Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Walking by Faith Step by Step

Still learning to adjust to the death of my son Joseph, over a year ago, and on the heels of the death of my mother-in-law, who we had been praying would get better, I recently received some news about my brother.  A report from the doctor had initially been given my family about three years ago that he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and that they would have to remove some tissue to see how far advanced it was.  On and off meds, chemo treatments, medical procedures, ups and downs, God had shown Himself faithful, because although my brother had some very rough moments to say the least, he was still here and still cognizant.  I thank God for my oldest brother and youngest sister who were with him, and are with him, daily and tirelessly, to see and to make sure that he has everything he needs and to make life as comfortable for him as it can be.  I know for a certainty that being a caretaker is far from being an easy task and requires a great sacrifice.

Somehow when I was told that the doctors said my brother was in stage four and that there was nothing else they could do for him, it had not really hit me until I saw him.  You see the last time I had seen him was about two months ago and he was up and talking, and I was able to take him grocery shopping and he was telling jokes and talking about putting a puzzle together (you all know how much I love puzzles and how that warmed my heart).  So when my family and I went to see him the day after Thanksgiving it came as a shock for me to see him the way he was.  And although he seemed totally oblivious to who we were, he wasn’t, as he held my cheek, kissed me and smiled at us.  It took everything inside of me not to break down in that moment, in the presence of my girls, my grandson, my husband… him.   And I didn’t.  We left shortly after that as he had grown tired, and I felt like crying knowing that it could very well be the last time I might see him again.  But I held in the tears again and just believed that all would be well, for that moment that I had.

You see just two days earlier, a dear brother in the Lord at our church, had just shared with us of how he had received a report from the doctor that his wife may be undergoing kidney failure.  His wife had a major stroke.  She lost the use of her hands.  She could not talk.  She could not feed herself.  She could barely walk.  And in just a few years, we at the church, have witnessed how God has raised her up.  How God has restored her health.  How she is talking, walking, using her hands, helping us out in the ministry, with the back to school give-away, decorating.  Our dear brother tells us how she cooks and cleans and helps him in his business.  God has really done a miraculous work.  So when I heard this report after knowing what God did, it threw me for a loop.  How do you go from that to this and then back to that?  I asked. And then when I saw my brother, it shook my faith to the core…  Again.  An all too familiar feeling.  One that I have yet to adjust.

When Joseph was killed by that driver who ran the red light, my faith was shaken.  I had so many questions for God… how could He allow that to happen?  Why would He allow it to happen?  What did Joseph do?  What did I do?  What did any of us do?  Did he/we deserve this?  Why wasn’t I there for him?  Truth is, things happen to us.  Things that can and will shake us to our core.  Things that will challenge what we believe.  Things that will challenge our faith.  And this is where I was with this. 

I asked the questions.  Again.  What God?  Why?  What is going on?  What in the world?  What is this?  Every what, why, question you could think of, I asked it.  I was discouraged, disappointed, dismayed, etc...  (Just a side note:  Whenever you start with the feelings of dis…., you end up with dis-belief.  Not a good place to be).  Anyway, I didn’t know what to think.   I did stop believing.  My faith was shaken.  Sunday was coming, church was coming and I didn’t even know what to say to anybody.  I asked myself as I asked my husband (my Pastor), how am I supposed to encourage somebody to have faith when my faith has been so shaken?  And my hubby told me, first of all, it was okay for me to be me.  That it was okay to share from a place of where I am.  That God doesn’t expect me not to feel.  But he also said this, that he also had to share from the same place when Joseph died, when his mom died, and as he kept his eyes on God he was able to do what God wanted him to do.   Those words stood out for me as I remembered what God spoke to me earlier that morning.  He kept his eyes on God.  He kept his eyes on God.  In order to keep your eyes on God you have to have FAITH.

God led me to His Word.  He led me 2 Corinthians 5:7, We walk by FAITH, not by sight.  And then God reminded of a devotional I read back in 2013.  I took a note from it that I journaled that says this… “We don’t walk spiritually by an electrical light, but by a hand-held lantern.  And a lantern shows only the next step, not several steps ahead.  Our walk is one of faith, step by step, moment by moment decisions.”  I spoke about this last Sunday in a reflection, but imagine if you will… light.  Everywhere.  That means everywhere you look you can see whatever is there.  God says that is NOT faith.  Faith is the substance of things HOPED FOR, the evidence of things NOT SEEN.  So if you can see it, it is NOT faith. 

Now imagine this… there is no light.  Everything around you is dark.  You CANNOT SEE anything.  But if you have faith a light shines exactly where you are.  Right where you are.  In that moment.  In that spot.  Ahead of you is still dark.  But where you are is light.  God says that’s faith.  NOW FAITH IS.  FAITH IS NOW. 

God says He gives us faith for the moment.  NOW FAITH IS.  We don’t have to worry about what is going to happen ahead of time.  The Scripture says do not worry about what will happen tomorrow.  Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.  Our walk of faith is a moment by moment, step by step, decision.  God is with us every step of the way, lighting the path.  He is in the future.  He is already there.  And He stands ready to provide whatever we need for that moment when we get to it.  We just need to operate in our RIGHT NOW faith.

I don’t know what is going to happen with my brother.  I yet believe that God is good.  I yet believe that he is in God’s hands.  I yet believe in the report of the Lord, that by His stripes he is healed.  I yet believe that absolutely nothing is too hard for God.  I believe that He is a God of miracles.  And I make the decision to walk by faith, step by step, moment by moment, trusting that when the next moment comes, God will be there, giving me the faith that I need to get through it, in whatever way that will mean. 

Because God is real and so must my faith be.

A servant of the Lord,
Sis. E

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