Thursday, February 23, 2017

Difficulty and Struggle

I've been inspired recently by Joni Eareckson Tada's  A Lifetime of Wisdom: Embracing the Way God Heals You. Joni's personal understanding of God's purposes in pain have encouraged me for many years on my journey with migraines. Her wisdom as she looks back on 40 years of living in a wheelchair is especially relevant right now, with our boys being in wheelchairs this month.

Reading her words makes me feel like I'm having a personal conversation with Joni, one of my all-time heroes of the faith. It's as if she is cheering me on, as one of the great cloud of witnesses in Hebrews 12:1, to run with perseverance the race marked out for me. And I can hear her encouraging me to cheer David and Daniel on in their journeys of healing and recovery as well. She says:

“If you find yourself in a confining situation, it is God who has confined you. He is the One who has surrounded you and hemmed you in. It is only when we view our restricting circumstances as being placed there by God's hand that we find courage to face, accept, and even embrace the wall and the hedge.”

David struggling with his heavy casts
“Difficulty, struggle, and feelings of loneliness are bound to be part of the hedge with which God has enclosed those who suffer—so we must learn not to be dismayed in the face of darkness.”

“God doesn't give me grace for the future, uncertain seasons that He may grant me on earth before He takes me home. He doesn't give me grace for next year's headaches—or even next month's heartaches. He won't loan me enough grace to face the prospects of tomorrow! God only gives me grace for today.

Daniel leaning on his physical therapist as he comes down the stairs
He expects me to live this day in His strength, leaning on His wisdom, drawing on His presence and power.”

“Grit-your-teeth stamina and human courage have nothing to do with experiencing His grace, It isn't human strength that prompts God to pour out His grace, it is human weakness. Complete dependence.”

Daniel and David struggling in their race up our hill
I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitation in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 MSG)

Wait on the Lord,” Psalm 27:14 tells us, “be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord.”

“Waiting on the Lord means putting His desires before our own, believing that He will meet our needs with generosity and love in His good time.

We don't wait to live. We have to keep living while we're waiting.

a video clip of the wheelchair race: David and Daniel embracing life
while they wait for their casts to come off

It takes courage to wait patiently and yet get out there and embrace life. But you can do it. Lean on God and courage will never be in short supply.” 

our tough courageous boys
who are teaching me, through their struggles,
how to better lean into His strength

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