Faithful Obedience by Lisa Leidenfrost

There are many things I love and respect about my friend Lisa. But if I had to choose one reason why I want to pursue her friendship in the years to come is that she is a woman who prays and fights with the Word of God in hand. It doesn’t matter if you are having tea in her home, or going on a walk with her, she will always encourage you to trust God, pray to God, and fight the Devil and your flesh with the Word of God.

Thank you, Lisa, for sharing with us today.

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He Has You, that Much
by Lisa Leidenfrost

People say “God is so good” especially after an unexpected answer to prayer or when someone is delivered from a trial in a great way. But, what if, after praying hard for deliverance or for a certain answer, that answer goes against what you had wanted, almost in the opposite direction? Now where are you? Can you still say with all your heart “God is so good” and really mean it? Yes, you can, and I can tell you why. It is because God is – period. He doesn’t change. His character remains the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is sure, constant, and does not move with the variables of life. He is someone you can count on over and over and over again.

So, when life gets scary, He is the only safe place to be. But, in the confusion of the unexpected that quickly turns to alarming, and when you are trying to make sense of it all, it is very easy to get derailed. That is why it is important to always go back to what you do know, and to stand there first before you interpret the rest.

So, what do you know about God that doesn’t ever change based upon the truth of His word?

God is good.
 God loves you (John 17:23). 
God listens to your prayers.
 God is open to your cry and answers when you call (Psalm 145:18,19). 
God is in control of your life.
 God gave the trial and means good from it 
God wants to bless you through this.
 God will walk with you every step of the way and will not forsake you (Hebrews 13:5,6).

These promises, along with many others, can be found in His Word. They are solid and don’t change, therefore you can rely on them. These are the positive things that you can know. But, the Bible also says that you have an enemy against you, the devil, (Eph. 6:12) who will be undermining all the above by telling you lies like: God does not love you. You are all alone and He doesn’t hear, nor will act on your behalf. So therefore, you must scramble to act on your own, or curl up in a ball and give up.

These lies come on the heels of feelings that are caught up in the turmoil of the moment. When it doesn’t feel like the above things are true because bad things are happening to you, that is especially the time you need to stand on what you do know to be true and make the choice to stay there by faith. You stand on God’s promises because they are true. Feelings on the other hand are fickle and change depending on a host of variables. They are not based on anything super solid, which can lead you astray. Hanging onto the truth in the battle is the only thing that can keep you standing in the thick of the fight. When you use the shield of faith (Eph. 6:16) in God’s promises you can quench all the fiery darts (doubts) of the enemy. But you have to be in His word to know what those promises are and to know how to use them. Then, you have to choose to believe them in faith, because doing so gets you back up on the God who is the giver of those promises. Resting on God alone is the surest foundation. It is believing what He is telling you. It is not being fearful because He has your situation in His hand, in spite of the emotion that is right there telling you the opposite.

Do I know what I’m talking about? Yes. We, as missionaries to the Ivory Coast, have just completed a Bible translation in a language that hadn’t been written before. We raised our children in a village, in the tropics, with no electricity or running water. We’ve had various health issues, including typhoid with no doctor nearby. We went through numerous times of unrest, got caught in a war, and had to flee when they were after whites. During the hardest time of the evacuation my health crashed, leaving me a functional shut in for years with an unknown and potentially scary condition. Then on top of all that, later my daughter, who had helped me when I was down, got Multiple Sclerosis, a potentially debilitating disease. Speak about things not going the way we thought they should! Yet God still triumphs through it all. How do I know this? Because He says He does, and I’ve seen it in action. I have learned to see things through His perspective rather than mine.

“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37).

“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place” (2 Cor. 2:14).

He triumphs not in spite of the problems but because of them. When we need Him, His strength comes through. He acts, then blesses, and turns hard situations into opportunities that glorify Him and form His character in us. And in doing so, He is advancing His kingdom and getting us fit for eternity with Him.

“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness’” (2 Cor. 12:9).

So, how did He come through for us? By God’s grace I was healed of my condition years later, and just recently the translation was finished even after many set backs and hindrances. We thank God for all these things. And even for the things that have not been answered yet, like my daughter Noai’s healing, God has been so faithful in helping my daughter and her husband walk through this, one step at a time. We all can see the hand of God doing marvelous things, teaching them His character, wisdom and glory. These are all things that count and that will not be taken away from them. And, in spite of all their challenges, they are a very joyful family.

