Weak but Strong

God’s Grace

Many of us are very familiar with the passage in the Bible where Paul seeks God three times about removing the thorn in his flesh, actually a messenger of Satan — however I try to remind myself of Paul’s response.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. 2 Cor 12:9-10

How do we glory in our illness, or the illness of one we love?  Or how do we take pleasure in infirmities or reproaches etc.?   I can understand being happy when we are distressed for His sake. Because of these things others may come to have eternal life.  Really?  To be a part of saving a life?   Me?

I am not strong.  Many believe I am because of my public response in certain situations, but some don’t understand that I have the old nature just as they do.   I haven’t discovered some magic formula. I have understood and believe God’s Word to be truth, so I try to remember to lean on that and not my own understanding. To place my trust in God’s Word and the truth and the instruction contained within it.  That is what makes it easier to get through these times.  That is if I can let go of my own worries.  Easier said than done at times but praying for each little thing helps.  

Knowing that He is taking us somewhere we may not even want to go makes it easier in the knowledge He is with us.  He will never forsake us and will work things together for good in the grand scheme of things.   We forget that all too often.

I want to see more people come to know the Lord and know where they are going when they die.  So many who are fearful who have no idea of what will happen to them when they die.  Or just those who are unbelieving.  But that will not be an excuse in that day, because we’re assured that God makes Himself known to all men.  Many just refuse to acknowledge Him as God, nor are they thankful.  But the Heavens and earth declare His glory whether man chooses to seek Him or not (Romans 1:18-25; Psalm 19:1-6).

Choose the Good Part

Believers need strengthened in our faith all the time.  Some don’t seem to know that.   But we are reminded faith comes by the hearing of the Word — in time spent with Him (Lk 10:38-42).   And as we are built up in His Word we can tell others more easily about the free gift of everlasting life which has been preached from the beginning of time

I have so many favorites in His Word, so it’s kind of trite to even say that one particular passage is.  But I think that all the time, I suppose because it’s His Word in general that I love due to all that it supplies us with.  This one reminds us of the two simple things believers need to do.  Abide in the Vine (Jesus) and continue in His Word.

 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.  And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.  But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.  And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.  Luke 10:38-42 

The Cares of this world

Sometimes we are so busy with life in general it makes it hard to get time in His Word.   Try to think of ways you can get some time with Him.    I want to tell those who read here, that we all know sometimes health concerns of our own or loved ones can wear us down, and even keep us from concentrating on His Word.  Other things we may focus on might keep us from our first love.  The world’s condition in general has people clamoring.  Some I see are focused it seems on those things but we have to prioritize with His help.

We also forget, we need to hear the gospel too, it’s part of putting on our daily armor.  Ask others to feed you and to pray for you when it seems you can’t do it yourself.  And when you see someone who is going through a struggle, consider committing them to prayer for awhile and feed them with His Word.  You can demonstrate your love for Him as you do (John 21:15-17).

2 Tim 3:15-17 reminds us that all of His Scripture is given by God’s inspiration.  In that we have everything we need in His Word to:

  • Make us wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus (everlasting life)
  • Know His doctrine
  • Reproof of ourselves or others
  • For correction
  • For instruction in righteousness

One of the benefits for believers that this passage sums up in studying His Word?

“That the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

What the Enemy meant for your harm

We are fighting a spiritual battle.  It’s not one where we declare or decree anything (as those in Word of Faith have been wrongly taught from Eliphaz’s wrong words in Job 22:28).  It it is one where we submit to Him, and resist the enemy so that he will flee.  The enemy means to cause trouble in our time here on earth, so that we will be ineffective, weak, dead in our faith, or bewitched in our thinking.  The Lord means to use it for our good. 

Speaking of Job, some of us in these times of difficulty have a few Eliphaz, Bildad’s or Zophars in our lives.  They blame you for what you are going through.  One told me that I ‘attract illness into my life’ because of my ‘obsession’ with John MacArthur’s errors.   Be a Berean, is what they are saying about you true?  Is it said in the manner that our Shepherd would?   If so, the Word will convince you of what your are doing, not their accusatory words.

Our struggle with circumstances of life

Jason and I have seen many doctors since after Christmas when he was hospitalized.   Before that, he had many doctors, but this was the longest stay I’ve had at one hospital.  We’ve seen many patients and their families too as we were switched from room to room, and CVICU in the middle.  A missed diagnosis of valley fever was very frustrating, but the Lord sent a friend (Nadine) to suggest once again that I should have them check for that.  I had more than once, but it felt like confirmation to continue to press.  He did have it even though they said the tests had shown he did not.  

