Lord, to You my life I bring. May each song I have to sing, be to You a lovely thing, in Your time. This morning the reality of that truth was made quite clear to my own heart. Many of you know that I love to sing! For several months I have been unable to sing for any sustained periods of time. I would begin to and then start coughing up more phlegm.
I have found myself crying out to my Lord, “How long will I have to endure this darn bug?” Okay, so I did say a few swear words it would not be gentlemanly to publish here. I would pray and pray until I felt I arrived at being prayed out. I resigned myself to the fact that it would be a long time if ever before I would sing again.
I couldn’t understand why God would allow the singing voice He gave me to be taken away. What was His purpose for this? What lessons did he need to teach me that I was oblivious to understanding? How was my Lord accomplishing His will in His time?
I would have many conversations with my wife, Karen saying things like this, Darling, I just don’t understand what good can be accomplished through all of this! Why is God doing this? Why would He take away one of my tools I use as both spiritual warfare and in bringing healing and joy to others? Karen kept telling me to trust even when she felt it awfully difficult to keep on saying, even as she fought against her own anger. “Darling, God somehow in ways neither you nor I understand is accomplishing His perfect will for the both of us through your illness. He’ll give you back His singing voice in you in His time.”
There were days I would get angry with Karen or anyone else who pointed out what in my faith I already knew. God would do amazing things through this hell I was experiencing! Nothing God does is without a reason, Like the song says, He’ll do just what He says in His time.
I found myself searching for the answer of why God was allowing this unrelenting suffering. For that answer I reflected on Scripture to give me hope. Then, I went to the thoughts of writers, theologians, singers and song lyric writers such as Fanny Crosby, who overcame disabilities in their lives. With each attack on my immune system there would be a further decline in mobility.
I found myself getting really ticked off with God. Lord, it’s not enough that You have taken away my ability to sing. You are going to take my ability away to walk as well! I don’t understand this. Help me to understand. I just don’t get it.
Then, it got worse. much worse. I was in and out of the Englehart ER like a revolving door, with one attack on my immune system and breathing after the other. Doctors were starting to mention that scary condition none of us like to hear COPD , chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It means that there is a continued reduction in the ability of your lungs to help you with your breathing. Your airways become blocked with mucus. While it usually happens as a result of smoking, in people with asthma and auto immune conditions, the condition can happen as well.
For those who haven’t been following my blogs, I have both pernicious anemia (B12 deficiency) and what doctors think is an extremely rare auto immune disease called mastocytosis. In me systemic mastocytosis is suspected or at the very least mast cell activation disease. I take several mast cell stabilizers to stay alive. I have to carry a minimum of two EPI pens with me at all times, and have sometimes needed three. I have been intubated eight times. For those who don’t know what intubation means, you are put to sleep and a breathing tube is put down your throat, as you are put on a ventilator.
I say to people only half joking, “If this was a novel, you would say the author had it in for his main character.” Beneath that thin veneer of laughter there have been many sorrowful tears. There have been so many times when I have asked those Why questions. Why me? Why now? Why are You doing this, Lord?
Many weeks ago I wrote in one of my blogs that while I didn’t understand why all this was happening, that I would choose to shine for my Lord in my illness. That is when the blessings kept on coming and have not yet stopped. I will highlight them.
1)Given adjustable bed by the Lion’s Club to help with my breathing and fluid retention from mast (immune system) cell activity.
2)Christian brother offers to pay my M.A. -Ph.D. tuition in Clinical Christian Counselling with St. James the Elder Theological Seminary. This happens after making a covenant with my Lord that NO ONE will be refused counselling because of inability to pay. I have always believed as we bless others our Lord gives back to us many more blessings. We don’t help others though because of the reward we get for it. The love of Christ within us gives us His heart for others.
