All this week I’ve been pondering something that my heart aches about for myself and others. I’ll try to tell you how this pondering started.
There is a young lady who is very prevalent on Facebook and Twitter. I don’t think she will mind me speaking of her because her life is an open book and a testimony of what the Lord has done in her life. In the recent past she went through a third brain surgery and there was a prayer chain the size of the Pacific Ocean on her behalf for a successful surgery and no more seizures for this young mother in her early 30’s. Well, she came through with what looked like flying colors and even to this day she has not had a seizure but her body began to somewhat rebel and no one could figure out what was wrong. She could not see nor walk. We all began to pray strongly again for her and watched our dear friend begin to wither like a beautiful flower that has not been watered. We could see the agony on her face as she gave her video testimonies to those praying for her. I guess what hurt me the most was how she was agonizing with her level of faith and her anger that she was once again having to face another setback in her health. As my heart was anguishing with hers I thought of how my faith has somewhat feigned over these last few years also due to disability from spinal arthritis and how I was also angry that I no longer seemed to have the strength to run for the Lord so to speak. Then this young lady said something that just hit me like a hammer on the head. She said she had epilepsy almost since birth and she knew how to handle it but this was something she had never had to face before and because she did not know what it was and how to deal with it and what it might do she basically could not see why God was allowing it. What kept coming back to me though was the phrase, “I’ve never been here before.” I’ve never dealt with the chronic pain of spinal arthritis before and the fact that I still have pain “after” surgery is a little irritating to be truthful. But this is not an expose’ to my trials. What it is about is one of those ah-ha moments. We can tell ourselves that our faith is very strong but we don’t know really until we are faced with these trials because “we’ve never been there before”. The beautiful young lady I’ve been speaking of has since gotten a diagnosis and now knows what she is facing and the Lord will use her with this as he has with her epilepsy and He was actually using her the whole time she was in distress and I praise God for that.
Remember when Peter told Jesus this in Luke 22:33: “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you.” (NLT)
Peter thought he could do anything for Jesus but what? He “had never been there before”. We know that Jesus told Peter in verse 34: “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” Peter could not believe it because he “had never been there before” and when he did get there he was basically just trying to stay alive in my opinion but every time he denied Him he must have ached so inside. What I have been reminded of these last several weeks is that Jesus knows how we will react to life situations–it is no surprise to Him but it is to us because we love Him so much and as His disciples we want to be strong and walk in faith no matter what even if “we’ve never been there before” but because we are still in the flesh we will have pain and He told us we would. Jesus restored Peter and He will restore us and our faith and bring us through that “place we’ve never been before”‘ and just perhaps the next time we get to a “place we’ve never been before” we will be all the stronger because of where we’ve been. Peter was.