The Risk of Faith vs. Relationship

faith-vs-relationshipWe were Missouri residents now.  Autumn splashed across the countryside, and we were transfixed.  Rolling hills of green trees transformed into a colorful quilt of oranges, yellows, and fiery reds.  We’d never seen such beauty.  I found myself pulling to the side of the road and parking just to gaze in awe at a tree ablaze in brilliant color.

But, the best site of all were Midwest thunderstorms. We would gather the kids and sit by the front window or sliding patio door. We watched lightning split the sky.  We marveled at the booming ear shattering thunder as it tumbled through the heavens followed by a deluge of rain.  Our street turned into a stream.  We loved every minute. It was the best fireworks display we’d ever seen.

Mike started work at the Sheriff’s department on September 15th. The boys enrolled in school.  We unloaded a few boxes and set up our temporary household.  The search for a permanent home continued.

At the end of September, my dad fell from a ladder.  The doctors insisted he stay in the hospital.  My parents lived in Santa Barbara, California.  The diagnosis was a mild concussion at first, and the doctors thought Daddy would recover after a day or two in the hospital. But, dizziness and nausea continued. Mom and I called back and forth through the week.

On October 2nd, I got a call from my mom.  “Mary Ellen, your dad’s had a cerebral hemorrhage.  He’s gone into a coma, and the doctors aren’t expecting him to live through the night.  Can you come?”  Her voice wavered to a whisper.  “Please come.”

“Oh, Mom,” I said, wiping away tears with my free hand. I didn’t want to ask any more questions.  I didn’t think I could take in any more details.  “I will talk to Mike, and I will call you back.  Is anyone else there with you?” I asked, hoping my brother or sisters were there.

“Ginny and Johnny are on their way,” she said.

When I got off of the phone, I fell into Mike’s arms and sobbed.  “Daddy is in critical condition.  He’s not expected to live, and Mom wants me to come.”  My body trembled as I tried to calm down.  I needed to think.

“What are you going to do?” he asked handing me his handkerchief.

“I don’t know. I am going to pray.  Keep an eye on Sarah.  I need to talk to God about this.”

I turned, grabbed my Bible, and walked down the hall to our bedroom.

Once I shut the door, I threw myself on the bed and cried into my pillow. My Bible lay open beside me.

“God, I don’t know what to do.  Mike just started his new job.  He can’t go with me, and he can’t stay home with the kids.” I rolled up on my side and blew my nose again. “Mom wants me to come, but I don’t know how to make that happen.  What is Your will?  I need to know whether to go or stay.  Help.”

I looked around  and found my Bible.  It lay open at the end of the bed.  When I looked down, right at the top of the page was the heading, ‘Jesus Heals a Centurion’s Servant.’

Matthew 8:5-10, 13

5 Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, 6 saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.”

7 And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”

8 The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

10 When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!…

13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour.

“God, is this the story You want me to see?”

He didn’t speak, but peace flooded my soul.  I knew God was telling me I didn’t need to go.  I knew He was taking care of Daddy.

I called Mom back.  “Mom, I am not coming.  I talked to God and Mike about it, and I believe Daddy is going to be okay.” There was silence at her end of the phone.

“I hope he will be,” she said stifling sobs.

“Keep me posted.” I said.   “Have Ginny call me when she gets there. We will be praying for you and Daddy.  Give him our love.”

Both my sister and brother arrived later that day to be with Mom.

Several days passed.  Dad got restless and started responding to voices.  They’d ask him questions, and he squeezed their hands.  Hope was restored.

The doctors decided to do surgery.  They inserted two tubes in his head to drain some of the fluids and reduce the pressure on his brain. By Saturday he started coming out of the coma and was able to talk a little.

At the same time, however, his breathing got erratic, and they wanted to put him on a respirator, but he refused.  He and Mom decided to leave his recovery in God’s hands.

Again, Mom called.  I still felt peace about not going and faith for his healing.

“God, do whatever will bring You the most glory.” I prayed. “He is in Your hands, and I trust You.”

To the amazement of the doctors, Daddy improved.

On November 19th I sent out my monthly letter to friends.  I was trying to keep them updated on our move.

“Dad’s out of intensive care as of last Tuesday,” I wrote.  “He is growing stronger each day.  He is walking with a walker, feeding himself, shaving and doing many other things the doctors felt he’d never do again.  We are all so grateful. Thank you for your prayers.”

Later Daddy moved to a rehab center and returned home after Christmas.

dad4-001

This is Daddy after the hospital stay.

God carried us through another test of faith.  We grew closer to Him, to each other, and our trust in His faithfulness increased.

 

~~ How About You? ~~

What do you do when you face crisis decisions?  Do you run to God in prayer or do you call friends or put out an S.O.S. on Facebook, etc.? What do you do when someone significant to you asks you to do one thing, but God indicates your need to do another?

I’ve found that God is the only One who brings the answers I need. While God can and does speak to us sometimes, there are other times that He chooses to envelop us in His presence.  At those times it is the peace of His presence that answers our questions.

Paul writes in Philippians 4:6-7,

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

And in Colossians 3:15 in the Amplified says,

“And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body.”

God once told me, “I am able to do far beyond all that you ask or imagine.  Come to Me with positive expectations, knowing that there is no limit to what I can accomplish.  Ask My Spirit to control your mind, so that you can think great thoughts of Me.    The more extreme your circumstances, the more likely you are to see My Power and Glory at work.  Instead of letting difficulties draw you into worry, try to view them as setting the scene for My glorious intervention.”

Have you experienced His peace in times of crisis?  Has He given you the direction that proved to be true?  I’d love to hear your story.  Please leave a comment.

Thanks.

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5 thoughts on “The Risk of Faith vs. Relationship

  1. Hi Mary Ellen!

    Beautiful indeed! I’ve always loved this passage…. “But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.”

    Our faithful Lord and Savior never fails us! I like how you chose to trust the Lord, I know the final decision not to go (as this was your father) was not easy, but seeking God above all else is the best way always! And being able to rest in His decision, in His Word, takes faith and trust that He is handling things. And also, being able to discern what He is saying.

    This was a perfect example of speaking a word, standing on faith, risking making others upset or hurt with your choice, and seeing God’s faithfulness , all at a distance and seeing God’s Word (your prayers) that was sent, at work bringing about healing. Hallelujah! To God be the Glory!!

  2. Amen Elisha. It wasn’t easy, but I believed God had spoken and I trusted Him. This testimony has blessed me through the years and given me strength to stand at other times as well.

    We are to love others and honor them, but ultimately God is the voice we are to hear and follow.

    God bless you Elisha as you continue to walk out your own testimonies of His faithfulness. ♥

  3. TY, Mry Ellen, for bringing up this important and difficult challenge, It is so important to be reminded of our kingdom priorities when everything in the natural is screaming for our attention–Jesus understood it and appreciate your addressing it. This message is so timely in my life.

  4. You are welcome Sandy. I agree with you. It seems we need hear God and honor what we believe we heard more now than ever before. I wish I could say I learned the lesson 100%, but I can’t . Every circumstance is a new challenge of faith and risk. Still, having walked through this incident and seeing God’s faithfulness, has helped me along the way. May we all grow in our faith to respond to His direction for our sake and for our world. ♥

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