Another Kind of Miracle

In my previous post, I shared how I have experienced a better miracle than physical healing. It seemed to encourage those of you who have prayed me through the ups and downs of my struggle over the past couple of years, but I began to feel concerned for those just tuning in. I can see how someone new to my blog may be left with questions, confusion, or discouragement due to thoughts not quite complete. I can't have that.

God forbid I preach a false gospel or make the sufferer's road more treacherous than it already is. I do not want to perpetuate hurtful falsehoods spoken by well-meaning non-sufferers, and I do not want to add new doubts you have not previously considered. Please allow me to clarify my thinking.

First, your suffering is not necessarily a direct consequence of some moral failure.

I become very impatient when people suggest all suffering comes from lack of faith or a particular sin or whatever. Such statements are neither true nor helpful. While it's true some suffering is the consequence of sin, our suffering is never in proportion to our sin.

The best of us may suffer much.
The worst of us may suffer little.
And none of us suffer as we deserve.

The God of the Bible is not a tit-for-tat God. No. He's a God who, through infinite condescension, entered into our suffering and brokenness, and carried it all to the cross. Where it stayed.

Neither is God naive. He knows we are spiritual whores who run after other lovers time and again, yet He says, "I have seen [her] ways, and will heal [her]" (Isaiah 57:18).

Through His pain and suffering, we are healed (Isaiah 53:5). For those who receive Him, there is no debt left to be paid. God is satisfied (Isaiah 53:11).

Your suffering is not the price for your sin. You could never pay it anyway. God requires nothing from the guilty sinner when "Jesus" is the plea of her heart.

The cross was enough.
I will say it again: The cross was enough.

If suffering isn't cosmic payback, what is it?

Most suffering is an opportunity to walk in His steps (1 Peter 2:21), an invitation into the "high and holy place" where God dwells (Isaiah 57:15), and the thing which entitles us to all Christ will inherit--"if indeed we suffer with Him" (Romans 8:17).

Thus, suffering is a gift.

If your suffering is hard, if it doesn't feel like a gift, if it is breaking your heart, you are not "less than" spiritually.

The sufferer's road to joy is long, hard, and fraught with bumps, stumbles, and pits of self-pity, and don't let anyone tell you differently.

When a sufferer pastes on a smile and tells you they are fine, their words are lies and make-up covering an ugly truth: they are still trying to save themselves. 

They are trying desperately to stay strong because denial is easier than facing the darkness and walking through it. This is a great sadness because the darkness isn't such a terrible place. Not really.

"Who walks in darkness and has no light?
Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely upon his God.
Look, all you who kindle a fire,
who encircle yourselves with sparks:
Walk in the light of your fire and in the sparks you have kindled--
This you shall have from My hand:
you shall lie down in torment."
-Isaiah 50:10-11

The night of suffering reveals the truth of our spiritual poverty. It serves to show us there is no way to save ourselves. Not even with our little religious fires like Bible study, prayer, church going, and service. We can't strong arm God into rewarding our feeble attempts at morality.

The fires we build to keep ourselves warm are only tiny sparks in the cold, dark world of suffering, and they lead us to torment, which is just another way of saying "a place without God."


There are no steps A, B, and C to joy.  

Those who claim otherwise are selling something--probably a book based on a false gospel that will make them rich and leave you bankrupt. 

There is nothing you can do for yourself other than seek the face of God. No one ever obtained real joy by seeking joy. The only way to obtain joy is through seeking God. Bible study and prayer are essential, but don't confuse holy pursuits with tasks on a checklist.

Just go on--give into it. Give into your need. Rely upon your God. He came "to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace" (Luke 1:79).

Take His hand, and walk the way of the cross. It will beat you bloody, but it leads Home. 

Honesty is key.


If you read my posts from the last couple of years, they are full of lament. I did not win my fight for joy overnight.

It has taken more than two years of carrying my pain to the feet of Jesus over and over and over again. Two years of prayer, weeping, and waiting and things getting much, much worse before they got better. Two years of trustful determination to experience the sweet promises of God.

As in the parable of the widow and judge, I "pray[ed] and did not lose heart" (Luke 18:1). I kept asking for joy--a promise, a command of the Bible--until He gave it.

Believe those promises, Sister. God is faithful and able to fulfill them.
Ask for them, Brother. They were written for you. 

James tells us to "count it all joy when [we] fall into various trials" (James 1:2). We are to "rejoice always....and in everything give thanks" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). 

These are commands. Commands we cannot obey on our own. Like faith, joy is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8), a gift He delights to give. Ask for it.

Ask, and be prepared to wait. But don't be afraid to wait. "For they shall not be ashamed who wait for Me" (Isaiah 49:23).

 --Mike Pilavachi

Remember: "He who promised is faithful" (Hebrews 10:23), and His faithfulness is not contingent upon our own: "If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself" (2 Timothy 2:13).


In the waiting, God works another kind of miracle.

This other kind of miracle is meek in appearance but holds a quiet power. It's a miracle that can only be measured over time--


Growth in faith. Growth in trust. Growth in grace. Growth in valor.

It's in the valley of the shadow of death we learn to conquer our fear, not on the mountain top.
It's in the pit we learn to reach for the only Hand strong enough to pull us out. 
It's in the ocean of grief we learn who commands the tempest without and within, who keeps our souls from drowning.
It's in the dead of night we hear our Savior's song.
It's in the wilderness we taste the sweetness of manna.
It's in the fire we find we are more than the sum of our successes, failures, lesser loves, and short-sighted dreams, all which burn away like dross.

It's at the gates of hell we learn God really is with us wherever we go.

Out of the whirlwind, He speaks (Job 38-41).
Unkindly, He kindly shows us God (Piper, "Job"). 
And when we see Him, all we can do is cry, "Woe is me! I am unclean!," and repent in dust and ashes.

So, if you are suffering and wondering what is wrong with you that you are empty and wounded and just not strong enough to smile--hold on, dear one.

Hold on. 

Hold onto Jesus.
Ask for joy.
Feast upon His promises.
Wait for His timing.
Believe in His infinite goodness, wisdom, and power.
Rest in His sovereignty.

Don't give up.

Thank Him for everything, even your pain. Not because pain is good, but because He is good, and He is allowing this pain for good and glory your brain is too weak and fractured to comprehend. 

There is purpose in it all. Some He may let you see, some you will never know this side of eternity. 

Seek Him. Trust Him.

One day, in the midst of your pain, there it will be--joy!