3)God opens a door for me to train to be a Christian Life Coach through La Vonne Earl, Master Christian Life Coach, Your Kingdom Inheritance Coaching
4)God is making my pieces for Him on Mind’s Seat and my own blog “Dreaming together for a better world” impact more lives
5)Area pastors are expressing much interest in sending people to me to be counselled
6)Receiving more and more friends on Linkedin, some of whom have become my brothers and sisters in the faith and prayer partners
7)A more beautiful marriage as I appreciate the awesome blessing I have in Karen more each day
8)The pouring into me of song lyrics that I believe many of which will become part of my eventual doctoral project in Clinical Christian Counselling, for the healing of the abused.
9)Karen accepted into Master of Divinity program at Trinity College in the University of Toronto
10)Further healing of the abuse from my schizo affective father
Then, a week ago my Lord brought me to a quote from Joni EarecksonTada that made everything become crystal clear, as to why I have been having struggles with abuse, poverty and illness for many years.
“Sometimes God allows what He hates to accomplish what He loves.”
― Joni Eareckson Tada, The God I Love
Think about that statement, really think about it. “Sometimes God allows what He hates to accomplish what He loves.”
God allowed me to have my difficult journey, because He had to use the things He hates, to accomplish in me those things that He loves.
I brought that statement into prayer and deep reflection over my life and all the challenges God has allowed. How did He use my journey with being called every foul and disgusting name my schizo affective father would call me?, being beaten so many times I felt like a punching bag, seeing my mother when I was five attempt suicide by hanging herself from a belt, because she could no longer endure the physical and mental torture from my father, being told in all the ways I was a useless piece of garbage, that I was lazy, weak, stupid, clumsy,would always be a failure, that my brother was smarter than I would ever be, all the teasing I would get in school being called Professor Piddle Face and Four Eyes, because of my astigmatism needing to wear glasses, having my step grandmother ask me if I worked at being stupid, being on welfare and deciding if I would pay my rent or food but not both at times, going without meals because I couldn’t afford it and God would put me in the position of asking for help, being put on disability with all the attacks on my character that would mean and even having a friend I trusted say I never made it through training to be a minister with The Salvation Army because I was lazy. How did God use all of that pain, all of that heartache, all of that suffering to accomplish His will in me?
I believe through all of what I have experienced God has caused me to develop greater compassion for those who suffer. When I say to someone, I hear your pain, they know I really do hear their pain. I understand their living hell, because I have not only lived that hell myself; I am overcoming it. The Enemy who seeks to rob those who have been abused of their faith in God and their joy for living has knocked me down, but he has not defeated me, nor will he, because I know who I am in my Lord. Yes, I have my down times like we all do, but I refuse to be beaten. I choose to rise from all of my experiences with an overcoming faith, that says no matter what the Enemy throws at me, he will not win. God is winning and will continue to do so.
I know I speak of the Enemy quite a lot. In my faith concept I believe that there are forces of darkness, which seek to take away the light in our lives. I believe there are people filled with darkness, because they have unresolved issues that shroud the light within them.
There is also evil in this world. Even if you don’t believe as I do that there is a real devil, you know there are people of darkness, who you just can’t stand to be around. They are referred to as energy vampires, because after they have literally sucked the life out of you, these people who have so much unresolved pain in their own lives, go on to their next victim. I urge you that if you are fighting an illness as I am or your energy is low, stay away from energy vampires. They will only bring you down.
A wise counsellor asked me this question. “Kevin, if someone is drowning in a raging whirlpool, would you grab hold of that person and seek to rescue that individual? ” I thought for a moment before responding. I found that my natural inclination would be that yes, I would risk my life in seeking to save that poor drowning soul. Then, my logic and training in counselling kicked in. If I reached my hand out to that drowning person, I would drown. Nothing positive would be accomplished. I said, “No, I wouldn’t reach my hand out to save the person, because that would be unhelpful. I would instead search for a branch of a tree and give that to the person to grab. That would pull the person out of the whirlpool to safety.”
If I failed to seek God’s guidance and went with what my heart said to do, I would be failing to do what He wanted me to do in His time.
