24 April 2011

Beautiful things

I'm learning something new. I'm learning that God can bring hope, comfort, and healing retrospectively. Sounds strange, doesn't it? Before I explain, let's take a step back, shall we? A little over a year ago I began a very difficult process and journey of discovering I had a life-altering and life-threatening illness. While trying to keep some semblance of my regular life, relationships, work and ministry, I spent months and months filled with bad news and doctor visits and scary medical tests and procedures and phone calls and medications and oxygen treatment and fatigue and prayer and tears and fears and more questions than answers. The most difficult journey of my life. It was a year of survival mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Survival meant that time and energy and capacity for processing all that was happening was quite minimal. I believe I am just now beginning to really process and hopefully glean what God has for me.
However, looking back into such a dark time is difficult, even on this side of the storm. So...I begin to tiptoe my way into this next step. The good thing is that I can still remember how I felt in so many of those moments and days. Here's where the retrospective (perhaps retroactive?) healing comes in. A few times during the past couple months I have found myself singing a worship song or reading a scripture when it hits me. I am filled with hope and faith and trust, but not just for now in the present. It's like myself from last year gets filled up with faith and assurance that everything is going to be okay. It seems almost silly to me to have the faith now. I mean, is faith after the fact really faith at all? I'm not sure I really understand it, but it seems like God is giving me this great gift of infusing my current faith into all the pain of last year. I can sing the songs and I can read the promises of God with the fullest measure of belief and rest without the darkness overwhelming the light. I had a measure of faith last year. The mustard seed variety. I clung to the hope that God's Word offered. I sang songs with tears streaming down my face with a prayer that my heart could really believe the words I was singing, but my hope was fighting with hopelessness and the faith was fighting with fear and the darkness made it hard to see ahead.
It's so much different now. Now I can sing the songs and read the scripture passages and I can say to myself, "See Rebecca, it really is okay. Your God really did come through. You really are going to make it. God really is good. God really keeps His promises. Believe, believe, believe!" I look back and see a hope which was slight and timid and bravely (or not so bravely) trying to accept whatever road or plan God had for me. I wanted to believe that God could do a miracle, but the sorrow and disappointment and fear seemed to drown out the voice of faith. But now, my faith is made stronger. My Jesus has infused my faith with his resurrection power that is not timid. My faith now shouts, "My God is able! You can trust Him!" What a mystery how the darkest foreboding clouds fade into a mere backdrop for sunlight to break through. I'm telling you, this God of Easter - this life from the dead kind of God - He's good. He's really really good.

All this pain
I wonder if I'll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all

All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come out of from this ground at all

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in me

You make me new
You are making me new
You make me new
You are making me new


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