Today in church, we learned a song from Hebrews 11. Hebrews 11 is this amazing chapter that talks about many great men and women who lived by faith in God. Some of them saw and accomplished amazing, wonderful things - people raised from the dead, kingdoms conquered, victories won. And then others... others were tortured, afflicted, and never received the promises of God in this life. But they lived by faith.
How were these great men and women able to endure what they endured and still be faithful to God? It's because they weren't focused on this life. They were looking forward to what God has promised. They considered themselves as strangers on the earth ( verse 13). The world wasn't their home; in fact, the world was not worthy of these men and women (verse 38). They were seeking God. They were seeking heaven (verse 16). That perspective - that long distance, far sighted vision - the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (verse 1) - that faith - allowed them to live a life that honored God in the midst of tragic and horrendous circumstances.
I have been more than a little bit down and frustrated and NOT walking by faith. My stomach has been hurting more and more. I went to see Dr. Saturday on Monday, and by Wednesday morning, he was on the phone with me because my white count has jumped up again. That plus my increased pain warrants further investigation. It is likely that I will need MORE surgery. This week, I'm going to go in for an ultrasound (if his schedulers ever quit playing phone tag with me) and an appointment with Dr. Saturday to decide where we go from here. I've been exhausted and in pain. On top of all that, I'm trying to work and study for the MCAT (I'm taking it in a month!) and investigate health insurance options and search for new jobs. But I just have no energy.
I didn't understand why I can't get better. It seems, at times, like pointless suffering. Why, at age 23, do I have innumerable doctors, chronic pain, an ostomy (which is having strange issues that would require another surgery to temporarily fix), joints that don't work, adrenal glands that don't work, guts that hurt, and no real solutions or end in sight?
My dear friend, Kendra, has recently found out that she has a large (thankfully) benign mass in her intestines (I probably gave it to her... what are the odds?). Her husband, Stephen, is 1,000 miles away, unable to be with her, and she needs surgery. It's a hard, hard situation.
When you look at life, at the world, and you consider the poverty and natural disasters and suffering and oppression and sickness and death and all the horribleness of life, it is so easy to get bogged down. In my own life, if I look at my health situation and imagine living the rest of my life with these problems and this pain, it zaps my desire to keep living. But that is NOT the perspective that God has called me to have. That is NOT a life of faith.
My life is not about this earth. It's not about what happens to me here. I am to live in anticipation of the promises of God. If I were seeking something here, then there really isn't much reason for me to keep living. What do I have to look forward to? A life of surgeries, sickness, and pain? But I am looking forward to a heavenly kingdom. My job isn't to change my situation. It's to live by faith in God without regard to my circumstances. Why? "And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him." (verse 6). I'm to live with my eyes on the future, to what God has promised, to what He has prepared, to heaven.
Please join me in considering your own life - are you walking by faith, or are you caught up in what this life has to offer? Moses chose to endure ill-treatment with the people of God rather than enjoy the passing pleasures of sin. He was looking for Christ, to the ultimate reward of eternal life (verses 24-26). May we do the same, and walk by faith each day. Then God will not be ashamed to be called our God (verse 16).
(And please pray for Kendra and Stephen).