No matter what the outcome, God is so good through it all. God’s wild path is always better, over our ideal one, because it is the path to glory, hardships and all. Therefore, when you choose to give your ‘Amen’ to the hard path He has chosen, it will be credited to you as faith because you are believing He will come through in His way. If you wait to give your ‘Amen’ to it after you are in heaven and can finally see that it was the best path, it will no longer be faith. So, you might as well give your ‘Amen’ now and at least be credited with faith.

Yet, if we could choose, we would choose the path that is not so hard. We can wonder, why can’t God just let us live an ideal life and still accomplish His purposes? That would be nice but consider this, when we are weak, when we really need God, that is when we have to rely on God’s strength alone. God’s strength is the ultimate strength, so when we have access to that power and use it, we have access to everything, and therefore are truly strong and are becoming more like Christ. Consider that we often don’t access his strength when we can still stand on our 
own. So, needing Him, and building up our faith means far more to God than letting us live our life of ease, because without faith it is impossible to please God. (Heb. 11:6) Do we really want a milk toast life with an immature faith that has not been tested in the fire?

Another aspect to consider is that He is up to something good because the trial always goes beyond just yourself. It affects others too in God’s overarching plan. When you go through a trial faithfully, which means looking to Him continuously in all the ups and downs, God is 
working in your heart and this affects others, giving them courage to walk in faith as well. This process is moving His kingdom forward by building up His people through the great cloud of witnesses that keep accumulating. He has eternity in mind because this earth is not all there is.

Even though we may understand all the above, it is still hard down in the trenches. So how do you handle a great disappointment, or disastrous turn of events? The first thing you do is to run to the one who gave you that trial. If you run away because God is too dangerous, you will be 
doubly hit, first with the trial and secondly from being cut off from the help you would have gotten. You must daily cry out to Him. And, it is OK to cry, to feel grief, to mourn a loss because we are human. But when we do, we need to do it in faith and not despair, in hope and not in fear, with a joy that rests on God’s character alone and not the situation. So, run to God. Tell Him all about it. Let His love wash over you and let those everlasting arms catch you underneath. He knows and understands, and He wants to take your hand and lead you.

“I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved” (Psalm 16:8).

“The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run to it and are safe” (Proverbs 18:10).

Let Him protect you, pick you up when you collapse, comfort you when you cry, carry you when you are weak, and gently lift you up when you are down in a pool of discouragement.

“As a father pities His children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For he knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:13,14).

Yes, He does pick you up, forgives the hopelessness that has engulfed you, then places the sword of the Spirit and the shield of faith back in your hands and teaches you how to fight anew. You are never without help in whatever form you need.

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1,2).

God is either who He says He is, or He is not. Therefore, we can get up and fight with hope and above all to stand in confidence. So much so, that you can even go off rejoicing after you have given your burden to Him, because He has you that much.

Lisa Leidenfrost

-You can find the index to the series Faithful Obedience at the bottom of this post.
-The latest in this series: A post by Laurie Ditton on how God has been faithful to her and her husband as they submitted to His will bringing her sick and elderly mom to live with them.

Faithful Obedience by Laurie Ditton

When I think of all the people God has put in our lives to teach us, to encourage us, to host us, to love on us, my heart overflows with gratitude. God has given us His Word as our rule to know how we must live and to also know what we are to believe. And in His kindness, He has also given us many examples of brothers and sisters that live in faithful obedience to Him so that we might imitate, and I am deeply grateful for that.

Laurie has been an example to me. She is a faithful friend who bears her crosses without ever complaining. Her mouth is full with words of gratitude, words that are sweet because they are impregnated with the sweetness of Christ’s Words.

As we read her words, I pray that God will use them to encourage us to persevere in faithful obedience through the trials God has ordained for each one of us.

Faithful obedience is not always easy, but by God’s grace, it is always possible. Let’s keep looking up!

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Last autumn my husband and I brought my elderly mother to live with us. She is eighty nine. She cannot speak. She is incontinent. Her dementia is so far advanced that she no longer recognizes me. But as hard as this is for both of us, more than anything else in my life, the Lord has used it to show me His faithfulness and His grace: His undeserved favor toward those He loves.

