I am not writing as an expert on the matter. I am writing as one who is learning through the process. But what I am learning is precious and I smell victory is in sight as I get these heart level revelations revealed to me.
First of all, I want to encourage you, if you are going through a trial, to pray daily that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in ALL wisdom and spiritual understanding. Trials are great opportunities for God to impart heartfelt revelation that will change your life, about His will in general, about who He is and also specifically for your situation.
My latest trial began with overwork in ministry work which led to a burnout and many different health problems. It’s not just the result of overwork, it’s also the result of neglect of the temple of the Holy Spirit, my body, when I thought that others needs need to be met before my own. I have heard this popular teaching many times:
The JOY acronym:
JESUS first OTHERS second YOU last
I can tell you it’s wrong and a lie. The last 2 letters must be switched around to say:
JESUS first YOU second OTHERS after you
It is not selfish to look after yourself. It is a sin not to. The temple of the Holy Spirit has been entrusted to us to look after. Can you imagine God taking it well if the children of Israel let the temple building run down? We are entrusted with His temple, we are His temple. We will one day give account for the way we treated His temple.
Jesus said to love others AS you love yourself. So, you first have to practice loving yourself so you can love others as yourself. Loving someone AS you love yourself else implies you know what loving yourself looks like and then you extend the same to others. So, it all starts with loving yourself, not in a selfish kind of way, but in a faithful steward of what was entrusted to you kind of way.
So, I’ve burned out. I worked too hard and I neglected my health over the years. I have asked the Lord’s forgiveness and I am trusting Him to help me change where I am still wrong. As a result, I lived with a lot of pain in the last one and a half years, sometimes continuously for months. And before you judge me, know that it is easy to do when you are in the midst of a revival and you get requested to do more and more. You think you can just push a little bit more. Till your body goes on strike and refuses to give any longer. Good life lesson for living with margin and balance.
My pain continued for 5 straight months, 24/7. I had no energy and continual burning pain. I had 10% energy. Finally God sent someone with a word of knowledge and I was healed within a 24 hour period. I went from 10% energy to 80% energy. I thank God with all my heart for stopping my agony.
I thought it was over. I did work less but as finances were going low, I decided I should help. I took a 3 day a week job on top of managing tenants, a household and 2 children. I was not ready for this and I had a relapse. It has been going on for the last 4 months and in the last 2 months with a lot of pain all over my body, unbearable pain at times for days on end.
During this times of overwhelming pain, I started to question the goodness of God towards me. I have been a Christian for more than 20 years, but never had to live with this kind of agony on my body as recently. I could not understand why God wouldn’t heal me. I have been prayed for so many times by strong people in God, who see miracles.
No change. God, why? I used to ask? Why? Why not? Why is this happening? Why me? The questions were unending. Do You love me? Where are You for me? Have You forsaken me? Why aren’t You healing me? You can do something about it and You say in Your Word that You are willing, then why don’t you do it. Your says you are good and loving. Is this love and goodness to let me suffer this way when You can do something about it? God, I know you from past experiences deeply as a loving, caring, compassionate God, what is happening.
At times I felt angry at God for leaving me in this pain, then I would repent and feel guilty and the vicious cycle continued.
I then said to God: God, I know you from past experiences as the God of love, give me a fresh revelation of who You are, I really need it! I cried with all my heart a number of times this prayer. I told Him: I don’t want to think of you that You are not loving, get angry or think that You are good, help me! I know You as someone loving and good! Help me with a fresh revelation!
One evening I was busy with all my ‘Why?’ questions and trying to understand God with my mind what He is doing and why. All of a sudden I see a vision. I see the head of Jesus floating in the air, looking intently at me, at about half a meter from me. His eyes were staring intently at me, but not with judgement, just searching me, and He had a really sad look on His face. He spoke straight to my heart:
Mari, IS THIS WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT ME?
His sadness was clearly evident in both the face and the tone of the voice? He was hurt … e by my mistrust … though He fully understood the circumstances have been very intensely painful and the mind attacks severe. He was not condemning me, He understood why I could think this way, but was hurt anyway that I did not trust Him temporarily.
I knew what He meant deep down. He was trying to say: Mari, You know Me, I have revealed so much of My love to you, You know this is not Me not wanting to heal you or not loving you…
I broke down ….
Then He said to me: Why do you trust your own mind to lead you to the right conclusions? Trust in the Lord with all your HEART, and LEAN NOT (which means trust not) on your own understanding (mind).
I meditated on that…. Yes, the same One I knew in the past, as a loving, caring God, was the same One that spoke to me now … I sensed the love in His voice, in His lack of judgement, in His hurt feelings. He reminded me when He visited me in a dream and showed me that He would in no way, by no means, ever, ever hurt me.
I now knew He answered my prayers to give me that fresh revelation of Himself as I knew Him before. He was the same, not one bit different.
