I remember vividly the day Kelly had a difficult seizure episode. I held her quietly in my lap until the tough moment passed. She looked up into my face and said, “Mommy, I don’t want to have seizures anymore!” My heart broke. I went to the Lord challenging His perfect love, insisting He heal my daughter. In desperation, I hurled His word at Him accusing Him of making it too tough for my little girl. In a quiet, calming voice I felt the Lord say, “Only I know the future.”
Life lesson: Struggles have great purpose
When the children of Israel were wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, they grumbled and complained a lot. God in His perfect love listened to their complaints and obliged many of their requests. When they finally drew near to the promise land, 12 spies were chosen to scout out the land. Of the 12, only 2 returned with a great report about the land God had promised. The others saw only the giants and the difficulty possessing the land would present for a tired people. So, only the two who had the faith to see past the difficulties were allowed to enter into the promised-land. The others died in the wilderness. Many great lessons can be gleaned from the life of the Israelites as they wandered. To see the purpose of their struggles, can help us find meaning in ours. Consider these applications:
Why the struggle?
1. Faith will grow. What a glorious day for Joshua and Caleb as they inhabited the promised land. The struggle was great, but the victory was greater. They trusted God and He rewarded their faith.
2. A strong testimony. Joshua and Caleb left a great legacy for generations to come, and their story inspires my heart to hold onto God’s words even today. Their faith even in the midst of great difficulty and many obstacles proved worthwhile as they were granted victory after victory.
3. God’s glory. God teaches us to depend upon Him. He could have just presented the keys to the gate of the promised land to Moses or Joshua and Caleb, but His glory was magnified as the faith of mighty men to charge into battle showed He could be trusted.
4. Transformation. The Israelites had become a group of complainers, self-focused. God wanted to transform the nation. He used the wilderness experience to prune out those with weak hearts and failing faith. He strengthened those who chose faith and rewarded them with the land flowing with milk and honey.
5. FOCUS. 10 of the 12 spies saw only the giants and the obstacles, but Joshua and Caleb looked past the obstacles and saw the richness of this good land God had promised as their inheritance. Be careful not to let the giants in your life distract you from seeing God’s promises!
Kelly’s struggle continued with her symptoms increasing and her pain debilitating. God steadily reminded me of the fact that He alone knows the future. Kelly has learned such great self-control, she has learned to pray and trust, and she has learned that God is mighty to HEAL. Last November, Kelly had a syrinx develop in her spine as a result of the problem with her brain. The doctor told us there was a 10% chance it would go away on its own, but encouraged us to plan for brain surgery. I had no peace about the surgery and we prayed God would intervene. HE DID! Our God + a 10% chance = total healing. Kelly does not need surgery. The syrinx disappeared. Her symptoms have greatly decreased, and she only needs to see the pediatric neurosurgeon once a year for check-ups. I must admit, it was so painful to see Kelly suffer, but I know God has special plans for her life. He wants the glory for the character qualities He is developing in her through her struggles, He has built all of our faith and strengthened our family, He has given us a great testimony of His provision, and our focus has been fixed more firmly upon His promises through this journey. No matter your struggle today, hold onto Him. He is faithful, the struggle has a purpose, trust Him to turn it into a promise-land experience for your life!