Those who go before me

But is that enough? The terrible things in the world seem to make a mockery of the love of God, and the question always arises: Why?! God allows Satan to make a test case from time to time. It had to be proved to Satan, in Job's case, that there is such a thing as obedient faith which does not depend on receiving only benefits. Jesus had to show the world that He loved the Father and would, no matter what happened, do exactly what He said. The servant is not greater than his Lord. When we cry "Why, Lord?" we should ask instead, "Why not, Lord? Shall I not follow my Master in suffering as in everything else?"

Does our faith depend on having every prayer answered as we think it should be answered, or does it rest rather on the character of a sovereign Lord? We can't really tell, can we, until we're in real trouble.

...asking God to enable her to show the world what genuine faith is--the kind of faith that overcomes the world because it trusts and obeys, no matter what the circumstances. The world does not want to be told. The world must be shown. Isn't that part of the answer to the great question of why Christians suffer?

~ Elisabeth Elliot, A Path Through Suffering

Two more days until I am reunited with my family! I told Katy to put a big red "x" through today's date on the calendar so she can visualize how short a time of separation is left. Each day gets a little harder at this point. I imagine Wednesday will feel like a "party" day - I will wake up with butterflies in my stomach and spring in my step. I dreamt this morning about holding Caleb, and it felt so real that I tried to will myself to stay asleep to revel in the dream for a few moments longer.

How light and momentary my trials seem as I think about what others have gone through. A few of the stories that have been compelling me onward in courage beg sharing here. My aunt Shera has come to my mind again and again as I undergo this separation. She was divorced many years ago, and has lived a large part of her life alone, single. She is alone with God all the time, and I see the amazing peace she has, alone with Him. But her heart still cries out for companionship just as mine has done in these past two weeks. I hear the lonesome strains of the song of her soul every now and then in her letters or her words, sometimes her eyes. Yet, despite that song ever streaming from deep within, she has had to learn to dwell in God's peace, to satisfy her desires through Him, in a long-term sense. Who am I to complain during a brief separation from my husband and children?

As I woke this morning from my dream of holding my son, my heart was broken once again for the dear friends I have who have lost a child. How much more precious those visions during slumber must be to them who will not hold their dear one again in a few days time. My words are completely inadequate to express how humbled I am to watch Christ's dignity and willingness to bear a cross played out in their lives. How much deeper a well of suffering they must drink from...how much deeper that granite vein of strength born through trials runs in their hearts than mine...how much more still the waters of their souls are becoming as they learn to rest in God's presence and trust His teaching hand, however harsh it may seem to human understanding. They, truly, are overcoming the world, and show us, through their example, the wonderful, awesome and terrible faces of the mighty God we serve!

To him that overcomes the foe,
White raiment shall be giv’n.
Before the angels he shall know
His name confessed in Heav’n.
Then onward from the hill of light,
Our hearts with love aflame,
We’ll vanquish all the hosts of night,
In Jesus’ conqu’ring Name.

Faith is the victory! Faith is the victory!
O glorious victory, that overcomes the world.

~ John Henry Yates, Faith is the Victory, 1891