He told me to question my doubts, not Him. Why do I trust my mind to lead me to the right conclusions about Himself? I thought about that … He was right … How can my finite mind understand fully an infinite God? How can I question or accuse Him in my heart that He is a certain way or is not doing a certain thing, when I don’t know for sure these things? How do I know that He is a certain way for certain? How can I know He is NOT doing wanting to help me? I do not know anything for sure, these are just thoughts in my mind, suspicions planted by Satan, suggestions of mistrust.
I realized I can’t prove that my thoughts are a correct reflection of reality about who God is and what He does or doesn’t do, though they seemed very plausible. So, why do I trust them to be true, if I can’t prove them to be true?
I realized God can’t always be understood by logical thinking. Faith is a trust of the heart, nothing to do with logical understanding.
I was faced with a choice. Will I trust my mind or God’s Word which speaks the truth about God? Which one was more trustworthy? See, other people trusted God’s Word and they were healed. That proves the Word works. I could not prove anything about my mind and my logic that it is a reliable source of information about God.
I chose to trust God and not question any more. I told that to God. I repented for hurting Him and for my mistrust and anger. I had a new picture of God in my heart, or better said, a fresh picture of the same God in my heart. I felt comforted, emotionally encouraged by this picture. I was still in physical pain and lots of it, but I felt at rest in my soul. The difference was quite striking, I now had joy and peace, in the midst of strong pain. I could sing and worship Him in intense pain and feel pleasure and love for Him. I felt His tenderness towards me and that was like healing balm to my soul.
I realized that ‘Why’ questions as a normal reaction to pain, sorrow, grief, loss and perplexity for people in the Bible. Just read the Psalms. It’s ok, as long as your ‘Why’ questions don’t drive you to God and not away from Him. Express your grief but affirm your trust in His goodness and love, not based on logical understanding, but trust of the heart.
We need to be careful to not put ourselves in a seat of judge of God or His works with our limited created mind and think we have what it takes for the task. That is the epitome of pride.
Job had his fair share of questions in his sorrow and what did God answer him? The basic reply was:
WHAT DO YOU KNOW?
DO YOU KNOW LIKE I KNOW?
THEN WHY DO YOU THINK YOU CAN JUDGE THINGS OR MY CHARACTER ACCURATELY?
In other words, don’t trust in your own mind that it will lead you to the right conclusions about Me. Trust Me with your heart, trust My Word, which has been tested and tried by many and found true.
He also asked me, just like He did with Job, many questions:
Why are you surprised when you go through a trial?
Have I not told you that in this world you will have troubles?
Have I not prepared you and told you that through many tribulations we must enter the Kingdom of God? (Acts 14:22)
Did I not say: ‘don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you’ (1 Peter 4:12)
Did I not say: ‘Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.’ (1 Peter 5:9)
Did I not say: Many are the afflictions of the righteous, BUT the Lord delivers them out of them all? (Psalm 34:19)
Mari, I have been honest with you, I did not tell you there will be no suffering. I told you to trust Me in the middle of it and I will get you through it and out of it.
He was honest with us from the beginning:
- He did not say things will be easy
- He told us what to expect
- He said through many tribulations we must enter the Kingdom of God – the trouble is this is not taught today to the new believers as it was in the book of Acts
- He told us not to think it is a strange thing that has come upon us
- He told us all brethren around the world go through the same thing, some a lot worse
He showed me He has been honest, open and upfront with all cards on the table from the beginning. I could not fault Him.
Just like He says in this verse:
“We have spoken freely to you … Our hearts are open wide. It is not our affection, but yours that is restrained.… In return, I ask you as my children: Open wide your hearts also.” (2 Corinthians 6:11)
I realized that it was me that closed off to God, not God unwilling and close off to me I repented and chose to trust with all my heart. I opened my heart to Him again with trust. And His joy and peace returned, His rest was upon my soul once again. I could safely trust and lean on Him again.
I have decided: God, I will trust You with my heart and I will not trust what my mind tells me. I will trust Your Word instead!
I WILL NOT LET CIRCUMSTANCES DICTATE TO ME WHO I THINK YOU ARE! Circumstances won’t dictate to me what I think about You!
Why don’t you do the same right now? Why don’t you speak to Him from your heart, acknowledge your mistrust based on trusting your mind’s logic and not trust based on the heart. Why don’t you open your heart again to Him with full abandoned trust, based on the character He proved to you in the past in other circumstances and even a more solid ground, based on His Word that many other around the world testify it works, His Word is effective, it works and its been proven to be true again and again.
I would encourage you to then sing this song and pray through it the Revelation based prayer for God to give you what you are lacking right now and revive you again. He is faithful to do it!
Part 2 of this article is coming soon, where I will address how we can practically live out our trust when we don’t see the answers yet. For now, I pray that God gives you a fresh revelation of Himself that will be able to defeat the lies Satan has fed you during this trialing time in your life. Ask for this revelation every day. One day it will hit you at the heart level and you will never be the same, you will trust Him at the heart level.