Prayer Letter July 2012: Thanksgiving
Father, it would be so easy for me today to just give a list of the numerous evidences of grace I have experienced in my life and those that we have experienced in our church. Truly we have so much to be thankful for. Truly You are a gracious God. But I feel like writing a list of the first 20 things that come to my mind would only cheapen each one, when each one has so much of You surrounding it. Each and every evidence of grace that I would list is engulfed in Your sovereignty, Your mercy, Your love, Your holiness. How could writing out a list ever convey the depth of Your goodness. So let me just pick one. And let me pick one that is personal.
Father, thank You for letting my daughter Ella have cancer. It has been over two years now since she was diagnosed and her treatments completed, and she has never looked healthier, and You know that not a day goes by that I do not thank You for healing her and sustaining our family through that. But rarely do I thank You for allowing her to experience cancer in the first place. But when I look back on that day when I stood next to her in that ultrasound room and heard the radiologist tell me she had a large tumor in her belly, what I remember is Your merciful hand upon me and upon her. That week was the single most painful week of my life. But that pain drove me and my whole family closer to You than we have ever been. My time of prayer that day and that week was so intensely real, that my affections for You were changed forever more. I experienced You and Your tenderness in a way that I never would have experienced if You had not allowed us to go through that. My times laying next to Ella in her hospital bed were so sweet, and so wonderful, my heart so filled with gratefulness to You for each step closer we got towards her healing, that I will never forget those moments. I will cherish them forever. I now understand with so much more clarity what it means to “rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produced hope, and hope does not put us to shame because the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).
Thank you God for how Your gospel grounded us that week. When we may have been tempted to question Your love for us, we were reminded through Your word, that You in fact loved us so much, that You did not spare Your only Son, Jesus Christ “who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). When I look at the cross, how could I ever doubt or question Your love for me?
Thank you Father that Your Son has not only saved us, but now lives and intercedes for us (Hebrews 7:25). And oh how I felt His presence and His intercession during that week. How true are the words of Charles Spurgeon who said, “We little know what we owe our Savior’s prayers. When we reach the hilltops of heaven, and look back upon all the way whereby the Lord our God hath led us, how we shall praise Him who, before the eternal throne, undid the mischief which Satan was doing upon the earth. How shall we thank Him because He never held His peace, but day and night pointed to the wounds upon His hands, and carried our names upon His breastplate!”.
Thank you mighty, sovereign and merciful Father for the trials You have walked through with me, and with us all. Let us never forget that our suffering is not without purpose, but that truly, truly, “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). All things, even sickness, even cancer, even death. And when we encounter trials of various kinds, strengthen and sharpen our faith, that we may “Count it all joy” (James 1:2), resting in the hope and security we now have through faith in Your Son, Jesus Christ, who loved us, and gave Himself up for us. and secured for us a salvation that we did not deserve, through a death He did not deserve.