devotion time, my husband brought up a story we heard years ago about missionaries whose children were dying. One at a time, each family of a group of missionaries lost a child. The villagers were watching their response. They believed the missionary families would be upset with their God and leave. Yet that did not happen. Instead, they clung to God for strength and comfort as well as were strengthened in their resolve to serve that village. After about the third death, the villagers came forward. If the missionaries had a God that could strengthen and comfort them in such a way, they believed that God must be real! They came forward and admitted that they had poisoned the children one-by-one as a test. Even in this the missionaries forgave the villagers and saw God’s glory in the salvation of many. Their faith held strong all the same.
Paul spoke of this kind of faith in 2 Corinthians 1:8,9
“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead“
Suffering allows us to relate with others on an entirely different level. When we first announced that Raphael was starting chemo, many reached out with words of comfort. Yet the words that held the most meaning were those from friends who had walked through chemo or who had been the caregiver of a chemo patient. All the words of encouragement held meaning and were special. But when you get with someone who has walked that journey before, there is a different level of understanding that you have between the two of you. An unspoken understanding that helps you say, “I, too, can do this!”
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
That is a heavy thought to weigh out. Am I willing to suffer for the sake of others? I cannot say that the willing attitude always shows up. Yet a grateful one does when I get a message from someone thanking me for showing them how to hold on even when you want to run from reality.
See, I have heard from some who were under the impression that people believed in God only because of all the blessing He had given them. These are acquaintances that know our faith and are aware of the relationship my husband and I have had with God. They kept their distance from me. Until now. Now they see me as relatable to them. Now they see that my faith in God is not for what I can get from Him. It’s all about wanting to be near Him. It’s about the fact that He already gave me everything. And most of all, they are seeing that whether He is blessing me or allowing me to walk through the trial of my life, my love for Him is all the same!
That’s what God is always looking for – relationship with us. I don’t seek Him just to find a miracle. I seek Him to know Him. Just like the lyrics, no matter what comes my way, my faith is all the same.
Oh, how high would I climb mountains if the mountains were where You hide.
Oh, how far I’d scale the valleys if You graced the other side.
And, oh, how long have I chased rivers from lowly seas to where they rise.
Against the rush of grace descending from the source of its supply.
‘Cause in the highlands and the heartache, You’re neither more or less inclined.
I would search and stop at nothing You’re just not that hard to find.
No matter if Raphael is having a good day and is able to go cut grass or if he can barely make it out of bed, it’s not hard to find God. He is present even in the fact we make it through another day. He is there, all the same.
I will praise on the mountain and I will praise you when the mountain is in my way.
You’re the summit where my feet are so I will praise You in the valleys all the same.
No less God within the shadows. No less faithful when the night leads me astray.
‘Cause You’re the heaven where my heart is in the highlands and the heartache all the same.
There is a mountain in my way right now. But it will not stop me from praising my Lord! My heart is with Him and I trust Him completely…….even when He is choosing to allow us to walk this journey through….it’s all the same.
For who could dare ascend that mountain, that valleyed hill called Calvary
But for the one I call Good Shepherd, Who like a lamb was slain for me?
In Psalms we find 15 chapters characterized as ‘songs of ascent’. These were songs that were sung by the people as they ascended the hills going to Jerusalem to worship. As they headed to Jerusalem for Passover and other feasts, the songs could be heard through the air. These were the same hills Christ climbed on that final Passover when He became the Lamb that was slain for us. He knew what waited for Him as He climbed those hills for the feast that year. But He did it all the same.
Whatever I walk through, wherever I am, Your name can move mountains wherever I stand.
And if ever I walk through the valley of death I’ll sing through the shadows my song of ascent.
I know without a doubt that my God can move this mountain! But I also trust His sovereignty to know what lies on the other side of this heartache. I don’t understand how silent He has been at times during these last few months. My faith for healing is there. I am speaking to the amyloid to leave. I am speaking to the light chains to get back in line. But more than that, my relationship with Him will not falter no matter the answer.
So I am choosing to ascend the hill to sing and worship Him all the same!