The decision to move my mother was not made lightly. We sought counsel and prayed a great deal. We lifted up our concerns, our “what ifs”, our fears. We were honest with God, and while He did not always provide the specifics, He did answer. Gently but clearly, both from circumstance and from scripture. He called us to be faithfully obedient. To live out what we believed. To trust Him. My mother was to come home.

This kind of obedience is not difficult. Knowing exactly what God wants you to do is a great blessing. It’s afterward that’s sometimes a bit harder. Especially when things don’t go quite as expected. Or even close to expected. When doubts creep in it’s time to cling to God’s promises, to remember that He has promised He will never leave nor forsake us. He has promised to make all things work together for good even if we can’t see it. We are to walk by faith.

And God is faithful. I have come to realize that what the last seven months have been is not so much my faithfulness as His, and the faithfulness of other saints whom He has used to bless me.

My faithful prayer group lifts me up before the throne whether I make the meeting or not. They are full of wisdom and joy and laughter as they bear this burden along with me. Several of them have come to sit with her, to talk to her, to read the Bible to her.

My faithful daughter comes once or twice a week to care for mom. She is wiser than I am and encourages me greatly. She brings her three-year old son whose presence always makes my mother smile. Mom’s old bent hand slowly reaches to pat his head. He giggles. God is gracious.

Our faithful physician comes to our home to see her. He treats her with the utmost dignity. He is never rushed, and his advice and support have been invaluable. He recently ordered Hospice care, and a lovely Christian nurse showed up at my door to help me. More grace.

My mother can’t be left alone and the Lord has faithfully provided us with women from our local Christian college and churches to care for her on a regular basis. I am constantly amazed and blessed by their love for Christ and kindness to my mother. One of them brought a book about heaven. Sometimes I read it to her and am reminded of the glory she will soon see. The glory I will one day see. Grace upon grace.

Not that caring for an elderly parent isn’t also a trial. It is hugely time-consuming, it is sometimes unpleasant, and there is the ever present temptation to fear, to feel trapped. It’s then that we need to remind ourselves always to return to His word, to believe His promises. And again, God is gracious. Many of us in this community are reading the Bible together. Our pastor is fond of reminding us that scripture is food. Our Lord is faithful: I am well-fed. He has equipped me for this work.

In trials, I have periodically asked God to show me the thin places, the places where eternity feels close, where the presence of Jesus is astonishingly real. And He is always faithful to answer. Often it’s the words in a sermon that take me there. Or books by saints long in glory. Recently it happened while putting mom to bed. I always walk backward in front of her, holding her hands. Her gait is unsteady, one foot drags behind. Every night she stops in the doorway to her bedroom and peers inside, unsure if she should continue, unable to comprehend what is going on.

One night, looking at my mother, I had a clear picture of myself: stumbling, sometimes fearful, often confused, yet faithfully led by Jesus all the days of my life.

And isn’t it true for each of us?

Our Lord is faithful, He blesses his loved ones with grace.

Laurie Ditton

You can find the list of posts in this series here .

Faithful Obedience by Rachel Jankovic

Rachel Jankovic is a friend who has taught me many things. And of the things I’ve learned from her is how obedience, simple obedience looks like on a day to day basis. It looks like a joyful task, and it actually laughs out loud. It smells like bread coming out of the oven. It looks beautiful, like vibrant colorful threads in the loom. It loves to work hard, and never complains about a messy kitchen, little dirty hands, and the  to-do list that never ends but keeps growing. Faithful obedience, she has taught me through her example, is always grounded in the Word of God and grows when it feeds on the perfect obedience of Christ.

The wonderful thing about pursuing this kind of faithful obedience is that, by the the grace of God and with His blessing, it bears loads of fruit. But we know that if we have lots of fruit -even the most delicious and beautiful- sitting in a basket it will rot very quickly. So this kind of obedience gets all the fruit it bears, puts it in many baskets (one is never enough!), and then sets those baskets on the porch, on the corner of the streets, in the church, so that anyone who passes by may freely take all the fruit they want! And as all things that God blesses, the seeds of all this fruit multiplies a thousand times!

So thank you, Rachel, for your friendship, your example, and your willingness to write for the Faithful Obedience series today.

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A statement of faith is a way of communicating what you believe about God and His relationship to man throughout history in a short and succinct way. But it covers creation, the fall, redemption, the mechanism of salvation, and ultimate destiny for mankind. It is simply a way to put a hand hold on the biggest beliefs that we have so that they can be quickly communicated.

