Pray for Amy: Mayo Day 1

As many of you know, we are down at Mayo today for the 1st day in what may turn into multiple days of diagnostic tests for Amy to determine whether the lump on her neck is cancerous or not. She is as brave as a lion, this little girl. We talked Sunday about what she would be facing, and she told me firmly and confidently, "I am not afraid, Mama. We can do this togethah." So we bowed our heads and included the Lord in our little space, and yes, Amy, we can do it togethah with Him.

Today's post comes to you from a dear new internet friend of mine, Tereasa of His Pen on My Heart. She writes about the hard stuff and the good stuff, and a lot about what God is teaching her through His word. I'd definitely recommend you run over and check her blog out. (While you're there, leave a comment thanking her for her help and her prayers, if you would?) While you're out checking this blog, you may want to stop by Addie Zierman's How to Talk Evangelical: she wrote a post about her own difficult journey praying for Amy and asks her readers to join her. The body of Christ is a lovely thing to behold! Now for Tereasa's words...

My heart was heavy, burdened with the need to pray. Life threatening accidents, drug-addiction, brain- damage, serious illness, all threaten to hinder if not end the lives of children. Several of my friends had received devastating news last week, all of it concerning their children. By Friday, my mind was filled only with thoughts of the children.  I questioned the Lord, “Why?  Why must the young suffer? Are these attacks from Satan or are they your discipline, Father?”

Does it really matter?  “It is for my glory,” was the answer that settled in my heart. Does it matter where the suffering comes from?  Does it matter if suffering is a result of our sins or because of our threat to Satan?  If it is all for his glory, does the origin of the suffering matter?

The Word of God streamed into the kitchen from the audio Bible as I prepared lunch. The children were still weighing heavy on my mind when I heard Moses ask, “Oh Lord, why has Thou brought harm to this people? Why didst Thou ever send me?” Ever since Moses had demanded the release of the Israelite slaves, Pharaoh had done further harm to the people. Without trepidation, Moses spoke to God, “Thou hast not delivered Thy people at all.”

My busy hands slowed as I heard the words. I knew the questions Moses asked and felt the responsibility behind them. I turned to the computer and played the words again, reading along this time. My own heart questioned along with him, “Why do you allow harm to come to these children?”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for under compulsion he shall let them go, and under compulsion he shall drive them out of his land.” The Lord continued saying, “I am the Lord,” and reminding Moses of the covenant he had made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The Lord, the Keeper of Promises, reminded Moses that he would bring his children to the Promise Land.

In the following chapters of Exodus, God caused the Egyptians to suffer by sending ten plagues consecutively.  He warned Moses several times that Pharaoh would not listen and would not let the Israelites go.  The Israelites would continue to suffer in slavery for a time so that God would perform his signs and be glorified for generations to come.

Two hearts were revealed during the time of the plagues. Both were reluctant to obey God at first. Moses was fearful and unsure of his usefulness. Pharaoh was proud and defiant. Moses had a soft heart and obeyed the Lord despite his initial doubts. Pharaoh hardened his heart and refused to obey.  As time progressed through each of the plagues, we see a change in each heart. Moses, who had asked his brother to be his spokesperson, begins to speak for himself. He gains confidence in the Lord through his obedience. Pharaoh, however, loses the choice of defiance and eventually has his heart hardened by God.

Many are familiar with the end, Pharaoh lets the Israelites go and then (with a heart once again hardened by God) changes his mind. He chases them into the Red Sea which the Israelites miraculously crossed on dry land.  The children of God make it to safety and the armies of Pharaoh are drowned in the unleashed waters.

There is something about this story that touches me deeply. Both sides suffered. Suffering is often seen as a sign.  We see it as a sign that we are on God’s bad side, in need of discipline.  Otherwise, we see it as a sign we are on God’s good side and under the attack of Satan. In the case of Israel versus Egypt, however, the suffering was a means to the Glory of God. It is a story that climaxed in a display of God’s saving power. The difference lies not in who suffered, but in the result. The Israelites suffered in slavery. The Egyptians suffered through plagues. Moses’ heart was soft and strengthened by God. Pharaoh’s heart was hard and hardened again by God. Both hearts brought glory to God, however, only one was saved. 

We will suffer. The children will suffer. The question is not why but how.  Will we be softened, molded through our suffering? Or will we be hardened?

Oh Lord, may our hearts be like clay in your hands.  May we grow in confidence as we submit our lives to your will.
“And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.”  - 1 Peter 5:10-11
Note from Genevieve: This song came on random play through my iPhone while on the way to town shortly after I read and posted this from Tereasa. I got goosebumps all over my body - even my cheeks, which has never happened to me before - as I sang along. I know I am one of the saints who will march through those gates - but what if my life, my ordinary life, can bring God the kind of glory Sara Groves speaks of in this song? It infuses me with new courage and strength to think this might be possible!

lord i have a heavy burden of all i've seen and know
it's more than i can handle
but your word is burning like a fire shut up in my bones
and i can’t let it go

and when i'm weary and overwrought
with so many battles left unfought
i think of paul and silas in the prison yard
i hear their song of freedom rising to the stars

and when the Saints go marching in
i want to be one of them

lord it's all that i can't carry and cannot leave behind
it all can overwhelm me
but when i think of all who've gone before and lived a faithful life
their courage compels me

and when i'm weary and overwrought
with so many battles left unfought

i think of paul and silas in the prison yard
i hear their song of freedom rising to the stars
i see the shepherd moses in the pharaohs court
i hear his call for freedom for the people of the Lord

i see the long quiet walk along the underground railroad
i see the slave awakening to the value of her soul
i see the young missionary and the angry spear 
i see his family returning with no trace of fear
i see the long hard shadows of calcutta nights
i see the sister standing by the dying man’s side
i see the young girl huddled on the brothel floor
i see the man with a passion come kicking down that door

i see the man of sorrow and his long troubled road
i see the world on his shoulders and my easy load
-When the Saints, Sara Groves-

Please post this blog button all over the internet and rally prayer for my daughter as we face the uncertainty, grief and fear of the coming weeks.