Father, if it be possible…………………………………………….. Learning from my beautiful friend

Father, if it be possible………  Learning from my beautiful friend

My dear friend

It was both wonderful and heart-breaking to meet with you today.  You are an amazing woman – beautiful inside and out.  Beauty on the outside is fairly easy for many woman, beauty on the inside is not.  I don’t think you realise for one moment just how special you are.  I believe you are Christ-like and I learned something about Him today that I did not know before.  I saw the beauty of His character shining through you, and I was almost overwhelmed by the wonder of this.

You had no idea.  But I saw Jesus through you today.  You didn’t realise this.  I saw Him as you served me, when I should have been serving you.  I saw Him as you encouraged me, when I should have been encouraging you.  I saw Him as the love you have for your children, your husband, your natural family and your church family shone out.  It was so strong, I felt I could have reached out and touched it. Your love seemed to encompass everyone with whom you are in contact – everyone about whom you spoke.  Your face was glowing as you told me about the children you were working with this week.  You had volunteered to help, in spite of your recent operation, and you were learning so much from them, you said – especially those who were disabled.  And you shared the things you had learned from them and I wondered at your wisdom.

I saw Him as you prayed, “Lord if my broken body can glorify you more than my healthy one, then your will be done.”  I heard His voice echo in my soul, ‘Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me’.  I saw Jesus as I wept with you and laughed with you.  I saw Him in a way I had never seen Him before.  In awe and wonder at the beauty of His character and His love.  In awe and wonder that He was willing to suffer to accomplish God’s will for mankind.

Suffering is a strange part of God’s plan – but it is part of His plan.

I saw Him as you struggled to accept what God has allowed in your life but never for one moment did you doubt His love.  I struggled with my composure when you described your suffering and pain as a gift – and said you didn’t want to waste it.   You said, “No matter what, God is God, He is good and He loves me. I should not waste the gift He placed into my hands, He trusted me first, when He gave it to me, that I can remain faithful to Him, and He will help me too.”

And I wondered at God’s ways.  When we suffer, we are always changed by it. We can choose to draw closer to God and allow Him to transform us through it. Or we can run from Him in bitterness and anger.  Run where? And to whom?

What an example you are my dear friend.  Drawing closer to God, loving Him, trusting Him.  Like Job of old, one loved by God and yet allowed to experience suffering.  Like Job, refusing to ‘curse God and die’.  Like Job, ‘though He slay me, yet will I trust Him’.

What a beautiful character has emerged.  Now on show to all who meet you.  Warm, kind, loving, humble, sympathetic, a servant-heart – and something much more than that too.  Something it is impossible to describe because it is so wonderful and so different from others.  So different from those I meet who don’t know Jesus, and so different from many I meet who do know Him.  I see what it means when the Bible describes a Christ-like character.  I see it now before me in a way I have never seen before.  Is this what it means to be Christ-like?

And you asked me, and asked God – what good can possibly come from this illness?  And I thought of the many people who have been touched by what is happening to you, including myself.  Many of them I don’t know, but some I do.  You don’t realise how many people are touched by your situation.  The new Christian in Spain who wonders about the strength of your faith as you continue to trust God in the midst of your pain.  The unbeliever who marvels at the faith of someone who continues to love God, even while suffering. That group of women who look and wonder and seek God so much more because they want to understand what is going on.  The doctors, nurses, and others who meet with you because of your illness, who are touched by the indefinable something in your character.  The young woman who sees you, and wants to become a nurse to help people like you.  Others too who are children, or too close to the situation for me to name without this becoming too personal.  I see just a few.  God sees every single one – hundreds or thousands, and I am sure there will be more.  You do not see any of these.  You cannot believe that you could be used by God in such a powerful way.

I remember you writing to me a few months ago when I enquired how you were. “Dear Margaret,” you said “thank you so much for your prayers, I am fine. Please don’t worry about me, any worries will lead us away from trusting God. I’m grateful for what I am in right now, again it’s a huge, valuable opportunity to know our Lord, to learn the truth and the way to His plan for me.  My heart aches too when I think about my children, but this is what God said to me: “didn’t I create them, they are my children, I am their keeper, I love them just as I love you!” Margaret, please keep praying for me and sending your encouraging words to me, it is not going to be easy, but there must be a purpose of this, it will end good!!” And the tears come again as I write this, tears of sorrow and joy in equal measure.  Sorrow for your suffering but tears too of great joy as I see your great trust in, and love for, God.  If I had the power I would end your suffering in a moment.  Forget the Christ like character, forget the good that has come and will come.  Just end the suffering right now.  But, that is me – and as you reminded me, God is God.  ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways’, declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’

You have been a Christian such a short time, and yet you are so far ahead of some of us who have been on the road for years.

You are so very special.  You are a wonderful example.  I don’t think I have ever met anyone quite like you and you are teaching me things I never knew before.