A profession of faith is a Christian personally expressing a statement of faith. It is the same words, simply with “I” in front of it. I believe in God the Father, maker of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, I believe in the resurrection of the dead, etc.

But faithfulness is walking through your life holding fast to your profession, and living your statement of faith. Hebrews 10:23 says “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)”

Faithfulness has to hold fast because life is moving along. We are inevitably carried by the passage of time through many changes and events that will make holding fast necessary.

I remember when I was a young mother of several children realizing that I was being called to live – to actually live – what I had only up until that point believed in the abstract. I believed that children were a blessing. I believed that this was a good thing. I believed that my work was important, that my joy and contentment in it were meaningful. But I was being called to hold fast to that profession through the things that might want to separate me from it. There comes an inevitable moment when if you do not hold fast to your profession you will no longer be professing it. And that is where faithfulness comes in. Holding fast when the storms of life are inviting you to let go.

I was raised in a believing family and have been blessed monumentally by the faithfulness of those ahead of me. I can see with my own eyes what it is to hold fast through so many different phases of life. My Grandfather is finishing his final laps in the Lord – holding fast his profession about what life and death means to a Christian as he approaches the finish line. My parents are living with him to care for him – holding fast their profession that God has called them to honor their father and mother. Those two have walked together through cancer, holding fast their profession that God is faithful, and that He is God even of cancer. They have lived their christian lives in front of us, alongside of us, always joyfully bearing more burdens than us, always rejoicing in the goodness of God with us, always blessing us with their example.

My husband and I are closer to being grandparents now than we are to being newlyweds – and God invites us to hold fast to our profession daily. As we grow older we find we have more opportunities to claim as our own parts of our statement of faith that we had up until this point only believed. Now we must live it. We are surrounded by siblings who are holding fast to their professions through different callings and obstacles and life phases. Holding fast through a brain tumor, through a life that will always be affected by that. Holding fast their profession as they live faithfully whatever God has called them to. And we have our children and our nieces and nephews – some holding fast to their profession as they enter adulthood, some holding fast as they learn to negotiate adolescence and even the three year old – learning what it means to salute Jesus and hold fast.

The Christian life is a life of profession. We profess Christ in whatever situation we are in. And so the work of faithfulness is no different if you are being crushed by the weight of blessing or crushed by the weight of trial. The calling is the same – cling to Christ. Grab hold of your profession, which is found in Jesus Christ. For He that is faithful has promised.

Rachel Jankovic

You can find the table of contents of this series here.
The latest post on the series was about how to cultivate faithful obedience in our own lives.

Faithful Obedience by Kate Sumpter

God has ordained specific trials for each one of His children, but with each trial God has promised the grace and the strength needed to walk through it. In this series of Faithful Obedience we are being encouraged to remember that God’s children never walk through suffering in vain because God is faithful. And also, because we know that God is faithful, we can trust Him and respond in faithful obedience at every turn of the page.

Today, Kate Sumpter, a dear Sister in Christ who loves the Lord and His Word deeply, shares with us how she and her husband have walked from the day they heard the hard news of infertility to the joyous news of adoption -always taking the next step sustained by God’s faithfulness.

Read it, share it, be encouraged, and pray for Kate and her family.

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Waiting in Faithfulness

My husband and I are on an adoption waiting list for our second child. We also have a blonde headed six year old daughter whom we adopted as an infant. We’re so thankful to be parents as we were diagnosed with infertility not long into our marriage. Children are a joyful gift of marriage and the union of a man and woman used by God to create new life. And yet, Adam and Eve ate the fruit. Sin entered the world. And wombs are barren.

My husband and I are both from big families and our hope has always been to have many children. I remember having a discussion before we were married about raising kids and that we both thought adoption would be a really neat thing for us to pursue someday. I had watched my friend’s family adopt internationally and God’s goodness to them was evident. I saw adoption as a unique way for God to proclaim His glory.

Adoption is a visible reminder of God’s faithfulness and goodness to us. He adopts each of us through the work of Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:5-6 says He “predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” He wills and predestined that we should be His children. Why? Because it gives Him good pleasure. Because He receives praise and glory. Our faithful response to His faithfulness is obedience, praise, and glory.

