4 years healed … 4 years of grace

Eagle in Alaska

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
His understanding is unsearchable.

He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might He increases strength.

Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;

but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:28-31

Today marks the fourth anniversary of the Lord’s healing. On November 21, 2010, the Lord miraculously healed me of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.

I had come to the end of what I could do for myself and what the doctors could do. I had even come to the end of pleading for healing. My desire had changed … I wanted more of God.

My Father honored that desire for more of Him. That would have been enough, but He had more in store for me;  He healed me.

My LORD took this pain-stricken, exhausted woman who had come to the conclusion that she would honor God from her bed and healed her. Healed her for a purpose … to live the story of His great grace and love, to proclaim His goodness and works in today’s world.

I recently participated in the Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes. I ran part of the walk. A nurse who had prayed with me during my pain and suffering saw me run and marveled. I hadn’t seen her while I was running, but a week later, she told me how much that had meant to her.

My prayer.

Father, You renewed my strength. You have enabled me to soar to new heights and empowered me to swoop down into new depths with You. With You, I will not grow weary or faint. In Your grace, I have been healed for Your work. Thank You for Your grace, love, and power.

Are you waiting on the Lord?

 

 

If God is Good … Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil – A review

http://www.randomhouse.com/images/dyn/cover/?source=9781601425799&width=1000

If the Creator of the world is good, why is there evil? Randy Alcorn tackles an age-old question with unique insight and logic. I have asked “Why?”many times. Like Job, never an answer to the question, but a refocus on the greatness of God.  Alcorn writes:

Grace and forgiveness, both expressions of God’s eternal character, are moral goods, but without evil they wouldn’t have become clearly evident. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit don’t need compassion, mercy, grace, or forgiveness. These qualities could only be fully expressed to finite and fallen creatures.

Perhaps that is why the angels desire to look into the Gospel, 1 Peter 1:12,; the angels in Heaven have not sinned. They see God’s compassion, mercy, grace and forgiveness, and that prompts them to desire to look into the Gospel.

Alcorn also reminds readers that we cannot understand God’s ways or thoughts. He suggests that maybe an explanation from God for the reason of evil and suffering might lead to greater misunderstanding.

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9

I appreciated the pithy subtitles. I frequently reread them, highlighted them and tweeted them.

True-to-Scripture, If God is Good was filled with stories of people who suffered greatly and, yet, said that their faith in God was strengthened in their time of testing. For some of the people Alcorn wrote about, their great trial was over and they understood why they had gone through the trial. For others, there was no answer, but there will be an answer in heaven.

Alcorn claims that the “Health and Wealth Gospel” perverts our understanding of evil and suffering.  He acknowledges that God still miraculously heals people from sickness and that God uses doctors and medicine to heal people. Sometimes, God does not heal miraculously or through medicine. Sometimes, God has a better plan.

When you pray only for healing, what are you praying to miss out on? Christlikeness? Shouldn’t we learn to pray that our suffering causes growth, that God will give us little glimpses of Heaven as we seek to endure, and that He would use us?

When I had fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, I thought that I was to shine for God through my pain, and I believe that was my purpose in that season. Two years before God miraculously healed me, God impressed upon my husband and me that He would heal me. Two years of praying for the promised healing. Two years of consuming the Scriptures and Christian books on healing, all the while, asking what God had for us to learn.

My fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue were a gift from God. God’s healing was also a gift. God has given me little glimpses of Heaven through each of these gifts, directing this life’s path on an unexpected adventure that unfolds the great goodness of God.

Footnoted and hefty, If God is Good, is a resource for those who have endured suffering or evil and for those who are in the midst of suffering or evil … in other words, this is a resource for everyone who asks “Why?”

This book has been a great blessing to me … a gift from God.

Thank you, Randy Alcorn, for your diligence and commitment to this subject.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

For further information about Randy Alcorn and the book, you might want to visit these websites:

 My prayer for you

Father of Lights, thank You for revealing Your great goodness to us. We thank You for Your mercy, grace, and redemption. Thank You, for Randy Alcorn and his ministry. Bless him and give him greater glimpses of Heaven and of Yourself. Father, You are good; You are great; You are awesome.

Have you wrestled with God?

Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” He said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.” … And he blessed him there. So Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved.” Genesis 32:24-30

I have felt hopeless, afraid, and alone in a barren land. I have wrestled with God. Have you? According to Matthew Henry, the great Bible commentator, “Wrestling believers may obtain glorious victories, and yet come off with broken bones; for when they are weak then are they strong, weak in themselves, but strong in Christ, 2 Co. 12:10.”

Since I was about 8-years-old, I wanted a deep intimacy with the Lord. Through the years, that longing became the deer panting for the water brooks, Psalm 42:1.

Fibromyalgia was my path to the water brooks.

I lived with pain and illness for most of my life, but in the late 1990s, my health declined rapidly, and the doctors did not know why. In 2001, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, a complex chronic pain disorder. On many days, I felt like a Mac truck had run over me.

At first, I asked “Why?” Then, I asked, “What sin have I done that is responsible for this?”  Later, “Why is my faith so weak?”

No answers came, and I decided that this season was sent to me to teach me something, to refine me. I believed that my purpose was to blossom where I was planted—in pain and fatigue. As a result, I accepted my situation and found the blessing in the pain.

Yes, there is blessing in pain. Through this season, my husband, Keith, demonstrated his deep love for me as a patient and gentle caregiver. He offered selfless service with no expectations of me.

In addition, there was that sweet peace in the middle of the night when I lay on the sofa in pain, reading and praying the Psalms.

In 2008, Keith and I read Christ the Healer, and we began to consume the Scriptures on healing and the story of Abraham and Sarah. We became convinced that the Lord was going to heal me for a work that He had planned before the foundation of the world. Keith even told me that he would preach a sermon WHEN the Lord healed me.

In 2010, my health declined to the point that I was considering disability and possibly resigning from the work that I believed that the Lord had for me. In the depths of my pain and fatigue, the Lord miraculously healed me. This healing was confirmed by my doctor, and I am no longer taking fibromyalgia medication.

Jacob obeyed the Lord by returning to his homeland, but he heard that his brother, Esau, was coming to meet him with 400 men. Jacob had tricked Esau into selling his birthright and then stole his blessing and he was afraid of what Esau might do, so he cried out to the Lord, reminding God that he was obeying Him and that He had promised to bless Jacob and his household.

After that prayer, Jacob wrestled with God all night and wouldn’t let go until God had blessed him. God touched his hip socket and his hip was dislocated, but God also blessed him and changed Jacob’s name to Israel, for his spiritual nature changed at that instant.

In the two years between the time that Keith and I were promised that I would be healed, we wrestled with God until all our strength was depleted. When there was no chance that neither the doctors nor I could make my condition better, I gave up and told the Lord that all I wanted was more of Him. God touched my body, healed me, blessed Keith and me, and enabled me to do the work He had planned for me to accomplish.

That moment of healing defined  a new direction in my spiritual and physical journey.

Defining moments have helped to shape my body, spirit, and soul. These moments were not random, but rather, they were created specifically for me–to direct my path, my hope, my love, and my faith.

As I have listened deeply to my defining moments, I have prayed intensely, learned to love passionately, and I hope to bless widely.

My prayer for you:

Gracious Father, bless this dear reader with Your perfect peace and blessings. May this fellow heir to the Kingdom recognize the defining moments You have sent this child of Yours, and bestow Your great and precious promises upon this reader.