rising above


I don’t have cancer. I’m not dying. I haven’t lost a limb or had any life-threatening surgeries. But I do have an incurable autoimmune disease.

I was recently diagnosed with fibromyalgia. In one sense nothing changes as I have been having symptoms for the last twelve years (didn’t know then that’s that what it was; know now and it all sort of makes sense.) But in another sense everything changes.

You see, for years I have been praying to God to be healed. When Clay came into my life he began to pray aloud for “complete healing.” And now, it seems that my symptoms have a name and this unwanted visitor that haunts my body is here to stay. And it seems that my hope that God would heal me is well, hopeless.

In my head I know God is powerful enough to heal me – that He has performed miracles and the past and continues to do so. And yet, my hope has waned that He will do so for me. I’m not entirely sure why – maybe it’s having had symptoms for over a third of my life. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen a lot of pain around me throughout my thirty years. And maybe, well, just maybe I am not drawing near enough to God through it all.

I’ve realized that there are really two options: to get better or to get bitter, to pray or to wallow, to live in hope or despair, to see the beauty in every day or focus in on the pain, to look on the bright side or the darker side, to rise above or to sink below. {I mean, okay, that’s more than two options, but really they are all quite the same.}

They say life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we respond. Am I going to respond by drawing near to the Lord or trying to rely on my own strength to get me through a day?

The truth is: none of us can do this life on our own. No matter if you have a physical ailment or not. No matter if you are in am immense amount of pain or not. Because we all fall down, we all fall short, we all fall so far from the standard of perfection and perfection relationship with God to which we were originally designed.

We need Him. We need hope.

I walked into Foundry last Tuesday night when I had just found out this news and it was all sort of sinking in. They were in the middle of singing these lyrics that let’s just say broke me of my “I’m okay” facade:

Lord, I need you, O I need You. Every hour I need you. My one defense, my righteousness. O God, how I need you.

On a recent plane ride, I looked out the window to see that sight: a jet stream right alongside of me. I had never been that close to one. But God had used them in my life to reassure me of His presence and to encourage me with his hope.

When we turn to Him, when we look to Him, when we choose to see Him all around, He shows up for us, He encourages us, He reminds us of His power and that He’s got it all under control. We don’t need to worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself; each day has enough trouble of it’s own (Matthew 6:34).

A sigh of relief is what that thought brings to me.

No matter where you are today, my prayer for you is the same for myself – that we wouldn’t sink below the clouds only to live in darkness with a grey ceiling above, but that we would rise above as God helps us to soar on wings like eagles amidst His marvelous light above that false ceiling of clouds as it becomes a distant sight below – as we live amongst the jet streams, in His hope, and enveloped by His peace which surpasses all understanding.

“But those who hope in the Lord will soar on wings like eagles. They will walk and not grow weary. They will run and not be faint.” – Isaiah 40:31

“I get down; He lifts me up… Every time I’m down the Lord lifts me up.” – Audio Adrenaline

“My hope is in You.” – Aaron Shust

On my first mission trip to South Africa this summer, the pastor of our partner church, Maranatha, gave a beautiful sermon on why bad things happen to good people, on why God chooses to heal some and not others. He spoke of creating an “I don’t understand it” file where we place our difficult questions for God. He said, “the moment you put something in the ‘I don’t understand it’ file, you break free from it.”

Our ailments, both physical and emotional, can tie us down. They can be chains that hold us captive in pain. When we let go of our questions, our laments, our frustrations and place them in the hands of God focusing on exactly who He is, an incredible thing happens: we are freed up to rise above. But we have to make that choice.

“Your attitude will determine your altitude.”– Pastor Leonard, Maranatha Church, Johannesburg, South Africa

As I was searching for this photo to include in this post, something caught my eye: the photo was taken at 10:23am. If you’ve read my blogs before, you’ve likely gathered that God speaks to me in numbers (as well as jet streams) and particularly through 10:23! Just goes to show God does show up to speak His hope into our lives… we just have to look for it.


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