Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Since Mike first made the turn from getting worse to feeling some improvement, I have been experiencing the luxuries of normalcy both in practical living and mentality. While enjoying this obvious blessing, I had earnest fears that with this return to normalcy, as welcome as it was, I would eventually forget the sacred lessons learned. The sweet fruit of suffering would wither and die. This may seem absurd, but I know that as faithful as God is in His goodness, so am I in my forgetfulness and rebellion. In many ways, I fell back to my comforts, which though not evil in and of themselves, are breeding grounds for my tendency towards complacency, apathy, and all the undesirable -y’s there are as a woman of faith.

Then came this week. One night after the kids had gone to bed, Mike and I were sitting in the living room. He had a faraway look on his face. He started talking about his chest pains that have not improved at all and seem to have no sign of such on the horizon. He talked of having only 4 more weeks left of leave. He talked of how he had thought he would be much further along in his recovery than he currently was now. He spoke of the frustrations of his situation, the unknown future, the many infinite possible outcomes that could occur in 4 weeks when he tries to return to work, the effects those things would have on our family, and on and on and on. It wasn’t just the words. It was the tone. It was the signs of sickness that wreaked havoc just a couple short months ago. Holy freakin’ crap! (Excuse my honest reaction.)

I grabbed My Utmost for His Highest. Oswald Chambers is the man. That day’s entry was divinely appropriate. As I read it out loud, his tears poured out. As much as Mike and I mirror Ray Ramono’s parents (Marie & Frank from “Everybody Loves Ray”) in our hardness and sarcasm, there is nothing that affects me more than seeing my man cry. He rarely does. He has more than once in this saga of illness. I had to read it again to him. It’s too good not to include it in its entirety.

Perseverance means more than endurance— more than simply holding on until the end. A saint’s life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, but our Lord continues to stretch and strain, and every once in a while the saint says, “I can’t take any more.” Yet God pays no attention; He goes on stretching until His purpose is in sight, and then He lets the arrow fly. Entrust yourself to God’s hands. Is there something in your life for which you need perseverance right now? Maintain your intimate relationship with Jesus Christ through the perseverance of faith. Proclaim as Job did, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15).

Faith is not some weak and pitiful emotion, but is strong and vigorous confidence built on the fact that God is holy love. And even though you cannot see Him right now and cannot understand what He is doing, you know Him. Disaster occurs in your life when you lack the mental composure that comes from establishing yourself on the eternal truth that God is holy love. Faith is the supreme effort of your life— throwing yourself with abandon and total confidence upon God.

God ventured His all in Jesus Christ to save us, and now He wants us to venture our all with total abandoned confidence in Him. There are areas in our lives where that faith has not worked in us as yet— places still untouched by the life of God. There were none of those places in Jesus Christ’s life, and there are to be none in ours. Jesus prayed, “This is eternal life, that they may know You . . .” (John 17:3). The real meaning of eternal life is a life that can face anything it has to face without wavering. If we will take this view, life will become one great romance— a glorious opportunity of seeing wonderful things all the time. God is disciplining us to get us into this central place of power.

We talked, we prayed, we focused on the positive. In the horror of steps backwards, I also felt a strange gratitude for the needed reminder of our dependence on Him. When similar conversations came again later, we returned to Him again. We find our strength in Him. However, I have to say, my weakness is so apparent to me. I recognize my impatience with pessimism and have to wait to respond often as not to say the wrong things. Please pray for Mike to continue to heal specifically with these untouched pains. Pray for his hope and trust and faith to be secure. Pray for me to be patient and supportive. Pray for Him to have His unhindered way as we journey on in our great romance. Thanks, loves!

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2 Responses to Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

  1. KyungAh says:

    Leslie, you’ve been in my thoughts from time to time. And today, I learned from our mutual friend all that you guys have been going through, and my heart is breaking for you and Mike. Thank you for your sharing your life…we’ll be praying with you!

  2. Choon Kim says:

    I am so comforted by what two of you have done with Chamber’s devotional on that day. There are no better thngs to do than just that. I’d keep remembering you both and His Restoration of Mike. Haning in there! Much Love, mom

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