It was a rough weekend. I found it necessary to dismiss one young lady who secreted beer into the house, drank it and got caught. That, in my experience, has been a very rare occurrence. She had been doing so well, but she let her anger get the best of her. Rather than dealing with it healthily, she reverted to her usual way of dealing with her emotions…..stuff and drown them. Another one was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with yet another serious physical condition that will now require all the creativity we can muster to address with the limited medical resources available to us.
The realization of how broken these women are at times causes me to question why I do this. At 61, with Bill retired, there are so many other things I could be doing with my life. At times I am exasperated with them, the many appointments that are necessary, and their distractions from the schedule that we try to pursue. It challenges me so much at times that I am tempted to simply quit.
But God reminds me that I do not do it for them, but for him. In 1997 I prayerfully asked him what he wanted me to do in terms of ministry to women….write, speak, teach? His word to me was simple and clear: “Do what I give you to do each day. I will bring them to you.”
Through the years he has……sometimes the most horrific cases of abuse, neglect, brokenness, and rebellion have landed on the doorstep of the ministry where I simply try to do what lies at hand….as missionary Elizabeth Elliott always said, “Do the next right thing.” It has required me to learn a lot along the way and rely on God daily.
Recently we have seen a rash of medical conditions that are themselves challenges that strain my capability to address….spiritually, medically, financially…..in every way. How am I to encourage and nurture women with such serious issues? We speak healing power over souls and minds to break the bonds of addiction….but satan is attacking these women through their bodies in ways that are beyond my skill set to address. We have been challenged to find medical care to address their diagnoses and treatment. In some cases, the medical needs have superseded the rehabilitation needs for the time being.
Bill asked me yesterday when I related the latest physical problem that had been diagnosed. ” Is this program and that home cursed?”, he asked. Of course not, I told him. But this morning I asked myself almost the same question….Is satan attacking me and this program to thwart or stop altogether what we are doing in the name of Christ? Is that why nearly every one that we have brought in is such a challenge lately, and not in the typical ways, but in ways that I have never seen before. Our effectiveness in terms of spiritual and emotional healing has been exceptional, and now we are seeing medical conditions that are so out of the ordinary, to see them all clustered in such a small group at such a high percentage defies the statistical odds of such concentration of serious medical conditions within a random group. Maybe it’s not random at all. I have long believed and stated publicly that there are no coincidences for one who knows herself to be a daughter of the Great High King. Her life is in his hands and all that occurs within it. Perhaps God is doing exactly what he said he would do…..he is bringing them to me. They, more than even others with addictive problems, need the healing power of his ministry through our program…….to gain the strength of will to withstand the assault on their bodies, to gain the wisdom to transcend the physical weaknesses of their bodies and rely on Christ’s power to carry them through each day.
Each of these ladies already had these conditions when they came to us. The medical conditions with which they and we have been confronted were simply unrevealed and undiagnosed, not yet manifested in their bodies. But in each case, it has become clear it has been at work for a while. Thankfully, God has brought them to us where much healing has already occurred prior to or alongside their medical diagnoses. They have had time to learn how to care for themselves, accept their medical diagnoses, and learn to lean on Christ for comfort, strength, and further healing.
Why should I be surprised? The healing ministry of the church does not mean people won’t get sick. It doesn’t even mean that every sickness will be miraculously healed. But it does mean that we will find the compassion and comfort of Christ is sufficient to meet each day’s need. And that regardless of what happens to the body, the spirit and soul can find peace and wholeness.
Okay, God, you have shown me the truth. I am not to attribute to satan’s wiles and maliciousness that which you yourself have brought. These cases are not sent as a frustration or as a means to thwart that which you have called me to do. They are lovingly sent to us for the healing care and consolation of the Holy Spirit to be introduced to them as we are called to usher them into your presence through discipleship, mentoring, and the witness of our own lives.
Once upon a time I thought trust was a one-way endeavor…that the challenge was for us to learn of God’s faithfulness in order to be able to trust him with the difficult things in our lives. But now I see it is a two-way street. God desires to find in us the faithfulness to him that will allow him to trust us with his most precious gifts…..those who are the least, the last, the lost, and the most in need of his healing care. I am grateful that he has found Titus 2 faithful, that God trusts us with some of his most damaged and precious children. May we continue to be faithful to rely on his wisdom and care each day to guide us into “the next right thing.”