Earp Takes Aim | Faith, Culture, Life

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Train Your Brain

I told you I would…and I did.

I spoke to the campus at KCU last week about balancing ministry and family in the midst of crisis.  It was painfully obvious why I was assigned that topic, so I spoke in a very direct, hard-hitting and often very painful manner. 

After Tuesday’s session, during which I unpacked much of the gruesome suffering Cindy endured as well as stuff I’ve endured since she embraced Jesus, I was emotionally and spiritually— out of gas. 

I was also alone {not a good thing}— with nothing to do but feel sorry for myself.  So that’s what I did.  I wept and started asking that same tired question I’ve asked so many times before. 

“Why God, did this awful thing have to happen?”

I also told him that I still wished for a different end to her story. 

After several minutes of whining, my whining became a whimper.  And that’s when I heard a Voice.  Not an audible, spoken voice, but I “heard” it speak to me nonetheless.  The Voice asked a question that I will never forget.  A simple question, but one that shook me to the core.

“Steve, is Romans 8:28 still in the Bible?” 

I knew this Voice was speaking not to my ear but to my soul [and had actually been birthed in me through some recent reading I’d done], but I answered out loud anyway.

“Yes Sir, I ‘spose it is.”

By the way, Romans 8:28 says that “in all things God works for the good of those Who love Him, Who have been called according to His purpose.”[1]

“So Steve, you’re saying that verse is still in there?”

“Yeah.” 

“I thought so.  Look, Steve, from time to time, bad things DO happen.  And I know what happened to you still feels really bad.  But you need to train your brain to see what you eyes cannot see and what you cannot even begin to conceive.  You need to re-wire the way you think about losing Cindy.  Cuz Steve, I am still in charge and even this chapter of your life WILL turn out okay.”

“But Lord, how come You didn’t heal her?  I prayed that you would.  And so did loads of other people.  How come you didn’t heal her, God?”

“Don’t you get it?  Healing is never about the person being healed.  Healing is always a function of My glory.”

“Lord, I don’t understand what You’re saying!”

“Steve, every person that has ever been healed…still died!  You understand that?  You can’t name one person— either those who got healed by Jesus or those who got healed later— everybody eventually died. 

Remember Lazarus?  He got raised from the dead…but he still died!  And the blind man?  He could see again, but he died.  There’s not one person still walking around Palestine going, ‘Dude!  I’m 2,073 years old and I just can’t seem to die!’”

“Steve, healing is always about ME…and rarely only about them.  It’s always about bringing ME maximum glory…and never about the healing itself.”

That’s when I remembered another verse that’s also still in the Bible.  It’s a verse I had showed Cindy, but now God was showing it…to me.

We’d just started chemo and Cindy was crying.  And I didn’t have to ask why.  But that is what she was asking:  “Honey, why is this happening to me?”

Wiping away my own tears, I told her about the time Jesus’ men asked the same question.  “Jesus, is this man blind cuz HE sinned or his parents?  Why’s he blind, Jesus?”

Jesus answered, “It’s not that [he] sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”[2]

I said, “Honey, I don’t know why we’ve gotta go through this.  Except these are the lines God wrote for you.  But if you read them humbly and with great trust in His purpose– ‘His works will be displayed in you.’  And there could be no greater use of your life— no matter what the future holds.”

 

And now, I DO know what her future DID hold.  And in my human emotions, it doesn’t seem to have worked out so well. 

 

But I’m learning, cuz Romans 8:28 is still in the Bible, I’m learning that God WILL work all things out in the end.  And so, if it hasn’t worked out very well yet…?  All that means is, it’s not the end yet.

Because God will, His Word promises that He does— work it “all” out…for “good.”

And so…although my heart was still heavy, I decided that I was NOT gonna slide back into that old, dark and foreboding ditch. 

Not this time. 

And I didn’t. 

I trained my brain instead to function to “know” that what happened DID happen so that the “work of God” could be “displayed [in my amazing Cindy’s] life.” 

And mine, too. 


[1] Romans 8:28

[2] John 9:3

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