Part VI: Truth
A little while ago, my friend Shanna tweeted a list of truths she had written down. I felt immediately inspired by that. There is power in truth–in saying it, writing it, and believing it. I’ve been so comforted by truth since Brad got Lyme.
I’m so thankful that while I was growing up and dealing with growing up things, my Mom would always ask me, “What’s the truth about God in this situation? What does God say is truth?” Those two questions reverberate in my head all the time. When I feel doubts or questions or confusion, her voice pops in: What’s the truth about God in this situation? What does God say is truth? As I’ve struggled to understand God’s will and His ways, the answers to those questions have been my bedrock.
Some truths I’ve clung to:
God will strengthen, help, and uphold me. Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10) I love this verse because it answers my most common prayer in every particular: God, I’m not strong enough to bear this, help me! Hold me! This verse challenges me to believe. Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you actually believed every truth?
He knows what He’s doing and I can trust Him. This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. (Psalm 18:30) A teacher of mine from high school recently passed away from cancer. She was 33, married, and had two young girls. She blogged all through her diagnosis and treatment and she repeated the first part of this verse as her mantra. If she could believe it while facing the devastation of her body and separation from her family, I can believe it while God heals (or doesn’t heal, in this life) Brad.
Jesus heals and wants us to be healed. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy. (Matthew 8:2-3, NIV) and As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. (Psalm 103:13) It surprises me when people describe God as a mean old man who sits sternly in the clouds above us, ready to throw down a lightning bolt when we mess up. That’s not the Savior I see in the Bible. Our Lord cares about us. He loves us. He is so good to us. He doesn’t want us to be burdened with illness, but sometimes He wills it. And sometimes He wills that we are healed.
God can do all of this. Bible passages where God lays the smack down about how awesome He is are some of my favorite. See: Habakkuk 1:5 and Job 38, the ultimate example. If ever I’m in doubt about whether or not God can do something that seems impossible, I have only to remember that He’s the same God who binds the stars into constellations and shut in the seas with doors saying, “Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed!” I get shivers whenever I read that.
No matter what, we have salvation. Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. (Habakkuk 3:17-18) There is joy in this passage! And if you’ve read Habakkuk, you know it’s not a very joyful book. And yet this is the final word: I can have joy in the God of my salvation. Our final word is: No matter what fires we walk through on earth, we have salvation for eternity, and nobody has Lyme disease in eternity.
I can’t finish this without saying how blessed I am to be married to a man who believes in truth and reminds me of it. When we were walking down the halls of the hospital in Iowa City after Brad’s doctor told him to get tested for lymphoma, I vaguely remember feeling shell-shocked. But I definitely remember Brad saying, “It doesn’t matter if it’s called lymphoma or a sore throat, God can heal this.” Yes.