The Fight of Faith

My Dear Fellow Suffering Saint,

I hope you have had some blessings to bring small joys to your days. Perhaps, a ray of sun shone through your window in a way that gave your eyes beautiful colors to see. Or, maybe, you have recently been touched by the warm hand of a loved one, so that the physical and emotional pleasure of this sensation outweighed the harder parts of what you are experiencing. Isn’t it wonderful that we aren’t without blessings in some form? 

I have been reading biographies of Christians with the hope of being encouraged in my own walk in the valley of chronic illness. While this endeavor has been fruitful in many ways, I have found that the comments expressed by some biographers have tempted me to be discouraged. 

The description of the lives of Christians who have suffered extended illnesses usually includes high praise for the many accomplishments they have managed while suffering. It is wonderful that the subjects of these biographies were able to accomplish much for worthy causes. However, where does this focus on earthly accomplishments leave people like you and me? 

I know you are unable to leave your bed; my biggest accomplishment yesterday was to put my own socks on. How do we not become discouraged when the world screams at us to “be more by doing more” – remember the Enjoli woman😏?

We have to remember that the authors of biographies are not the Author of Scripture. While biographies are helpful in some ways, Jesus is “… the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Here is where we must focus our eyes (Heb. 12:2). This is where our hearts and minds must dwell (Phil. 4:8-9).

Our goal is to finish our race in this life while fighting the fight of faith (1 Tim. 6:12, 2 Tim. 4:7). John Piper states it very well when he says:

The fight is a fight of faith. It’s not a fight to get out of bed; it’s a fight to rest in God. It’s not a fight to keep all the powers of youth, but to trust in the power of God. The race is run against doubt in God’s goodness and love for us. It’s a fight to stay satisfied in God despite the broken hips and lost sight and failed memory and inexplicable fatigue.

So, please be encouraged. The hard work we do preaching to ourselves through all the pain and fatigue and loss is what is pleasing to God whether anyone ever writes our biographies or not. 


Made for Another World

The mother rabbit stared at me, blades of grass extending from both sides of her mouth, as she waited to place the final covering over the nest she had recently made for her newborns. Confident that it was safe to proceed, she gently worked to secure her babies into the bed of her own fur. My heart soared as I watched this tender act of love.

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The Heart

Each summer, I plant zinnia seeds harvested from the previous year’s planting. Butterflies and hummingbirds swarm the tops of the flowers, seeking the sweet nectar presented in little 5-pointed yellow flasks. Goldfinches pluck petals while clinging to the stems just under the flowers; treats in the form of seeds present themselves at the base of each petal. Small piles of rejected petals collect on the leaves as evidence of a goldfinch satisfying his hunger.

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The warmth of the sand surrounded my toes as I dug them into the grainy substance slightly wet with water from the receding waves. The sun massaged the muscles of my back and neck as they melted from my awareness. My eyelids closed as I listened to the birds calling to each other. My breathing slowed, and I relaxed, nothing calling for my attention but the pull of these pleasurable sensations.

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Hold My Hand While We Limp to Jerusalem

NOTE: This post is much longer than any of my other posts. However, for ease of access, I am providing it here at the request of several people. For a printable pdf version, please scroll to the end of the post.

The blessing of Christian fellowship is a wonderful gift! God “comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). Sometimes though, it is difficult to know how best to offer this comfort even when there is a sincere desire to do so.

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Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Several years of chemical sensitivities that cause vertigo, migraines, and insomnia coupled with a difficult past 6 months including a broken shoulder, caring for family members with major medical issues, and worsening insomnia have been difficult but sanctifying. I keep hoping that a period of rest will come, thinking that a reprieve from trials is what is needed in order to accomplish this. However, God’s understanding is beyond mine. I have entered through the door of a new challenge… breast cancer.

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Learning to be Content

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:11-13

An interesting thing has happened during these years of my physical affliction; my desires have changed. At one time, I had a strong desire to go back out into the workforce once our children’s needs didn’t require me to be at home full time. I had visions of contributing to our household income so that we could live the way we thought we wanted to live. The prestige of the positions I had trained for called me to keep the pace going by striving to attain even more. Requests from customers and previous coworkers for me to return to this course stoked my pride and kept my head turned to what seemed most desirable at the time. As a result, I didn’t see the alternative, cooking and cleaning at home, as something that would be satisfying at all.

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Read Psalms

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13

By no means am I suggesting that what I am about to write is all there is to glean from this passage. However, I do believe that what I experienced this morning is one application of its meaning.

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Yet I Will Exult in the Lord

In an excellent message on “Christ and No More,” Pastor Bryce Beale discusses the hope believers should have in Christ. Beale explains that a trial essentially is the “death of a dream” designed to test how much hope I have in Christ. My dreams are not necessarily sinful, but they can become sinful if I want what I want so much that my joy comes from my dreams rather than from Christ. God is “too kind to let any of his people continue on in a delusional joy, one rooted not in Christ but in something else” (Beale). My joy (or lack of it) upon the removal of these temporal dreams shows me where I am turning for my hope. After studying Beale’s message this morning, I found myself reflecting on the following words of Habakkuk:Read More »

Embracing My Trials

It has been during some of my times of greatest struggle that I have had the sweetest communion with God. Here is a quote from my book:

From “More Precious Than Gold

I adjusted the ice pack on my head gently as it started to conform to my head. The gentle coolness was a mild relief after two days of unrelenting pain. I was spent, barely able to move my arms, lips, or eyelids. Unable to produce many words aloud, I silently imagined what heaven would be like. I pictured my glorified body, pain-free and easy-moving. My body relaxed as I thought of God’s presence. On this third day, unable to talk fluently with people carrying on with their earthly lives, I experienced sweet communion with God in a way that I never had before: peace.

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