"I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11I watched a portion of a very short video on this being one of the most misunderstood verses in the Bible. The young man made some valid points, but the one that is of real importance is that God is talking spirit here rather than flesh.
God has never promised all of His children earthly wealth and material abundance, but rather an abundance of spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) These are the things that bring true and lasting abundance. During the times we are being tested the hardest, these things will bring us through and cause growth in us rather than the evil one's intent of crushing and destroying us. Our faith will come out stronger and more determined than ever, which is the opposite effect desired by the oppressor (Satan). Simply knowing this can bring a smile in the middle of the most difficult situation.
My last blog was about the testing of my husband's and my faith regarding his recovery from heart surgery. As soon as we came out of that trial with a smile on our faces, we got the news that my momma had woken to discover she was blind in her left eye. It turns out she has an occlusion in the artery of said eye. It could be a blood clot or fat build up, but either way, she is blind just the same. No sooner did this sink in than my brother texted that his wife is in the hospital with pneumonia and he has osteomylitis in his leg and foot bone. He proceeded to say that if the meds didn't work, he could lose his leg. He wished God would just take him home, because he is so tired. I shared that God obviously still has work for him to do, so he needs to remind himself of the fact and get busy doing whatever needs to be done in order to accomplish it. This is something I have had to remind myself of on multiple occasions. I then texted my sisters to make sure they knew so we could all pray.
At this point I must confess that I had become angry. I had been informed by a sister that this has been going on for a while and he has basically ignored it. I told myself that it didn't have to get this bad if he had only listened and gone to the doctor in the first place!! That transferred to anger at men in general and their seeming need to be a martyr for family. One of my sisters reminded me how the world makes fun of men and accuses them of basically being effeminate if they don't act in such a manner. This made me angry with people in general. I caught myself in the act, confessed it to my sisters and told them I needed to take out time to pray for forgiveness so I could pray effectively for our brother. We all agreed to stop right then and there and pray, which we did.
Yesterday I was talking to a cousin regarding the matter of my mom and brother. She shared some things with me I had never considered and that helped me pray with more clarity. Last evening we received two new messages. The first was from one of my sisters that Momma is scheduled to see the specialist on Friday. This was music to our hearts. Later our brother let us know that he had finally gone to the doctor, who told him he has no intentions of removing his foot or leg unless there is simply no other way. What he wants to do is remove the infected bone and graft in new. If all goes well, he will be able to walk again after intense therapy. The doctor explained that if he removed every infected leg or foot, he wouldn't be in business very long. We are all praising God for His love and compassion on each of us, because we don't deserve it (especially me with my first reaction) but He is always there loving us and carrying us through anyway!!
The temptation to become and remain angry in situations like this is very real, very strong and easily given in to. What are the rewards of such action though? Hypertension, resentment, loss of affection, possible loss of relationship, and so much more. What then are the rewards of turning to God for forgiveness and seeking His perfect will in the situation? Peace, ever growing love for individuals involved, closer relationships, and gaining insight into Father God and His love for us. The choice is ours. He truly desires to prosper us in spirit, but we must desire it more than we desire the "comforts" of sin.
Father, I thank You for the work You are doing through the lives of our mother and brother. I thank You for their willing spirits going through this time of trial so that they and all those they love and come in contact with can grow in spirit from their experiences. I thank You that they love and respect You enough to do whatever You lay on their hearts to do even in the midst of these trials. Fill them with Your strength, cover them with Your grace, shield them with Your joy and overwhelm them with Your love. May others see Your Spirit dwelling in and with them so strongly that they desire to know more of You for themselves. In Jesus' name!!