I'm always having a hard time with the idea of miraculous healing...maybe of anything miraculous happening. I know it does but I can never pray for miracles. God and I both know I don't really think He'll do it. Recently both of my kids have been sick, the sickest I've ever seen, and I thought I should pray for them. I did pray for William when he was at his worst, telling God I knew He was merciful and begging Him for mercy on William. That was the middle of the night. The next day William slept until 2 in the afternoon and was clearly much better when he woke up. Not miraculously without a trace of illness, but much much better. I knew God had answered. Now I'm at the same point with Ellie, but still just don't know how to pray. Knowing nothing about healing, I had this vague idea that there is some combination of words or something I am supposed to feel that will make it happen. But as I was trying (in vain) to pray for her, I felt like God was a little amused at me--like I was doing some silly "rain dance" to get what I wanted. I stopped and admitted defeat. What now Lord? But then I looked at her and even though there were no obvious signs of a recovery, I knew she was OK. Something inside said that there was no longer a cause for concern. Still, what about those prayers that yield immediate obvious miraculous healing? Am I still supposed to seek that? But then He spoke to me again through Elizabeth Elliot, as He so often does. "Just leave him to me" was the title of the devotional. And through it, He told me to pray and then rest and trust Him. Not trust Him to do what I had asked, but to trust Him that He heard and was holding both me and Ellie in His hands. Look to Him in quiet trust and know He will do what is good.
I was lying on the couch trying to take a nap, and started thinking about horse drawn sleighs. They put these little eye patches on the harness called "blinders" (or "winkers" if you're in the UK) that help keep the horse from being distracted by what's behind and around them. They can't see the driver but obviously know that he's there by the tug on their mouths.
Walking by faith seems a lot like that to me. We can't see the Lord but we have to learn to be sensitive and obedient to the direction He gives us. And we need to be free from distraction, otherwise we might get scared and run away or see something else we want and wander off the course the Driver has determined to take. We need to be blind to all but His will, and then we will be really useful to Him, like a horse that knows and does nothing but its master's will.
I prayed for blinders, like the horse has. Lord, let us be sensitive only to what You are doing and asking of us. Let us be guided only by your wise and good hands, and not by what we see around us. Because we can't make sense of all we see any better than a horse, and our desires won't lead to anything profitable being accomplished in Your Kingdom. It's Your "sleigh"; make us useful to You...
Maybe this experiment seems a little extreme or even wrong to someone reading this. I admit I wondered it myself. But I love God, I want God. The more I taste of Him, the more I want to drop everything else and be His, utterly His. "Taste and see that the Lord is good" the Scripture goes, and it is so so true. But this is my experience. Maybe I am a wacko.
Is this experiment also for every other believer? I think it is. Jesus said that the first and greatest commandment is "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength." In all my years of being a Christian, this experiment is the only means I have ever found that allows me to, at least for a moment at a time, obey that commandment. If there is another method for doing so, by all means do that as well or instead. But do something. If the Son of God Himself called that one the greatest commandment, then it seems to me that we as Christians ought to be bending their whole will to obey it, right?
I've had a difficult time coming into God's presence for the last day or so. I listened to the Spirit in my heart, but something was missing. I wasn't encountering Him with joy like I had been and I wondered what was wrong. Last night He showed me that there was an area of my heart I had been keeping back from Him. I was really enjoying shopping for Christmas gifts and had been avoiding Him about it, in case He would tell me not to go shopping because He wanted to do something else. I was like a little kid holding on to some little treasure so tightly, so no one could take it away. Its not that shopping for gifts or any of that is bad in itself, but He wants all of me. Even the good things. An area that isn't surrendered blocks some part of our fellowship, which is truly bad I have decided. I would rather have Him than my little shopping spree. Nothing compares to that joy I have found in Him...though I am embarrassed to admit how hard this one was to let go of. But what can I say? Apart from Him I am still the same silly selfish girl and will always be her apart from Him. And this is my choice: not to be apart from Him.
One more thought spurs off my post of a moment ago--this giving of my body to God sounds truly creepy in a way, though it doesn't feel that way to do it. Its kind of like we are standing side by side here, and I am just letting Him hold my hands to do a task I could not do on my own (only not merely my hands but all of me, even my feelings and desires are ordered by Him as I allow it). Does that make sense? It isn't like what we see in a demon possession where the person is clearly absent from their body and being utterly controlled by another spirit. God does not control us. At any moment we are free to jerk away or take back our hands. So far, He has been gentle and a gentleman. It is a partnership, and we can take the upperhand at any moment we choose.* We lose so much by doing so, for He is more capable and wise and good than we can imagine! But we are free to order our own life and go our own way . He wants to work with us. We're just the silent partner.
There seems to be a connection between my heart and my brain in what I am trying to do. When I think of Jesus Christ and His kingdom, I also turn my heart to him in surrender of my own will. Kind of like praying "Thy will be done" but I don't actually say it. I just will it silently in my heart. But it isn't a reluctant turning to Him. I have seen His goodness and beauty in a way that is impossible to describe. Some part of me is always warring for control of my own life, and that part of me I do violence to in a way. I choose to go to the Lord because He is good and I am not; because He is perfect and I am not. And when I get there, when I muscle past that stubborn "thing" in me that says "no don't do it!" I find myself in the presence of the most beautiful, loving, generous, gracious, magnificent, joyful Being I have ever met--beyond all I could even imagine. Overwhelming joy and light washes over me in His presence. I have no worries. All of a sudden everything seems RIGHT, even if in the human perspective it isn't. For example, lately, and maybe its no coincidence, I am finding myself often slighted and hurt by people close to me. Shockingly so. I don't even know what to do at first. But then I think, "God's kingdom (His will) matters more than what I want to do about this situation." and in my heart I take my feelings and the situation to Him, and immediately I have peace and wisdom for how to proceed. Like an instant download to my heart. I guess what is actually happening is that I am surrendering my body to His use, and that "instant download" is really just Him taking the reins. And I am governed by His peace and joy as He sees to the people in His Kingdom. I feel like I have discovered some wonderful secret. If ever there was a way to quit sinning, well this is it. I give my body to God to use, and He does not sin. But I have not disappeared. I am just hidden in Him. What people see in those moments I am surrendered is no longer Jenn, but Jesus. They may not realize it, but that is the fact. "I have died and my life is hidden with Christ in God." I am on vacation in my own soul, resting in perfect peace and unexplainable joy. And all I have to do is surrender to Him. Not an easy thing, but so simple I wouldn't have believed it was the answer if you'd told me years ago. In fact, I didn't! I read the Laubach/Lawrence book nearly 8 years ago when Kurt and I were dating, and it was incomprehensible to me, even though some part of me wanted to do what they had done. I guess God took that inkling of desire and has graciously brought me here to fulfill it. Hey--Em--looks like He did the 7 year thing with me too! ha!