I love how God, in His Providence, brings people together. A couple of years ago my family had the opportunity to host Lydia and her family for a few days in our home in Mexico City. Their visit was a true gift for us; we enjoyed sharing good meals and wonderful conversations with them. Since then, Lydia and I have become really good friends, and God has blessed us with all this magical technology to make our friendship grow so that we are able to talk about our favorite thing in the world: The Word of God!
I am happy to have Lydia Bowman on the blog today to share with us a very important thing about how to live in faithful obedience to God. I am sure you will find her words encouraging.
Faithful Obedience: A Silent Work
by Lydia Bowman
Often in life, faithful obedience is a silent work, hidden from human eyes. It’s an everyday living for Jesus. It’s a heart enraptured with the beauty of the Lord and a mind captive to the truth of God’s Word. Occasionally, you get those public opportunities to say to the king, “I will not bow the knee to that statue,” but usually, we are called to obey in our hearts and minds and in smaller, every day, not so public moments. I have found this truth to be more evident to me in the last seven years since being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Crohn’s. At the beginning, when I was first really sick, we had many thoughtful cards, offers of help, and even meals for our young family of six. But let’s be real. Nobody actually wants to keep talking about digestive issues or stomach ulcers or those “poop subjects.” Even the close friends and family who still remember to ask how I’m feeling or if my Crohn’s is flaring up, are not there day in and day out. And that is okay. Many people are loving and supportive of me, but they aren’t called to walk this path. I am. Even my dear, godly husband sometimes just looks at me bewildered, trying to understand but not able to enter in. At times, I am called to walk this path without any earthly companions. The biggest struggle during those seasons is guarding my mind. Being faithfully obedient in this life God has called me to means daily taking my thoughts under control by the power of Christ through the truth of His Word.
One spring a couple of years ago, my health was particularly low. I had been battling a Crohn’s flare, and then I got strep throat that turned into an abscessed tonsil. If you’ve never had an abscessed tonsil, it makes you not even want to swallow your own saliva because that feels like swallowing glass. I’ve had four unmedicated childbirths with back labor, and I told my husband that this hurt worse than all of those. I lay in my bed unable to function or do any normal motherly duties. I was having a bit of a pity party for myself. I had my phone next to my bed, and I clicked on my audio Bible to continue playing the next chapter in the Bible plan I had been listening to. It started to play Matthew 6. The words jumped out at me, not once but twice in that chapter. “Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before you ask Him”; “Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.” Two thoughts came rushing to my mind. First, that I wasn’t alone. My Father knew what was going on. This thought, not new to me, had been reiterated in Scriptures I had read and sung for years, but that day, this reminder was like a life line to my weary soul. And then secondly, and even more strongly, the words “Your Father knoweth you have need of all these things” took on a new meaning. My Father knew I needed this abscessed tonsil. My Father knew I needed Crohn’s. He was faithful and good to give me these things. He, in His all-wise and all-loving ways, has given me what was needed to purify me, to make me a “vessel for the finer.” These good gifts, yes good, God put in my life to tear from me any confidence in self and to teach me to lean solely on the Rock who alone can support and comfort me. I do not need the sympathy of friends; I need Christ. Other helpers, however good they are, will fail because they are human. Christ will not fail. The Puritan Isaac Ambrose wrote, “Only Christ is the whole of man’s happiness, the Sun to enlighten him, the Physician to heal him, the Wall of fire to defend him, the Friend to comfort him, the Pearl to enrich him, the Ark to support him, the Rock to sustain him under the heaviest pressures.” That day God graciously enabled me through the systematic reading of His Word to bring “into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” Only a fresh sight of my kind God was sufficient to enable me to be faithful to Him with my thoughts.
Faithful obedience doesn’t always look like something on the outside. Sometimes it is in the quiet, inward moments of the dark nights of sorrow or loss or pain when we must obey God by battling for our minds. We cannot, dear sisters, in those times when we might feel discouraged or alone, sit down and have a cup of tea with sinful thoughts like “God doesn’t love me” or “He doesn’t care.” We must inwardly stand up and walk away from unworthy thoughts of our God. We must remember that He is good, only good. He is just, always. He is unfailingly faithful. We must fight the good fight of and for faith. We must trust His Word and recount His promises, asking the Lord for help in obeying Him with our thoughts. His grace and strength alone can enable any of us to gain victory over fearful, unloving, or selfish thoughts. Instead of bowing the knee to the idol of pity or the idol of self-indulgence or the idol of unbelief, preach truth to yourself, this truth: the Father knows. He knows you have need of ALL these things.
You can read the introduction to this series here, where you will also find the index to this series.