A Scripture given to me by my friend, brother in Christ and former journalism professor, Reverend Will Rooen, has become dear to my heart. Will went on permanent assignment last year for the work the Lord has Him doing in Heaven.
Will would use a certain scripture verse I think for more people than just me. I’m sure he must have used it with so many people, who needed to hear this beautiful truth from God’s heart through the prophet Isaiah to all of us.
“Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary” (Isaiah 40:31, NASB).
I particularly like the way that the New American Standard Bible uses the phrase “gain new strength” as opposed to other versions that use the thought that this is not a new strength, but rather a renewal of the strength we have. The kind of strength being referred to must be a strength not of our own, because it is strength that will not wear out. It will allow us to run without exhausting ourselves.
The waiting being referred to comes from the root word for rope. Think of one of the uses of a rope. It is used by emergency rescue teams to pull people out of a dangerous situation. The rope becomes the person’s life line. We have the promise from the prophet Isaiah that as we wait with patience, our Lord will throw His life line to us.
I understand in whatever difficult circumstance you are going through it can be difficult and even painful to see the truth, that if you wait long enough, your Lord will reveal His reason for the waiting. If you keep your faith, if you hold on tight to that rope, you will get your blessing. Your Lord will give you an endurance to weather the storms of life unlike you have ever known. He’ll work on maturing your character as you are put through your fire of adversity. Your Lord is going to do all of this in His time.
In His time? But I want my blessing on my time table, now, this instant. No, child. You must wait. How many of us cry to Him and say, “Lord, I can’t wait. You’re asking too much of me! I’m not as strong as You think I am. I can’t take this crap You’re putting me through any longer! Give me the blessing now!
Your Lord speaks to You in love. He says, “In My time, child. Be patient. Trust in the darkness what I showed You when your life was filled with that clear blue sky, when your life was going much smoother than it is now. Hold on. Keep the faith. Don’t let the Enemy get a foothold into You. Sometimes, I allow the things I hate to accomplish in you the things I love.”
This morning my Lord gave me a further glimpse of what that truth looks like for me. I was able to sing not strongly, but praise God Almighty I was able to sing! I got short of breath after a few songs, but oh what comfort, what abounding joy my Lord gave me when He allowed me to sing!
Then, my Lord started giving me a song to write. I am giving you the lyrics that have already come. The title that the Holy Spirit gave me is Joy of the Eagle.
Joy of the Eagle
Lord, hear me as I call to You
Let me sing once again of the joy of knowing You
Hear the plea of my wounded heart
Cleanse me deep within
Restore me to the health You had in mind when You created me
Help me as I take each step to trust in You
That You are growing me into the person You want me to be in Your time
Let me fly on eagle’s wings to the calling You have for me
To feel Your amazing love infill me
To feel Your heart speak to my heart
Lord, help me to call others to the joy of knowing You
To tell them if they just wait, if they just hold on in that storm, if they just trust that You will shine Your glory into their soul. You’ll give them hope for that brighter tomorrow. You’ll give them wings to soar. You’ll put Your loving arms around them and show them the beauty in their soul.
You are the God of my life. I need You every day. When I am too blind to see help me to see that I can have the freedom of an eagle. I don’t have to be destroyed by my pain. I have a hope and a future, because Your love is in my soul.
Give me a faith that will conquer my fears and show me the joy of the eagle. Let each day be a new song of hope found in You. Help me to show Christ’s compassion to all You bring to me. Give me the strength to lead them to a life of glorious victory in You!
I praise You, Lord, for the joy of the eagle! I feel new life flooding my soul. I rejoice for each breath I breathe, because I know it’s a gift of life that comes from You!
Let us all fly to God’s sky with the joy of the eagle. Call others to the joy that can be found in Him. Let them know the joy of salvation, the great blessing that comes in knowing Him.
–Kevin Osborne Copyright 2014
God will do what He says in His time as He calls You to have the joy of the eagle. My prayer for all of you is that you would have the abounding joy of the eagle, as You soar to God’s potential for You.