A few months ago, during Mission's Conference at our church, one of the missionaries commented that he is very, very careful about what he sings, prays, and says, for fear that he may be speaking without realizing what he was saying and that God may just require more of him than he is prepared to give. Immediately I thought of a post that I wrote several years ago about a song that I heard when Jerry and I were newly married and how I loved the words of the song and even sang it until God did require me to give up more than I was prepared to give. Then I thought of how God has used all of those "losses" to allow me to have more than I ever thought I could possess.
That song was titled, "For Whatever it Takes to Draw Closer to you Lord", and it talks about trading sunshine for rain, comfort for pain, etc. I just thought it was such a beautiful song. But once I began to lose my babies and my health, I hated that song. For many years I would not listen to it and put it far from my brain. Then about seven years ago our Pastor and his daughter sang it at our church. As soon as I heard the first few notes I headed to bathroom because the tear spigot was turning to full blast. I sat on the toilet and just cried, as the Holy Spirit comforted me. Was I now willing to sing that song in truth? It took an act of faith for me to fully surrender my health to the One who created me. Once I let go and let God be the Lord of my physical body, I had such peace and could truly say, "For whatever it takes to be closer to you, Lord, that's what I am willing to do."
How I wish that I could say that ever since that day I have been able to praise and thank the Lord for the physical trials I continue to face. But there are still times when I complain and cry and just get weary. How I wish that I could also say that the Lord fully healed my body. Instead, He continues to allow me to suffer. But in that suffering, I am learning and I am changing my thoughts and I am beginning to understand the pain of others. The two phrases that get me through the hardest times are: "It could always be worse", and "This is only temporary."
I pray for that missionary. I pray that he will be able to trust God. I pray that when he does go through the trials and pains of life, that he will grow in his faith. I know that I am a different woman than I ever imagined I would be because of all that I have had to endure, and I thank God for it. I pray that this missionary will become the man that God wants him to be.
Several years ago, I heard the analogy of Christians being like diamonds. They do not become items of beauty until they have had all the rough parts removed with chisel and hammer. In the hands of a skilled craftsman, they become jewels of great value.