Jeremiah 17:9 – “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
There is no greater realization that my heart is easily swayed than when I am walking through times of intense trial. These past couple of months have magnified my own doubts and fears in ways I haven’t seen before. While we have clung to the truth of God’s Word and the eternal hope of heaven that we have through Jesus, I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t admit that the days have been harder than I thought I could bear at times. More than once I’ve cried out, “How long, Lord, how long? Why, God? Aren’t you hearing us?!”
Questions like these flood my mind and threaten to overwhelm me and sweep me away into a torrent of depression and despair. These feelings have reminded me that so often in our world “faith” is viewed as a crutch or a positive addition to one’s life, when in fact God intended our faith to be far more. “Hold fast to the hope set before us…We have this as a sure and steadfast ANCHOR for the soul!” (Hebrews 6:18-19) My anchor is Jesus…holding my heart steady when my emotions tempt me to quit. Faith isn’t a last resort or something that makes us feel better about trying situations. Trusting Christ doesn’t guarantee an easy life, less pain or fewer heartaches. It does, however, give HOPE that does not disappoint. A day WILL come when God will establish a new heaven and a new earth; an earth in which there will no longer be diseases like MMA or trials that seem to never end. And I’ve never longed more for that day than I have in these past weeks…
Seeing Myka endure what she has in just two years of life, especially during the previous seven weeks, has nearly broken me into pieces. I’ve cried in a heap on a hospital bathroom floor more than once and driven home blinking through tears dozens of nights. My faith in Christ does not lessen the pain that I feel as a human nor make walking through the trial easier…but I’ve seen His faithfulness in a new way. During this hospital stay I have not seen His faithfulness in quick healing or speedy recovery for my daughter, but I have seen Him give healing and recovery to my heart time and time again, day after day and hour by hour. He has breathed into my heart truth and life and hope through His Word, through the leadership and love of my husband, through songs and through dear family and friends who are holding us up in prayer, support, generosity and love.
Indeed my heart is deceitful and quick to believe lies and deception, and as I read that verse in Jeremiah I went back a bit further to see that there are always two choices in our response to the situations that come across our paths. Jeremiah 17:5-6 says, “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.” The next two verses (Jer. 17:7-8) say, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust IS the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” I’ve chosen both of these options in the past months…I’ve placed too much trust in man and found myself desperate and feeling alone. But, by His grace, I’ve also chosen to trust the Lord who is in control and has a better plan than mine.
Trusting hasn’t meant that the setbacks have hurt less or caused fewer tears. Trusting has meant remembering that the hurt has purpose and the tears are held in the hands of One who loves me deeply. Somehow He IS working this together for good, shaping me slowly into the woman He desires for me to be. I may never see just how this trial is being used but one day He will show me the intricate details being woven together right now in the midst of the pain.
Driving to and from the hospital I often spend time listening to music. Most of the time I choose worship music to focus on all that is right with God instead of all that I feel is wrong in my life. (And other days I listen to Michael Buble and sing like a fool!) One song that I have gone back to repeatedly is this one from VCB called “Set My Heart.” The lines that stick out to me say, “Let your word be louder than my fears; Let your joy be greater than my grief.” My desire is that the Word would be louder than my fears of the future and the JOY of knowing Jesus would be greater than the grief I have known or may experience in days to come. My trial might seem “bigger” than one you’re facing but your trials hurt and make you question things. What are you experiencing that you need to surrender to His plans? How can his Word be louder than your fears? His joy greater than your grief?
” Nothing will ever break me, ever slay me, all my hope in You. Nothing will ever shake me, overtake me, all my hope in You.”