Tuesday, December 15, 2015


“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (Isaiah 26:3, NLT).

She is a close personal friend. A new diagnosis of cancer had changed her life. I was not her doctor, but she used me to help interpret her cancer management.
She is a woman of great faith in the Lord, dedicated to His will for her life, confident that He will place purpose in her pain and glorify His name through her new struggle. She voices this faith and voices her love for God to all of her providers with great courage and confidence. And yet, there are times in her days where the struggle is too much to bear alone. At these times, I hear her voice of faith through tears of anxiety and discouragement.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in prison leading to his execution, wrote of the vacillations of in his spirit with this excerpt from one of his poems:
Who am I?
They often tell me I stepped from my cell’s confinement calmly, cheerfully, firmly, like a Squire from his country-house.
Who am I?
They often tell me I used to speak to my warders freely and friendly and clearly, as though it were mine to command….
Am I then really all that which other men tell of?
Or am I only what I myself know of myself?
Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage, struggling for breath, as though hands were compressing my throat…faint, and ready to say farewell to it all?
Who am I?
This or the other?
Am I one person to-day and to-morrow another?
Am I both at once? ….
Who am I?
They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, Thou knowest, 0 God, I am Thine!

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison

Sometimes we as Christians imagine that enough faith will carry us through suffering without suffering. We are sometimes surprised when our faith does not always provide peace within the storm. But we must deal with life as it is. Jesus was indeed able to sleep through the storm but He also sweated drops of blood in Gethsemane.
The truth is, most of us move through our personal sufferings vacillating between high moments of faith and deep moments of discouragement. This is the truth of life, even for Christians. An endocrinologist friend of mine once put it this way, “When Jesus said, ‘In this world you will have tribulation,’ He expected us to tribulate.”
Isaiah promises peace when our thoughts are fixed on God, but our fixation as humans is fickle. Thank God that the strength of His arms is not dependent on the consistency of our focus.
          I steadier step when I recall
          That, if I slip, Thou dost not fall.

                    Arthur Hugh Clough
Dear God,
Thank you for your faithfulness within my vacillations of faith.

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