A few days before JD and I met under our chuppah and exchanged “forever” vows, while driving to be with my mother in the ICU, we prayed together and thanked God for trusting us enough to allow us to go through what we had gone through that week. We know that we win greater spiritual authority and greater testing through the trials that we face. However, I find myself looking back on that Chrystal with a little longing. She was stronger than I feel now.
It is ironic to some degree that my Achilles’ Heel often is a good report. It was easier in some ways to cling to God when we were praying for Mother’s life; now that the prognoses are increasingly good, my soul requires a little more stirring to stay positive. This is so often true of our spiritual walks in general–we turn to God in the time of trouble and then complain when we win some battles.
I feel like I have a little better understanding these days of the children of Israel in the wilderness. It has been so easy to judge them over the years, thinking, “How could someone who saw the miracles in Egypt and walked through the Red Sea on dry ground doubt that God would provide for them?” However, in the fatigue of a Sunday night while missing the simple pleasure of picking up the phone and talking to Mother the way we used to talk, it becomes a little clearer. I forget how the Father spared her life, how He kept my EMT certified uncle from giving her an aspirin on the way to the hospital (which would have made her bleed out and die), how He kept her from harm when said uncle fell carrying her into the Emergency Room, how He did not make her undergo surgery, how He’s given back her cognizance and ability to communicate, how He restored her bodily systems to where eating and voiding are as they should be, and so many more things. Instead, I look at me… Ah–there’s the real trouble. I look at me.
The reality is, I do not have the grace in myself to be grateful. I do not have the strength required to be strong. I’m no pillar of faith in my own right. I have no great gift of insight into the Spirit that is worthy of setting on a pedestal. All I have is God, and fortunately, that is more than enough. He is the one whose mercies are new every morning. He is the one who daily bears our burdens. He is the one who stays closer than a brother–who said that He would not forget us, and though father and mother abandoned us, He would not leave us. This is the faithfulness of my Jesus. He is the one who gives me the grace to say, “Not my will, but Yours.” After all, He was the one who prayed that first, and His suffering was so much greater than ours ever will be.
My heart is alive to a song by Misty Edwards tonight. She simply sings, “Don’t give up. Don’t give in. If you don’t quit, you win.” This is what the apostle Paul was speaking of when he said, (in Ephesians 6), “having done all to stand, stand. . . ” We are seated in the heavenly places with Christ, and He is the one with all authority to judge–indeed, He won this authority by the depth of what He suffered. He does not lie like a man. He does not break promises. He does not forget what He said. And our part in doing the will of God is simply to believe in the one He sent. “I believe, oh God. Help my unbelief…”