Spreading His Wings to Shade You ~ 4 of 5

The Path that God Ordained

Spreading His Wings to Shade You (Rest, Yield and Wait) by Debbie Taillefer

It is the common reaction of mankind to seek to remove something that is difficult or uncomfortable.  When we get a headache, cold or flu, we seek a treatment, even if it is as simple as chicken soup.  The believer seeks to have God remove their plight as a remedy.  We know that He may employ the skills of a doctor, the science of a medication, or He may choose to heal the affliction.  The particular challenge in the beginning of our predicament was that there did not appear to be any doctors who could employ their skills or a medications to relieve or prolong the onset of symptoms.  We turned to our heavenly Father to seek His will and wisdom.  In our desire to see our daughter helped we prayed and cried out to God to heal her.  However, we then made one of our greatest mistakes.  Steve, a good friend of ours, would define it as an unwillingness to “rest, yield and wait.”  Instead of patiently waiting for God to reveal the steps to take to bring about relief, we practically ran with the notion that the only option for her was a miraculous healing.  It is not my intention to be negative in the following narrative, as I believe it is everyone’s desire to help in such situations.  I would like to note here that the following is my opinion and certainly there are those that would disagree.  I wrote this, because it is important for all involved who try to assist those in difficulties to understand that removing or fixing their circumstances is not always the best practice, nor may it be God’s will at that time.

We did not know the quality of life our daughter would have or how long she would live, due to the rarity of the condition.  Therefore, we were receiving lots of advice on how to get her healed.  I do emphasize the words get her healed, for that is what it became: a plan of us getting her healed.  It seemed like everywhere we went well-meaning individuals had a “word” or a question for us about whether or not we had given all that we could to solve the problem.  Some churches’ practice was to ask her to go to the front with the objective of moving God to take away this affliction, when we requested prayer.  Time and time again, we walked away empty.  We went through much advice and comments meant to be helpful, but that actually left us feeling more like the folks at the door seeking for bread, who were sent away with good intent, but deprived of any tangible provision to uphold them.  We were also left with a daughter who, though once friendly and outgoing, was now shying away from any public interaction, and to this day has a lot of bad memories of feeling humiliated.  The pressure mounted for us to find the miracle cure or healing, and it always seemed to depend on us  to get our broken daughter repaired.  Everyone was sincerely trying to help, but all it accomplished was to leave us feeling like it was our fault, that we did not have faith, God was displeased with us, or we were just not doing enough to help our own child.  It also initiated a focus on HPP and my daughter as a problem, instead of a blessing that God was using to bring Himself glory.

Jesus put it this way:  “And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.  And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?  Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”  (John 9:1-3)

I believe in God’s healing power.  He wills it and He performs it.  But most often, the manner of God’s healing is by means or degrees, not necessarily a supernatural, instantaneous removal of the affliction.  Sometimes, that is the manner He chooses to operate in and it is the best display of His glory in that particular situation.  In other circumstances removing the affliction is not the greatest display of His glory, and does not suit His overall plan and desired outcome.  One of the dangers for the Christian believer is to fall in to the trap of subjecting yourself to well-meaning individuals that insist you just need to do “thus and such,” so that God can heal you.

We also believe in the preciousness of the prayers of the saints.  Yet sadly, our state of affairs had deteriorated, so that when various situations arose due to the HPP, my daughter would plead with us not to ask for prayer.  She wanted to avoid the awkward spotlight, attention, questions and the inevitable well intended advice.  She craved to blend into the background and feel normal.  Rather than face the barrage of stuff that made her feel like a broken toy on a shelf, useless in its present condition and needing to be fixed, she wanted to live and celebrate her life and to be accepted for who she was.  She was weary and downtrodden from always being identified with what was wrong with her.  Instead of focusing on her strengths and gifts, the emphasis and conversation were always centered on her weaknesses and everything she was not, and not in a manner that focused on God who allowed it for His glory.  It was becoming clear that in some churches a response for prayer requests was beginning to cause more harm than good.  This made us very downhearted, as one of our greatest avenues of comfort was slowly being cut off. However, we could not ignore that our daughter’s physical and emotional well being was at stake.  We were also concerned about what it was doing to her perception of God and the Church.  Our requests for public prayer diminished as time went on, and so did our comfort from the collective prayers of the saints.  Motivated by our fear of the unknown and the pressure to submit to customs designed to force God’s hand, our focus had turned to the immediate acting of God, instead of the patient asking of God.  Although we believe that God does not have to be prayed to in order to act, He does mysteriously work by and through the prayers of His beloved children.

