The Art of Worthlessness and the Joy of Hope

I’m totally worthless, and I don’t say that in some sort of low self-esteem, depressed tone. I mean that I am completely devoid of all value. The things I do each day could be done by anyone. I live now to glorify God and not only do I repeatedly fail to do so, it also doesn’t matter to anyone but me that I do. The thing about God is that He doesn’t NEED me to do it (Acts 17:25, “And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else”). He graciously allows me to do it. Each time is a blessing. Because my heart is such that I passionately desire to brag about God and His mightiness. I long to extol the Lord because I have experienced His love and character. I know Him and want others to taste the joy that comes with it. 

I pray for many miracles, and have not seen many lately. I do not pray for them because I’m stuck on some thought that God doesn’t want or allow suffering. I pray for them because I want every person on the earth to experience a supernatural, perfect answer to prayer. We shouldn’t need to experience such miracles because our faith is in what can’t be seen, but the honor of being involved as a recipient of a miracle or to observe the answered prayer is life-changing. Seriously. If you haven’t experienced one, change your life until you do. And by that, I mean literally, get on your knees and pray to the only one who can create the world and everything in it, and seek His face. He will guide you from there. There’s no formula, just an honest desire to find Him and when you do you will be forever changed.

Proverbs 10:28 The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.

I often think back to when my friend Debora was healed last October. It’s really embarrassing, what a hypocrite I was about it, actually. I had prayed (along with many) with utter abandon and brokenness for her to be healed. The stage 4 breast cancer had metastasized to vital organs that didn’t respond well to chemo. She’d been off chemo for awhile and the scans had not shown improvement so we our only hope was back in His mighty hands. For days we waited and waited for her PET scan results and finally, instead of those coming through, I got an email that another friend was in labor with a child. As the hours passed, I lost my faith.  I had a feeling of dread–I was certain that God would not heal Debora and let my friend have a healthy baby on the same day. For the umpteenth time, I just “knew” Him, and “felt” this was so. When I finally heard my friend’s baby was born healthy I broke down. I was happy for her but was certain that this demonstrated that He had made His choice. Clearly, He had chosen my friend and her baby` over Debora. I was so disappointed, completely crushed. And little angry, to be honest.

I kept praying for Debora while the time ticked by, because I had assured Him that I wouldn’t give up, but my faith was shaken. I was like Peter who boldly stepped out of the boat but looked around and started sinking. Like always, I wanted others to pull me up and assure me that God would work, but when they didn’t my faith wasn’t strong enough to keep my head above water (Mth 14:29).

It was after regular business hours that we even got the call, so I had stopped watching the phone. I’m so grateful that it had no signal because it meant Debora had to leave me a voicemail that I can preserve for the long term. The memory of what God did for her is recorded there whenever I check my messages–all the incurable, terminal cancer was gone. Doctors couldn’t do it. Medicine and diet were unable. But God was able. And willing. It’s not about the cancer, it’s about His mercy. He answers prayer. He wants us to see that. To feel it. I embrace just the memory of the feeling that I had that night when I was reminded of His righteousness. Of His goodness. Of His Sovereignty. Yet again, He broke down the walls of the box I continually try to put Him in and allowed me to see even more of Him than I did when He healed me. I didn’t sleep that night. There was so much joy. Inexpressible Joy. It consumed me so much that I couldn’t really function. Words didn’t express it and memories don’t fully preserve it. That joy is merely a fraction of what we will experience in heaven for all eternity, when He restores our bodies and invites us into eternity with Him. I’m sure many of you who prayed for me felt that joy when I was healed as well. I am truly worthless in all I do, but He still looked at me and valued me highly enough to pour out a huge measure of His awesomeness that day.

God doesn’t heal everyone, as we know and many, many, many, many, many people make sure to remind me all the time. But He chooses to heal many. He chooses to answer our prayers and open the window to His goodness for we who don’t deserve it. We, who think we know Him but actually can’t guess His next move. We will never guess who He will choose, so all we can do is follow through with His commands. He says to pray for the sick, so we pray (James 5:13-16). He says to believe He will answer, so we believe (Mark 11:24). He says to worship Him with all our hearts, minds and souls, and so we do (Luke 10:27). It’s hard and scary but the rewards are beyond all measure.

And, incidentally, if you don’t have any of “your own” sick people to pray for, please pray for some on my list! The three miracles we are begging for right now all have late stages of terminal cancer. Karen, Barbara, and Gulan have faith and desire to be healed, so please lift them up and beg Him to bolster their faith and relieve their physical and mental pain!

Hebrews 10:23-2 

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.