There is much more to be experienced in the life of faith than any of us are prepared to expose ourselves to. But, as we know with grief, life exposes us to some things beyond our capacity to bear.
It was not losing Nathanael that revealed to me what I'm about to share, but losing him reinforced this holy principle that is forever set apart from those who have never suffered. I learned this principle I'm going to share through the grief of having earlier had God say 'No!' to my prayers for healing – for my first marriage.
When God also said 'No!' to healing Nathanael as he grew up in my wife's womb toward that fateful day he was stillborn, we were granted entry into the deaf secret faith life that is available only for those who prayers are not answered. It is sacred territory.
Yes, you read that right. In not answering our prayers for healing and comfort to be given to us the way we wanted it,
God gave us a comfort and a healing that blew apart our wonderful notions of healing and comfort.
God blew those wonderful notions away so we could enter something eternally deeper.
God is taking us deeper into the journey of life by the circumstances of our testing. This is not about God ordaining pain for us, for that would be a wretched theology, but it is about God ordaining a purpose for the experience we can find can no escape from. Jesus is redeeming it. Some things can not come without suffering. True compassion, for one instance, for compassion, in the etymology of the word, emanates from pain. Compassion is costly. It must be paid for. And yet it's those who have never suffered deeply who can not believe this. It's something Jesus must show us as we enter the furnace of grief with Him.
We never enter that cauldron of pain willingly, yet as we step each step through sheer dependence on Him, because we're so weak, Jesus is there. There we experience a healing that is so meaningful it transforms us in the very compassion of Jesus. We meet it and it becomes us. And that compassion sanctifies us. Compassion literally becomes us.
If we have a Savior who suffered, and Jesus did not just suffer at the cross, we can only really know Him through suffering. Sorry, but this is true. And you know it if you read this through the lens of your experience that broke you.
As the cross broke Jesus, our crosses must break us.
In our case, God can not remake what is still intact.
Central to the understanding of what I'm sharing is a principle outlined in Psalm 84, verse 6. As we enter the valley of our desolation and weeding – where day upon day, over the months, we travail – and this is not easy to write! – we must realize that God's Presence is never closer. He is there with us, within the torment. We call out to Him and as our anguish floors us, Jesus is there. He shows us that He identifies with the brutality of our agony. And He gives us something our hearts have looked all our lives for; a spring of life wells up from within …
Have you ever thought of this? In having our prayers answered 'Yes!' for healing, we can miss what deer faith God has for us, or we do not receive it; we're not granted access to the most glorious prize. Yet, it is enough to be saved from grief. Any of us would take that gift, and so we should.
Miracles of growth are possible when we stare deeply into God in grief. In the very fact that our prayers have not been answered the way we would have hoped, there, in that, is a series of miracles nestled. Because God bought us here for a reason. To reveal to us what we otherwise could or would not see.
The deer secret that God wishes to share with us is also a defect secret that will exponentially expand our mind and heart for Him. The more we trust Jesus, the more He will take us into this secret of our knowledge of who He is. This deeper secret can not come without much anguish.
Do you realize that prayer that God answers with a 'No' is the very material of a fathoms deeper miracle that God wants us to experience – if we will go there with Him.
He reveals in this that we really do not know what we want. Jesus knows what we need, and we need to trust Him.
Let us return in finishing to the place we started.
There is much more to be experienced in the life of faith than any of us are prepared to experience. We're blissfully unaware of the common life experiences that we go decades without experiencing; grief for one.
For the place of grief, the Lord has situated a compensation that is its own gift.