If you don’t believe God can answer prayers or that He still speaks to us, let me share a little story. This is long, but please read to the end…you will be amazed by God’s extravagant, mouth-dropping provision!
A few weeks ago, God taught me a lesson about waiting on Him and trusting fully in Him and not the things He provides. There is a subtle difference. We sometimes think we know what or how He will provide when we see Him at work, but the Lord gives AND takes away. Do we trust Him when He gives something only to then immediately take it away? Here is what I wrote…
Thank you all for upholding me in prayer! “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” We thought a desire would be fulfilled, but the hope was deferred. We need to encapsulate our crawlspace so Jon can heal from the issues caused by mold, but it is not going to be possible right now. I said to God yesterday, “Why are you doing this to me?” and He replied, “I am not doing this TO you, I am doing it FOR you.” I didn’t like that answer and tried to pretend not to hear it. Then God spoke to me as I was waking up this morning, in the “cool of the day” as He often does, and said the project needs to be done right. We don’t have the funds to do everything that really needs to be done to do it right. We need to trust Him to provide in His time and keep Jon well until we can do the job right.
And this was in today’s Proverb: “A man’s spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?” We need to be strong in the Lord and not allow the enemy to crush our spirits! I believe that is why Jon has made it all these years. He stays strong in his faith, and his spirit is not crushed. Last week, I spent some extra time in prayer and Bible reading and the Lord led me to the passage about the man who waited for 38 years by the pool of Bethesda, trying to make it into the pool to be healed. He had enough faith to keep coming, even though there were probably many times when he thought he would make it into the water and be healed, only to have someone else jump in before him. He kept coming, even when his faith wavered and the reality caused him to say to Jesus, “Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.”
And in that moment, he was healed at the pool of Bethesda, but not in the way he imagined he would be healed. It was Jesus himself who touched him and made him whole. Faith is the key. We don’t have to have it all figured out. We may not know exactly how God will heal Jon or when He will do it. We need to just keep coming to the pool of Bethesda with as much faith as we can muster, asking for the grace to have more. And when others jump in the pool and our healing is “taken” from us and hope is deferred, we need to continue on in faith and thankfulness that God carries us through each moment of waiting on Him, even if it ends up being many years. We walk by faith, NOT by sight. I hope this blesses some of you who are going through your own trials.
Now, here is how the story played out. Wednesday, our 18th anniversary, the kids and I went to the vet with Kane and found out his limp is because of bone cancer. It was a sad day and much longer than expected. By the time we got home, there was only time to grab our stuff and head out for our women’s meeting at church. Elleina was very down and really wanted to go and talk to her friend, Elisabeth, and we both wanted the support and prayers of our sweet sisters. But, if we went, I would not be able to be with Jon on our anniversary. Mom guilt or wife guilt…which is worse? 😉 I don’t very often flip a coin for decisions, but this was one of those times that I trusted that “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.” I know, I know…this verse is not a recommendation to make decisions by a coin flip, but sometimes when I literally don’t know what God wants me to do, I resort to it.
Tails…so we stayed home. I still suffered a bit of mom guilt, of course. 😉 But I felt we had made the right decision. Later that evening or the next day, my dear friend Barbara shared with me how she had just felt so moved to ask for prayer for us. She poured out her heart with tears over us, specifically mentioning our need to do the encapsulation and mold remediation. There are some things a friend can do for you that you would never do for yourself. I think it must be like what the Holy Spirit does on our behalf, “speaking in groanings with cannot be uttered.” He pleads on our behalf. And so Barbara pleaded for prayers on our behalf.
The next day, I drove down to pick up Korban, who had stayed with my parents for a week. I asked him about his camp-out with Grampy and if he slept well out in the tent. “Yes, I slept great! I don’t know why I sleep well at their house and not in my bed.” The mold has affected all of us to some degree and sleep seems to be one common denominator. Not more than ten minutes after the conversation, Barbara called me. “Hey, if you could get the work done on your house, would you do it? If you had the money is that what you’d do?” Hmmmm….she’s fishing, I thought. “Well, yes. The money is what is standing in the way,” I said, “But we figured since God did not supply the funds, then it is not really a need, so we are just doing what we can afford on our own. We’re going to put down the plastic and clean as best as we can.” “Don’t do anything else. Let me get back to you,” was her reply.
We went straight to Elleina’s theater party and after we arrived, just before Barbara showed up, I read my text message from her: “Tell Jon he can schedule the encapsulation. <3 <3 <3 You have a check coming.” WHAT!?! Wow. God delights in giving His children good gifts!! Someone in our church was so moved by God that they gave us $12,000 to do this work. Can you believe that?! God had told me so clearly that He was not doing this TO us, He was doing it FOR us. He had told me so clearly that the job needed to be done right. And now, just like that…as instant as the man beside the pool at Bethesda was healed…God had answered our prayer!!
I am so thankful to our wonderful church family. There is power when Christians gather in prayer for each other. That evening, I’m told there were many requests and a spirit of heaviness in the room. But the very next day, not only was our huge request answered, but also a number of other big requests! Cheryl Henning‘s husband got a job after being unemployed for many months and living with friends while their new house was being renovated. And Stephanie DeLuca Nance‘s mother sold her business. God is so good and He truly cares about our every need. He teaches us through both the “nos” and the “yeses.” He gives and He takes away (Job 1:21) and we can fully trust Him, no matter the answer. I hope you truly know that in your heart.
“I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O Lord. I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.” – Psalm 40:9-10
“Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul.” – Psalm 66:16
Continued prayers would be appreciated. I felt the attack of the enemy right after. On our way home from theater, Jon called and told us that the one remaining baby goat…the only survivor of the five goats born this spring…had died. That was a tough blow. Then, I felt the attack of discouragement, as I began to feel overwhelmed at all the work ahead of us, essentially moving out of our house, cleaning every single surface of every object, and moving back in. And the fact that we can’t schedule the work until fall because of our crazy lives right now. But of course, it is silly for me to feel overwhelmed when I KNOW God will provide for these needs, as well! He will give us the time and the help we need for the project, and He will continue to sustain us until it can feasibly happen. He is so, so good!! <3