Last week started off to be an exciting week! The State of Texas inaugurated its new governor, Greg Abbott. In fact, some of my dearest friends, the Haughtons, who had avidly supported him throughout his campaign, and their daughter, journeyed to Austin for the historic event. Their daughter, Jenna, is a unique young lady. She is strong, independent, and intelligent. It did not surprise me that she drove to Austin ahead of her parents, and remained there to sightsee after they’d returned home. A trip to Austin, was nothing to Jenna. Last summer, she journeyed to China, alone, to serve as a teacher. While in China, she freely shared her faith, in Jesus Christ, despite the risks it posed. Nancy Leigh DeMoss, author of The Lies Woman Believe, captures the essence of who Jenna is.
“The outward appearance of the Christian woman is to reflect a heart that is simple, pure, and well-ordered; her clothing and hair styles should not be distracting or draw attention to herself by being extravagant, extreme, or indecent. In this way, she reflects the true condition of her heart and her relationship with the Lord, and she makes the Gospel attractive to the world.”
None of us anticipated that Jenna’s sightseeing in Austin, would take a tragic turn. While crossing a busy Austin street, in the cross walk, Jenna was unexpectedly struck by a vehicle. When her parents received the phone call, all they were told was that Jenna had been hit by a car and there was bleeding on her brain. The news of this tragedy quickly reached us, and our hearts sank. As a mother, myself, I could only imagine what her parents were going through. Since we knew very little about Jenna’s condition, our minds hoped for the best but also considered the worst. So, many of us stopped everything we were doing to pray… We called others to pray… We called churches to pray, and then we prayed some more… Would the Great Physician choose to heal Jenna? We had to place our faith in our Lord and Savior.
Late Thursday evening, the doctors came in and said they were very worried about the blood clot on Jenna’s brain. They feared they may need to perform emergency surgery before the dawn of the morning. Brain surgery is never a simple procedure. The risks associated are very high. Corey, Jenna’s mom, sent a text with the plea of a loving mother that begged for prayer and healing for her daughter. Many of us stayed up through the night groaning in prayer, on behalf of sweet Jenna. God heard our groans and prayers… On Friday morning, the CT scan showed that the blood clot was not growing larger, and no surgery would be required. The doctors were surprised and had no explanation for the change in Jenna’s condition. Did we just witness a miracle?
The Bible is full of miracles. The Old Testament, especially, describes miracle after miracle. Before Christ appeared on earth, it was often how God revealed his presence on earth. Sometimes, nowadays, we doubt or forget that God is still the God of miracles. We read the stories and believe them whole heartedly. However, when it comes to our own lives, we really don’t expect miracles. We forget that the God we serve created the universe. He knows every hair on our head and has counted every tear that we’ve cried. So, why does it surprise us when He heals? Why does it surprise us when he miraculously makes a blood clot disappear?
While we are so grateful for Jenna’s recovery, she still has a journey ahead of her. Even though her injuries did not end up requiring surgery, they will still take a considerable amount of time to heal. We may never know, this side of heaven, why God allowed this to happen. We rest assured that it is part of a grander plan, that we can’t see or understand.
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
My dear friends, the Haughtons, have been tested over the past few years. There have been things that have happened to them that leave you asking, “why?” Throughout all of the trials they’ve turned to Christ for strength. They may not have always understood the reason, but they’ve trusted that God is sovereign. Just this morning, my pastor explained that maturing in our Christian faith requires testing. He is always at work. He desires for us to deliver His message under His circumstances. So, how do we surrender and stop fighting and resenting trials?…
“Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.” James 1:2
Perhaps God allows trials into our lives to remind us how weak we are and how strong He is!
So, what lessons can we learn from this?
- Treasure everyday…it is a gift
- What God desires most, is a person relationship with us.
- God sends trials. They force us to trust Him.
- Trust and cling to God, not matter what!