This past Sunday was time change Sunday. Although we got an extra hour of rest that morning, it also brought on a season of extra hours of darkness, which can seem depressing and heavy at times. But, it was a much needed day for us, especially after all the work we had put in Friday setting up for the largest women's conference our church has ever had. Over 500 lunches had been made and packed into boxes for the men to transport over to the church we rented for the event. Mic checks were made and the ladies in charge of decorating worked furiously to get everything done in the two hours we had available to us that night before the conference. People were everywhere, working together, with a sweet spirit of unity that helped everything come together smoothly. Lots of prayers had been made to cover this event and God's hand was clearly seen the entire weekend. The only down part was seeing Mrs. Bish look so unwell that night. She had suffered a mini stroke that day and seemed out of it as she sat in one of the seats in the auditorium. It only caused me to pray harder for her to get better, so she could attend the conference the next day. Even in her state of health she had been burdened to still hold the conference, which was our tradition every year for the ladies of New England. But that is how she is...a woman of strength, wisdom, and a love for others before herself.
God answered our prayers though, because the next morning she was able to attend the first session, as well as speak to all the ladies as the conference began. Pastor took her home to rest after the session ended, but she was back for the last session, smiling and glowing as she sat up on the platform. If there ever was a woman who I felt I could look up to, it is Trina Bish. Watching her go through this trial of having a brain tumor has been an astounding thing for me. She has never given up hope, never given up on God, never given up on people who need the Lord, and never stopped believing that God is good.
It was actually during Amy Vassek's message that a light turned on in my heart. I knew I had been having a hard time trusting the Lord with certain things. It has been a tough road ever since I lost my dad to cancer back in April 2015. I have been in doubt about His goodness ever since the Lord did not allow me to make it up in time to say goodbye before taking Dad home to be with Him in heaven. All my childhood I had been taught that Christians should not get sick; that if we were right with God then we should be fine, and that God would shelter us from the devil. That if we were sick to always examine our hearts and make sure there was nothing keeping our prayers from being answered (this is still true, but it was the point of not getting healed if there was nothing wrong between the Lord and the sick person.) No Christian should have to suffer a horrible disease and die because we were His child. Yes, I know what Job went through, but we were supposed to cling to the promises of God, claiming them as our own (yes, I still believe this), and not profess anything negative, to the point where you could not even tell others you were sick because that was "negative" thinking.
Mrs. Vassek spoke on giving thanks in the darkness, quoting Isaiah 45:3: "And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that though mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel." She talked about how the darkness would not make you lose your faith in God, but sometimes it would be difficult to find Him. Even Job said in chapter 23:8-10, "Behold, I go forward, but He is not there: and backward, but I cannot perceive Him: on the left hand, where He doeth work, but I cannot behold Him: He hideth Himself on the right hand, that I cannot see Him: but He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold." We may not feel like God is around us, but He knoweth every step of the way. We are not to run from the horror we think lies beyond us in the darkness, but wrap a "blanket" around us and wait it out. A blanket always gives us comfort, making us feel safe in the darkness. When I am in bed I do not like when my foot hangs out of the covers, or if I feel exposed to the darkness in the room. I love feeling a safe cover over me. Our blanket in the time of darkness in our lives is the Word of God. Read the Scriptures and wrap them around your heart. They truly give comfort to your soul when you need it. I love the Psalms for that reason!
We need to also understand that there are a million reasons why God has us in the darkness. Going back to Mrs. Bish...I have heard so many stories of people getting saved because of her stays in the hospitals, or the treatment center in Mexico. I cannot get the story of the lady with the lollipop out of my head. Mrs. Bish noticed the guard in the booth had a lollipop, so every time she went shopping she bought her a lollipop and that opened the door to talking with her about the Lord. Even in her darkness she found enough light to spread the goodness of God.
I realized that day of the conference that my problems have been so minimal compared to others, but it was holding me back from moving forward in my walk with the Lord. If I could get so bogged down because of doubt and mistrust, then how much more would a bigger trial throw me off the path and sink me down in a mire I could not get out? I also realized that Christians can get sick for many different reasons, one being that it is simply for God to use you in places you would never be if you were not sick; to give glory to His name somehow. I finally gave it all to the Lord and asked Him to forgive my unbelief. It felt like a weight fell off my shoulders, and my eyes could clearly see that He has been there all the time. I learned that He is still God, and He is always good. He always has been. He is my Father and will never leave me nor forsake me. It does not mean life is going to be easy, with no sickness, trials, hurts, or frustrations, but when He is by our side, we can go through the darkness knowing He is holding our right hands through it all (Isaiah 41:13). It does not mean that we failed in our walk with Him, but it means that He is allowing moments for us to grow, to spread the wonderful news of His salvation every where we go. I want the Lord's works, miracles, and all that He has done to be the focus of my life because it will encourage me to tell others about Him and what He has to give to those who do not know Him. Like the song that Cam and I played at the conference which you hear playing, "Be Thou My Vision", I want Him to be my vision, so I can see others with His eyes and heart.
So, even though we had to turn our clocks back on Sunday, which gave us more hours of darkness in our cold, leaf-barren land, we just need to turn on the lights inside to pierce the darkness so people can get the hope that they need. Go be a light!
Note: For some reason my audio file will not play unless it is downloaded. If you want to hear it, click the download button and you can hear our song from the conference. In the meantime, I will try to fix it so it will play on my blog. Thank you.