Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lord, I Need a Miracle

So many of us may be feeling very much like Jan described in her newsletter this morning, so I wanted to share it in its entirety.

Lord, I Need a Miracle
By Jan Markell
July 15, 2010
Every one of us has said that! You need a miracle! You're not alone. So my column is going to stray from news. I am going to reveal some personal things, which is not always the best idea.
However, as I write this, I am supposed to be undergoing a 10-hour surgery that would require one year before life would have been normal again. I have dealt with pain beyond description since March. So I have to thank many of you for praying for me these last few weeks since that was made known. Prayer made the difference.  The pain diminished about 98% in the last 2 weeks and the surgeon canceled the procedure -- a gruesome one to say the least! 
I would also ask that at this time advice not be sent back to me. I am still trying to process all that has happened, and there could be more mountains to climb down the road. In other words, I continue to ask for your prayers. Because of the uncertain future, we are leaving up the Caring Bridge page posted here. If it is taken down, it won't be by us. Please save my office staff further pressures. Check that link rather than e-mailing or calling here. We've all had a rough ride since March and this will save my staff further pressures. 
When trying ordeals happen, we often first ask, "Why me, Lord?" Well, why not? The Bible reminds us that all believers will suffer, be it persecution, betrayal, or affliction. We see Paul wrestling with his "thorn." I suspect you who are reading this have gone through your own personal "dark night of the soul." You may be there now. That's the real reason I am writing this -- not to reflect on me but to focus on you. The ordeal doesn't have to be physical. It is any kind of a difficult time for you that you think will never end. You want someone to walk along side you for comfort and counsel. You have trouble even reading the Bible some days. You are overwhelmed. And our trying times today, worldwide, don't help. 
I understand. I labored for 20 years with  "chronic fatigue syndrome" until the Lord just took it away in the summer of 2000. You can read about that ordeal and related thoughts and issues in my 1993 book published by Baker Book House, Waiting for a Miracle.
I have learned that affliction and trials transform lives, either for good or for bad. They will make you or break you.  God is speaks to us through our pain. He can use it to make us more aware of Him. The symphony He is working out includes minor chords, dissonance, and tiring fugal passages. But those of us who follow His conducting through these early movements will, with renewed strength, someday burst into song!
Affliction is not bashful. It shows itself in spite of our best efforts. The reason wellness is one of the greatest gifts is that affliction will sap our energy, make us irritable, strain our relationships, cloud our plans for the future, and totally occupy our thoughts. The affliction becomes a full-time job, for it goes with us wherever we go. And the world of the "well" just cannot understand, particularly if we look good. It's those pesky invisible diseases that are so frustrating. You just know people think you look so good you must be making some things up! You want to scream but perhaps your body aches so that won't work!
God seldom gives us a long-range view of our journey through this darkness that He wants to use for our good. We wonder what lies ahead. Is our livelihood at stake? Will our family abandon us? Will our financial resources run out? Will we be deemed hypochondriacs? Will anybody understand? Will we lose everything? Some learn from the heroes of Hebrews 11. We hear them relate their experiences, tell of the darkness of their night, and disclose some of the humanly impossible situations they found themselves in. I think of the words of Spurgeon who said, "I learn more from the fire, hammer and chisel than to anything else in my Lord's workshop."
The most tempting thing for those who hurt is to feel that God has abandoned them. God does not "send" illness to a specific person. He doesn't have a weekly quota of malignant tumors, sick spines, and weak hearts to distribute. He doesn't consult a computer to find out who deserves a certain affliction and who could handle it the best. I take comfort in what Paul Billheimer says in one of the best books ever written, Don't Waste Your SorrowsHis brilliant conclusion is that we are in training for reigning and this is part of that process! Does that help?
At this office we hear from a lot of people who are afflicted, disappointed, confused, anxious, hurting, and scared. God promises that in spite of your shattered dreams right now, He wants to build a new foundation out of your brokenness. He says, " 'For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord; plans to prosper you and not harm you; plans to give you hope and a future' " (Jer. 29:11). And if you are feeling devastated, He promises to restore the years the locusts ate (Joel 2:25).
Many of these thoughts in this column have been taken from my book Waiting for a Miracle. I am not featuring it to make a sale. The book has helped tens of thousands of people through tough times. Right now, only Olive Tree Ministries carries it. Many say it is more helpful than a doctor's appointment and the best prescription they have taken.
If God can heal me of a 20-year illness and keep me off of yesterday's operating table, He has some kind of miracle for you as well. No, I don't hold to the theology that everyone will be healed. That is all a mystery. Whatever your heartache, remember that the past and the present must never be a measure of your future. God desires that you leave the future to Him while you mind the present and hang on to some of His promises.
There are no easy answers. Those of you who suffer, remember that under the beating of the rain there are springing up spiritual flowers of such fragrance and beauty as never before grew in the unchastened life. We see the rain; Lord, help us smell the flowers.
Again, for updates on my situation, visit Caring Bridge.Thank you for your prayers. I wish I could say that to each one of you individually. I will in Heaven. Won't it be grand? We won't even remember affliction, trials, testing, pain, and sorrow. Bring it on. Come, Lord Jesus.
Get acquainted with "Understanding the Times" radio. We air live out of Minneapolis/St. Paul onAM980 KKMSand AM1280 "The Patriot," Saturday, 9  to 11 a.m. CST. You can "listen live" at those Web sites.
Here are our other airing outlets. 
For podcasting via iTunes, visit this link.
All live Saturday programming is posted to our Web site at"Radio Archives" Sunday evening.
Brannon Howse sat in for me last weekend. Check the programming here. I return to the microphone this weekend in spite of an announcement that I would be out for 2-3 months.
God is good!

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