James 1:2-4,12 ESV
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”
I don’t have it all together.
And I don’t have the answers to everything. Sometimes I ask lots of questions. I’m not doubting God. I am not questioning him and what he says he will do or who he is or anything like that. It is a little bit like what Mary said when she was told that she was going to be impregnated by the Spirit of God and that she was going to give birth to the Son of God. She didn’t doubt God. But she had a question.
That is where I am right now. As I have mentioned before, I got sick with a virus from a mice infestation we had in our apartment back in August and I was very sick for eight weeks. But the fatigue and the dizziness never really left me. They still come and go. But then at the end of last month my right knee gave out on me. I can walk with a walker but it is painful. And now I am getting nerve pains down my leg.
Now all throughout this the Lord has assured me what he assured Paul and that is that his grace is enough. My Lord has had me trusting him with my health for at least the past thirteen years and I have been pharmaceutical dependent free for all this time. And I have experienced his healing power in my body and in my spirit so many times over. So, I know that God still heals and I know that I can depend on him fully to get me through this.
But like Mary, I have a question.
She asked, “How can this be since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34). But her question was not like Zechariah’s. He said, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years” (Luke 1:18). The two questions sound similar, but they are distinctly different. Zechariah doubted God. Mary’s question was not one of doubt, but of practicality. She needed to know how this was going to take place.
And she needed to know that so she could be prepared and so she would know what to do or perhaps even how to explain what was happening to her to her betrothed and to her family and friends and neighbors.
But how do you explain something like that? Who would believe her? Joseph only believed eventually because he was also visited by an angel and he believed the angel. And her cousin Elizabeth believed because the Holy Spirit revealed it to her when her baby leaped in her womb at the sight of pregnant Mary. But that was a tough one, for sure.
But Mary trusted the Lord and she did what he told her to do. And she submitted to his will and purpose for her life. She said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”
And this is where I am.
I understand that the Lord is allowing me to go through this trial for a reason. I accept his sovereignty over my life. I believe he is in control over all things and that he could have kept those mice out of our apartment, and he could have prevented me from becoming ill, and he could have prevented my knee from giving way, and he could have healed me by now if it was in his will and purpose for my life.
But he has allowed me to not get better and for the pain now to be a nerve pain going down my leg. And I have been diligent in watching my diet and moving around periodically to keep my blood circulation going and to strengthen my leg and knee with light exercises. And that has been going fairly well, but now I have this nerve pain. But I am still trusting the Lord.
But, I have a question.
And my question is a lot like Mary’s. I need to know how this is all supposed to happen. I understand I am going through a trial. I understand that God is allowing this for my good and for his purposes. I believe in his sovereignty and I trust in his grace. But there is a practical side to all of this. For, I don’t know what is causing all of this, and so I don’t know exactly what I need to do.
So, my question really comes down to this. Should I go see a doctor and get a diagnosis so that I know what I am dealing with and so I know best how to treat it? Now, that may seem like a pretty logical and practical step to take, but I don’t want to ever be in danger of not trusting my Lord and turning to others to help me if that is outside his perfect will for me.
I will not take drugs. I know that. And so surgery is really out of the question, I believe. But physical therapy might be an option. But I really don’t want to close any doors, either, that he may be opening.
So, my question in asking the Lord how this will take place is asking him if his plan is for me to get outside help because he has a purpose in that and that is why he is not healing me right now, or if his purpose is that I just keep trusting him to take care of me without any outside intervention.
Can I be steadfast and keep trusting the Lord and still seek outside help in identifying the root of the pain? Or does steadfastness mean I don’t seek outside help to identify the source of the pain and I just trust the Lord to show me each step of the way what to do next?
What to do next?
I do not in any way want to do anything that would be doubting my Lord, but he has not yet given me clear direction in this matter. I just know so far that his grace is enough for me to see me through this trial and that I am to remain steadfast under this trial so that God’s work he is doing in me will accomplish the purpose for why he has sent this to me.
So, until I have clear direction regarding any outside assistance, I will keep doing what I have been doing for I never want to go ahead of God or feel as though I need to help him out. But this is definitely a trial in so many different ways, and my faith is being tested. Yet, I want steadfastness to have its full effect in my life so that I may be mature and complete in Christ, lacking in nothing.
So, if you think about it, would you pray for me that I would know “how” God wants to do this? I don’t want to go ahead of him nor lag behind him. I want to remain in step with him every step of the way through the course of this trial and through whatever lessons I need to learn through it.
I Stand in Awe
By Mark Altrogge
You are beautiful
You are beautiful beyond description
Too marvelous for words
Too wonderful for comprehension
Like nothing ever seen or heard
Who can grasp Your infinite wisdom?
Who can fathom the depth of Your love?
You are beautiful beyond description
Majesty, enthroned above
And I stand, I stand in awe of You
I stand, I stand in awe of You
Holy God, to whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of You
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