Leaving 2017 behind felt good. If you’ve been following along with me on my journey, you know some of the monstrous health issues I’ve faced. Even though doctors ended up calling it fibromyalgia, I am still calling by its pet name, aka “cruel misery”. Why? Because I want to separate cruel misery from my identity, and fibromyalgia is too broad a term in my mind to describe the nightmare I’ve been through. Last year was saturated with intense pain, deep angst, and raw moments with the Lord. And as happy as I am to put those awful months behind me, I’d be a fool to think it would have been far better if I hadn’t gone through all of that suffering.
Something changed in my spirit every time I cried out to God in my brokenness. He met me there. He did not run away when I screamed at Him for letting my pain persist. He never hid His face when I fell into despair and disappointment. God never left my side. When I came to Him with my dust, thinking there was no possible way that He could form anything valuable out of something so damaged, He showed me that brokenness does not immobilize me, but instead it qualifies me to make enormous waves of love in the world. In the words of Graham Cooke, “God needs us wounded to do His ministry.”
When I came to Him with my dust, thinking there was no possible way that He could form anything valuable out of something so damaged, He showed me that brokenness does not immobilize me, but instead it qualifies me to make enormous waves of love in the world.
Our human condition, at times, prevents us from an awareness that God isn’t surprised when these unbending situations arise in front of us. He has known since the beginning of time every detail of our suffering. When I look back at my life before cruel misery entered the picture, I remember the nudging of the Holy Spirit to build a foundation of faith. He called me out through conviction of secret sins that had been tormenting me for years with shame and guilt; He spoke prophetic visions through strangers I’d never met that came true; He drew me in with a tenacious hunger for His word; and He guided me out of my comfort zone and into unfamiliar heights of leadership. Little did I know at the time that the Lord was training me for battle behind the scenes, and every step of obedience became of weapon for me to use in combat. My heavenly Father had given me words of life before the doctors could give me the words of death and incurable suffering. What a beautiful gift!
My heavenly Father had given me words of life before the doctors could give me the words of death and incurable suffering.
While I am still in wait for victory over this illness, I have seen daily victories in my life being won by taking every though captive to the obedience of Christ and letting the Lord transform and renew my mind. I’ve learned that when we walk in daily obedience, we get to share His authority in the spiritual world! So the fear that had been plaguing me my entire life was broken by standing under God’s authority and speaking the Lord’s truth over every situation. This metamorphosis has been the most freeing and beautiful part of my existence, and it wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t experienced deep long-standing torment. Another Graham Cooke quote comes to mind is this, “If you don’t let God take you to the depths; He can’t take you into the heights.” Plunging into the underbelly of suffering with God allows us to develop a profound trust in Him that brings us to a place where He can trust us with His ministry.
Plunging into the underbelly of suffering with God allows us to develop a profound trust in Him that brings us to a place where He can trust us with His ministry.
Before last year, I thought that the word success and achievement were synonymous. But the Lord views success a whole lot differently than we do, and it took years of suffering to understand His perspective. We succeed when we are faithful! When we remain steadfast through the trail, He rewards our upright standing both in this world and the next. 1 Peter 1:7 says this, “Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.” This truth that I believe in has been proved true time and time again. My prayer is that He would get to glory, just as the prophecy spoken over me had foretold. So while there is still pain searing through my body, I am declaring that it would radiate His triumph over the schemes of hell.
Like many, I have been searching for a word that would summarize my direction for 2018. The word for this year is undaunted. While I was reading the book of John, I saw that word in Jesus’ command to us before he went through his own trial. This is what Jesus commands of us in John 16:33, “Be confident, be undaunted, and be filled with joy; for I have overcome the world.” The word undaunted can be defined by the following: not intimidated or discouraged by difficulty, danger, or disappointment. While I expect 2018 to continue with obstacles and hardships, I believe that God has assigned me to be courageous through it all. The disappointment that will soon appear cannot overcome me. I won’t let it win. Every moment of pain will be met time and time again by God’s reckless love and bountiful grace. I’ve got all I need to fight this battle, and to have victory over disappointment! I will not be bullied by Satan’s strategies to wear down my soul in this waiting period. Instead, I will stand and take ground back for God! Thank you Jesus for such an encouraging outlook on this fresh new year. My prayer is that you, Lord, would get the glory in everything I do!
I will be praying this word for you all this year! May the Lord bring you out of the pit of disappointment, by filling your well with His amazing presence. My hope is that you will find relentless peace in your unrelenting suffering.