I had a sudden revelation yesterday about all the different challenges Piper and I have faced together in our 46+ year relationship. I thought about all the different Spirit-led dreams we stepped out in faith to fulfill. I can vividly remember as we would stand together, holding hands and praying with such an excitement and fervor at the start of each adventure that we could hardly contain ourselves! But I can also recall sharing our carefully investigated and diligently prayed-through plans with others that were not quite as excited about them as we were!
As I looked back at these experiences yesterday, I could clearly see that each of them was a building block for the next stand of faith we would venture out with. The successes, the failures, the mistakes, the lessons learned as well as the joys of accomplishment have all worked together to develop us into the man and woman we have become.
The most startling fact that I suddenly understood was how each of our prior adventures in faith were meant to prepare us for the greatest stand we have ever embarked upon with the process of believing for my wife’s total and complete healing. For a while there it seemed like we faced doubt, unbelief, criticism and persecution on a daily basis from people close to us. At one point I found myself wanting to be around complete strangers as we seemed to receive more agreement from them for our stand and the decisions we were making that corresponded with it!
But we persevered and pushed on past the negative influences because we’ve been living this lifestyle of faith for too long, with too many memories of the love of Papa God and His Word of truth prevailing for us through both the thick and thin times alike! I found that I may not like it, that I might get upset and frustrated with the negative and sometimes hurtful comments, but in the end… I DO NOT ALLOW THEM TO MOVE ME AWAY FROM WHAT GOD SAYS IN HIS WORD! Papa God and His Word have ALWAYS come through for us, and to be brutally honest, those others have not!
Lately I have come to see David’s words in Psalm 143:8 as the perfect summary of Piper’s and my time together as well as a great explanation of who we are. For the past week or so, I have been reading a personal paraphrase of this scripture at the start of every day proclaiming:
“Each morning let us learn about Your love, O Lord,
Because we trust and have placed our expectations in You!
Let us continue to grow and increase in our intimate experiential knowledge
of the way You would have us to go today,
Because we long for and have anchored the very vitality,
our exuberance, physical strength, mental vigor,
and the vital force and principle of our lives on You!”
Practically from day one we both had a hunger for the greater things of God. It seems like we have never been satisfied settling for the status quo. We always wanted more. We always wanted to experience God and His Word first hand. Just reading about it and hearing the testimonies of others has never been good enough for us! I think the words “I can’t” have just about never been a part of our vocabulary… our standard bearer would be more consistent with Philippians 4:13 where Paul declared: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (MKJV)
Has it been tough lately? Well, sure I’ve had to stand against feeling sad and overwhelmed over the current condition of my lovely wife, but as I told a neighbor the other night when she said she felt sad for and about Piper, “I can’t go there, I can’t allow myself to have those feelings because they would completely contradict my faith in God’s Word and His promises of healing for her!” And she replied “I understand.”
So, I guess my question to each of you reading this post today would be if you also understand! Is your depth of knowledge and heart understanding of the truth of God’s Word the foundation that leads you beyond what you may see and hear before you, beyond the feelings that may be tearing at your insides, and beyond the negative words that loved ones around you may be sharing with you or with others behind your back?
Look at Psalm 143:8 and ask yourself: Where is my ultimate trust? With whom have I placed my expectations? Can I honestly say that I have an ever-growing, intimate experiential knowledge of God’s love and the ways He desires me to go? And lastly, is He really the very vitality of my existence on this earth?
Only you can honestly answer those questions! Have a good week as you mull over those thoughts, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”