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Tell Me Your Story—Teach Us To Number Our Days

DSC_3703_2Dear Readers,

David and Becky Lynn Black are a couple actively involved in missions in Ethiopia. Their faith is an inspiration as they minister to others. Some months ago, Becky was diagnosed with uterine cancer, but they continued to serve as they were able. Recently, Becky received news that her prognosis is not good. In reading their newsletter, I was so impressed with their godly perspective that I asked for permission to share with you. All of us will one day have to face the “last leg of the journey.” May the Lord bless you with the same hope that shines brightly in these two faithful believers.

Ruth Wood is the columnist for Tell Me Your Story. Do you have a dramatic or unique story that would encourage others in their walk with the Lord? Send an email to Ruth with subject line “query” and include a paragraph summarizing your story to ruthywood@gmail.com.

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By David Alan Black

Alan Richardson, in his brilliant book The Miracle Stories of the Gospels, writes that “the Kingdom of God is an irresistible dunamis silently at work in the world.” This is precisely the point I make in Paul, Apostle of Weakness. In the present age, Jesus’ power is displayed primarily in and through our weaknesses. He works “silently,” as Richardson says. But we need to remember that He does not always work that way. Sometimes the work of God is a noisy affair. “Lazarus, come forth” was shouted, not whispered.

Terminal Illness
This may seem like a trite point, but when you are facing a terminal illness you are eager to be reminded that “power came forth from Him and healed them all” (Luke 6:19). It is entirely false to the theology of the New Testament to reject the possibility of miracles today. The Disciples’ Prayer ends with the words, “For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory.” It is a mistake to put God in a box.

Strength in Weakness
Of course, the Bible also knows the power of weakness. Just ask Joni Eareckson Tada. Which would be the greater miracle — to see her walk again or to see Christ’s peace and joy manifested in the midst of her “handicap”? Paul would answer, “The latter.” In the Pauline sense, human weakness can become the showplace of God’s exceptional power. Thus Paul’s own 3-fold request to be relieved of his “stake in the flesh” led to the realization of God’s sufficiency in the midst of the pain.

Perspective
However puzzling Becky’s illness may seem to me (she had none of the predisposing factors so common with uterine cancer), I have to realize that there is a world of difference between humbly asking God for a miracle and being guilty of presumption. Jesus is not ignorant of Becky’s condition. When He saw the man at the pool of Bethesda He knew immediately that he was a chronic sufferer. Nothing had happened to him for 38 years. Then Jesus intervened for the man — but apparently not for all the other sufferers at the pool. King Jesus is sovereign, and He sovereignly disposes.

So Jesus can be trusted. We can rely on His good judgment when it comes to our health. The only thing we can never justify is disobedience to His commands.

A Way To Pray
So as you pray for Becky do not pray primarily or even exclusively for her cancer to be healed. Pray that we will remain obedient, trusting, and joyful in the valley. Ask God to help us to follow our upside-down Messiah who upset the political status quo so much so that he got the Roman electric chair. Pray that Becky and I would never forget that, in the kingdom of God, down is up and that it is indeed God’s kingdom we are serving, and not our own, until that day when we will stand, side by side, brother and sister, in His presence.

David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com.

Becky Lynn’s Comments

I told Dave, from my human reasoning, it seems that there are three options of what the Lord is doing: 1) He is preparing for a miracle healing, and He is setting the stage so that not even one smidgeon of the glory goes to the medical community, or 2) He has prepared a treatment at MD Anderson in Houston, and He needs me to be off all treatments for several weeks beforehand, or 3) He is beginning the last leg of the Journey. He knows about this turn in the road, and we have no fear or anxiety about it, although there is grieving at the inevitable (?) parting that looks to be coming sooner rather than later.

Trusting God
For myself, God has covered my brain and heart with His peace, even joy, which is anchored in His character. No matter what turns in the road lie ahead, He remains the same wonderful God that He is today. He remains anchored in His love, in His sovereignty, in His faithfulness, in His justice…in everything that is Him. He is the same One who said to Moses, I Am that I Am. Even thousands of years ago in a distance land, He reminded His people that the Foundation of Life is the character of God. And we continue to rest upon that Foundation.

Grief
Of course, there is grieving…and that is okay. To trust His character is not to close ourselves off to pain or grieving. (Trusting God’s character is not some sort of pollyanna, positive thinking, brush-it- under-the-rug coping strategy.) Look at the life of Jesus…how often He cried over separation issues. He grieved over the spiritual separation of Jerusalem as He entered that city just a week before His death. He grieved over the death of Lazarus. And He grieved over His separation from the Father on the Cross…a separation that He gladly took upon Himself because of His love for us.

As human beings, we grieve, but we do not grieve in despair. The Resurrection is coming…and the Rapture might preclude that Resurrection. Even today our Lord might return in the clouds to gather His own to Himself in glory. The end of the story is not about my home going, but about His final restoration to perfect health of all who have lived for Him.

For His Glory
I know that I’ve gotten rather “heavy” in these thoughts…but I want Him to use what He’s brought into our lives…as much as possible. And if our Journey can prompt you to be more anchored in His character, more focused on living for the Kingdom, more ‘sacrificial’ in the temporal things…then one of my goals for this Journey has been accomplished.

Rejoicing in His goodness, and in His mercy (which is new every morning!)

©2010 David and Becky Lynn Black. All rights reserved. Used by permission.