God is good.God is all-powerful.I am his child.He
God is good.
God is all-powerful.
I am his child.
He loves me and even died for me.
Why does he not heal me?
Why does God allow my sickness to persist?
Surely, He would heal me?
These questions have been asked many times with many tears by many Christians.
As a Christian, I have this to say: God the Creator is capable of healing anyone, even me.
As a Christian, I fall under his care. I am fenced in and no one can touch me without the say-so of my Heavenly Father. I am under His protection. If someone or something is attacking me, it is because He has allowed it.
Now, my responsibility is to praise Him for his headship, for his sovereign will, for his wisdom. I do not run about looking for a way out. He does not want me to cling to life as though it were something to be lusted after. He wants me to cling to him.
God is in charge. He is supreme and He is able to speak the universes into being and maintain them. He is quite capable of knowing what is best for me
Why would my Protector and Friend allow something like Motor Neuron Disease M.N.D to invade my body? Is this God whom I serve a vindictive, cruel, terrifying God?
At the start, I stated his goodness. This leaves only one alternative, that He has allowed this phenomenon for my good. He has allowed this challenge to cross my path to test my faith. He has allowed a dread-disease to assault my body to see where my eyes are fixed. He has allowed M.N.D. to grow me and to expand my faith. Ultimately, M.N.D. will work for my eternal good.
It is so easy to become a victim.
Victims are powerless pawns that have no choice.
The victim is at the mercy of the forces lined up against him.
Victims are pitiable.
There is a difference between being chosen and being a victim.
My ascribing the onset of a disease to the devil is giving him the status of ‘decider of my future‘. No demon, principality or power has ‘that’ license, freedom or authority. My life falls under the headship and authority of Almighty God. Satan is a servant to God. He cannot move a finger without God allowing him to do so. No! God has allowed this disease.
Recently a woman said to me: But surely you as a Christian have the right to three score years and ten? You have the right to healing in Jesus’ name! I had to explain that I have given up all my rights when I came to Jesus.
I no longer have the right to my life.
I gave the rights of my life to my Lord.
I no longer have the power to direct my life.
To be honest I never had the power to direct the course of my life. In coming to Christ and acknowledging that my life is not my own; that I want Him to run my life, I have lost the control and gained eternal life.
But surely, I should cry out. God please take this cup away from me?
I have called out to God in my agony of mind. I called out, for this sentence to be changed. What I got was a scripture that flashed into my mind: “and he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul”.
And I cried out again – and I got another scripture – about Israel calling for a king like the other nations and rejecting God. And God allows them to have their way and reject His headship. Saul is crowned. Samuel has his nose put out of joint but God says, ’don’t get upset it is not you they are rejecting it is me’. It was obvious that God would allow me to choose something that was out of his will and not in my best interests. He has given me freewill.
I called to the Lord again and got a scripture: “The righteous is taken away from the evil to come”. (Not that I feel righteous.)
At this time I talked to a friend during our daily prayer session. He told me about Hezekiah: How he had cried out to God to heal him of his terminal disease. God granted his request. During the extra fifteen years that he was given to live, Manasseh was born. Manasseh was the most wicked king ever to appear in the bible. The extra years that Hezekiah had also resulted in the kingdom being removed from Hezekiah’s family line. Hezekiah would have done better to have let God make the decision as to when he was to die. If Hezekiah had left his life in God’s hands he would not have blotted his copybook. These scriptures got me thinking.
When I look at my life I am not a learned man of God. I am a man of unexceptional physical, mental and spiritual stature. Yet I have the impression that God has allowed me to live for just a time as this, so that I can praise Him in my affliction, so that I can honour Him, so that I can give thanks for all things.
It seems crazy to praise God for what is killing me. It runs contrary to everything that is in me. It cuts across the survival instinct that is rooted deep within me.
The only way that I can praise God in all things is to move by faith into another mind:
My mind is fixed in the here and now. My mind is not capable of comprehending the eternal things of God.
This praise cuts across the rational to the impossible, illogical, the praise that only lines up with the crucifixion in logic, something that splits the logic of man wide open in its running against the tide of human nature.
The mind of Christ looks beyond the seen to the unseen.
Beyond the temporary little now, to the vast expanse of eternity.
With the eyes of faith I along with Job and countless other Christians through the ages say.
”Oh, that my words were written!
Oh, that they were printed in a book!
that they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock forever!
For I know that my Redeemer liveth,
and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
And though after my skin, worms destroy this body,
yet in my flesh shall I see God:
Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold and not another;
though my reins be consumed within me.
This incredible statement from Job, says: ‘Yes, I realise that there is a physical death in all its gore. Right down to the worms and decaying flesh.’ This is the reality.
