“ADONAI, all my longing is known to you; my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart is throbbing, my strength is gone, and the light in my eyes has left me.”Psalm 38:9-10
We all have holes. Oh, what challenges we all endure in these days and seasons upon the earth!
As part of the “Red Ink Circle” book club to celebrate the release of Every Scar a Miracle, today is November 8th, so we are reading chapter 8, “Holding On When Waiting Feels Like Forever,” which I wrote with amazing editing assistance from the other women in the group. (Commas, are, not, my, thing, for, sure.)🤣 (You can join the group here.)
Holes are Often Holding Patterns
If you look at the lives of our beloved biblical heroes, as I cite in this chapter, Joseph, Elijah, King David, Paul, Simon, and our dear Jesus. And other leaders such as George Washington, Corrie ten Boom, Viktor Frankl, and more. What we think are “holes” of despair are often holding patterns where God is getting us ready for what is next.
As I was rereading this chapter yesterday, I wept. Just wept. This piece was penned in December 2019. Since then, in addition to the pandemic, my Mama died and went to heaven to be with Jesus, I lost two inches of my mouth and some of my nose in pretty dramatic skin cancer surgery, I had to learn to walk again after a season of being disabled with a broken foot, planned a lovely wedding for our beloved daughter most of the time when I couldn’t walk, and even had a recent struggle with blindness. (Wow.)
When I was in the peak of pain with my foot, I had a pillow that said, “Blessed,” I gripped it white-knuckled to my chest and said, “Romans 8:28 is true. I know it is. God will use this. He will not waste my pain so, I will praise Him for it. He is so good to me.”
God has never wasted my pain.
I’m not sadistic, but I am realistic. God has never wasted my pain, and He never will. There are seasons and reasons for everything in our lives when we love Jesus, and we can trust God even when we feel like we’re in a pit with no rope or ladder in sight.
“Whom have I in heaven but you? And with you, I lack nothing on earth, my mind and body may fail, but God is the rock for my mind and my portion forever.”Psalm 73:25-26 (Jewish Complete version.)
Jesus Never Fails!
Do you hear that? Our bodies fail. People fail us. We fail ourselves. In a world full of failure, our God never fails us. We can trust Him.
Recently, I had corrective eye surgery, which led to a longer-than-expected recovery. Without notice, my vision would blur, and I could see nothing. Yet, I knew even in this, I could trust Him. Every day I needed to go somewhere; my eyesight would clear up before I needed to drive. And if it didn’t, I would often realize I didn’t need to go there anyway and needed the rest so I could heal.
God had me in a holding pattern in some ways. I could only spend an hour on the computer or sometimes two. So, I spent a lot of time with my eyes closed and a lot of time in prayer.
During this time, I had a fantastic opportunity to be part of a night discussing AI at church. I was blind as a bat. But Pastor Paul was so kind, “You and I are the only ones who know what you plan to say on your piece of paper. It will be great.” (Wow, I needed that word of encouragement.)
Additionally, the good Lord quietly reminded me that He was the only one I needed to see at that moment. Yet again, I can testify, when I am weak, He is so very strong. Oh, how faithful God is! He never leaves or forsakes us, friends. I wish everyone knew this joy I have found!
And do you know, I think when we look in hindsight on our lives when we have our perspective in heaven, we might find out that the times we felt “incompetent” or “unable” or “unneeded” were actually the times of our greatest benefit on earth. If we pour those moments into prayer and in time with the Savior, those holding patterns will bear fruit in the future. Guaranteed. As Pastor Paul often says, everything we do is out of the overflow of our relationship with Jesus.
Why did I weep when I read today’s chapter, you ask? Well, I can see so clearly that in each moment of pain, God has used and is using it in my life, even today.
This morning, as I did split squats, I didn’t feel the struggle; I was so grateful to be able to do them. Working out is now an act of worship for me because I’m so grateful to walk. Running is a joy. I will live longer because of the terrible pit of losing the ability to walk.
And yes, I can see clearly. After horrific double-vision, I now double-consider what I’ll use my eyes to see and look at because life is short, and we all have only a certain amount of eyesight. Why waste time watching drivel or doing useless things? I consider grading, writing, and reading to be acts of worship now. I’m so very grateful because I CAN SEE! I had to go blind to see clearly.
And when I see my smile and have to look hard for the scar on my mouth, I worship. Sure, I have wrinkles, but I’m not deformed like the doctor said I would be. I had to lose a chunk of my face to appreciate what is left of it! I am so grateful that people can look at me without turning away with a shocked groan wondering if they should call the police on my husband, Kip (like what happened to me the week after my surgery.) I could care less about looking eighteen, I care about being a smiling, happy, joyful woman adorned with good works, and who knows that I’m nothing and I’ll be gone in a breath, and any moment I have to love all of you is a gift.
The pits prepared me. They gave me vision. They gave me a smile. They help me walk in Joy. They remind me who I am — nothing except of infinite worth because God made me for a purpose that I find in Him. (Ephesians 2:10)
I can celebrate even the hard times because Romans 8:28 is true, our God is real, and He is always with us.
Every Scar is a Miracle
I’m done with whining when I’m in the pit, but I would rather look up into my Father’s eyes and thank Him and praise Him for what He’s going to do when He decides it is time to lift me out of the pit and show me what is next.
Because in the life of a Christian, our best days are always ahead of us. On our day of death, our greatest days are still yet to be. As my Mama said, I don’t want to die, but I know I only have to do it once.
Every pain is a problem to steward. And when you praise Him in the pain, you have a joyful memory of knowing that you praised Him in the darkest night, knowing that joy comes in the morning and Jesus is coming again.
For with Jesus, every scar is a miracle. Thanks for joining us on this journey. I pray you’ll share your story of how Jesus has met you in the difficult times of life. Tell His story. He is so faithful.