When God answers by not healing, by not providing some material thing, by not giving the job, by not giving instant ‘fixes’, or delivering us from (emotional, mental, physical, or spiritual struggles) but instead, provides His power, which is always at work within us, enabling us to live in the midst of trying times, that, is His answer.
He encourages us in making us aware, that He gives us what we need in order to weather any circumstance or hardship, no matter the level of difficulty: “My Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (1 Corinthians 12:9)
“When we keep listening attentively to the voice calling us the Beloved, it becomes possible to live in our brokenness, not as a confirmation of our fear that we are worthless, but as an opportunity to purify and deepen the blessing that rests upon us.” Henri Nouwen (The only Necessary Thing)
Often when our situations stretch us to our utter most limits of endurance, and we sometimes find ourselves dealing with unbearable pressure, grief, overwhelming anxiousness, or unknown direction, it is then, we find ourselves crying out for mercy, to our loving Father. It is then we feel we can take no more and plead before the throne of God; “Father take this burden from us, for we can bear it no more.”
We can recall the One who made a similar request to His Father, it was Jesus, pleading for the coming agony He could see in dying the most brutal death in the way of the Cross, a suffering beyond what anyone could possibly imagine was the course set before the Christ.
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Like 22:42
We enter the stream of life where sometimes, answers are not known, solutions fail to exist, and ‘fixes’ are nowhere to be found. These are times we may question the existence of God, or doubt His love for us, or wonder about His presence, and we remember those times He carried us in the past, causing us to cling ever nearer to Him, drawing upon His ability to keep us grounded in our faith.
We remember our Lord Jesus, who in spite of what He suffered, did so out of a heart-felt obedience to His Father, knowing that in honoring God, in following the way to the Cross, there would be a way made for all persons, and in enduring the death of His fleshly body, in the pouring out of His blood, in the laying down of His life, He opened the way for all other human beings to have His Spirit life woven into them and in this way, He enters our suffering in all we experience, and He is with us in all of it.
We hold onto His promises to keep us firmly rooted in His truth, knowing beyond any wondering, He remains faithful to us during all seasons of our lives and all we have to do is put one foot in front of another, continuing to move forward, continuing to trust, surrendering even our questioning and our not knowing to Him.
In the sharing of our intense human suffering we can identify with David’s prayer: “Give ear to my words Lord, consider my sighing, listen to my cry for help, my King and God, for to you I pray…But, I by your mercy, will come into your house; in reverence will I bow down toward your holy temple. Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness…make straight your way before me.” (Psalms 5:1-2, 7-8)
When we become present in the things that bring us suffering, not running from them, not denying them, but sinking into that place of accepting all that they bring to us, they can then become the way into the heart of God.
The sufferings we experience become the vehicle where the Spirit works in those deep-seated idols of self, searing our inner character’s rough edges a bit more, and our sorrowed pained existence spurs us in digging ever so deeper into the things of God, desiring to know Him dearer, closer, seeking His holy breath to breathe His redemptive solace into our mortal bodies, resurrecting His life in us, to be our inspiration for all of whom we are becoming.
We find His comfort in the shadow of death, a death to who we are, a death to who we think we are, a death to all that we are, where His Spirit of ability stirs within us, a longing to become so intertwined in His Spirit life, where He has stretched us in ways we never thought possible, that our life becomes wholly devoted in seeking Him in all our moments, where we become a saturation of His love, overflowing from us, touching all those who are thirsty and all those who will come and drink, so that our life becomes an open receptacle where the Divinity of Christ is poured out for all those who will receive from Him, the abundant eternal life He offers.
Our journey is sometimes long and we feel wearied at times, yet there is a supernatural power that is embedded, knitted intricately within our human frame, and as we listen in attentive searching for His voice within the scattered threads known in suffering, we encounter the miraculous Spirit Life only God gives, and He graces our brokenness in identifying with us, as His Spirit broke from His body, with a genuine offering of love for all mankind, poured out freely, to all those who will believe, this Jesus is the Son of God, our Lord and Savior who compassionately embraces all people.