Some of you may remember my post about the Cistern (http://livininaboysworld.blogspot.com/2008/07/cistern.html) a few months back...
It was about the prophet, Jeremiah, being thrown into a muddy cistern and sinking into the mud. I talked about how some of our trials are like being thrown into a cistern and sinking into the mud with no way out. That is how I have felt with my health for 3 1/2 years. Some good guys in the story rescue Jeremiah by throwing a rope down and pulling him out. I have wondered since I read that if Jeremiah was praying in that muddy cistern and if it was his prayers which initiated the rescue crew.
(If you are new to my blog and have no idea what I am talking about, you can click http://livininaboysworld.blogspot.com/2008/08/learning.html)
to read the short story.)
Since coming off my antibiotics, my symptoms are coming back. My knees hurt so bad over the weekend it was hard to stand up after sitting. The headache was excruciating and the fear overwhelming. A few days ago, I made another trip to NY to see the doctor. I flew there in back in the same day and it was a LONG day. I left at 5am and got home at 1am. I was tired physically but even more tired spiritually. Here I am stuck in this same cistern that I have been sinking in for so long. No rope to pull me out. Just mud.
I have seen many friends come and go as their ropes are lowered and they are pulled out of their suffering. That is hard. I am happy for them that their trial is over and I REALLY enjoyed the fellowship while they were there... but it is still hard to see them go. I think some of you know what I am talking about. So what do I do since my rope hasn't come? How do I respond as I continue to wait on God's timing?
I wasn't going to blog about this but felt lead to because I am determined God will receive glory from my muddy cistern. I also hope it is an encouragement to you who are facing chronic trials with no light at the end of the tunnel. KEEP PRAYING. You don't know what is happening outside of your cistern. Also look all around you in the mud. There are treasures and riches that He wants to give to you in abundance while you wait.
"I will give you the treasures of darkness,
riches stored in secret places,
so that you may know that I am the Lord,
the God of Israel, who summons you by name".
I want to share a story with you...
Last night, I was at our Church. They were having a prayer service. Tim was there but he had to study (for his really cool class at Church that he is taking to learn how to study the Bible in-depth). I was kind of nervous to go in without him because our Church is big and I didn't know anyone. I walked in the sanctuary and saw a precious old woman sitting in the back by herself. She had a walker and was obviously in the last years of life. I sat beside her and she smiled at me. We were asked to pair up and pray for specific needs in the Church. I scooted closer to her and held her hand. Her hand was very wrinkled with many age spots. She prayed loud because I don't think she could hear well. Her prayers were beautiful. Very simple yet full of love and faith for her heavenly Father. I was honored to be praying with her.
After the service, she asked me about my family and I asked her about hers. She told me that her husband died when her 4 children were very young. That she had raised 3 girls and a boy all alone. Her son later died in a car accident when he was 26. She obviously knew suffering in a way I hope I never do. She asked me if she could sew a fabric Bible cover for my Bible. We hugged and then said goodbye.
I have thought about her so much since last night. I have so much respect and admiration for her. She is finishing well. I thought of how much I want to be like her. That no matter what happens in this life, my faith remains solid. That my love for the Lord is not dependant on circumstances. That no matter what tragedies this world may bring, I will continue to serve the One Who has given me life. That my eyes would stay on eternal things and His Word. That there would be rest and joy in simply knowing Jesus and being loved by Him...
in times of blessing and trial.
I hope if I am in her shoes (alone in my last years), that I will be at Church praying with wrinkled and aged spotted hands. That I will still pray no matter the disappointments I have experienced. That I will faithfully love and trust my Redeemer, Jesus, until my last breath.
So, how am I doing with the disappointment of my trial continuing? Honestly? Sad, tired of this, discouraged. BUT, I cannot stop thinking about the verse in Job that says..."though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him."
One of my best friends called me today and spoke words that were like a healing balm to me as she described how God allows hardship for our growth, for His glory, for future ministries, for fruit ( that, apart from the trial, would be impossible), how He is at work in me in a specific way. That even though a physical healing hasn't come, spiritual healing is happening in the midst. That often our trials are initiated out of love and that they are FOR OUR GOOD. I tell people that God has had me in spiritual boot camp for the last 3 1/2 years. I am VERY thankful for all that He has taught me through this.
Remember the Gazebo? (http://livininaboysworld.blogspot.com/2008/08/heavenly-gps.html) It was still there.. I took a picture for you. Not only was it still there... He is still there. And He is here~ with me. Proving himself faithful. Showing me how to continue to trust. Showing me that a perfect life may never happen for any of us but His grace will ALWAYS be sufficient. He desires
to meet with you, bring you to a gazebo and speak to you during suffering, to abide with you in ways you can never imagine. He will give you grace to endure. He can give joy and perseverance. He can also send a rope in it's time. He is faithful. Keep praying. Keep hoping and most importantly KEEP TRUSTING.
"Let him who walks in the dark,
who has no light,
trust in the name of the Lord
and rely on his God."