Friday, October 15, 2010

Continuing to dispell misconceptions...

"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life." - John 9:3

Had another long and emotionally exhausting conversation today on the topic of "Healing." A new friend is determined to pray for God to heal me and she is sure healing will happen. I tried all my usual points (see entries from July 29-30) but she was convinced that God wants me "healed."

Before I go further, can I just say that I do not think being in a wheelchair is the worst thing that could happen to a person? Disabilities get such a bad rap from the general public...

This friend refered me to John 9:3, and told story after story of healings that she has witnessed. If God could restore an entirely cancer-rotted body, why shouldn't he make me walk? My question in return is, why should he make me walk? Why does he owe me anything at all? I have actually spent a lot of time with the verse in John 9, and this is the conclusion I have come up with:

Whatever God does, he does for his own glory. If he heals a person, it is for his glory. If he blesses a person with a disability (yes, I just said blesses), then it is for his glory. Some people need to receive a physical healing or witness a great obvious miracle in order to believe that God is good, powerful, and present. God knows each person's heart, and he grants those kinds of healings if it is what is needed to turn their hearts toward him and give him worship.

Thing is, I already know that God is good, powerful, and present in my life. And I have tried to share the stories of this evidence my whole life, to anyone who will listen. I believe it is a very powerful message when someone with a disability testifies to the faithfulness and love of God, because it means our faith isn't contingent on our own circumstances. I am so encouraged and challenged by the words of three brave men in Daniel 3: "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." Even if he does not... In my own life, this message has a similar translation: I know the God I serve is able to make my muscles strong and loose and make me walk. But even if he does not, I will not turn against him - I will continue to worship and follow him.

Back to my original conclusion: Whatever God does, he does for his glory. My life is hidden in him, so my weakness no longer matters or has any power over me. I think he receives more glory out of my disability than he would in my ability. This is a timeless theme with God: from the beginning of the Bible until the end, he delights to choose the weak things of this world, so that his power may be evident and that his glory will shine. 

Why would I demand that my sovereign God give me a few years of human strength when I can do what he asked me to - deny myself - and give him a lifetime (actually, an eternity) of glory and honor that he deserves?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A typical lovely day in the life of Connie

As I reflect tonight on the day I had today, I'm amazed at how typical and yet how lovely it was. This morning I had breakfast and Bible study with Elsa, and then we went grocery shopping. When we got back, I played with Michael and Jo Lien a while, which was fun because they were both in really sweet and silly moods. I fed them crackers and cookies, and taught them how to blow kisses, and it's their new favorite game. Watched part of "The Little Mermaid" with Thang Ngaih and Lian, who have watched it enough now to quote parts of it in a hilarious Jamaican-Burmese accent. Then Thang Ngaih asked me to help her with her English homework for about an hour while the kids napped, and she was so excited to learn (among other things) how to write a check (though she laughed because she said she has "No money to write on check!").

Then I worked on my Ruth lesson for a bit, but I was sitting by my window (here below for you to see), so I was slightly distracted by the beauty of the fall colors and the activities of the volunteers outside... This wonderful group of people from Ohio are here this week to serve, and they chose this day to rake the leaves under the massive trees surrounding I-House. This ended up being a full-day task, because it was a crisp and windy day, and leaves were falling constantly, so every time they cleared the lawn, they had to do it again an hour later. I spent a good part of my day being highly entertained at the sight of the volunteers toting the rakes from the front yard to the backyard... and to the front yard again... and then to the backyard again... and "rinse and repeat." Nature was not their friend today.

Finally, the great autumnal outdoors beckoned me enough to make me put on a sweater and venture forth. To my delight, I found some Somali friends in the backyard - a woman and four of her six kids. She was checking out her corner of the community garden and the kids were making grass-and-leaf huts "for tiny people." I explored the acre with them, searching for the brightest and prettiest leaves to decorate the huts with. When our noses got too cold, "Mama Jayne" called us inside for pumpkin sugar cookies and hot cocoa. Then more kids showed up and I talked with them (even got a hug!) and helped them work on their homework for a while, and helped their mom with an official government letter she needed to write.

Came back home and everyone was upstairs, so I had dinner and tea (my fourth cup of the day), and went back to Jayne's to color a picture of Sally Brown (as in, Charlie's sister) in a sparkly princess dress - yes, I have sparkly crayons - and read a book that I just can't seem to put down this week.

Can't say every day is this wonderful... I've talked with some of you about some real challenges that have come up in the past few weeks, and everyone has difficult days. But I am so glad that this is my life right now... I'm so glad God has me here, and that I get to do life with the internationals and ministry staff here in Fort Wayne.