On our regularly-scheduled Art Night, we had the privilege of hearing Calvary Bible College‘s touring singing group, Evidence. This was a treat on a lot of levels. First, Clara’s good friend, Bekah, sings with the group and it was nice to see her, again. Second, the singing was phenomenal. I mean really, really inspiring. And, third, we got to hear Gracia Burnham speak. Hearing her was such an encouragement to me.
When someone who has experienced what she has experienced stands before me and says that many people also find themselves on paths that they don’t want to be on that are just as real as the jungle path she was forced to tread, it feels like the tough times of the past two-and-a-half years are somehow validated as being the trials they truly were. Sometimes I feel that there are certain trials that are more “honored” than others in Christian communities, more supported, more “real” than other trials. Yes, I was greatly encouraged by Gracia Burnham’s message.
Which brings me to something that I have thought about nearly every day since I read it:
How is this love…is something that i’ve struggled with since ian’s accident. i vividly remember a conversation with steve in the kitchen about my struggle with seeing a brain injury as an act from a loving, sovereign god. when i strip away what has been produced as a result of ian’s accident, be it forms of sanctification, answered prayers, etc., and just look at the bare bones- that my husband has a horrible, life-changing brain injury- it feels nothing like love. ian’s brain injury itself hasn’t brought me comfort, or encouragement or anything else that would typically come with love.
for others out there reading who have experienced significant loss or ongoing disability, hopefully you can affirm, that this seems like it will be a life-long wrestling with what this trial “feels” like. i know in my head the truth of romans 8:28 that all things work together for good. i know that god is sovereign. i know that we are objects of his mercy and love, and not his wrath, because of what christ accomplished on the cross. but trying to get that to my heart when i get home at 4:00 and ian doesn’t remember that i was gone at work all day (which happens on occasion) is an entirely different monster. living with an ongoing disability as significant as ian’s will in turn, i know, produce beautiful fruit and eternal rewards. i know that we most rapidly become like christ when we are tested by fire. it’s just really painful getting there.
“But before I go, I want once more to tell you how good He is, how blessed it is to suffer with Him, how infinitely happy He has made me in the very hottest heat of the furnace. It will strengthen you in your trails to recall this my dying testimony. There is no wilderness so dreary but that His love can illuminate it, no desolation so desolate but that He can sweeten it. I know what I am saying. It is no delusion. I believe that the highest, purest happiness is known only to those who have learned Christ in sickrooms, in poverty, in racking suspense and anxiety, amid hardships, and at the open grave…To learn Christ, this is life!”” elizabeth prentiss
This is from the blog Pray for Ian. Perhaps many of you have read this blog, especially following the video clip that John Piper posted on Desiring God. One thing I appreciate about some bloggers is their ability to be trusting enough of their readers to be transparent and honest. I am not at that point in my blogging, but I hope that some day I can encourage others like Gracia Burnham and Ian and Larissa.