I know one day I will stand and give a testimony and praise for God’s healing of Andrea. What a great day that will be. But today I want to stand and thank God for His faithfulness to us and for all He has done for us. I want to thank God for believers who believe and for believers who have the faith to get out of the boat onto the stormy seas and amongst the crashing waves. I’m thankful for believers who know we serve a mighty God whose vocabulary does not include impossible or incurable and for a God who speaks in absolutes like, “I will never leave you”, “All things are possible”, and “You can do all things through Christ”. I want to stand and say thank you to the believers who don’t just want Andrea to be healed but know she will be healed.
Today I want to tell you that amidst the difficulty of this trial, God has given us a pearl, a most precious of blessings. That is the freedom to release, to let go and allow God to be in control and to know that God does not need us to solve this but allows us to be a part of his plan. To abandon myself into the loving arms of our creator is something I could not learn until I faced the depths of despair, until I faced something that humanly was hopeless.
I know one day I will send an e-mail of Andrea’s healing, but I want to express my thanks and praises to God while we are still in this trial. God is good, faithful, and loving while this trial still plays out. At times we still struggle. I look at my wife and think, “I can’t live without her.” I walk into our house I can’t imagine my home without her. I do the smallest of daily acts and think “I don’t want to do this alone.” I awake in the middle of the night and feel her leg draped over me and her arms wrapped around me and I think, “God please don’t ask me to sleep alone.” When we spend time alone walking and talking about life I think, “God please don’t ask me to live in silence.” When I hold her at church I think, “God please don’t ask me to praise you alone.” When she does something silly I think, “God please don’t ask me to give up laughter.” Even now, with all that on our minds, I have been reminded that God is faithful, loving, kind, merciful, unchanging, ever with us and always in control.
I have never experienced closeness to God as I do now nor felt His hand upon me as I do now. I have never felt more secure in a time of insecurity. Never have I felt such peace amongst such fear, and such felt such strength in my own weakness. I have never felt such assurance amongst such uncertainty. I feel the contrast of God’s holiness to my humanness, and I feel safe. I feel loved. I am assured that I can have faith in my creator. I can trust Him. I can cast all these burdens, these human feelings on Him and feel the lightness of His yoke.
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
I praise God that before we receive the desire of our hearts, before we are given the object of our prayers, before the only praise I have is based on the outcome I hope for, I can praise God in the process. I praise God for the changes in me, in my wife and those around us. Praise God for allowing us to experience the body of Christ at work. Praise God for being God, and praise God for giving me faith. God took what would be a desperate situation in human terms and gave us certainty and purpose. Is there a price I could put on what I have learned? Is there a price I could put on my relationship with God and on the creator knowing me? Is there something I would not give to experience this closeness? There is nothing of earthly value I could exchange for the love of God. Is there something this world offers to compare to the gift of salvation and does life here hold a candle to eternity? There is no human love that compares to the pure, perfect and complete love we have from our creator. Is there something I could put before my relationship with God that would even compare? Could I place my humanness, my knowledge, against the one who hung the stars? It is amazing that He can be so grand, so majestic, so far above us that He created the heavens and the earth, yet He can be so close to us, so personal to each of us, as if it were only Him and me in the entire world.
As the song says, “I praise you in this storm.” The witness of praise amongst the storm speaks to people differently than praise after the storm. Amongst the worst situation in my life I have found the most precious of gifts, the most valuable treasures, and the greatest desire in my life. I have discovered the knowledge that my creator knows me, hears me, and cares for me, and that Christ’s death was not an historical act detached from my daily life, but is real and personal to me today. God is not some far off being that has no interest or desire to be in our lives today. I have the right to meet with my father and sitting at His right hand is Jesus my savior. Nothing is as real as my relationship with my God. I was lost but now I’m found. When I came back to my father, he was not just there waiting for me but he came running to meet me. He put a robe on my back, sandals on my feel and a ring on my finger. I am still his son. My expressions of thanks are not to earn my relationship with him but are a result of my relationship with him. I cannot earn what was given to me. I can’t accept the gift and then go back and try to earn at a later date what is already mine. I have found the most amazing reality that God is not so far above me that He does not care for me. I found that the Bible is not a great story about a God that was once involved in mankind but about a God who is seeking a relationship with His creation today. He is life itself and the very thing I was searching for. Among my hardest trial, in the darkest time of my life I have found the one thing I needed and it was more than healing, it was a deeper relationship with my savior. It was a deeper understanding of the God I serve, and closeness to the one I profess as my savior. I needed to know who I am in Christ and what I have as a result of Christ’s actions not mine. It is a life with meaning. It is a joy that makes me want to stand up and tell it to all who will hear. It is more precious than gold and silver that tarnishes. And it was hidden right before me in the midst of the darkness of cancer, sitting, just waiting to be discovered. Its glimmer and value were hidden from my view by the walls I built around myself and the control I refused to release. Thank God for His unfailing love for me and His desire to draw me closer, He never gave up on me that one day I would see in the darkness His gift waiting for my discovery.
Matthew 13: 44-46