In one of those times of asking again, I had a nurse sarcastically ask what other fungi I would like them to check for since he did not have Valley fever.   She was not sincere.   I do not know if it was the same nurse or another, but when I brought up our dogs having valley fever, she queried me with disdain in her voice; “Don’t you know you can’t catch valley fever from animals?”  I paused and prayed and answered as calmly (I hope) as I could that I understood that and was bringing up the common denominator of the soil at our house, the spores that the dogs had dug in, and that my husband had too.    I couldn’t possibly know the origin for sure, but digging up dirt can certainly cause it.  And the Humira he was on was like ‘adding gasoline to a fire’ (Dr. Grace told me).  Thank the Lord he had been removed from that, there is more issues that these biologics can cause, but that’s a story for another day.

Valley Fever

The hospital eventually stopped treating him for pneumonia and instead gave him an anti-fungal, and eventually ordered a lung biopsy and confirmed the Valley Fever.  I wasn’t thrilled with that, but it was less invasive than the other procedure they had mentioned.  Since he is on a blood thinner, I agreed to a heparin drip which is more manageable and leaves your system quicker than another medicine.  Somewhere along the line unbeknownst to me, they switched him to lovanox and when I asked why, they said they spoke to Jason about it (the same man they said was in hospital delirium/confusion).   He had no recollection of the conversation if there was one.  

Lung biopsy and warfarin/coumadin and hemothorax

Many of you know he started bleeding internally.  After his biopsy I mentioned to the nurse several times that I was concerned about his low blood pressure.   I had already read up on it, and knew a lung collapse or bleed to cause this.  They were aware as she said they were going to give fluids and medicine to increase his blood pressure.  But his heart rate was going higher, and it concerned me.  I had a very difficult time getting a doctor to even speak with, and even though I asked for them to page them, it was ineffective.  That afternoon I called his cardiologist’s office, and when I spoke to one who worked there and I told her of my concerns with his heart rate being 120-140 and the recent biopsy, she told me that they had ‘signed off of his case’ and were no longer involved.   I was incredulous and explained again the hugely elevated heart rate, and she said there was nothing she could do.  I kind of insisted she let the cardiologist know, but early the next morning Jason called in a raspy voice telling me he didn’t feel well.    I called the nurse and conveyed they needed to get in there as I hopped in my car for the long drive.     When I arrived he was surrounded by many, and I was kind of surprised that they were in the dark.   Finally one thought to turn the light on as they struggled to get an IV in.

They finally moved him to CVICU and made me wait out in the waiting room.   I prayed and put some gospels in there and waited.   Evidently Jason coded while I was out there.  The chaplain and social worker came to get me.  That’s never a good sign I know, but I was being reminded to pray for each little thing and trust the outcome to Him.   (I even prayed for help to get an eggshell out of the eggs I was preparing yesterday.  Sound silly?  I’m sure it does, but I believe He cares about the little details).

Back to the ICU waiting area.   I had glances from others as the somber twosome came for me — seemed to me to be relieved glances as they weren’t the ones being summoned.   The duo filled me in — it was ‘not hopeful’ and other preparation phrases like; ‘your husband is a VERY sick man’.   The chaplain tried to probe me regarding my beliefs, and I was happy to oblige.  I kept it short, gave her the gospel and told her if she didn’t mind I’d like to turn my attention to my husband and his doctors.

The doctors did not give me a lot of hope but they would ‘do their best’.  Then came a short, older grumpy looking surgeon called GRACE.  He also didn’t hold out much hope, but told me (as they raced for blood product and plasma) that if he made it through the mass transfusion and Vitamin K (clotting) and they were able to stabilize him then we’d revisit what he could do to help.  The next day he didn’t feel he was ready, I was disappointed, prayed and left (again) the outcome to Him as I stayed by Jason’s bedside, doing what I could to watch his monitors, massage his feet, help him try to relax when he struggled against the ventilator.  But mostly I prayed because you feel pretty helpless in these times.  But prayer to Him matters.  So pray in all things, (as you remember — full disclosure — I had to pray to have Him help me remember, this is a daily walk).

God is due the glory in all things

I share this all mostly to give God the glory and reveal that I am just as weak as the next person.  But God’s GRACE is sufficient.  Our next helpful doctor was EWE (Yu) then VICTOR.  I capitalize to show you the way I heard it in my mind.   I don’t take it any way other than it was a sense of comfort and reminder of no matter which way this went, God was in control.  I was His little ewe, and He was carrying me through this on His shoulders.   I was sick on top of it all, yet He still enabled me to navigate the murky waters as I kept my eyes on Him in the storm.  Believe you me it is easy to look elsewhere, not even wrong, just get distracted like Martha.

Two days of staying in ICU and being there overnight too with no comfortable chair to lay back on (till a nurse took pity the second night and took one from another room)…exhausted.   I asked a friend who lived closer to the hospital if I could take a nap at her place.   I laid down to sleep, prayed, and woke suddenly a couple hours later feeling guilty for not being at the hospital.    My heart pounded and I wanted to speed back, but I prayed for trust and my trip and drove asking the Lord to get me there in His timing and for His will on the surgery.

