Our Unexpected Journey

Floyd has had a good week.  He's been calm and peaceful.  In some of my times with him this week his responses to everything I shared indicated he understood what I was saying - smiles, teary, facial expressions, etc.  

I'm encouraged that Floyd has been more peaceful all this week.  I think it's an answer to prayer. 

A dear intercessor friend who prays daily for Floyd has been visualizing in her mind a receiving blanket, the kind we put newborns in to keep them wrapped tight and held secure.  She said she sees Floyd being held by the Lord Jesus like that. 

I found that image so encouraging.  I remember wrapping my newborn daughter in Afghanistan (where we lived at the time) in a receiving blanket so she'd feel secure.  And later when our son was born in Amsterdam where we lived on "The Ark" houseboats ministering to young people - I did the same with him.  Carefully wrapping him in baby blankets so he'd feel warm and secure.

The whole image of doing that with my children has such sweet memories.  To think of God wrapping, holding Floyd in His care in much the same way is very comforting to my heart.  I know Floyd is loved and cared for by the Lord in such a special way in this time of suffering.

"In the wilderness where you saw how the Lord your God carried you, just as a man carries his son....."  Deuteronomy 1:31

"Listen to me - you have been borne by Me from birth and have been carried from the womb; even to your old age I will be the same, And even to your graying years I will bear you!.....I will bear you and I will deliver you."  Isaiah 46:3, 4

After sharing in my updates about this image of Floyd being wrapped snugly and carried by the Father.......a number of people told me it reminded them of Lazarus being wrapped in his grave clothes.  Jesus called him forth and told them to "unbind him."  I'm grateful God is holding Floyd snugly now, but I will continue to pray for God to "unbind" him and set him free from the physical bondage he is in now.

Some pointed out that Jesus was swaddled at birth - wrapped in linen after his death - and left His bindings behind when He was risen from the dead.  I love all the imagery of His life example.

I was thinking about all this and talking to the Lord about it.  It would be so easy for me to be "bound" by all I've walked through this year.  But thanks to the beautiful, wonderful, powerful name of Jesus - I have been able to be "free" in my spirit and in my heart.  He has been so good and so faithful to me.  There have been hard moments, LOTS of them - but He has come with His help and peace every time that I've needed Him.

"Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name."  Philippians 2:9

"No one is like you, Lord; you are great, and your name is mighty in power."  Jeremiah 10:6

What a beautiful name!!  We celebrate it, and celebrate His coming in this season.  And we pray that name over Floyd.

Every time I'm with Floyd and see his suffering, I feel so helpless.  My personality of organizing and accomplishing things wants to actively help. And I can't.  All I can do is love him, pray for him - ask others to pray as well, manage his care, and wait for what God has.

I know Floyd would not like or want the condition he's in.  But he'd also say that he trusts God, and wants what God has in mind.  I guess we're both helpless to do anything to change his condition.  

We have actively committed our lives to Him together for 49 years - and, individually, for many years before that.  We've told God over and over that we put our lives in His hands.  This is living that out with no control over what happens.

But while I feel helpless, I don't feel hopeless.  My heart is full with trust and hope in God.  I hope for the breakthrough still, but I trust whatever God has in mind.  Some have said the "breakthrough" could be to heaven.  Yes, that may be the case......but I still "ponder."

"God, the one and only - I'll wait as long as He says.  Everything I hope for comes from Him, so why not?  He's solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul, an impregnable castle: I'm set for life." Psalm 62:5,6 (The Message)

My heart thanks Him!

I’ve been reading a book on waiting by Ben Patterson.  My heart was gripped from the very first page with a quote by a man named Richard Hendrix:  "Second only to suffering, waiting may be the greatest teacher and trainer in Godliness, maturity, and genuine spirituality that most of us ever encounter."

I have certainly been in the "waiting" room - no wonder I'm learning so much!  God is allowing me to be stretched and matured.  I hope I can learn faithfully and quickly so we can move on.  I'm quite sure, though, that this is one of those areas where God's timing is different from mine.

Patterson says early in the book, "waiting has everything to do with hope.  It's really asking: 'Can I trust you, God?  Is there any meaning to this?  Why me?  How much more do you think I can stand?  What are you doing Lord?' "

I've certainly asked/wondered/pondered some form of those questions.  In fact, I've told the Lord more than once that I'm not sure how much more I can take.  My energy has been so depleted a few times, that I wondered if I could make it much longer.  Of course, God in His goodness and faithfulness has come through and sustained me!  I absolutely wouldn't still be standing without His goodness.

Patterson also says "one central conviction – that is at least as important as the things we wait for is the work God wants to do in us as we wait."  So I guess I'd have to conclude that I'm not just praying for Floyd......but for me too, and what He's doing in me while I wait.  Dare I say - maybe what He's doing in ALL of us?!

I was speaking with a dear friend, and we talked about what an incredible "wave of prayer" this has been as we've prayed for Floyd. Once again I have to say that the prayer that's been released is SO much bigger and greater than just praying for Floyd!  God is up to something greater.  Floyd has been the catalyst......but God's view and plans are much more.

Maybe one of the most important things is what God is doing in us, His Body - the Church through all this prayer.  My heart rises and says, "Yes, Lord!  I/we want what you have for us in this time of focused prayer! 'Your Kingdom come, Your will be done' through our prayers!"

My hope starts rising.  My heart yearns for all that God has in mind.

"The Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore He will rise up to show you compassion.  For the Lord is a God of justice.  Blessed are all who wait for Him!"  Isaiah 30:18

"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."  Psalm 27:14

I have to say in all honesty, that I still don't like waiting!  But I'm gaining fresh perspective on how God sees it, and what's He's doing through it.  I certainly continue to trust Him and thank Him.