These are exciting days for Jeremiah's family...busy days full of phone calls and making travel arrangements, filling out paperwork and training. Busy, but exciting days!
One of the things I can't get out of my mind is this is what it looks like when God restores the years that the locusts have stolen. This is what beauty from ashes looks like.
Because of that, this season of restoration and purpose has me thinking about that scary season 4 1/2 years ago. So I have been going through some old journal entries from that time. I instinctively knew that God would not waste Jeremiah's illness...but seriously, who could have guessed at what the Lord had planned?
November 26, 2009
I wish I could pretend it is just another day; just a regular day, but it isn’t. Today marks the 17th day my sweet, strong brother has been in the hospital. Today he had a set back and we aren’t entirely sure what caused it.
Today is Thanksgiving Day.
As my family, minus my brother and nephew, sat around our makeshift Thanksgiving lunch there were tears, worries, and an unspoken, “Why us? Why now?”
Plans of who would leave tomorrow and who would stay were made. No one wants to stay and at the same time no one wants to leave…how can a family be so conflicted? Right now I’m watching my daddy eat pecan pie from the pie plate as he looks out the window overlooking the parking lot. I can guess what he is thinking and while his stance would communicate nonchalance and peace, his thoughts are far from either.
This morning I was reading in Hebrews 5 and verse eight hasn’t left me.
“Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered”
At night, as I have a hard time getting to sleep, the one truth that helps me get there is the truth that my brother is God’s son. A son who God loves immeasurably. As we weep, He weeps with us and as we walk into the darkness of the unknown He is the Light who guides us.
Although he was a son…
Jesus is God’s Son.
…he learned obedience from what he suffered.
If God the Father did not withhold suffering from Jesus then why should we expect He would withhold suffering from us? And if Jesus, who was with God the Father before the foundation of the earth was laid, learned obedience from His suffering, then surely there is something for us to learn in our suffering.
As I was sharing this with my brother this morning I saw a spark in his eyes. Knowing instantly that he was in there and he was following me I forged ahead, trying desperately to commuincate the love of the Father to a tired and broken son.
Out of the corner of his eye came a tear. Out of both of my eyes came several.
He moved his mouth as if to say something but it causes him supreme effort to talk today so I stopped him. I told him, and myself, that there would be plenty of time to talk about all the things he wanted to say, all the things he was thinking during these days. He blinked his agreement. Later as I was leaving his room for a bit I blew him a kiss only for him to blow one back at me.
Oh, Lord, how I love that man!
I was reminded of the old hymn, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” today and I have been humming it off and on ever since.
“Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father, there is no shadow of turning with Thee; Thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not (Even when our circumstances scream that You have); As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be (You are the God who heals, who restores what was lost and stolen, now and always).
Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest, Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above join with all nature in manifold witness, to Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love (We join in with the seasons and the celestial beings and all the earth to declare the goodness of the Lord).
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide (When forgiveness of sins would have been enough You are so good You didn’t stop there. You gave us Your Holy Spirit); Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see; All I have needed, Thy hand hath provided; Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.”
So this Thanksgiving I look not to the circumstances surrounding me but the faithfulness of my God. I look not to the man in the hospital bed but the Father who loves His son even more than this daughter does. I look not to the worry and fear that beckons me to travel a bridge I am not graced to travel but the Light that beckons me to stay on the bridge of healing we have been graced to travel.
December 13, 2009
...God is a God of process.
...If I’m being completely honest I would tell you that I really wish God was using another process to teach me what He wants to at this point of my life. A process that didn’t include my brother hooked up to machines that are cleaning his blood out of his own antibodies that just one day decided to attack his brain. A process that didn’t include my family being separated from one another this holiday season. A process that didn’t include wringing me out in all ways possible where I am left to fight the enemy of my soul from stealing anything else that the Lord has deposited in me during this season.
But He is God and I am not.
I wouldn’t have chosen His process of bringing Salvation to the world either and then where would we be…
So what will be the end of this process for us?
I have no idea, but this is what I am believing for…
Jeremiah will be restored to full health...
Untold numbers of people will come to a saving knowledge of Jesus in and through the life and healing of my brother.
A marriage that will be a light and a testimony of God’s grace and faithfulness for my brother and sister-in-law. He will honor and uphold her for her devotion and commitment to her husband!
Knowing what I know now I am left in awe at the strategic ways God has used Jeremiah and Ashley for His Kingdom and they haven't even made it to the games yet! Like the t-shirt says, "We share in his sufferings so that we can share in his glory."
The main thing we want you to take from this whole "Jeremiah for the Gold" thing is this...God is faithful, He has a plan for your life that is good and for His glory, and anything Jeremiah accomplishes in this season of restoration is the power of the Lord in him.
To God be all the glory!