One would think that my post the day I got out of the hospital would be about...how excited I am to be out of the hospital. And it's true, I am excited. And normally (ha, I say normally like normal is a real thing in my life), I would write about just that. But sometimes God takes the plans you have, even for things as simple as what you're going to blog about, and flips them on their head because He hits your heart in such a way that you can't help but express everything that's going on in your head in the best way you know how.
At least, that's how it was for me today. This had to be written.
Remember Chris Plekenpol? He was one of the many people I'd been updating via text while I was in the hospital this week, so naturally, I texted him this morning to let him know I was getting out today. He told me to listen to today's sermon, because thankfully, his church posts all of their sermons online, and I told him I would.
Fast forward to tonight at Campbell, and I'd just put my laundry in the dryer and had 50 minutes to spend. I decided to go add the page where all the sermons are posted to my bookmarks so I could access them with ease, and when I got there, I saw today's sermon was already up. Chris had told me to listen to it "tomorrow", but as I sat there and stared at the title on the screen, I had this nagging feeling that I needed to listen to it tonight. I don't think I made it through 10 minutes before I was crying.
I texted Chris afterwards; this was word-for-word what I posted on his church's online community at his request. It explains it all.
Oh, and if you want to listen to the sermon (which you really should), click here and then click on "Noisy and Needy". It's about 40 minutes long but worth every second.
First off, let me say what a huge blessing I consider it to be that I can listen to WBCC (their church, Wells Branch Community Church) sermons on the same day!! It is a true joy of mine to learn from your leaders all the way here in North Carolina.
Second, Chris told me about today's sermon when I texted him this morning that I'd be getting out of the hospital today. He said listen to it "tomorrow", but I really felt like I needed to listen to it tonight. This is the verbatim text I sent him not long after I was done. He asked me to share this on here because "I am ministering to his church" and if that is the case, then I am filled with gratitude and honored to share this peace of my heart with you tonight.
"I listened to the sermon tonight because it was up and I felt like I really needed it...man, was I right. I'm sitting here as weak and broken as I've ever felt and you spoke exactly the truth I needed right into my heart. I wanted so badly to convince myself that I believed my healing was coming that I forgot to cry out to the only One who can heal me. And then I'd remember but wonder if it was even worth it because He's watched me in this pain and I keep hitting roadblock after roadblock. And then I convince myself I don't deserve His healing so I'd just be wasting my time, but you were so, so, so right. The beggar knew he didn't deserve healing, and that just made him cry louder. So I'm gonna keep crying out, because I don't have time not to, not to stop begging for the mercy of the only One who can remove this pain. Thank you for allowing God to use you to reach and affect my heart. You didn't have to put this much effort into helping a girl halfway across the country that you may or may not ever meet, but you chose to. I thank God daily for the blessings He has poured out upon me through the wisdom He has given you...I may listen to that sermon multiple times just because I need the reminder. This is one of the hardest trials I've faced and I have to cling to my faith because it's the only reliable thing I have left."
We all reach that point in our lives when we feel like God has forgotten us. Or we're not important. Or He's just not listening right now because He's got better things to worry about. I know I get all of those lies and then some caught up in my head all too frequently. We stop asking for healing, or mercy, or redemption, or salvation, or whatever it is we want so desperately because we've convinced ourselves that there's no point. Again, I've been there. Just this week as I laid in the hospital, there were several nights I laid awake late wondering where He was in all of that mess, and it was then that He would send a faithful, loving, patient friend to encourage me of what I knew deep in my soul to be true.
That truth is that God is EXACTLY who He says He is. He is good and He is faithful and He laid with me every second of that hospital stay and every minute before that when this world tried to push me down and break me. That is the one truth that I can always rely on when nothing else makes sense. He is the only reason that I can hear "I don't know" after "I don't know" from some of the best doctors in the world and still have the strength to get up in the morning. And no matter how many questions or doubts I have, or days I face when believing and trusting in a Father I can't see or touch or trusting in a healing only faith can guarantee me is coming doesn't make sense, that is what I keep coming back to.
I pray that if you're reading this and you're walking through a time of trial that I am right now, that you cling to this and cry out for mercy from the God who never quits paying attention. He IS coming for you, friend. He is coming for us all. And until He comes, we are never alone. He sees your pain. He grieves it with you. He's holding you right now as you beg for Him to make His presence known. You are not forgotten. Not for a second.
This is why I had to write about this today. This sermon spoke to hurts I didn't know still needed healing - didn't know or chose to ignore? - and forced me to confront a huge mistake I've been making over and over again as I've walked through these months of pain.
Every time I wondered if my healing is coming, every time I doubted that God really saw me and heard my cries, every time I begged God for mercy and thought it was a moot point was put to rest.
Just like the blind beggar, I HAVE to keep crying out for mercy from the God who can take away this curse because He's the only one who can do it.
I HAVE to keep crying out to Him, even when it doesn't make sense, because my faith in the Father who has redeemed my shattered past is all that I have to hold on to.
I HAVE to keep crying out because it's in those cries that I am pushed further and further toward the Father who is waiting with open arms.
I have to continue to beg for mercy from my God because I don't have time NOT to.
No, I really don't deserve healing from God. If my God worked on what was deserved, I'd receive the torture and death that Jesus took for me. Instead, because I am blessed with the love of a Father who adores me despite my epic failures, I have the chance to cry out to God to help me in my brokenness and trust in the fact that He is a Father who never stops listening.
So I'm gonna keep crying out, I'm gonna keep on begging for His mercy. He's all I've got left, and my voice that puts sound to the cries I feel with every inch of my being is what draws me closer to Him.
If you're walking through trial like me, I hope and pray that you keep on crying. Even when other people tell you to be quiet. Even when YOU tell you to be quiet. Keep crying. Keep being needy. Keep being noisy. Keep being persistent.