When we had exhausted all avenues of doing it our way, and when God’s timing was just right, I started attending an adult ladies’ Bible study.  It was so refreshing and encouraging!  All that the folks there desired to do was listen and pray for our specific needs, placing the burdens on God and not us.  This was the catalyst that God employed as a means to turn the situation around and bring us down His desired path for us.  I cannot emphasize enough the practical issue of God’s timing.  Sometimes, we presume heaven’s lack of activity means a “no” or a dead end, while in reality, God is active in speaking the words, “Rest, Yield and Wait.”  He is doing something and is always at work, we just do not see physical evidence yet.  Herein lies the mystery behind the supernatural, healing, faith, hope and persevering in prayer.  Man is the one that desires a show, a spotlight, a “look, over here,” or “just do a, b, c, d and it will happen for you.”  Truthfully, God is always working quietly behind the scenes with normal, everyday people, who persevere in normal, humble, everyday prayer, waiting upon Him.

It was God’s will, that instead of one instantaneous act of healing that would bring temporary glory (for which we truly would have praised Him all of our days), He was instead, going to lead us on a journey.  This journey would open our eyes to see the power of Christ overshadow, cover and shade us by His grace.  We would learn to trust, seek, knock, rest, yield, and watch the Master work, moment by moment, from glory to glory, doing only what He can do.  He was not going to remove the sun, but He would reveal Himself as the One who shades us from its intensity and glare, that we might bear it.

The Scriptures word it like this:  “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.  My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.  He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: He that keepeth thee will not slumber.  Behold He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.  The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.  The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.  The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: He shall preserve thy soul.  The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.” (Psalm 121)

“He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; He led him about, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye.  As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, bearteth them on her wings: So the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.” (Deuteronomy 32:10-12)

“How Excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God!  Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Thy wings.”  (Psalm 36:7)

“Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in Thee: yea, in the shadow of Thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.” (Psalm 57:1)

“Because Thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice.” (Psalm 63:7)

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.  Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.  He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler.  Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness’ nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.” (Psalm 91:1-6)

I would like to note some interesting observations in these verses.  A brief note for all my theologian friends: it is not my intent here to exegete these passages in their context or to exclude the application to narrow things based on the intended audience, which I acknowledge is the standard, but just to simply draw comfort from the principles found therein.  God did not remove the desert, waste howling wilderness, calamities, snares, pestilences, terrors, arrows, or darkness.  Instead, God desired that the person find comfort, rest, trust, joy and refuge, under the shadow of the covering of the Almighty’s Presence.  God holds His people in the waste-howling wilderness, not because He is displeased with them, but to instruct, lead and keep them as the apple of His eye!  The calamities will come, but God does not intend to destroy His people by them or have the terrors result in evil.  Instead, God ensures that they will not be moved or shaken by them, nor be afraid or dread them.  As He takes them through the afflictions, He purposes for them to see His protection, leading, and all wise care and to rejoice in the revelation that His love never fails.

During that time, a quiet word in my soul (not an audible voice), kept coming to my spiritual ears: “I am not going to remove it at this time, but in so doing, I will always undertake to care for everything that will arise, because I choose not to remove it.”  In the language of Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, he wrote: “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.  Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9)

It was His will, to teach us to patiently wait and trust in Him.  In so doing, we would have a lifetime of miracles before our very eyes, as we saw Him work endlessly on our behalf, to care for our daughter.  Through her afflictions, God’s loving care for the entire family would be manifested, as He slowly would lead us to where He would have us go.  I have come to learn through our experiences that God is glorified in healing, but most often He has a broader view of a greater impact for a longer period of time, than just one quick recovery.  As a diamond has many facets, whereby its beauty is displayed from various angles, God’s plan is to glorify Himself in numerous ways.  We should not attempt to place limitations on when or how God chooses to glorify Himself.

It is not my intention to slam any particular church or individual.  I do not remember names, faces, or singular remarks in it all, just the overall experiences.  My husband and I take responsibility in the participation of it in our desperate need to help our child.  My purpose is to educate and raise awareness of how to come alongside a family in such circumstances.  We do not enter into such things with the intent to harm or discourage.  Our intent and sincere desire is to help.  But often we lack information or experience on how to do that.  My hope is that our story will answer some of those questions.  A friend of ours, Pastor Mark Ring, when  preaching through the book of Job, said the best thing we can do with people in difficult circumstances is to give them our quiet presence (listening is good), physical support and prayers.  Our judgement, assessments and advice are oftentimes not profitable, and can actually prove to cause more harm than good.

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