This month I'm participating along with many other women across the United States in the S.H.M.I.L.Y group's prayer for 30 days focusing on our husbands. Though this isn't the first time I've participated, it has so far been the deepest I have ever gone with it. Though we definitely feel Satan attacking us STRONGLY as we are becoming closer to God and each other, it has been a tremendous time for us.
I could write endlessly about the benefits it has produced in our marriage, our home, and specifically within me. However, today's post is about how God can use something to specifically speak to us even though our focus is completely geared towards something else.
There have been two great contributing factors that have produced the depth level: my open, pliable heart and the time I'm spending REALLY studying and working through each day's chapter. Instead of just skipping to the suggested prayer, I've taken each chapter and written notes to place in each day of my prayer journal. Today, I found myself a couple of days behind in the note-taking, but God used that being behind to really speak to me this afternoon. The notes I'm working on today deal with healing and our husband's health. Generally, I would imagine I would have normally sped through the chapter and moved on. After all, health is something we can easily take for granted. Kevin is in general good health (he hasn't even had one of his horrific headaches in several months!). Therefore, I could have easily zipped through this chapter and worked quickly on catching up. Instead, God told me to slow down and soak in the chapter. No skipping to the end was allowed.
It was in those few pages that He grabbed me. Stormie Omartian wrote about praying for healing and how powerful God's healing is. NO doubt! We've all witnessed healing many times in our own lives and those around us. It was the other words that caught me. It was the part about when he DOESN'T heal. When he lets physical ailments linger and even when He allows death to take someone we love away from us. It caught my attention on many levels. For many years I've struggled with my own chronic illness. Though I'm in a phase right now that I'm least bothered by symptoms than I have been in many months, there were years that it robbed me of my joy and prevented me from being the mom I needed to be. God hasn't lifted that from me and He has his reasons. I have to trust Him regardless of how He answers our prayers. He may either be saying "No" or simply "wait". I thought of it on the level of someone close to me suffering from a serious, rare disease NEEDING immediate healing. So far, He is also saying "Not now" in regards to healing. The final level I thought about was the one that has being weighing so heavy in recent months. He didn't say "Yes", he didn't say "Wait"......he said "No!".
I admit I struggle greatly with the fact that He didn't heal my father on earth. I don't see the big picture and understand how this plays into His ultimate plan. I have yet to come up with any purpose in taking such a great, healthy man and destroying his body by allowing it to be eaten away by cancer in such a rapid way that stunned even the doctor's who deal with it every day. However, God DID have a plan. He knows exactly why he said "No".
Stormie talked about how we always need to keep praying for healing, but we have to be ready to accept the bottom line that God's decision is exactly that....HIS decision. We don't have the final say over anyone's hour of death. The Bible says there are both times to heal and times to die (Ecclesiastes 3:2,3). We don't make that decision and we have to accept that. We can and SHOULD pray, but HE determines the outcome. The words that most specifically caught my attention were "We have to give Him that privilege without resenting, faulting, or getting angry at Him.". That is the hard part. Accepting the outcome is the easier part for me because I know I can't change what has already happened. The hard part is ridding myself of all resentment and not getting angry. Fortunately, MOST days I can release it. The other days.....well, I'm working on those. I have to remember on those days that I have no right to question an all knowing, all powerful God that has the right to give and take life. His ways aren't always MY ways. However, that is no excuse to throw myself on the ground and have a temper tantrum. Trust me, it isn't pretty when a child does it....can you imagine an adult? Just this weekend we witnessed a child that appeared to be the same age as Peyton throw a FULL tantrum in Target because his mother was firm in her decision to not buy him a $9 toy he demanded. It took everything in our power to keep our chins off the ground at the sight we all saw. I can only imagine what kind of crowd I would draw if I were to do the same!!
So, today I choose to trust. Today I choose to not lay on the ground kicking and screaming drawing a crowd. Today I choose to guard my heart from resentment. Today I choose to allow God the privilege that is solely His in deciding healing and death. Today I choose to continue to pray for healing for those dear to me. Though He didn't make the decision my heart desired in regards to my father, it doesn't mean that I give up hope of Him restoring health to those others in need. Today I choose to not let jealousy or bitterness take root when He heals someone else. Oh, it would be easy to allow it. Instead, I choose to cling to the joyous and tender moments where He has reached my heart in the last months. Today, that is the choice I make!