But beyond this earthly reality is the eternal. The real reality of eternity, permanence, and union with God. The God of all eternity
I will praise God, but why?
I am praising God because he is;
because he exists;
because God is God.
This sounds like a circular argument, but God to me is ever lasting, all-powerful, ever present, irresistible, awesome, the most powerful person in the universe; not to be compared with any one or any thing. The fact that God exists demands my praise!
Recently I looked at the first line of Ps. 91
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
What I found was that the word “Almighty” has its root in the Hebrew (Shadday). This word that has been translated in the Bible as:
To deal violently with,
to violently destroy,
to be utterly ruined,
To our great dismay we might come face to face with the ‘Almighty’ side of God.
The God that is more interested in our eternal destiny than our temporary comfort. The ‘Almighty’ that does not listen to us or obey us and our commands that we shout in Jesus name.
The ‘Almighty’ that does not respond to our genie’s lamp being furiously being polished.
The ‘Almighty’ that is deaf to our pleadings.
The ‘Almighty’ that knows that we would sacrifice our eternity for a good time.
The ‘Almighty’ that Job came into contact with:
Job 6:4 For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit: the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me.
Job 5:17 Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty.
MY challenge is not to try to second guess God but to look at my life from God’s eternal perspective and praise and glorify him.
I praise God for his headship. Headship includes the characteristics of oversight, taking the lead, of ruling, planning, controlling, and being the boss of all.
I praise God for his headship and authority in my life.
Lordship can be rebelled against.
Authority can be rejected.
Jesus Christ is Lord and Master not me.
Either He is Lord or I am.
If He is not Lord of my life then He is God only in name.
Strange as it may seem the God who created me can be refused for a while. But in time to come every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. And that includes Hitler, Stalin, you and me. When we meet we will not reluctantly acknowledge his headship. No, we will know him as Lord. Now, I know him in part, dimly, as Lord, and so I praise Him.
I can not see into the future, I do not know what plans my Master has for me. But I know His character is faultless. He is absolutely trustworthy. His plans for me are conceived in perfect love.
I know that His plans are the best.
I can not improve on his masterwork.
He loves me more than I love myself.
How awesome to know that my present and future are in the hands of Almighty God. What an incredible thought, what an incredible reality!
For this privilege I praise God!
I bring my sin-stained life, my mixed up, polluted mind, my diseased thinking, my useless weak diseased body and I hand them over to Him. He gives me a new mind: The mind of Christ. He exchanges my sin stained life for absolute purity in Christ. What a deal! I get a clean washed heart, a blemish free conscience. He takes my diseased useless body and gives me an eternal body, painless, perfect, never to decay again.
For this unspeakable gift I praise You my God and my Lord!
Why would I want to take the hands of “The Master of the Universes: Almighty God” off my life and decide my own future? The only reason would be for the short term, to gratify my flesh, to gratify my earthly nature.
No! I will rather look into the eternal future, with the eyes of faith and praise God; for his judgments in my life are sweet.
If he wants to heal me for his glory, great.
If not, then I will glorify him with my death. The choice is His. I will say along with Job: “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him”.
The delight is in ‘Him’ not in the choices that he makes for my life.
Eternity is for everyone but where is it to be spent?
Everyone who has the capacity to reason will admit that they will die someday. But few realize that this world is also going to die. God tells us in his word, that this whole universe is going to be rolled up like a scroll and put away. In another place he describes how the universe will be folded up like a garment and put away for another occasion. A new heaven and earth are going to manifest.
Another thing that people do not realize is that life is forever for every human. Christians think that eternal life is only for them. Jesus Christ went to the cross for everyone. Eternity is for everyone!
But where are we to spend eternity?
What appears to be darkness at first becomes lighter, when scripture is read.
One passage that got me thinking was;
Heb 11:35 “and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection.”
This was strange; here were people being tortured and refusing to be released because they believed that if they stayed in prison and kept being tortured they would gain a better resurrection: But better than what?
Another passage that fascinates me is the one where Paul is explaining; “but some will say, How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?’ He goes on to say that ‘what’ is sown does not come to life unless it dies. And that ‘what’ you sow in the ground as seed, is not what comes up as a crop. But he does say that if you sowed wheat you can expect wheat to come up not millet. Paul then goes on to tell us that there are different types of glory that the resurrected body appears as: ‘There is one glory of the sun and another glory of the moon and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.”
What all this tells me is that in eternity future, there is going to be differences in the glory to which we will be raised. Some will shine like suns others like moons and others like stars still others like ‘other’ stars.
