Floyd has had some days of being unusually smiley and happy this week. He’s had guests from Scotland - friends of ours for many years. He was responsive and had some smiles for them too. I'm so thankful for his smiles. And I'm so grateful for the many friends who share God's goodness and encouragement with him.
Our All Nations family had a prayer time for Floyd and me on Thursday, a few days before I started chemo. It was very special. I was encouraged and blessed. During the prayer time, it felt like there was some kind of "shift" in the spirit. I'm trusting for fresh answers to prayers.
One encouraging word was that Floyd's situation is like a plane coming in for landing. It's in a circling, "holding" pattern as it's in contact with the control tower - waiting for declarations and permission to land. We prayed for things to be cleared away for the landing. The "landing" could be healing or heaven. We continue to trust and wait.
"For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what is promised." Hebrews 10:36
"Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him." James 1:12
"We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope." Romans 5:3,4
"As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful." James 5:10,11
I am encouraged that His "mercies are new every morning" and He is faithfully helping me on this journey - one day at a time. His grace is there fresh each day. Without it, I wouldn't have made it!
As I have cried out to the Lord over and over through this past year to help me see things from His perspective - to help me understand what He's doing, what He's up to, I've had a couple things that have been growing in my heart. I'd like to share them…
I am increasingly convinced that we have been involved in spiritual warfare this last year as we've entered into prayer on behalf of Floyd. There is a big spiritual battle that has been taking place. I don't know exactly what the battle is over, but it's important! I think it could have to do with release in the arenas of things that are on Floyd's heart - refugees, the Muslim world, the hard/unreached peoples/places of the world, the future of South Africa - and especially for the Body of Christ to say "yes" to the Lord in helping to meet needs in these areas.
Several times over the past year I've been directed to the book of Daniel where the prince of Persia hinders the answers to Daniel's prayers. It's a reminder of the importance of persevering prayer.
The enemy doesn't like prayer, and there has been incredible waves of prayer released this past year. I believe that has intensified the battle. But the enemy is already defeated. Jesus is victor! The ultimate battle was fought on the Cross of Calvary.
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 6:10-12
"The Lord directs the steps of the Godly. He delights in every detail of their lives." Psalm 37:23
"We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps." Proverbs 16:9
"Guide my steps by your word, so I will not be overcome by evil." Psalm 119:133
We need to continue to stand our ground in prayer.......while we ask and believe for God to direct our steps for the future. He is faithful!
The second thing that's been growing in my heart is that, for purposes I don't entirely understand, I think God has allowed this season of suffering for Floyd. I have often suspected that out of Floyd's heart to serve God at all costs, he might have "offered" to the Lord to be willing to suffer. I recently listened to one of Floyd's sermons that clearly indicated he had done that - but he also said he told the Lord if He ever called him to do that, that he'd be trusting for God's grace because he knew he couldn't do it on his own.
None of us like suffering. We'd be crazy if we did! But I know God allows it and uses it. I feel a growing understanding that Floyd gave the Lord "permission" to go through suffering in his life.
I realize that I may be completely wrong about this. I'm not stating it as fact. I'm sharing it as a growing conviction that I've had. I continue to pray that God would continualy give Floyd the "grace" for this season. I want to make sure he is covered in prayer for this.
"We glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." Romans 5:3,4
The purpose of our suffering is to produce hope, not to diminish it or destroy it. I am keeping my hope in the Lord to use this unexpected journey we've been on for His purposes - and that He will receive glory from it.
"So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without His unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 The Message
I think there's more happening than "meets the eye." I don't understand it all, but I know God is in control. And I trust Him - absolutely and completely. He is good and faithful!