I said it out loud.
Friends, I have to be honest.
I have literally been undone by the last five weeks of my life.
I can't really go into all the details, but suffice it to say that it's been a seemingly endless parade of trials. It's been mostly medical stuff, ours and family members – which is always fun when you have to wait for test results, and particularly trying when the results don't come out OK.
No one has received a deadly diagnosis.
And I am very grateful for that.
But there are problems that are going to require further treatment, possible complications, unresolved outcomes, and maybe some sort of surgical intervention.
Personally, "The Hub" and I have made seven trips off the hill just to take care of our own stuff. (The joys ??? of living in the mountains, far away from easy-access medical care…). Extended family members have their own issues, and it's much harder for me to bear their difficulties, as I cannot be there to help out.
Let me tell you, I am not good with health matters.
I have a desperate need to understand the scary things in life, and so, I am driven to the Internet in a mad-dash effort to find out information.
Unfortunately, there's a lot of misinformation out there. And, armchair physicians like me are woefully inept at making accurate diagnoses. Therefore, I find that just about every single symptom has a way of leading to a very serious, usually fatal, disease.
And when I read all the dire stuff, I hop on the *What If Train* of fear and anxiety. Full-speed ahead, I plunge down the tracks of no return.
Sidelined, sidetracked, blindsided…
I wish I could say that I then find a way to rise above the circumstances, that I am then washed with supernatural peace, that I then rest in God's perfect assurances that He is in total control…but, that usually doesn't happen.
Usually I become a screaming banshee of a disciple, rushing to the back of the sinking boat, shaking Jesus by the shoulders, and yelling above the winds and waves…
"I'm drowning here!! Can't you see that?!"
And then I kinda crumple in the bottom of the boat, and wait for Him to calm the storm. And when the storm isn't calmed, then I just pull a fishing net over my head, close my eyes, and cry.
Sure, I know the Lord's still there.
But me? I'm like an overly-cooked steak on the grill. Stick a fork in me, I'm done.
Have you ever gotten to that point in your life?
Where you just want to give up?
Life seemed a lot simpler when I wasn't following the Lord so closely. I didn't get the feeling that there was a target on my back. There certainly weren't so many situations that tested my endurance.
I didn't feel so afraid.
I don't think I failed quite so often…
So, here I am.
And what to do from here?
OK, so the first thing I want to do is admit something to you.
True confession time.
I've been rather desperate for Jesus to give me a tangible sense of His presence. To tell you the truth, I've been asking Him to show up in my dreams.
And each morning for about two weeks now, I've woken up with absolutely no remembrance of any dream whatsoever. Nothing. The other morning I mentioned this to "The Hub." And you know what He said?
"Maybe He'll show up in His own time."
But still, I kept
And one morning, after "discussing" His failure to do this, I was complaining to Him (again) about it all…
"Why couldn't You just show up, Lord? You do it for other people. Sometimes people even have a vision of You when they're awake. It wouldn't be that big a deal. And I'm asking because it would just help me so very much to SEE You. Just once. Just to know You're there."
And then, one morning He answered me.
"Sharon, you don't need that."
(Small argument ensued – "Oh yes, Lord, yes I do.")
"No, you don't. You KNOW I'm there, and that is enough."
Immediately, these verses came to my mind:
"Though you have not seen him, you love him." (1 Peter 1:8, ESV)
"For we live by believing and not by seeing." (2 Corinthians 5:7, NLT)
And then, as if He Himself said it out loud to me, this:
"'Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.'" (John 20:29, NLT)
So, here I ponder…
What is God saying to me?
I know that He wants to meet me here, in this place of distress. I know He wants me to know something important.
So, in the words of Samuel, I utter, "Speak, your servant is listening."
And lo and behold, I feel something being revealed. Three things, actually.
1) Though I do not see Him, I love Him.
This is an amazing thing when you think about it. How can I love someone I've never *met*? Well, it's possible because of God's great gift of faith. His Spirit within me enables me to do this. For only by faith could I love Him without ever meeting Him in person. And love Him I do, so much.
Love cannot be manufactured for a fantasy, and my love for Jesus *proves* His presence within me.
2) I am living a life of believing.
You know the old saying, "I'll believe it when I see it." Well, I've heard it said that in the Christian walk, it's more like "I'll see it when I believe it." The faith journey is not a journey of proof, but of conviction. Sometimes not a journey of reassurance (something that is said or done to make someone feel less afraid, upset, or doubtful), as much as it is a journey of assurance (the state of being sure or certain about something).
The life of true faith does not demand, it depends.
It is learning to let go of my demands that Jesus "make an appearance" like a holy jack-in-box, so that I can learn to depend on the Truth that He is there.
3) In the *not seeing*, there is blessing and joy.
Looked up some synonyms for *blessed*:
Adored, exalted, glorified, redeemed, resurrected, rewarded, fortunate, blissfully happy or contented, divinely favored.
Sign me up – I want ALL of that!
And when Jesus Himself calls us blessed, He means it!
Might I paraphrase His words?
"Child, because you believe without seeing Me, you are divinely favored. You have been given a special dose of Spirit-filled revelation and faith. You are fortunate! Rest assured, happy and contented, in the sure knowledge of My presence. And be blissfully joyful that you are a partaker of My salvation."
Ah, even Scripture confirms this heavenly Truth:
"…though you do not [even] now see Him, you believe in Him and exult and thrill with inexpressible and glorious (triumphant, heavenly) joy. [At the same time] you receive the result (outcome, consummation) of your faith, the salvation of your souls." (1 Peter 1:8-9, AMP)
Doubly blessed with joy and salvation.
So, I guess I'm looking at things a little differently now.
I've always kinda envied Thomas for his singular opportunity to actually, physically touch the hands and side of Jesus. But now, I'm concentrating more on what Jesus said to Thomas after this encounter.
For indeed, He was saying these words about me (and you, too!):
"'Blessed and happy and to be envied are those who have never seen Me and yet have believed and adhered to and trusted and relied on Me.'"
(John 20:29, AMP)
Still hiding under the fishing net, I hear Someone approaching. I sense a hand lifting the corner. I feel the warm breath of Jesus. And, I hear Him whisper…
"The storms will come, and the waves will roar. But, I am here. Believe!"
As soon as I open my eyes, He is gone from sight.
And that's OK.
For He is there, always and forever, by my side, as near as a heartbeat.
Can you sense Him, too?!
"'…blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.'" (Matthew 16:13, NLT)
"Jesus replied, 'You are blessed…because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being.'"
(Matthew 16:17, NLT)
"'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.' But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God's deep secrets." (1 Corinthians 2:9-10, NLT)
"So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever." (2 Corinthians 4:18, NLT)
"For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it." (Romans 8:24-25, NASB)
"Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]." (Hebrews 11:1, AMP)
"And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever." (Isaiah 32:17, KJV)
Are you feeling overwhelmed with life?
(No worries - we are NOT in the middle of a wildfire. Only the refining fires of testing...)
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