The constant theme all winter as we’ve talked about the storms of life is that they become an integral part of our story. We can’t see the reason why these things happen in the middle of the storms but later, after time passes, we can see how God was moving and what He has done with these storms to 1) shape us and 2) reach others for Him through them.
Yes, God will use your storm to reach others. I’ll get to that at the end.
First, Erwin McManus said three things in the story of his prostate cancer …
If you’re not honest with yourself, you cannot be honest with anyone else. When we close ourselves off from our inner pain and struggles, we inevitably close ourselves off to everyone in our lives as well.
I’m convinced that many people have lost their faith in God because they have confused source with process. Yes, God is the source of all peace, and that source is available to all of us freely. The process, though, requires struggle and resilience and does not come without a cost.
I stepped into my pain. I walked through my pain. You see, one thing I was certain of was that on the other side of my pain, there awaited my freedom. So many of us experience pain as the boundary of our limitations. When we experience pain, that’s when we choose to stop. The way of peace is not without pain. The way of peace comes only by walking through the pain.
We started this season off with the story of Katherine Wolf – the young mom who had a massive brain stem stroke six months after the birth of her first child.
She said – “I kept wondering if God had made a mistake. Should I have died? God clearly said to me more than once, Katherine, you are not a mistake. I DON’T MAKE MISTAKES. I know better than you. I’m God, you’re not. Remember that you were fearfully and wonderfully made in your mother’s womb, and that is when the AVM formed in your brain. There is a purpose in all of this. Just wait. You’ll see. There is no replacing you! James could never have a Mom like you. Think about what this will mean for his life. Mommy’s stroke will always be a part of his story. That is a gift to him. It will inform his life. Trust me. I am working EVERYTHING out for your good.
Don’t doubt the truth just because you’re in the darkness now. What’s true in the light is true in the dark. I know you can’t fight this. That doesn’t matter. All you must do is be still and let Me fight for you. I will complete the good work I began when I gave you new life.
My nature is to redeem and restore and strengthen. This terrible season will come to an end. You will suffer for a little while and then I will carry you out of this. You will see my goodness in the land of the living. Lean into this hope. Most people will never go through this kind of hell on earth. I have chosen you. Live a life worthy of this special calling you have received.”
Think about that – little James’ Mom’s brain stem stroke will be an integral part of his life story. Imagine how that little boy will be shaped by this. Imagine what he can do with this story to reach others with the Gospel. And remember this last word God gave her, “you will suffer for a little while” …
These light momentary afflictions are producing for you an eternal weight of glory
Remember – there is a purpose in everything we go through. There is outcome on the other side. We all have a role to play. Life is not fair. Some of us are born with gifts others don’t possess. Some of us are born with disabilities that others will never have. Life will take its turns against me in ways that you may never have to endure.
It is not for me to question “Why?”. It is for me to ask, “What now LORD?” Not why but what.
And then there is the song, “I Raise a Hallelujah”. It’s become the anthem, the battle cry of Manschool this winter/spring. It’s our song. It so fits exactly with everything we’ve been working through. Here is the back story to that song …
At the end of this video, Jaxon’ mom said, “This is part of our story now. It’s part of Jaxon’s story – that the world will know that miracles happen.”
McManus, Katherine Wolf, Jaxon … the storm is now a part of my story.
The Pastor at Bethel said this, “This Gospel is not haphazard. It’s not a guessing game. It’s the absolute nature of God revealed in His goodness and kindness. What is necessary is that His people rise to the occasion to face the impossibilities of life with the confidence of God’s character, His nature and His power. There is no other option. We are called to this. It is our responsibility. It is our privilege.”
The Pastor said this so very well — “it is necessary that His people rise to the occasion to face the impossibilities of life”. Read that = we have a choice to make. Will I shrink back into defeat or will I choose to step UP into the battle? And then, “with the confidence of God’s character, His nature and His power”. The storms will come. We must first decide how or if we’ll even fight and second, we will choose not to blame God or think He has abandoned us rather, we will shift the narrative into believing Who He says He is!
Last point … this story of Jaxon is a miracle. They don’t all turn out that way. Whether Jaxon made it or not, a song was born out of this horrific storm. A song that is being sung all over the world today. A song that has had millions of downloads. A song that has become the battle cry for so many. A song that has come at just the right moment for so many – right before the marriage ended, right before she walked out, right before a life was taken, right before a decision was reached to give up. People have heard this song and done an about face and said, “No, I will fight. I will praise YOU in the middle of this storm” and the enemy has fled.
all from the suffering of an innocent child. PRAISE GOD.