Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Lowest of Lows - The Highest of Highs

One of the many incredible Arizona sunsets.

(There I go again, leaving weeks of silence on this blog.) Thank you to all who read my last post and responded so warmly and lovingly.  I'm thankful for the way God is using our lives to bring people encouragement, hope, and ultimately glory to His name.

The funny (read: ironic) thing is that the day after I wrote that post, we got some "bad" news.  This news led to more testing and, ultimately, even more "bad" news.  Our journey felt (and sometimes still does feel)like it was taking a turn for the worst.  Without getting too specific, Andy and I have found ourselves in a place we never thought we'd be as we long for children.  
We have a lot of praying, listening, waiting, and seeking to do.

In the past week or so, I have experienced all sorts of emotions:


but I can honestly say that God has still been Faithful to me.
He has met me in my pain, felt troubled in His spirit with me, wept with me, 
and still constantly turns to me and says, 

"Emily, if you believe, you will see the glory of God."

What else can I do but believe Him?  At times, I have felt so hurt by God by the way things have turned out that I want to run from Him, 
but at the same time, 
He is the only One who knows me and can comfort me in the way that matters, that 
He is the one I'm running to.

John 11 has been by bread and butter these past few weeks.  It was in that chapter that Martha's brother Lazarus, whom Jesus really loved and cared for, got sick and died.  Martha sent men to tell Jesus that Lazarus was really sick and on his death bed and to please come, but Jesus stayed where He was for 2 days until He made the journey back to Judea (a place where He had been persecuted before).  By the time Jesus got to their home, Lazarus had been dead and in a tomb for 4 days.  Martha and Mary and their family were so sad and grieving the loss of their dear brother.  Martha met Jesus first, and He told her that her brother would rise again (like, in a few moments), and Martha responded, telling Jesus that she believed he would rise again at the resurrection day.  
This is when Jesus says, 
"I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die.  Do you believe this?" (John 11:25-26)
Martha believes.  Then she sends Mary to meet Jesus.  For once, Martha gets it right, but Mary is a little slower to catch up.  
She is obviously distraught that her brother died.

Where were you, Jesus?
I thought you would come!
If only You had been here, Lazarus would be alive right now.

Jesus hears her pain and goes with her to see Lazraus' body.  The scripture actually says that Jesus was "deeply moved in spirit and troubled" and He wept with His friends.  

The God of the universe felt human emotion with His grieving friends and wept and mourned with them.  Even when He knew the outcome of the situation!  
That is incredibly amazing to me.  
And that's definitely why I will never run from Him in my pain but instead run to Him.

But the most impactful part about this story to me has been in verse 40.  After Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, He turns to Mary and says, 

"Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"

So, I am choosing to believe. Over and over and over again, I'm believing His words.  I'm believing His promises.  I'm choosing to believe even when it doesn't seem possible or logical or fun or easy.
God WILL be glorified in this situation, in our lives, and ultimately in all the earth. 
I feel privileged (at times!) to take part in the suffering of Christ in order that 
His life may be revealed in me.

And I wanted to share something to encouraged you, whoever you are reading this.  God showed me this morning, that He has "high places" for each one of us.  But the only way we know something is a "high place" is if we travel through the valley.  There is usually pain and suffering in the valley, but it is worth it in the end, as God ultimately is victorious and gets the glory.  But the high places He talks of in scripture... I believe there are unique and specific ones that He has created for each of His children.  Read Habakkuk 3:17-19 in the New American Bible Standard version:

Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
18 Yet I will exult in the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
19 The Lord [b]God is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet,
And makes me walk on my high places.

Praying that even though it is extremely painful and sometimes feels like death, 
that you would embrace Jesus in your suffering and find that 
He ultimately is scheming and planning for your GOOD and 
has great heights of love, glory, and blessing to take you to.