This week has been okay. It's been harder. My arthritis is definitely flaring, so my joints are really stiff and achey and I am very tired. I've been a little more nauseated. But I still made it through work! It's amazing. It's hard, but God is allowing me to keep going. In good news, my abscess pain is much improved. I had labs done on Tuesday (and there's a really good story that goes along with this lab draw, but that's for another post)... and guess what? My white count is NORMAL!!! This is an excellent sign - means the antibiotics are working and I'm beating the abscesses! Praise God.
On Sunday, I barely made it to church. It was one of those mornings where I just couldn't get moving (side note: pretty every morning was like this all spring and summer! So no complaints!). I finally was able to limp to the tub and soak for a while and that loosened up my joints enough for me to make it to church! As I sat there, the pastor asked us to open up our Bibles, and he read "my" hope passage - Romans 5:1-11. Talk about full circle... I thought of all those long nights of pain in the hospital when I'd quote those verses over and over again in my head. I thought of all of you who have memorized with me.
"We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." The word "perseverance" is the same word "endurance," used in James 1, one of my other favorite passages. It says, "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." Our trials produce endurance, which completes us and equips us with greater faith, like I Peter 1 says - "You are distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold, which is perishable, even thought tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
Romans 5 continues, "And hope does NOT disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." Nothing we can do will change God's love for us, because nothing we did made God love us in the first place! What a blessing to know that God's love for us will NEVER change, since he loved us when we were helplessly lost. And what joy to read these verses along with so many brothers and sisters who've prayed for me and memorized with me... SO COOL!
Then, later that morning, we sang the hymn, "It is well with my soul." The lyrics say, "Whatever my lot/ Thou hast taught me to say/ It is well, it is well with my soul." How incredibly true that is... What God asks me to face each day is irrelevant in light of what He has already done for me: "That Christ has regarded my helpless estate/ and has shed His own blood for my soul."