Floyd has had a rough week this week. He has been battling with a chest infection, and it’s really made him feel miserable. He has done better as the week’s progressed. By now he is looking better, stronger, his eyes are clearer, he is more alert, and he has much less coughing. The antibiotics are clearing up the infection. So happy about that.
One morning this week when I was praying for Floyd, I was thinking about his gift of communication. I've always seen it as an anointing in his life from the Lord. Even after all these years of hearing him speak, he's still one of my favorite preachers. (I may be a little bit biased!) It saddens me that he is now stuck in a silent world of not being able to communicate. I pray for "release" for him!
A number of intercessors have been telling me that they feel there is still a spiritual battle being waged for Floyd's recovery and restoration. I don't fully understand what this whole journey has been about, but I know God has been at work. The worldwide wave of prayer that has been lifted up has had His hand upon it. I am praying for fresh victories.
"Summon your power, God; show us your strength, our God, as you have done before." - Psalm 68:28
It is hard not to get tired and weary though. It's been a long journey. I’m so grateful for the many that have not given up praying for Floyd and God’s purposes. I pray for fresh strength and perseverance for each of us. Andrew Murray said "intercession is our highest calling." May He help us fulfill that calling!
"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak." - Isaiah 40:29
We need that!
Sitting with Floyd, being with him, praying for him is always hard on my heart. I see the frailness of his current condition, and I remember the healthy, vibrant man he was just a few months ago. My mind always drifts to wondering how this will all turn out. I've been comforted by a couple verses the past few days.
"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God." - Isaiah 43:1-3
"No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame." - Psalm 25:3
I don't know the end of all this, but I know the God who holds it in His hands. I can trust Him.
I shared with friends a few weeks ago that I was so unsettled - wishing I had understanding of what God is up to. He spoke to me that peace doesn't come from understanding, but from spending time in His presence. I've tried to do that, and, as I have, He has been speaking to me about contentment.
Contentment has to do with that peace that comes from being with Him. You can actually be content without being happy! When I had cancer, I felt enveloped in a peace from the Lord. I wasn't "happy" about the cancer, but I was at peace. So I was content.
I think that's why the Bible talks about being content in all circumstances. We may not be happy about the circumstances, but we can be content, at peace. It's a peace "that passes understanding" (Philippians 4:7) that can only come from God. It's not a human emotion, feeling, experience......it's from Him.
"'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong." - 2 Corinthians 12: 9, 10
That's quite a list! How in the world can one be content with all that? I have to be honest and say that there have been many days on this journey when I've been upset, disturbed, concerned, anxious. And I've felt very weak!
I guess what I heard the Lord saying to me is that He wants to teach me a new level of being content in spite of all these circumstances. I'm going to do my best to try and learn this lesson. I don't like the circumstances, but I want to find my peace and contentment in Him. I need that to make it through this time!
As the Lord has been speaking to me about contentment, I have remembered a time years ago when I was learning to be content in another season. I've learned through the years that God often takes a lesson He's taught me in a previous season - and takes it a notch deeper in the new season I'm walking through. I think that's what's happening now. He is taking the lesson much further down into my heart!
There are some basic choices/attitudes that the Lord has shown me that help in being content:
- I need to trust Him!! God is good. He's sovereign. He knows what's best for me. He can instantly change my/our situation. If He chooses not to, there must be higher plans or purposes that He has in mind. He has an eternal view of what is best for me, for Floyd. If I don't fully, 100% trust Him - I'll never be able to have peace and contentment as I walk through this season.
- I need to be grateful.....even in the midst of a very hard season. "Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances." - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 - That's a big challenge! Gratitude/thankfulness will keep my spirit sweet and tender towards Him in the midst of the hard season. It changes my focus from the situation to God. When I keep my focus on Him, it releases grace to handle the hard things.
- I need to work with God in this hard season, not against the trial or against Him. I need to do what I'm trying to do now - ask God what He's wanting to teach me on this journey. He won't "waste" this sorrow! My inner growth (my walk with Him) is more important than the outward hard situation.
God has our times and seasons in His control. He sees the big view. Learning contentment in the difficult situation is a spiritual weapon against the enemy! He has no leverage to try and use the trial for his plans.
"There is great gain in godliness with contentment." - 1 Timothy 6:6
When my heart is content - when I'm at peace because of spending time in His presence - then I can face what each new day brings, with His help! I can trust Him. I can be grateful even though it's hard. I can work with Him in the difficult time.