Faithfulness is practiced and taught. We start young with commands from our parents like make your bed. Brush your teeth. Say thank you. And we grow with each accomplishment into the next bigger task. Or the next harder task. Luke 16:10 reminds us that “he who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.”

I know that all things work together for good, for those that love God (Roman 8:28), even the hard diagnosis of infertility. God was so clear when He closed the door to pregnancy. Our doctor told us that there was nothing else that the medical world could do. Understanding that diagnosis was a time of grief for us, but God graciously brought us through the grief with His Word, especially in hymns and psalms. I had to curb my own desires and plans for my life to faithfully follow where the Lord was directing my steps (Prov 16:9). Contentment isn’t something I am naturally gifted in, but something that God clearly was teaching me through those years. The Lord strips away our own wants and desires to give us His best. The psalmist says “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:26) Our fallen flesh had failed and my heart grieved. Yet God sustained my joy and peace by providing Himself for my portion. I cannot lean on anything, but His sovereignty so that I can heartily say, “Not my will, but yours!”

God’s will is always faithful. We followed Him to adoption and for two years we prayed and waited. Then, after only two weeks of knowing she was coming, we received our daughter into our arms! She was a whirlwind gift and one of my favorites. And as she grew, we prayed many times for her to have siblings, but God always said wait. This fall, we saw Him clearly say yes as we pursued Him in our desire.

We prayed specifically for God to bless us with our needs and He answered abundantly. As we told our friends and family that we were hoping to adopt again, they offered to spread the word of our adoption and to help raise funds for us. In the opening of Psalm 67 we find that God blesses His people so that He may be glorified. “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.“ His blessings are a magnification of who He is and it’s something the nations see. His blessings enable us to glorify Him. As we reached each fee along the process, we were met by God’s people abundantly giving as much as was needed. We were overwhelmed by His goodness through His people and His clear answer to our prayers. The blessings poured over us.

A clear example of this came on the last day of last year. We had reached the end of the paperwork in November and our adoption agency told us to finish raising all the funds needed before proceeding. My husband and I brought this to the Lord. We prayed regularly that we could raise the final funds of $10,000 by the end of December. What a hefty figure! But we faithfully followed the Lord knowing that He would provide for us and open the door or He would close the door and give us something else. He is faithful.

By the morning of Dec 31st we knew we were close, but still short by $1,670. But we’re never short on God’s faithful provision. He brought us to the last day of the month to answer our prayer. I received a message from a friend saying there was someone who wanted to donate anonymously whatever final amount was needed. That afternoon when I picked up a check with the exact amount I had tears in my eyes because here was tangible grace in my hand. “As it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (1 Cor 2:9) God loves to answer our prayers and He answered this specific prayer. We asked for a certain amount of money and we asked for a certain day. He gave both.

So my husband and I are on an adoption waiting list for our second child. And if we wait 3 months or 3 years, we know that God has prepared us for His good work. Being faithful to Him through obedience glorifies Him. This is our portion and it is a good pleasure to be His children. We know what faithfulness is because we have seen it. We have seen Him. And so we can wait because He is faithful.

Kate Sumpter

NOTE: You can find the index to the posts in this series here.

Faithful Obedience by Liz Boyd

This week we will have one extra post on our series of Faithful Obedience because one of our guests writers will be going into surgery next Monday (05/06). Because of this, I would love to ask you , dear Sisters, to carry her in your prayers.

I need not say a lot about my Sister in Christ, Liz Boyd. The way she has responded to the news of being diagnosed with breast cancer has been a huge of example to all the women (and men!) in our church of what we read in 1 Peter 3:6: Liz is a daughter of Sarah, a woman who does good and does not fear anything that is frightening.

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I Do Not Deserve This by Liz Boyd

Becky asked me to write a bit about God’s faithfulness during my trial with breast cancer, so here I go! I will warn you first I’m not a writer!

If you don’t love Jesus with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength (Luke 10:27) this whole blog post might sound counter-intuitive, that’s because it is. The gospel itself, that Christ died for me, is completely counter-intuitive. I must die to live and if I seek to save my own life, I will lose it. This battles our flesh every moment of the day. I was reborn, born again, never to be the same 15 years ago and this post will reflect that, I can’t help it nor do I want to.

