• David Flowers

God’s presence in anything

Anyway…I do want to declare, shout it from the mountains that God is good, he is faithful and trustworthy and he sustains us daily. Healing takes time, God is not a I want it now kind of God. We are waiting on the Lord anticipating what He will do in the coming days and weeks and months. This morning as we sang songs for the worship service I was struck by the imagery of my feet. The bible talks about how all of our steps are ordered by God, and we sang about our feet being set on a firm foundation, and I thought of the armor of God and how our feet are are supposed to be ready for the gospel of peace, I’m not sure why the thought of feet came to mind but the whole idea of my feet being planted firmly on God right now is powerful. Just as Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever so my life can be solid no matter what may come. I often pray that He will walk before us, beside us and behind us, hemming us in all around and I believe that He literally is. He hides us in the shadow of His wing and holds us in the palm of His hand. The sense of protection is amazing and brings security in a world that “moves like mad”. Hope you sensed His presence today in your church or wherever you were today.
–Ruth Jackson

Source: The Jackson Family Online

Ruth’s husband Mark is receiving hospice care for lung cancer he was diagnosed with a few months ago. This post can be read in two ways, depending on whether one is a cynic, or a person of faith. One is “Tsch – how cliched can you get. What a desperate leap she has taken in an attempt to hang onto some kind of hope.” The second is to say, “Is hope not what this woman and this family need right now? Even more than a miracle, more than healing, they need hope. And somehow, in a way I believe is supernatural, Ruth has found the hope she needs. All through prayer and the exercise of her faith in a situation that appears to offer little hope.

This blog from Ruth is really only set in context by the others that ask or at least hint at the question “Why,” and talk about how the family is down, burned-out, depressed, etc. So this can be seen not as a cliched “Ho hum, whatever happens we’ll trust God,” but as another step on the journey they have taken that has brought them through fear, anger, depression, anxiety, doubt, and all kinds of stuff. And what it shows is that a person can encounter anything – absolutely anything – and continue to not only hope in God, but believe God cares for them, and trust in his goodness. I have never been as sick as Mark, but I can say that when my MS has been at its worst (and it sucked bad), I have experienced those broken times as moments of grace from God, where I have sensed his peace and presence in ways I never have before.

The greatest challenge for me in the last flare-up I had was a profound fear that this was not in fact MS, but perhaps cancer or, even worse, Lou Gerhig’s disease. Many of the symptoms were the same and ALS really is just a fatal version of MS in terms of how it works in the brain. I had terrible anxiety about it. For days I feared and worried. And then finally something occurred to me. I thought, “Dave, many people would be horrified to experience what you are experiencing now, and yet you have found God in this place. Do you think that if it’s ALS you have instead of MS, God will not be in that place too?” And the most profound comfort came from that. I was able to get through the rest of that flareup not with confidence in myself, but with genuine confidence that as long as God was with me, I could walk through any valley. And not with some expectation of physical healing. God’s presence would be enough. How true it is that this presence is the most healing thing we can ever experience – it heals the soul of the things that really ail it. Bitterness, depression, resentment, frustration, anger, anxiety – with the experience of God’s presence, and the corresponding knowledge that we are never really alone – there is soul healing. When that comes, body healing appears as a convenience rather than a necessity — even though it may be a deeply-desired convenience.

All of this is what I have lost sight of in the last few weeks as bad things have happened in my life and in the lives of others and in our country. That is what has allowed my anger to flare and my doubts to overtake me at times, and put up a wall between God and me. I intend to tear down that wall this week.

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