Knowing that not everyone’s resurrection glory is going to be identical gives me insight to the scripture that speaks of the faithful servant that works wisely with his master’s money. The master tells him that he will rule and reign with him over ten cities because he has been faithful with little, in Luke 19:17.And the scripture that speaks to me about the seed that goes into the ground that brings forth 30 fold 60 fold and 100 fold (Mark 4:20) It also gives me an insight into the parable of the talents. The fact that not everyone is going to have exactly the same amount at the end, and in fact some will have nothing, and what they had will be given to those who did best with what they had been given. As if they had passed through the fire, only those who had invested in the gold, silver and precious stones had anything to show. The hay wood and stubble of life had been consumed by the trial by fire.
But what determines what we end up with at the end? Faith is what makes the difference! Any fool can have faith in God when things are going our way. When everything is going my way it is easy to say “What a Mighty, Wonderful, God we serve.”
When things are not what you want: When you are in prison and being tortured and you are offered release from this trapped pain. You have to have ‘faith’ to say ‘No’! ‘There is better a resurrection that I want.’
‘There is a future that is not seen that I want.’
‘There is a hope that the world can not see; that the world says is our imagination that I desire, more than the present world.’
To me the world to come is real.
More concrete, than the twin towers!
This reality I praise God for!
Paul saw this reality. 2 Cor 4:16 for which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, our inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory:
While we look not at the things, which are seen, but at the things that are not seen: for the things that are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Ch. 5:1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
God has given every one of us the gift of free will. We have choice. We are not just dumb instinctive creatures.
We can follow our own will or we can have God’s will for our lives.
I can say “God is the Lord” with my mouth but deny this in my life.
We have the choice to reject his will for our lives. This does not mean that we have lost our salvation. It merely means that we have chosen to operate outside of the will of God and as a consequence sacrificed the joy of serving Him.
I know that I am not a victim of chance, luck or some random demonic attack. This allows me to dwell on the purpose for my illness. I consider myself chosen by God the maker and maintainer of the universe. I have been chosen firstly to proclaim His name to the world by my life and my attitude to the things that happen in my life. I have been given the rare opportunity to manifest the name of Jesus in the circle that I live in.
Each of us has opportunities to display Gods treasure within us. As Paul puts it in
2 Corinthians 2:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
The temptation is always to steal the glory that belongs to God. But when the world can see the earthen vessel of our bodies broken, powerless and full of holes with the treasure of Christ Jesus within still being poured out to a dying world; then they will say that this is not from the clay jar this is of God.
I believe that I will be called one day to testify to the goodness of God in the presence of other M.N.D. patients. In every age and in every generation God raises up those who are to testify to his goodness and wonder in every situation.
At this time I can complain to God and man: “This is a terrible thing that has happened!” ”I am worthy of more, worthy of better, worthy of what is my right!”
Then as it dawns on me that God is not changing his mind I can ‘perform‘: I can run from doctor to healer, prayer meeting to miracle campaign. Or become a stoic ‘tough‘, ‘so be it’ type. I can also start to ‘murmur’ in a clear voice. All of these actions stem from a spirit of rebellion against God’s headship.
“Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”
My fleshly mind has been trained by the world to look after ‘number one’. Anything that I don’t like or that hurts me or that is not of my choosing is ‘bad or evil‘.
On the other hand the ‘good’ things of this world we all know. But the distinction between good and bad begins to become less clear in our carnal minds when we look at children.
Children are forced to practice their music. They ‘will’ go to school, even though they know, that playing down by the river in the mud is far more fun. Children are pricked with needles by doctors to give them their jabs of tetanus even though they are terrified. We know better. We have a long-term view. We know that it is necessary to do homework every day rather than once a week. You would never be able to convince the ten-year-olds that you were right though.
The perspective that I view my M.N.D. in is this: I have a Loving Heavenly Father who has a long-term view. His view is eternal. His plan is for you and me to be together with him in eternity future. He has a particular and individual place that is waiting for me. God is working to a master plan.
My life, a tapestry that is being embroidered, there is a plan, a pattern that is clearly laid out. There are always two sides to a tapestry. Viewed from God’s perspective everything is clear orderly and perfect as far as it has progressed. Viewed from the other side, where the tapestry is being worked into the fabric of my life, my flesh, it is painful.
The flashing, piercing of the needle, tugging of the thread, the knotting, all of these confuse and hurt.
“Can’t the fabric of my life just be left plain?”
Now, a thread of gold has to be introduced, a larger needle has to be used. “Enough!”
This richly embroidered garment is a life’s work; it can not be rushed.
Gold silver and precious stones all have to be placed with precision.
A large opening is needed for a gemstone to be fastened into place, “enough this is senseless, painful” but the very fabric of my life has to be forced apart to introduce the gem.
But it is not senseless: The Master is at work,
He is creating a garment for me that will be like no other in all eternity.