I struggle with cheerful obedience in the mundane. Yes, I know the small moments of life make up the big picture…that scares me! I fail in those small moments. I am often like Paul, doing what I don’t want to do and not doing that which I know that I should. (Romans 7:15-24) I struggle doing my chores cheerfully, making lunch cheerfully and folding laundry cheerfully. Other times I am so very cheerful, just not doing the good work the good Lord called me to do! It is so much easier to be cheerful writing a blog about cooking, schooling or potty training than it is to actually do those things in the flesh. It might surprise you to hear that obedience in cancer has been relatively easy. It is so big, so unplanned and so clearly from the hand of God that I ran right into His hands for comfort. For some reason, I fail to notice daily that laundry and making breakfast are from His hand as well and I hate making breakfast more than cancer most days!!!!!

I could walk you through this journey of mine, I could focus on cancer, the doctors, the fear, the exhaustion, and I would be right to do so. There have been a lot of those things. But that isn’t my focus. For some reason, I guess because it’s as clear as day, “you have cancer”, I know that this is God’s will. The fear and bigness of cancer have been replaced with the burden of preaching the gospel through cancer. This is a much stronger and sweeter burden.

The pain and fear of cancer have been present off and on. One minute I’m fine the next I’m weeping because I will never feel a hug from my children the same way ever again. That is a loss. I haven’t struggled with being angry, not at God, but when I explain that all of my nerves will be cut, that my feeling will be gone, that a hug will never ever feel the same again once both of my breasts are removed within the next week and someone reminds me that things are great…I get angry. I know things are great. God is good and all things that come from him are perfect. But I am mourning. I am suffering a loss. I am not suffering a loss of body image, I’m mama to seven children and that loss was suffered in my twenties, I am suffering a loss that is hard to put into words, a loss of feeling. Of course, it will be fine. I know this. But I am lamenting. Let me. Did you know that you could be sad, you could grieve, your heart could ache and it’s not a sin? It’s not. You can be sad and still glorify God, you can experience great loss, greater than your breasts, and still, love Jesus. I know that is true because I am experiencing that now. I love Jesus more now than I ever have before, and I am also suffering a loss.

I have had a lot of women, so many meaning well and meaning to support, tell me to feel angry. I’m not. I will say that I don’t deserve this! I don’t deserve any of this! I don’t mean breast cancer, oh no, not at all. I mean the grace of God. I don’t deserve all of the love we have been shown, I feel like shouting “Give this love to someone else, we’re not great people, we aren’t worth it!” and alas it keeps coming. I cry out to God, feeling overwhelmed every single day with his provision of grace, mercy, joy, and practicality “I DON’T DESERVE THIS”. I don’t. I don’t deserve the many, many, many cards, pictures, checks, meals, toys, clothing, games, flowers, dinners, gift cards, gift baskets, cakes, ice cream, lunch snacks and prayers that we have gotten over the past two weeks. I don’t deserve the friend that made me lunch, showed me her mastectomy scar and said: “Get ready to preach the gospel, no one stops you when you have cancer!”. I don’t deserve the letters filled with scripture or the child care offered for doctors appointments. I don’t deserve the offers to give my children rides to rugby and Logos. I don’t deserve my best friend filling my entire fridge with organic low estrogen foods and leaving her 16-year-old daughter here to love on my girls until my surgery was over. I don’t deserve the family doctor who wrote letters on our behalf to our insurance company with the hopes of them accepting our appeal and covering my medical bills and this was after he went down a rabbit trail to find my hiding cancer. I don’t deserve the many Christian doctors and nurses I have seen over the past two months who have prayed for me and over me. I don’t deserve any of this, and that my friend is the gospel. I am feeling the gospel every day.

Romans 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Liz Boyd

NOTE: You can find the index to the posts on this series here.

Faithful Obedience by Noai Meyer

I am grateful for the gift of having Noai sharing with us in the series on Faithful Obedience. Noai has walked through a very hard road with much joy and unwavering trust in the Lord. Her life is an example of faithful obedience.

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Being Faithful with the Illness God Has Called You To

Psalm 84:11 “For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”

In 2018, shortly after the birth of my second daughter, we had the privilege of having my Multiple Scleroses come back with a scary vengeance. My vision was affected, my gait was affected, my arms and hands, and many other muscles and nerves. I remember one day sitting on the couch and crying because I had trouble even holding my newborn daughter. I did not feel so privileged at the time. But, through much prayer from the saints, and crying out to God, we look back on it now and can honestly say we wouldn’t have it any other way. It is good for me to have MS.

