This past weekend, I visited a cousin who lives about four hours away from me. Every time I visit her, I am very humbled. I learn so much from her.
You see, my cousin, who's six months younger than me, has gone through so much. She was left on her own to raise five children. Some of her children were adopted and had special needs. Then, in addition to this, she started suffering strokes a few years ago. At first, doctors didn't know what happened. Then, she was finally diagnosed as having a rare disease called Moyamoya which affects the arteries to the brain. While she's had several surgeries which have helped tremendously, she does have difficulty doing some things.
What always amazes me is her spirit. It would be so easy for her to focus on her disability. It would be so easy for her to get angry at God, shake her fist and say, "Where are you." I'm sure she does have her moments at times. However, as she would say, she has chosen to be "Christ-centered" rather than "self-centered". Instead of focusing on what she can no longer do, she chooses to focus on God. As a result, she has been made aware of God's fingerprints in her life in an amazing way. She can see how God prepared her household for this time. Her son and his wife live with her. Her "daughter-in-love" is a loving daughter after God's own heart. She lovingly cares for my cousin helping her take care of her home, making sure she's comfortable and just loving her with her whole heart. It's truly beautiful to see them together!
While I was visiting, my cousin's new son-in-law was over there doing some work on her house. She and I talked about how much God has blessed her as she walks this difficult path. As we talked, I thought about this passage of scripture:
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken." With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:8-18 (NIV)
It's far to easy too focus on the circumstances rather than on God. When we focus on the circumstances, it's harder for us to see God. However, when we focus on God our circumstances, while they may still be there, do not seem nearly so overwhelming. Isn't it wonderful to know that we don't have to be victims of our circumstances. We can be victors over them and in spite of them through Jesus Christ!
What a wonderful, amazing thing! Though we will suffer in one way or another in this world, we don't have to be destroyed by it. Though troubles rage around us, we can still say that the joy of the Lord is our strength. He is still our helper, our strength, our provider and our healer. He is bigger than anything than obstacle that is thrown in our way. I like that... God is bigger!
This is a lucid piece of writing. Thank you, Kreynolds.
Mark 16:17-18... 17. And these signs shall follow them that believe;
In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18. They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. (end quotes)
The last promise in verse 18 is what I'm driving at here. God Bless you.
Oh my gosh!! May God be with both of you and your cousins children!!