Like Joseph’s coat of many colours this garment will be instantly recognized, read like a book. “Epistles written in our hearts known and read of all men.” Some of the people will be walking around with big holes in their garments. Holes caused when they withdrew their eternal embroidery from the master’s hands at the very point that he wanted to insert a jewel.
“Holes that could have contained gems“.
There is a praise that I can offer that is a freewill offering that is above cause and effect that has its root in God’s love for us.
It is a praise that is unconditional.
Praise that is beyond circumstance. A form of praise that the world can not understand. Praise that exists because God is. Praise that I am offering and will offer. But there is also the praise to God that I offer from a grateful heart for allowing me a glance at the other side of my tapestry. There is a praise that I offer when I don’t understand.
Recently I studied praise. Hebrew has many words that we in English translate as praise. One of these words is ZAMAR. Strong’s concordance says that it is:
A primary root word.
Striking with the fingers.
Properly to touch the strings or parts of a musical instrument.
To play it.
To make music.
Accompanied by voice.
To celebrate in song and music.
Besides the obvious interpretation of the musician playing on his instrument in praise to God, the Lord spoke to me this morning about the instrument of praise that I am.
Jesus has a musical song of praise that he is glorifying the Father with. We are the instruments that he is using. On some of us he is playing the base line, that repetitive low slow repeated beat of life. He does not vary the notes greatly. Almost like the notes that a double bass would produce in the orchestra. Others of us produce the melodious sounds, the sweet sounds of the every day life. Still others of us are having our strings wound up tight. In order to produce the high sounds that cut in above the rest of the orchestra. The musician, Jesus has to pull that thin string in our hearts to near breaking point. That string has to be so very tight in order to oscillate at just the right pitch to produce the sound that is pleasing to the Fathers ear.
The lead violin can not be ignored when it comes in on its own with a high haunting proclamation. The sound is either sweet or it is not. (I remember the sound of my sister Heather starting to play the violin when she was at Music College.) The sound can not be disguised. It either jars the ear producing pain or it pleases the ear and produces music.
God demands praise!
He will be praised!
If we do not praise him the very stones will get up and shout out praise to You My King and MY God!
Imagine the disgrace of Jesus saying to me ‘Mark, sorry boy your praise was absent, we had to get the stones in. They recognize the majesty of God the Father.
I want to praise him.
I want to praise him with my all.
I want to praise you My Lord, when it is easy to reach the notes, when it feels as though the spine of my little violin will snap with the relentless pressure, the ‘E’ string having been tensioned up and up and up, to the point when there is no more to give.
I want to praise you Lord when the drum beat of life is so slow that it seems as though all I wait for is to die, die, die, die, die, Die, die, die,. Die, Die, DIE.
You will have music.
A song of praise.
A song of sweet praise to the Father.
I am still learning to be an instrument.
I want to produce the vibration of a willing heart. A heart that responds to the loving fingers of My Jesus stroking and caressing a sound from the deepest recesses of my soul.
God you don’t want shallow praise. You want more than Laodicean lukewarm ness. You demand whole hearted,
dedicated praise that shouts out the goodness of God.
You my Lord Jesus love the sound of a willing heart that is an instrument of praise to the father.
A heart that is yielded.
A heart that is snug in the security of knowledge that nothing is too much.
Even when the strings are struck with force.
Even when the strings rattle against the casing.
Even when my heart is moved within me and races at the thought of what the future holds.
Even when I fear the next note that will strike.
The time is so short and there is so much praise to give to the God that holds me in the palm of his hand, but even this praise is not mine to give.
Jesus is drawing it out of me, slowly.
I am his gift to the Father.
Sweet Jesus hold me!
I want more than anything to produce the sound that the Father will delight in ….until the very end.
There is another work that God is performing. This is a work of refining that has to be done that I can not do for myself. God is so gracious; he realises that my desire is to be in the bride of Christ. He also knows that I, just as silver and gold are not pure when they are mined, and in the ore, so my highest ideals and desires are impure. I might have the right ideas, but my motive is often impure. Just as a silversmith would heat up a piece of silver ore after crushing it out of the rock; just so God allows his refiner to go to work on my life. “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart….” “I have set thee for a tower and a fortress among my people that thou mayest know and try their way.” “For thou O God hast proved us: thou hast tried us as silver is tried.” “I have made you a tester of metals and my people the ore, that you may observe and test their ways.”
Gold goes through a similar refining process. “that the trial of your faith, being much more precious then of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing, of Jesus Christ“: Just so, we are privileged to be allowed to be refined and tested. Gold is heated repeatedly to white hot to allow the dross to come to the surface. A lot of dross is coming to the surface in my life at the moment. ‘When he has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.’