I think the biggest lie that we buy into all the time boils down to “God is not good.” We fear that He will take our child, or we fear that what we eat is killing us slowly, or we fear that we won’t find the right thing to help our bodies heal. Another lie is “I deserve something better”. I found myself thinking, “I just want to be normal!” Or I would think “but I want be a normal mom who can walk, all the other moms can walk!” I deserved to be like everyone else.
I was plenty able to walk; I just was projecting into the future…not a good idea. God’s grace and goodness were supplying my needs now, why should I go to a spot where He wasn’t? If I get there some day, He will be there and it will be good, and He will provide.

We so often forget that we don’t deserve any of this. Not even the opportunity to do dishes! I disliked doing dishes, and when God took that gift away, I realized even work was a gift. Every minute of every day is a gift and yet we brazenly complain when we don’t get the life we want. Many times I have cried out to God that He would heal me, and several times I have felt the answer to be “..for He knew what was in the heart of man” (John 2:25), or “You lust and do not have…that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:2-3). Did I really want God more than healing? Did I put Him as my “chief end” and goal? Or, was I wanting healing so I could go back to my “normal” life and spend it on my desires? Healing is great and God loves to give those kinds of good gifts, but He will always give good gifts, and sometimes that looks like MS. We must stop listening to the lies that health is good without God, or life is good without God.

God will do whatever it takes to draw you to Himself. He gives each of us unique trials that are fit just for us. As His children, He doesn’t withhold any good thing from us. If we have a chronic illness, it is because it is good. If He chooses not to heal us, it is good. It is so comforting to know that all of this is a part of God’s plan. We are under the skillful Surgeon’s knife, as T. S. Elliot put it. It is wonderful that “our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases” (Psalm 115:3). What could be better than God Himself?

“Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will deliver us” (2 Corinthians 9-10). He has “delivered us from so great a death”, what more could we ask for? And, of course he will deliver us!

Don’t ask, “What can I do to get out of this trial?” Instead ask, “How is God using this trial to bring me closer to Him?” Sometimes rampant fear and unbelief in God sneak in when we research how to get better. I often fell into this. I told myself, “I’m just trying to figure things out.” It is easy to find peace in activity instead of in God. The truth was I felt it was up to me to control my life. I couldn’t trust God to do it right. When we think like that, we lose that precious opportunity to throw ourselves on God and humble ourselves before Him “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (I Peter 5:6-7). There is nothing wrong with researching how to get better, just be aware that fear easily creeps in the back door at the same time. Stress and anxiety are good indicators of when you are putting your trust in the wrong things.

Trials tend to be great purging grounds for the dross of God’s people. They kick all your props out from under you, revealing what foundation you are really on. We are so easily distracted and subtly tempted from our first love. But God is merciful to teach us and lead us in just the way we need so that we might gain Him. Once those props have been knocked out, and your lack of faith revealed, start shifting your weight to the foundation of God’s promises.

So how can we be faithful with the time of illness God has given us? First, I think we need to recognize those lies that creep in easily when we are sick. Then we must run to Scripture and begin steeping ourselves and saturating ourselves with God’s promises. My husband counseled me not just to do this when the hard times hit, but especially when things are going well, because we all receive trials at some point if we are God’s children. Clothed in His armor we will be able to stand. “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6: 13).

I love promises about His promises: “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor the son of man that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19). This was just after Balak tried getting Balaam to curse God’s people and he couldn’t. There is nothing that can touch us that hasn’t been permitted by God. Another promise on promises is: “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us” (2 Corinthians 1:20). You can and must put your trust in His promises.

Another good tactic for battling the fears is to get counsel or read books by Christians who have gone before us and conquered in these things. Some of the books that really blessed me during the hardest times were, “The Clouds Ye So Much Dread” by Hannah Grieser; “God is the Gospel” by John Piper, and “The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment” by Jeremiah Burroughs.

In the end, what do we really want? Do we want to see Jesus? “And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:3). And, can we say with David, “One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple” (Psalm 27:4). Because this is his desire, David can say at the beginning of the psalm, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1).

If God is good, and He is, what do we have to fear? “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:18-19). God’s loving hands are the ones that perfectly crafted your illness for you. He will complete His work in you (Philippians 1:6) and use whatever is necessary to give you what is truly good. Lean into the flame that consumes the dross.

Noai Meyer


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