This post today is near and dear to my heart. Rebecca of Caravan Sonnet is no stranger to hardship and to clinging to Jesus, and my heart rejoices with her when she has good news to share and cries with her when things are tough. I'm so happy to welcome Rebecca to the blog today to talk about finding hope. I love this post and hope you will too, friends!
Almost 10 years ago I was the recipient of a miracle from the Lord in the form of healing from what I was told was an incurable disease. After struggling for years in physical pain and begging the Lord for mercy when the medical community gave no hope the Lord performed a miracle. Family and friends cheered joyously as they witnessed their prayers answered. Doctors shook their heads in amazement when the healing happened muttering, “it must be something higher that healed you”. People responded with encouragement over my faith and proclaimed the Lord's power. It is a story of joyous victory and of good triumphing over evil. It is a story that rings with hope in a God who still performs miracles and of a God who is triumphant over illnesses after “the experts” have given up hope. It is a story that people love to hear, and one that I have loved to share over the years. It is a story that makes me well up with tears at the goodness of the Lord and stand in awe of what He did nine and a half years ago.
But the truth is that I am living a much different story today. I have shared some of my journey with Advanced Late Stage Lyme Disease and Cancer on my blog but there are many parts that have remained in private. To be truthful the life that I live now shattered midst ordinary days six years ago when my ex-fiancé walked out of our relationship a mere five months before we were to be married with no warning. Since then in these past six years my life has crumbled bit by bit by one circumstance to another to finally being diagnosed with Cancer, Advanced Late Stage Lyme disease, an environmental illness and several other diagnosis'. The combination of the diseases’ listed has severely affected my life and began one of the most difficult fights of my life. But while my life shattered my faith in my precious Lord, who is the God of HOPE, has not.
The recovery is long and instead of a planned out future, I am left with more questions than answers. My aching longings for the future of being married and being a mama has been placed on hold and instead of my dreams I am left with questions of life, value, and the God that I so desperately adore. In my little mind it is not the story that shouts the triumph of a powerful God as I expected the same ending of miraculous healing of ten years ago. It is not a story that we love to hear, but in this broken world it is a story that many people live.
I, like many others, am tempted to compare not only my "miraculous" story to my present day one but also to the answered prayers and joyful and carefree living of so many I see around me. But I am learning a new truth friends and it has challenged me to the core.
We all need to hear the stories of miraculous conquering and healing to spur us on in hope. These are the stories that scream to us from the pages of the Bible and the stories that we are quick to reference when bad news comes to a loved one. But there is a much quieter and powerful story that is also found deep in the pages of scripture. It is a story of showing up with hope in the ordinary days lived among the miraculous and victories. It is the story of living with anticipation that the Lord is still at work when we most feel He is absent. It is a story that drives us closer to the heart of God as we cry out to Him. I have learned to fall in love with the God who I know does miracles. I have also fallen passionately in love with this same God who has the power to do miracles and has recently said resoundingly: wait.
"He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow." There are beautiful examples of this in the Bible. One of those is the story of the women who bled for twelve years from Luke chapter eight. It is a beautiful story of a woman who must have spent everything that she owned on doctors who had not been able to help her and yet she still showed up to meet Jesus. With no promise that Jesus would do anything she pushes her way through the “crowds that almost crushed Him” and reaches out her hand in desperation and the hope that Jesus could not only heal but that He would show up.
Friends, if you are struggling through the dark night of suffering I urge you to hold fast to the story of the woman who was ill and find hope in the story of the Israelites. Just like that woman, we see in the book of Exodus that the Israelites held on to the hope that God was still at work. As they limped out from under the hard yoke of slavery they carried their tambourines through the long trek of the desert believing that there would still be a song yet to sing. They didn’t know when the song would come, but like the woman they pushed through and held onto hope that God would show up. Despite the fact they had no assurances or promises of what their future would look like, they walked with their tambourines. They were fully prepared for the celebration that they did not yet have a time frame for. The celebration that only lay hidden in their hearts as they walked mile after mile in the desert. The same hope of celebration that the woman who bled for twelve years was also expecting as she reached out her hand for Jesus’ cloak.
Dear friends, what about you? Are you ready to show up in Hope? I have friends who are scattered around the world serving AIDS victims in Africa, fighting for the freedoms of those in the Middle East and some holding crying orphans in the heart of
Haiti. Maybe you are like them and can venture to far off countries to rescue those that the world has abandoned. Or maybe you can quietly and powerfully write your story by showing up, and learning like I am to take one day at a time, find beauty in the ordinary, and minister to those that the world has forgotten. Either way we can all come to the cross and take His love into our worlds- no matter how big or small that might seem. Either way we can show up and rejoice that He is going to answer as we step out in faith and cry out to Him. All we need to do is be ready to rejoice, reach out for His garments, carry our tambourines, and show up in Hope.