“My God is faithful and I believe that He is going to heal me from this cancer.” “God is good. If we wait  patiently, I know He will take away this illness from my child.” “If you just have the faith to believe, God will do whatever you desire.  He loves His children and wants to give them good things!”
               Statements we have all heard throughout our lives, along with many others that internally lean toward the idea that as Christians, if we pray in faith for something, God will give us our every want. Even outside the Christ-following realm, comments such as, “Think positively and imagine that it is as you desire,” or, “Sending warm energy your direction for good things”. Beyond that, I have had many well- meaning individuals say things such as, “Our words are powerful. Claim healing and positive things over your children and God will hear your prayer.” Yes, our words are powerful. That is certainly biblical. The book of James adequately discusses the power of the tongue. To imply that whatever we claim as a believer will come to pass, however, is not biblical. In fact, those words can sting to the core those who have spoken words of life over their sick loved one, only for the loved one to pass way. Tell that to the person that had thousands and thousands of prayer warriors praying for healing over their family member, only to have the sickness end in death. To say that we can escape suffering and illness all together if only we will believe looks ignorant to a watching world that knows that not all things end the way we anticipate nor desire. The Bible does show many instances of healing through faith, and miracles certainly occur in the here and now. So where does this leave us?
               To make myself vulnerable, I have struggled with how to pray for our girls during this time. As I have been reading through the Word, time and time again the Lord performs miracles and heals people of physical ailments simply because they ask in faith. Many modern-day unexplainables (this is not a word, just go with it) have occurred in many people’s lives as well. While I want to pray for complete healing on this side of heaven, I also have not felt comfortable with this. I have wondered if this was because I was afraid that if I trusted God for this and it didn’t happen, where would that leave me? Or, if I did pray this was I preaching the prosperity gospel of rainbows and butterflies that is no gospel at all? The problem in all this is that there are way too many “me’s” thrown into the scenario.  This put the pressure on me and how I prayed instead of looking toward the Lord in His wisdom and comfort. What began to bother me is that I could not find a time in the Word where healing didn’t occur when the person had faith to believe that Jesus would. And then I found this:
“Going a little farther, He fell with His face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39).
A few verses down, Jesus prays again, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may Your will be done.” (verse 42).
There was my answer. There was the Person in Scripture that I had been looking for in all His glory. Jesus. He is the Ultimate Example of praying for another route and trusting God that He had the ability to make a way, yet trusting the cup that the Lord had given Him if not. God’s plan for Jesus was not deliverance from the cup.  Do you think this is because He did not have the faith to believe that God could? Ha. Jesus was fully God and fully man and clearly had been there from the beginning, so He knew God could do all things. He also knew that if this was the road He was to walk, better things awaited.

Yes, God is a God of miracles- this is clear in Scripture. We ARE called to pray fervently and anticipate God hears our prayer and can do that of which we ask. We pray; and then we trust God for whatever comes next. Isaiah 53:5 says that, “He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” We ARE healed. Moment by moment He is knitting together that which makes us whole. We will not experience the fullness of this healing until we meet Him face to face, but He promises to bring it about.  The One who drank wholly the cup which He prayed could be taken away now comforts us in all of our sufferings. Let’s pray unceasingly all things. Let’s trust that He hears our prayers and has the sovereignty and Lordship to do anything. And if He chooses to answer in a way that doesn’t line up with what we had hoped, be reminded of the words in 1 Peter 4:19, “Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good”. 

The Glory in the Cleft.

“Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”- Exodus 33:21-22

The word cleft is defined as a split or fissure, particularly in a rock or in the ground. I can remember walking along many clefts when Hugh and I went hiking in the Yosemite. There were several times that I was almost afraid of crossing from one side of the rock to the next. At one point, I remember my foot slipping and I quickly realized that standing in the cleft of the rock was my most secure option. Once I balanced myself in the cleft, I caught on to the fact that it was much steadier in the cleft than on the surface of the rock. In the above passage in Scripture, God has asked Moses to allow Him to  put Moses in the cleft of the rock. Why? Because Moses must be covered by Lord’s hand until He Himself has passed by. Moses is confused by this, as he desires to see the Lord, as He is, right then and there. Oh, how I can relate. I want to see the God in all circumstances and situations. I want God to show me His purposes and plans for everything immediately…instant gratification. However, just like with Moses,  God does not tend to grant us this. Why? On earth, we have not yet been perfected. We could simply not handle seeing the Lord as He is on this side of heaven. For now, we must see the Lord from behind… see where He has passed by. While mysterious as it may be, there is so much beauty in knowing that the Lord goes before us! He is leading this journey. He, “hems us in behind and before” (Psalm 139:5). He covers us in the cleft because He knows this is the safest place for us. He.  As a Christian, He promises us that one day, we, “shall see Him face to face…even as I am a fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12). Friends, the second  portion is the part that brings freedom: we are already fully known. As our pastor says, “God has this thing rigged”. He not only knows the full story, He knows you fully as well. Truthfully, I am coming to see that He does this in His goodness. (I know, strange that a good God would act out of His goodness!). Walking through this horribly awesome journey with our girls, I can see that I could not have handled all the details at once. I could not have swallowed or comprehended the challenges and the unknowns that were ahead. I find such joy and excitement in knowing that as we sit in the cleft of the Rock, His glory is passing by. Day by day.  Test by test. Decision by decision. As each new portion of the journey is unveiled, I see His back and I praise Him that He walked it for us so that we did not have to do so. Jesus is carrying this burden for us. The same God-man that said, “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name!” (John 12:27-28). He is the One doing this thing for us! For me, for our family, for you and yours. As we sit here in a season of waiting for blood work, desiring answers, and doctors claiming they too are perplexed, I breathe in deeply The One that is Never Surprised. When medicine steps out, God steps in and continues to hide us in the cleft. My prayer for you today is that if you find yourself in the cleft, try not to look behind or before. He is there. He is working out all the details. Instead, focus on the hand that covers You. Whether on this side of heaven or the next, You will see His glory. He is always, always working. Rest in Him today.