God’s Timing

Once again I had looked up the possible procedures and had felt the more serious one would likely be the only choice.  Sure enough Dr. GRACE called me while I was in the parking lot to apprise me of Jason’s options.  I silently prayed and before I could open my mouth to ask, he answered what I would have requested of him.  He said, “if it were my family, this is the option I would choose for them.”  I had very little to say except for to tell him to do it.   The Lord was continuing to direct my paths as He even helped me to remember to acknowledge Him in more of my ways.   In fact three other times I showed up, praying in advance for the right timing, for safety, and to rest in Him, I saw Grace in the parking lot (the doctor).  All throughout there was His grace though.

This is enough of this story for now although there is so much I’d like to share, maybe another time.  You know by now that Jason made it, and we face other serious issues.  We continue to treat the symptoms of valley fever, and deal with his heart defect (he was born with) and the side effects of the medication.

The Spiritual battle

We need to also always be alert, for our enemy prowls about seeking whom he can devour.  In good times and bad there is a battle whether we see it or not.  Recently, a young woman was not happy as we spoke against John MacArthur’s doctrine as she said she had been ‘saved hearing one of his sermons’ and urged us to ‘pray for him vs. spitting on him’.  When I hear these things, and I know my own motives, I realize that this is not the voice of the Shepherd.  He chastens us by His Word, not by false accusations.  She continued to suggest one man was a pedophile, and said some vile things to another godly woman who answered with His Word.  In all her railing, in the end, the spiritual source of her answers was made known as she said this (copy and pasted):

I can see why you have attracted sickness in your life. You should be more busy taking care of your sick husband than spewing your hatred for MacArthur. You seem to be obsessed with him. Thank god jesus revealed your hypocrisy. I had no idea you were a snowflake as well. I bet you’re hyperventilating and being so offended at me calling a spade a spade. Well, you’ll get over it lady !! Toodles, and good luck to your hateful ministry where you just stamp a label of grace on there”

There is grace for her too, do not get me wrong.  I share this so that you will not be shocked as things like this are said to you sometimes at the worst possible time.  We must realize that this isn’t about them personally (not flesh and blood) but these words are from the accuser of the brethren.

But as for us, we need to keep our armor on in these times as sometimes the attacks are seemingly relentless.  And the Lord is where we need to seek refuge.   Don’t return evil for evil.  Someone may come to know of how they too can have the free gift of everlasting life.   

If you look at the armor in Ephesians 6, all of it is strengthened by (or we are reminded of) by being in His Word.  We don’t wrestle with flesh and blood, but it is with principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, spiritual wickedness in high places.  What is our weapon?  Ephesians 6:11-18 and Hebrews 4:12 reminds us it is His Word.  We should know it so we can answer the enemy with it as Jesus did in the wilderness — “it is written”.  We also will be able to discern between good and evil.  And above all, verse 10 in Ephesians 6 reiterates it is by His might:

 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 

And back to the first passage, it is not of anything of ourselves, but it is His GRACE that is sufficient.   We go through these things and if we are looking to Him, in these afflictions, the power of Christ might rest upon us.

Weak but strong

When we are weak, then we are strong.  The world wouldn’t understand that seeming contradiction, but it is by His power, His might, His grace that we are strong.  The excellence of the power is of God and not of us (2 Cor 4 — read the whole chapter).  We may be going through these things but we are not forsaken, all things are for our sakes, that GRACE, having spread through the many, may cause THANKSGIVING to abound to the glory of God.  Today, after we went to yet another doctor (an oncologist) and had MORE blood tests (fifth since we left) and then a bone survey, we stopped at my daughter’s in-law’s restaurant.   They wanted to treat us (which we didn’t expect) and Kathy let us know she was praying for us, that was a blessing.

May I suggest some things to you to help you in hard times?  Remember two simple needed things.

  • Time with the Lord in prayer
  • Time in His Word

Both can be accomplished at the same time.  Here are some a few verses that I hope you might want to look up to revive and comfort you.   There are MANY more things I could add to the list, but then there would be a part two.  Love in Christ to you all. Try to steal away to spend with the Lord.

2 Responses to “Weak but Strong

  • Dennis Monroe
    2 years ago

    Holly, thank you for this post. I need these words. Thank you for the update on Jason. Yes, the spiritual battle is very real. Sometimes it gets very weary. It is a constant unrelenting onslaught. I know that you surely do know that. I am so sorry that you get some terrible venomous things said to you. But please know this for sure. There are many out here that know you speak the truth. God is most definitely with you. Prayers for you.

    • Thank you Dennis, I know you and Kay have been through a lot too and have been a blessing to me. The Lord comforts me in these times of angst from others and I am empathetic to them. How can I not be considering our brother Stephen who prayed for the Father to not lay his stoning death to their charge? And Paul as Saul was consenting to it…I marvel. And Job graciously forgave Bildad, Eliphaz and Zophar. I’d like to be more like them. In Christ’s love to you both.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: