(Part 2)

Miraculously Healed

Last week I shared a bit of my story of being miraculously healed from the incurable disease, “Fibromyalgia”. It was an extremely difficult 19 years of pain but at the same time, it was life and heart changing. I wanted to talk a little bit about going through difficult things that, at times, make us feel like we are in a fire.

The Book of Job

Are any of you familiar with the book of Job in the Bible? It’s a story of a man who suffered great loss…. Family and relationship loss along with unrelenting physical pain. Job’s journey and struggle are described there for us to get an inside view of this man’s fire. In the book of Job, the book we love to hate and frankly, sometimes, wish we never read, Job states, while still IN HIS PRISON OF PAIN AND LOSS, “But He (God) knows the way that I take. When He has tested and tried me, I shall come forth as Gold.”(Job 23:10). I am amazed at Job’s confidence and trust in God. There was no cross yet, no God “with skin on” in the person of Jesus, no bible to grab and search through for answers, no church service to go to and hope to glean something helpful from the sermon or at least get the chance to have the Pastor pray for you at the close of the message. It was faith. Faith is trusting God with control. God gives every man a measure of faith, the Bible tells us, and Job exercised his. Faith is likened to a tiny seed which has tremendous potential to grow enormously as you see the intervention of God come to pass. Let’s look for a moment at the process of refining gold so we can get a better picture of what Job was talking about.

When gold is refined, it goes through a heating process. This heat causes impurities, called “dross” to come up to the surface where it is then skimmed off. The higher the heat, the purer the gold, the more expensive it is. I believe Job was saying that the heat and pressure of all that he was going through was not going to be wasted. Instead, it was going to cause the “dross” within him, all the junk of soul, to come to the surface and be swiped away. He was declaring this with faith and confidence. He may not have had a bible to grab or a pastor to call but one thing Job did know through experience was that God was good. God was sovereign and in control, even when it looked like things were out of control. Did Job struggle terribly in his emotions and wish at times to never have been born? He did. You can read about that. Did friends come and try to explain things away and even try to convince Job that maybe he had brought these things on himself, as let’s face it, we sometimes do? Yes. But that wasn’t the case with Job. The Bible tells us that Job walked right with God. So, what on earth?!?

Today’s World

Friends, we live in a fallen world where difficult times crash into all of us. I, for one, do not want these times to be nothing but waste or cause me to become hard and dark inside. There’s a verse from the Bible that gives me great hope and expectation of a good outcome through tough times. It’s Romans 8:28- “And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called [and are walking in life] according to His plan and purpose.” Another way of saying this is that God “braids” all of the messy strands together. If you’ve entrusted your life to God, the circumstances of your life will not look like “bed head” in the end, with unruly rebellious pieces sticking out all over. No. Not one. God is able to work in every single situation to mold and shape it to GOOD in your life!

Hope in God

So, in faith and confidence in the character and dependability of a good God, we put our hope in God’s ability to bring about the good plans He intends for those who have given their lives to Him. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” An expected end! (Jeremiah 29:11) I like how Genesis 50:20 says: “As for you (All those folks who meant harm to you), you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present outcome…..”
When it comes to the refining processes that difficult circumstances can bring our way, we prefer to opt out for the cheaper gold. Maybe even imitation gold as it doesn’t cost much and does indeed look shiny but it doesn’t last. In short time, it tarnishes and the cheap metal underneath begins to show thru. (There’s that looking good on the outside but not so good inside that my mom used to bug me about!) God is eternal and His purposes are eternal. He wants to refine and purify our character and produce in us the nature of Christ. In our situations of life, God makes Himself known to us as the God who is all sufficient, more than enough. He alone is able to give and be “all” to us that is needed in this life. He is our God and Savior, our strength and help, our shepherd and guide, our comforter and provider, our restorer and redeemer, our friend and Father, our healer and the very present help in the time of storm. What a true and faithful friend we have in Jesus.

I had known about God, been raised in church, learned the bible stories and then came to know Jesus as my personal Savior at age 17. I watched Him work in my life and came to love Him as our relationship grew closer. But it was during these refining years that I came to love Him with a deep passion because it was THERE that I experienced the powerful presence of the Lord that is all consuming. When you cross a line of personal pain that no human can venture on with you, ONLY the presence of a loving and supernatural Savior can be your sustaining companion. In that dreadful place, I came to learn that I am His treasure and now, my heart is captured!

I recently heard a song that spoke to the center of my heart.

“All My Devotion” by ‘Christ For The Nations’:
“Beautiful man, beautiful God, more than worth my time, more than worth these longings of my heart yet unfulfilled, just for a time. For I know you don’t come as easy as some but I will watch and pray, I will watch and pray. You can take it all, just give me Jesus. I don’t want any other lovers, cause all my devotion belongs to this man.”

This is my heart. One can sing and speak from head and book knowledge alone. Then there’s those that speak, sing and live from passionate experience. We were made for passionate relationship with Christ. Look at the passion in the death of Jesus on the cross in order to pay the price to have us as His own! How can we conclude that God is removed and aloof? When we see who Jesus is in The Word of God and respond by putting our lives into His hands, we can speak to others with an authority that can only come from walking with Him through the difficult trials of this human life.

This is how it was possible for me to survive these years of disease and do so with a deep inner joy because of God’s promises and His presence. As Fibromyalgia stole my ability to move and express emotion, it was my relationship with God that became my source of life. All that God was saying and doing in me was storing up inside of me a deep well in my soul. All the rebuilding and sorting of the matters of life (Yup, the swooping out of all that “dross”) were waiting inside of me for the day of release…. And that day, indeed, did come!

Next time that we meet, I’ll tell you about one particular day that I was bed bound, asking God to reassure me that there was hope in my mess. Job cried out to God in his ash heap as well. We do, we can. It’s part of the process on this road to gold! Until then, keep in mind that God is never distracted from His good purposes. He is never early but He is also never late! His timing is…..perfect!

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