Recently I have been dealing with a bunch of compounding health issues. I traveled out to Utah to get treatment from one of my husband’s best friend from residency. I was disappointed to find out that my problems were not easy to resolve. I’m facing surgery here in a few weeks and additional treatments in the future. These issues are prevent me from doing the things that I need to do to take care of my home and property. I have been fighting feelings of frustration. For the past three years, I have tried unsuccessfully to sell my house. I’ve turned it over to the Lord, knowing that it is out of my hands. The house will sell when it is time for me to move. My prayer then has consistently been to have the strength to do the manual labor required to take care of it until it can sell. I have miraculously been blessed for several years to do more than I thought I physically could, but now I have an added challenge that is testing my patience and trust in God.
I would love for God to take this trial away from me. I would love to be able to run and work without pain and doing additional damage to my body, but the healing I desire is not immediately coming. As I have wrestled about this, I have been lead to look for stories about deliverance in the scriptures.
At some point in our lives we will all need deliverance. Something will eventually pop-up that we have no idea how to handle on our own, and we will need to draw on the power of heaven to help us. After my husband died I remember thinking,
“This is it! I’m done… I’ve faced my big trial in this life, certainly now I qualify for an exemption from any others.”
I remember how surprised and distraught I was when that did not prove to be true. At first I really questioned God. At times I would shake my fists, look heavenward, and blurt out loud,
“Really God? How can you do this to me?”
Why was He making me suffer? Wasn’t it enough that He took my husband? Couldn’t He fix my legal problems… my financial problems… my kid problems… my health problems and the constant little disasters that seemed to consistently bombard my life? Couldn’t He make my house sell, or prevent the furnace from breaking? Certainly He could fix my knee so I could run without pain, and lighting did not have to directly hit my pool pump!
Was I being punished because I wasn’t as good a person as I should have been before Scott died? Was He not immediately answering my prayers… fixing these things because I did not have enough faith?
What was I doing wrong?
Those frustrations always seemed to pull me back into a deep spiral. They jerked me away from any peace that I felt and tumbled me back into grieving. Over and over again I rode the roller coaster of grief… blaming God, blaming my husband, blaming people around me until finally I got really….really… tired.
The blaming, the fighting, the frustration didn’t do any good… it didn’t change anything, it simply put me in a place where I couldn’t feel peace, I couldn’t get inspiration on what to do and I couldn’t be delivered.
In those moments when I have been tempted to go back to those questions, I remember the words of one of my favorite speakers who just recently passed away. He said this just a few months after his wife died,
“When you face adversity, you can be led to ask many questions. Some serve a useful purpose; others do not. To ask, Why does this have to happen to me? Why do I have to suffer this, now? What have I done to cause this? will lead you into blind alleys. It really does no good to ask questions that reflect opposition to the will of God. Rather ask, What am I to do? What am I to learn from this experience? What am I to change? Whom am I to help? How can I remember my many blessings in times of trial? Willing sacrifice of deeply held personal desires in favor of the will of God is very hard to do. Yet, when you pray with real conviction, “Please let me know Thy will” and “May Thy will be done,” you are in the strongest position to receive the maximum help from your loving Father.” – Richard G Scott
So these trails become a lesson for me about turning my will over to God… something that is very difficult for me to do. My parents tell me that one of my first sentences was “Me do it.” I have always been independent and strong and able to fix anything I set my mind to fix. Yet the story of my life is teaching me a different way. It is as if my will is being broken down, forcibly crumbled so that I will quit trying to do everything myself and start relying on God for deliverance.
It’s good to be proactive and willing to act and make changes, but only if we are humble enough to listen to direction from God. When we start thinking we are the only power that is doing good in our lives, then we fall into the dangerous trap of pride. That pride can keep us from growing. It keeps us from God and accessing His grace.
I know that God loves us and in our trials He desperately wants to come to our aid and help us. Why then does He let us go through tests that cause pain and sorrow?
His purpose is to help us change and grow so that we can be prepared to live forever with Him in His eternal family.
“Trials are necessary for us to be shaped and made fit to receive that happiness that comes as we qualify for the greatest of all the gifts of God.” Henry B Eyring
He is willing to let me wait because He knows that suffering, waiting, seeking His help, and acting in faith will make me into the person He knows I can become.
I love the story of Job because he never lets his faith falter. Even though everything and everyone fails him, he still trusts God. In the end He is over compensated for every loss. So as these additional trial pile on, I think to myself,
“This is a chance to prove my faith.
This is a chance for me to refuse to falter.
This is a chance for me to see His hand in my life.”
I don’t know how that deliverance will come, but I know that it will. It may not be in a complete healing, but in added strength to deal with the pain. It may not come with me being able to do all the work again, but in the work load being lessened or through others sent to help me. Deliverance takes shape in more than just one single form. In fact it is not often in the way we may desire, but in the way that will help us and other grow.
As I look back on the last three years, I have seen deliverance in these forms. Before my husband died, it took me, my 3 sons and one of their friends working every weekday in the summer from 6 am to noon to take care of our acreage. The summers after his death, we worked a fraction of the hours with far fewer people and less equipment, yet the needed work got done. The weeds and the grass seemed to grow less making our work load smaller, and we were more efficient.
As I look back and remember times in the past when God has delivered me, I receive greater power to trust Him. I find my faith is stronger and more resolved and I feel peace even while I am in the storm. That in and of itself is deliverance.God didn’t just jump in and fix the problem for us, but He did enable us and strengthen us to do what needed to be done. For us, it has been a miracle and evidence of deliverance.
As I look back and remember times in the past when God has delivered me, I receive greater power to trust Him. I find my faith is stronger and more resolved and I feel peace even while I am in the storm. That in and of itself is deliverance.
I don’t know how long I will have to wait patiently on the Lord for a resolution of my health problems… but I do know that He is helping me everyday. I have been lead to good doctors who are doing everything they can to help and figure things out. While I am waiting, I am trying to remember and look for those tender mercies when I don’t hurt as much or when I am able to do what I need to do despite the pain. I am trying to be grateful for the opportunities I have to do other worthwhile things when I can’t physically labor, or for the times when the normal work just doesn’t need to be done again quite yet. I am trying to be appreciative for the patience and empathy I am gaining.
I obviously need to go through this refining experience, because here I am and there is no going around it. I can either do it faithless and complaining or I can turn to God and experience strength through His deliverance.
If you are facing heavy challenges and desiring deliverance in your life, I encourage you to look to your past and the scriptures for patterns of deliverance. Then commit to trust God, be humble, and act in faith. As you turn to Him look for those tender mercies that are getting you through. I promise you that you will see his power more fully in your life.
Questions to Ponder:
1. How does looking for patterns of deliverance help you to endure your trials well? How does it give you added strength?
Scott, Richard G. “Trust in the Lord”
Eyring, Henry B. “The Power of Deliverance”