The truth about suffering is that through sickness you discover delightful intimacy with God.
My life is full again with work, with family and with all the hospital visits in between. I find it harder to hear the whisper of God’s spirit that carried me so freely last year. His sweet, warm breath that daily ushered His word is no longer on the wind of the morning. I feel the absence of His presence and decide to rise early to seek.
Like the psalmist wrote “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Psalm 63
The tremors in her hands, the weight loss, the fast pulse rate and the lack of sleep are becoming unbearable. It should not be like this still, a month after the thyroid has been removed. For weeks we’ve suspected it’s a result of withdrawal from prednisone but the blood tests finally show that the dose of the thyroxicin was too high giving her hyperthyroidism even though she has no thyroid at all.
I am constantly reminded that I cannot survive a day without God’s presence. My spirit and soul have become completely parched yet within moments of my seeking He is beside me bringing fresh revelation, filling my mind with the bounty of His deeds.
God promises me “Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream. As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. When you see this, your heart shall rejoice; your bones shall flourish like green and tender grass. And the [powerful] hand of the Lord shall be revealed and known to be with His servants.” Isaiah 66: 12 – 14
I want it now. The ‘will’ is disturbing me. I want to know how much longer. Does He not know I am anxious and raw?
“Great things come from the hidden place.” He tells me in response to my frustration and “from the valley of despair, the dark confinement where life feels pressed on both sides.”
I keep thinking of the ocean and feel like the wave has thrown and winded me onto the shore. “Lean in,” He directs me and shows me water. Every scripture, every thought, leads me to drink. So I sit in His presence and wait. Sometimes I write, sometimes I turn the pages of my dog-eared Bible, sometimes I sit and I weep.
Even my tears water me, even as they fall, salty on my cheeks, He reminds me that He is close. That rivers of refreshing will come. I slowly ponder, slowly making my way through the verses and He leads me through. “Through the wilderness, through deserts, through pits, through a land of drought and of the shadow of death and deep darkness, through a land that no man passes through and where no man dwells.” (Jeremiah 1:6) It’s all there in the book. Its there like I’ve never read it before and He is teaching me His way. “Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.” Psalm 51:6 He is showing me that we are passing through, that no man lives here forever and in my season I will completely pass through as well.
Then at the end of the verse He shows me that He is also grieving because the people did not behold His presence. That when they arrived at their destination they forgot about Him who brought them through. With heaving sobs I repent for my demands, I ask that grace may come, that I may not abandon Him also.
He brought His people to “a plentiful land to enjoy its fruits and good things. But when they entered, they defiled My land and made My heritage an abomination. (Jeremiah 1:7). I am like those people, already caught up in the pace of life, the busyness of getting things done and I’m sorry because He has brought us so far. His gentle touch caresses me and I can see that the healing happens slowly so that He can teach me His ways, so that I can know His heart. “For my people have forsaken Me, the Fountain of living waters and they have hewn for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns which cannot hold water.” (Jeremiah 2:13)
There is no way like His way. There is no refreshing aside from His presence. Where does that Fountain come from? That Fountain of living waters, God lead me to you. And I see it now; it rises like artesian springs at the lowest place in the valley, far from ice-capped mountains of winter months melting in the springtime.
Deep beneath the surface, where no man sees
Crevices in small dark places
Confined beneath impermeable rock
The spring is trapped until the right season
And then, when tapped
It springs forth with tremendous force
Bringing refreshment in torrents.
Then the rain fell and His voice was on the wind that blew,
“Blessed is the man whose strength is in Me, In whose heart are the highways to Zion. Passing through the Valley of Weeping, they make it a place of springs; the early rain also fills pools with blessings.” Psalm 84:5-6
We are passing through.
God takes our tears and turns them into springs of refreshing. Hope does not disappoint. It tarries. Yet in the end, if we wait for it, the water of hope tastes sweet.
We are thirsty for understanding so He leads us to water. Sometimes His presence is a quiet estuary and we bathe in the pools as His beauty sparkles like starlight on the face of the water. All is well. He places a cup in front of us and He fills it up. Our season of spring waters is coming. We shall burst forth.