When something tragic happens, it seems that this mental struggle begins, we try to make sense of it – to exercise cause and effect and to reach a conclusion that answers the question “why”… Over the last two years, I’ve had many offer advice to me from what seems to be a place of concern and good intent – in effort to answer the “why” and perhaps they are just trying to protect my faith and beliefs in a God that is good.
These statements usually sound something like this, “God had nothing to do with what happened to your husband.” Or… “the enemy attacked your family, but God can step in and do something good with the bad situation.”…. Other types of advice I’ve received, address the question “how do i fix this”.. as I’ve had many reach out to pray for us delivering messages such as, “Lord please remove the sin in their lives that is blocking this healing”…. and “Jodi when you have faith, then Josh will be healed.”…..
I have been given the answers to these questions, and many more as it pertains to the struggles in my life. The Lord directly told me WHY Josh had a stroke. He truly did. And I’m thankful everyday for that revelation. And over the course of 2 years He’s continued to answer questions that have weighed on my mind most of my life. He’s revealed to me why I didn’t have a dad. He’s revealed to me why I struggled with depression and attempted suicide at the age of 17. The Lord has even revealed to me that my faith is HIS WORK, not mine. I can’t wake up and just “decide” to will myself to have enough faith to see a miracle. You know the beautiful thing is, I have seen miracles in the moments I least expected – in moments when I was so empty and so defeated that HE was able to work in me because Jodi (my thoughts and ideas) had exited the building and provided Him with a vessel of lowliness and utter surrender. HE is the finisher of our faith.
I know in my heart, the Lord had me write that book to address, through the testimony he gave me some of these questions, and I believe that the Lord is delivering this testimony to those who He sends it to. It’s not my book, it’s His and I don’t try to control who reads it, yet I continually get confirmation from the Lord that He’s doing a work with it – people who are hurting and walking in our shoes asking these very difficult questions, continue to reach out to me and I know the Lord’s fingerprint is written all over these encounters.
But the others who cross our path and mean well, and want to help, as they deliver advice that goes against the very words the Lord spoke directly to me… what is the purpose in that? I don’t know, but I do know there is purpose. Maybe we will continue to be used by God in ways we can’t even yet understand.. i know our story isn’t over, and i know He has us here because He’s still working on us, working through us (he is the author of our story and the finisher of our faith).. But in this season, I feel the Lord showing me repeatedly that we will serve what we fear – a frightening reality of what it means to the Fear the things of this world vs. Fearing the Lord, and I see a struggle taking place among many, questioning if He is in control of everything. So much heartbreak I feel when I sense that people are fearing the enemy – read about Leviathan in Job 41 – a beast that GOD created and GOD controls, (also referred to as king of the proud). Look at the story of Job and the awful things he endured. Could Satan go destroy Job’s life by his own authority? No… he couldn’t touch Job without first gaining permission from the Lord, and even then he was given perimeters as God said he could not kill him. God was completely in control at all times and at the end of Job’s suffering and at a time where Job submitted yet again to the Sovereign God of the universe (corrected for questioning God and seeking control of the outcome of his own life), God then restored all things to Job and much, much more. Some say, well yeah, but that was before Jesus rose from the cross.. You know it’s interesting that Jesus asked the Father to take that cup from him – the suffering that he was about to endure, but then submitted to the Father in the same breath, saying “YOUR will be done”… It wasn’t the enemy’s will – the enemy presented in Peter when Peter rebuked Jesus for saying he would soon suffer and be killed. It was GOD’s will for Jesus to complete his work on the cross… and ironically this cup that Jesus asked the Father take from him… well the disciples spoke to Jesus about that cup.. and Jesus said to them, “You know not what you ask. Are you able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They said unto him, We are able.” (Mathew 20: 22-23), and Jesus answered them and said, “You shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized.”
And I ask this question… After our Lord Jesus rose, Did God not know that every single apostle would go through great trials and suffering? Was it not God himself that spoke about the Apostle Paul when he said this to Ananias – “For I will shew him how great things he must SUFFER for my name’s sake.” Why did Paul have to SUFFER GREAT THINGS? If you read in Acts 9, the Lord explains that Paul was a “chosen vessel to bear HIS name.”… It’s just not about us.. It’s all about HIM. HIs name is to be reverenced, respected, feared, and adored among all and to those who he has called according to his purpose, He promises that all things will work for our good – good is an outcome (not a journey). And those he has called according to his purpose were never promised an easy life – quite the opposite. The Lord said we would suffer affliction and trials and persecution and the list of these hardships goes on and on. But He promises to deliver us, as HIS WORD will be performed (and all that HE allows to manifest in our lives), as we can be sure this race “that we must run with patience” (Hebrews 12:1), and consider what Jesus endured, so that we do not “be wearied and faint in our minds” (Hebrews 12:3), will do it’s perfect work in us and that in all things HIS NAME will be glorified. And when it’s all said and done.. we will be with HIM.
Romans 8:38 – “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Paul said those words – a man that faced persecution, was beaten nearly to death multiple times, shipwrecked over and over again, imprisoned and he died NOT a rich man (in this world), with health, wealth, riches and fame – No… Paul suffered many things for the sake of the Lord’s name, just as God said he would. But none of what he endured could separate him from the LOVE OF GOD, which is in CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD.
It’s a story more beautiful than anything we can think up – the knock off’s as told in tales of Rome and Juliet. A perfect ending to a plot full of twists, turns, many scars and a LOVE that conquers all of it.
When I’m presented with a position from multiple people on the same subject (back to back), i start seeking the Lord, asking Him what he wants me to do with it.. Well, I believe He’s telling me to testify. And testify again and again and again as long as He keeps me here and allows my lungs to breath in the air that he provides me. And I pray daily that He gives me the strength of Jesus to do that.
“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” – Mathew 10:28
FEAR OF THE LORD IS THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM. HE’S ON THE THRONE!!! HE IS THE SAME YESTERDAY, TODAY AND ALWAYS, FOREVER MORE. HE IS THE AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF OUR FAITH. JESUS AND JESUS ALONE IS WORTHY TO OPEN THE SEALS THAT BRING GREAT TROUBLE UPON THIS EARTH AND THE ALPHA AND OMEGA DOES NOT DRIVE AN AMBULANCE…… HE KNEW US BEFORE WE WERE EVEN FORMED IN OUR MOTHER’S WOMBS AND HE SANCTIFIED US FROM THE BEGINNING!
Thank you Lord for your mercy and guidance and LOVE. In all that hurts me and all that pains me and all that I’ve lost and all that I’ve suffered through… I PRAISE YOUR NAME and I thank you for the works you’re doing that my human mind struggles to understand. My hope is in Jesus and I know that all I suffer through in this temporary place (the things in the seen) aren’t worth comparing to the Glory you will reveal in the unseen (the eternal things. I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me… <3