I have been savoring Brother Lawrence’s book, “The Practice of the Presence of God,” and have been deeply impacted by its timeless message of spiritual intimacy through the mundane rituals of life. Yesterday morning this quote moved me to tears, ” … the trust we put in God honors Him and draws down great graces… it is impossible not only that God should deceive but that he should long let a soul suffer that is perfectly resigned to him.”
I turned those words over and over in my heart and mind trying to understand them more fully. Regretfully sometimes, I fall under the category on the other side of trust… withdrawing my faith in him at times and finding God’s great grace eluding me. To some, trust is basic “Faith 101” that most disciples of Jesus have learned decades ago… But for me, faith and trust have been built in layers over the years and are constantly stretched and tested according to life’s circumstances.
Resignation comes easy… at the end of a glorious service at the altar with sweet music playing. But the resignation of following God when it means sacrifice, away from comfort, family, familiarity, even violent sickness is the test of truth. Would I really “… have Jesus than silver or gold…”? One doesn’t know until the trial… “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him” rolls off the tongue in worship but sticks in the throat during unexplained illness…
My husband has returned from an international trip with glowing reports of the work of God. The Lord’s plan of the ages for his ancient people marches on, and we are blessed beyond words to serve in a small lentil patch with some of his chosen.
Almost from the day my husband left, I have been in a stretching time of faith physically. I have a new cardiologist that changed my blood pressure medicine. I had a violent reaction to that change. After about a week of sickness, I ended up in the ER. Since then, the doctor has changed meds twice, and I seem to be settling in on third choice that is suitable. Now most of the cardiac testing is completed. Basically, it showed many pockets of fat in all the arteries surrounding my heart. There are a few in my brain as well. In time—if allowed to build—these could mean sudden death. But the wonderful news is that they are reversible with medicine, diet, and exercise.
This is a wake-up call for me that came just in time. I was so sick in the last week, that I have lost eleven pounds and am very grateful for the jump-start on the diet to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides.
When I was preparing for my stress test this week, I laid my head back on the pillow and asked the Lord for a scripture. Immediately, “I strain forward toward the goal of apprehending that which I have been apprehended for…” bubbled up. And it was that verse that sustained me through the testing and last days of illness until the doctor figured out what was wrong.
Those words filled my heart with hope for the future and strength for the day. Waiting for my test, and as I was communing with the Lord with that promise, I saw myself emerging from a cocoon as a butterfly.
And in a sense, that image was very accurate. This wake-up call on my health has been timely. I must emerge with a clean bill of health to fulfill God’s will for my life in the next season, and I know the Lord is getting me ready for the next wonderful phase of our lives in Jerusalem… The warfare had been intense but the promises of God even more sturdy, able to stand against the onslaught of the enemy.
The day my husband came home, the sickness lifted completely, and I feel like myself again. But this little bout has deepened my faith anew as I found, like Brother Lawrence, “…the trust we put in God greatly honors him and draws down great graces…” I felt the manifold grace of God upon my life in these last 16 days as never before.
And this bout has churned up a fresh wind of compassion for the sick and the widow, that is alone in this world and dependent upon the mercy of man and God to navigate through life’s trials.
More than ever, I am eager to “apprehend that which I have been apprehended for” in this next season of life. As I make sure steps toward the goal, I trust him even more and feel His graces “drawing down.”