I've been keeping vigil on Ted's health all summer and it was starting to take a toll on me. We'd been through some difficult trials, and I got behind on sleep.
When sleep-deprived, ever notice how your whole outlook changes? Doubt and discouragement creep in. It is a tool of the enemy to steal our hope and joy.
The Bible tells us to “Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4 NIV)
Sometimes it is hard to make the leap to “joy,” but I do know I want mature faith. I tell myself I need to persevere so I can be complete, not lacking anything. It will all be worth it. The joy will come again. I’d say, “OK, Lord. If that’s what it takes, then bring it on. But, help me persevere.”
I’d be strong one moment, and then doubt would enter in. I’d think of how long a road this has already been and how little progress I’ve seen lately. I’d start to wonder if Ted would ever get off oxygen again. Would we ever be able to sleep in a tent and hear the sounds of the crickets or the loons singing on the lake? Would we ever feel the peaceful glide of our canoe on the water? Would we ever enjoy a late bonfire, watching the last few valiant embers fade? These are the things we love. We’ve enjoyed the sweetest of outdoor memories together, but what if that’s all we have now – just memories of doing these things?
I struggled and wrestled. What if this were God’s will for us? I cried out to God. I grieved the loss of my summer, the loss of the life we knew. Finally, I told God I would accept whatever He has for us and I would still praise Him. I’d have to adjust, but I’d still love Him and praise Him, whether in the valleys or on the mountaintops.
After my prayer of surrender, God began to encourage me. Ted’s strength increased a great deal in a few days. Yesterday, he got to turn his oxygen down a notch, and his blood counts show the infection is going away… yes, progress! (I celebrated by bringing him flowers from the farmers market and a loaf of his favorite bread – yes, he can have carbs again!)
This morning I opened my Bible to read where I had left off, at the story of David and Goliath. Once again, God reminded me of how we can conquer the giants in our lives – beat incredible odds – if we just trust in Him. We must not focus on the giant, but on God.
Do you have a “giant” that is trying to discourage you?
Oh God, you are so good and you are faithful beyond our comprehension. I trust you with whatever you allow to happen in our lives, because you are in control. Thank you for the glorious hope we have in knowing you.