When situations, relationships, and circumstances get really hard, how many times have you asked God why? Really? What is your response when things get really tangled and your are sick to your stomach?
My first response is always the human nature of Elizabeth to shrink back and hide and then hope for the best.
When I had a brain tumor I wanted to hide. I wanted to be alone at the Dr. appointments. (Graciously and insisting my husband was at each one, I could not get out of that lonely shrinking back and hiding.) I did share with my pastor's wife and politely asked her to, "keep it private". This is how Elizabeth wanted to play this out.
One day I was having a quiet time. Accepting that my life and all the wrong turns I had taken, deserved this and that there was no healing in my life,so why even pray for that. God had a different plan, and pressed into my heart to go public with this diagnosis. I cringed. Like on the floor crying and telling God that I did not want any kind of attention around being sick. And then these words came into my heart, "Go public Elizabeth, write about your struggles and your pain. Share what I am doing in your life." I wanted to run and hide. God was pressing on me to do something different. Obedience can be very humbling.
And then there is Daniel, a lion's den, really God? What is Daniel's response to his circumstance...
...."and he continued kneeling on his knees, three times a day. Praying and giving thanks before his God as he had been doing previously." Daniel 6:10
Boldly, beyond his own control, Daniel stepped into it. He did what he knew best, surrendered to God in prayer, on his knees in thanksgiving to God. Our surrender, like my lack of, can often be tied to our human thought on favor. "Elizabeth your life resume SUCKS!!!!-->Human Thought<--God can not have favor for you. Really? I think if I were thrown in the lion's den I would have been gobbled up, because I thought it was what I would deserve.
HUMILITY +OBEDIENCE=GOD'S FAVOR
"You who have shown me many troubles and distresses will revive me again, And will bring me up again from the depths of the earth. May You increase my greatness and turn to comfort me."
"As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God?
Daniel, in the face of struggle and circumstances beyond his control, kneels before God. Not once, but through out the day. Do we bow low and thirst for the Living God in our struggle?
My surrender, crying my eyes out knowing what God was asking me to do. My NO-NO-NO was turned into an obedient YES-YES-YES. It was not an easy yes, but I had to surrender what God was asking me to do. Did I stepped into God's favor by surrendering. With humility and obedience that journey of pain began. I began to write, to blog, and to openly share with who ever would listen that I was walking around with an unusual growth in my head.God, and only God gave me so much peace, joy and even a sense of humor. As I started to openly share of this tumor, God showed up in only ways I could understand. You can read more here: http://elizabethonthego.blogspot.com/2008/11/blessed-be-name-of-lord.html
Surrounded by family, church family and that precious pastor's wife holding my hand. That Sunday afternoon in November of 2008, now over three years ago, in the pastor's office we prayed. Prayed for healing. Elliot leading worship, one of my favorites, "Blessed Be The Name". That next week, the Dr.'s are baffled and my brain scan is clear. No shunt to go into my head and down my spine, no medications, no surgeries. My resume, my shortcomings, the sins from my past did not void me of that days healing, that days favor, that days blessings. Here are more details of God's favor in my life: http://elizabethonthego.blogspot.com/2008/11/it-was-touch-of-masters-hand.html
This is just one example, of the many times God has granted my life favor. It's been painful at times, the journey longer than I want it to be, but deeply and passionately knowing that God is taking me through something and my obedience will be favored. It's not a one shot deal. If you read over this blog, I write about how God shows up in the everyday stuff of my life.
What great moments have you had with God? What honor and glory are you giving him today for the favor in your life? What great moments are ahead?
God wants to be in every part of our struggle, every part of our joy, favor and blessings. So how do we cultivate favor? Showing up in the struggle and relying completely on God. Surrendering that struggle, it's process, it's outcome. God wants you and me to keep Him the focus in and through it all.
Proverbs 3: 2-7For length of days and years of life And peace they will add to you. Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute In the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.
God has truly added length of days to my life through healing. Three years later my head is still a clean bill of health. Daniel walked out of that Lion's den unscathed. I have a boy who is deaf and hears. A daughter who's pregnancy I was told to terminate as all her organs were growing outside of her body. That precious girl walks in this world today, a husband who has met Jesus through salvation, a stay home mom status-->the desire of my heart and God's provisions, struggles in this life, which are overcome at the feet of Jesus. Yes, even today the struggles I face, with humility, unfair situations, spoken words against me, conditions of my heart to be handed over in surrender and this I know. God is faithful
"Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;"
1 Corinthians 1:9
God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
It's not easy, it can be painful, but that beautiful surrendering, that clear direction of obedience and God shows up. It's no longer embarrassing, still very humbling, but it's to God I give the glory, honor and praise.
How has God shown you favor? Start making a list now and then bow low in thanksgiving. And by Jove start telling people what God is doing in your life. Teach others what it means to walk in a quiet surrender of your thought into God's thought.
Love and Blessings, Elizabeth