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Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Door

"The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance." Psalm 16:6

For most of my life I've prayed a certain prayer. I've asked God to spare me from suffering. I want my life to be filled with pleasant places. And, of course, I think I know what that means. So

I've promised Him I'd hear His whisper.

I don't need drastic situations to learn hard lessons. I don't need desperation to hang on to Him desperately. I love mountaintop experiences. I could stay where the view is good. I don't need the storms of life to be transformed. I've always promised to be an easy learner.

Yet, I've come to see my low spots as invitations. It's when I'm struggling the most that I can feel His presence calling me deeper.

Listening to Focus on the Family a few months ago, I heard a doctor share his testimony. He had prayed a similar prayer and God had answered. He had a great marriage, grown children who followed the Lord, a thriving practice and was growing old full of joy and happiness.

Then he got cancer.

He begged and begged and begged and begged God to heal him. He promised to never take life itself for granted again and learned many deep lessons as he struggled through cancer and its hard treatments. Deep lessons that he said he may not have learned any other way. Eventually it became evident that God may not heal him in the physical sense before he went to heaven.

He became okay with that. Even good.

Instead of resisting the cancer and his weak, diseased body, he befriended the suffering. Thus joining the Lord more closely than ever before.

One day in his personal time with God, he felt God's whisper in his heart, "I'll heal you if you want. Just say the word." His response,

"I want You more."

Scripture tells us He was intimately acquainted with suffering.
Isaiah 53:3 says, "He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not."
Our own suffering are invitations to join Him in suffering. An invitation to go with him to a familiar place.

Coming down the mountain into the valley, wanting to stay low because climbing high is hard.

Even though I know the only way out is a hard climb that will all be so worth it, I still pause before I engage with Him. He stands at the door waiting. Longing to walk with me, hand in hand, carrying me up at the steepest and most rocky points.

Slowly I come. Not because I want relief from my sufferings. I do.

Yet, I want Him more.

1 comment:

Kathryn, Michael and Alex said...

He is always there and He is holding our hands and it makes the mountain tops even sweeter.

Love you friend.