An invisible illness is a lonely existence, but I was thankfully reminded, by God, that I wasn’t alone. I took comfort in Job’s cries of frustration, I read his journey and saw that God was faithful in the end. I often felt destitute and stripped bare. Job knows those feeling to such a greater depth than I do. I saw David’s fears resound in the Psalms, he speaks of the same fears that had screamed in my heart. I love how God met them where they were but did not allow them to stay there. When I felt the pure anguish of feeling forsaken I was reminded of my precious Jesus on the cross. God made something truly spectacular out of the sacrifice Jesus made.
Job, David and Jesus in the midst of their turmoil remained faithful to God. I’m also given that choice daily, minute by minute and hour by hour. As my illness dragged on and threatened to crush my spirit I was given a choice. I could decide how I was going to respond. I was given a revelation that my decision resounded into eternity. I was given a choice: decide if I truly believed in God’s word or was I going to declare it false? If I truly believed His word - that He is with me, He cares for me and He wants to see great character formed in me through this trial. If I truly take hold of that then surely I can face today’s challenges in His strength?!
As I questioned my existence and asked questions like “why am I here? What's this all for?”. I had to cling to the fact that I was there for a reason, despite not feeling it! I had to cling to the fact that there was a greater purpose for my life, despite not feeling it! I had to press on and take another breath, despite not feeling like it!
So many times I felt myself in the depths of despair; so many times I couldn’t see a way forward; I couldn’t see how I could cope and go on.
I cried out “Lord send your spirit for I am battle weary. The fight overwhelms my soul. I can't see beyond this dark place! Lord I feel so lost! I'm surrounded on all sides with despair! Lord I can't see your light! I can’t see over this mountain, I can’t see over this wave, I can't feel your spirit, Lord help me.”
In those moments when I cried out to God the response has varied. I love the series "Touched by an Angel" but there were many times I simply couldn't watch it. I'd get frustrated and angry that God hadn't answered my cry for help with a physical appearance of an angel. I'd get frustrated that I didn't get a voice from heaven. But I was reminded that God isn't always in those things. I was reminded of Elijah's experience from 1 Kings chapter 19. God did not speak in the windstorm, or the earthquake or the fire but instead in a gentle whisper.
God spoke to me through: a timely devotional email; a text message from my husband telling me that he loves me; a message from other family members and friends; through prayers with family and friends; an encouraging Facebook post; a kind word from a stranger; or an earlier appointment with the gynaecologist (which I so desperately cried out for). I was given safe places to vent/process/gain clarity in my life through my Christian counsellor and my psychologist. I also discovered that If I allow God to He will speak to me through the everyday of life.
So I declared over my life Exodus 14:14 – I declared that my God had fought for me, that my God is fighting for me and that my God will fight for me. Because of that declaration I fought on, in God’s strength! I faced my tomorrows and I declared that I would make life giving decisions that would resound in eternity.
So how can I make life giving decisions? In Deuteronomy 30 we are implored to choose between life and death. For me this statement represents accepting the salvation that Jesus Christ offers but also so much more. Through my journey I have discovered that there are numerous daily choices that can bring 'life or death' and reveal my true commitment to God. When I'm down I can choose music that impacts my soul, reminding me to hold fast to God's goodness and grace. I can read Christian novels which allow God’s voice to speak to me and remind me of His great love. I can speak His declarations over my life or I can speak out my fears and doubts. Instead of wallowing in self-pity and fears I can turn to prayer.
My decisions today will not only impact my life but the lives of my family members. In Deuteronomy 30 and Psalm 103 declarations are made that salvation will extend to our children’s children. That all we take hold of today will remain as a blessing passed on to the generations yet to come. Our life will pass away but the love of the Lord remains FOREVER with those who fear him! That is a truly astounding and wonderful promise to cling to! I also love Deuteronomy 7:9 (NLT) “Understand, therefore, that the LORD your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands.”
Each new dawn glows forth declaring God’s majesty and brings us grace afresh.
So hold tight!
A new bright future is looming!
It may be in the next dawn or it may be in a dawn a long way from now, but hold fast to the fact that it IS coming soon!
Keona Tann has lived most of her life in the beautiful Australian state - Tasmania. She has been married to her college sweetheart for over 20 years. Keona and her husband consider themselves extremely blessed to be raising 2 wonderful teenagers. They have also been long time child sponsors with Compassion. Keona's working life has seen her develop over 15 years of customer service experience. Health issues have plagued her for 28 years and over the past 2 years have been severely debilitating. Seeking direction from God her passion for writing was recently reignited. Writing the following mission statement: "I desire to impact the world through the words I share. I long to enrich, empower and encourage others whilst delivering my stories with empathy and understanding." she hopes to launch her new career soon.