Wrapping my mind around the past 2 1/2 months is a difficult thing to do. The depths of pain and intercession, which had before been untapped have become springs of maturity and understanding for me. On January 11th, my friend Joanne fell from her treadmill due to a massive stroke–her description of the event reminds me of fire and ice, but I will leave it for her to tell someday. I sank into a desperate place of prayer.
Without thought, I began to act, to pray, to be bold and to hold fast to some rope that seemed to be attached to God in a way I had yet to experience. I felt distinctly that I was a player in a battle, a battle that I will never comprehend this side of Heaven. I battled in prayer day and night–petitioning God for the life of my friend. Deep down, I knew my place…to pray and to tell. I did both.
A deep sleeper, I was awakened through the watches of the night for weeks on end. I woke and prayed–tarried in prayer until released. It was as if I was connected to a place of action being carried out on Joanne’s behalf. The exhaustion I felt is nothing–nothing–compared to Joanne’s close family and friends. I knew that I was at the bottom of the symbolic mountain, praying, as they battled at the precipice. I also knew that my connecting point at the base of that mountain was to tell others within my sphere the story and to rally them in prayer for Joanne–and ultimately, I believe prayer for themselves. That is not to say there were not others at the base of the mountain with me. Oh, God set up connecting points with others, too. He has the best system!
Two and a half months later and with much of the story in-between left unspoken, I sit today with pen and journal in hand to let this portion of the story be told for this time. It is the right time. There is much of the battle for Joanne’s fullness of life still to be fought and forged. I ask you to pray for her and her family. Pray that she will take back every inch of ground she lost–to regain everything. Pray also for her family and friends, who daily minister to her and urge her on. Finally, pray for her story to be a tidal wave around the globe. Many, maybe including you, need to know that God is at work on behalf of all people, that He hears us, that He answers and that He invites our participation in the unfolding story all around us.
We can choose to believe Him on the darkest of days. We can trust that He can hold our weighty worries. We can embrace Him, knowing that He is for us and loves us unconditionally. We can relate with Him, for He knows how to speak our language. And if we get really still and listen, we can hear His voice speaking love and truth over our day-in, day-out lives. He speaks over us saying, “You matter. You are significant.” Whether at the top of the mountain, the base or somewhere in the desert perimeter, we have a place of great significance in the story God is writing–planned before the foundation of time. We have a part to play and a choice to carry it out or not.
Joanne and I have shared many texts over the past weeks (so much so that I had to increase my plan! And that with JOY!!!). In every one I receive from her, I thank God for her ability to remember, to relate, to connect and to feel. She is dreaming wide awake! Now she is even dreaming in her sleep, which is a miracle. Most of all, Joanne is humble, a fighter, discerning, poetic, fun and able to do everything that is placed before her. She is able to do, because she holds tightly to the Hand of her God. She said herself in one of the texts, “When I am afraid, I will trust in Jesus.” And later, “On the way in a couple of hours, anxious, scared, but choosing to trust Jesus, who loves me.” Oh indeed He does, dear Joanne!
Friend? He loves you, too. He is worthy of your trust. Just today, I read this from Streams in the Desert by Mrs. C.E. Cowman, “Jesus Christ is no security against storms, but He is perfect security in storms. He has never promised you an easy passage, only a safe landing.”