Facing my Giants
Since Ash has been down and struggling to stay awake this week I have found myself with a little extra time on my hands. I have used the time to catch up on some reading. I don't spend near as much time doing it as I used to, but this week I picked up a book I received for my birthday last month by my favorite author, Max Lucado. The book is called "Facing Your Giants". When I saw the title of this book for the first time I thought to myself how appropriate. I have a distinct memory of walking outside of my Ashley's room in ICU earlier this year and announcing to my friends(O.K., they were actually the nurses on duty that day, but I liked to think of them as my friends) that I did not sign up to fight giants. What was God doing? Cancer might as well have been named Goliath. Most of them just looked at me as though they didn't understand what in the world I was talking about, but a few of them began to giggle and nod their heads as I explained that I felt like I was David staring into the face of the giant Goliath.
As I read through this book I am finding myself devouring the pages that he writes. Max talks about David. He tells of him as a young boy, fearless in his faith. Facing lions, bears, and giants armed with his amazing faith in God. Then he tells of the time that the prophet came to Jesse's house looking to anoint the next King of Israel and he finds the king in the most unlikely place. Not the eldest son. Not the smartest son. Not the most handsome or talented son. I think Samuel is actually astonished when he looks at young David who has just come in from shepherding the sheep. Dirty, smelly, scrawny, immature. The Father tells the prophet, "This is the one."
"God does not see the same way that people see. People look on the outside of a person, but God looks on the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7 (personally I love this verse. God can see inside of our hearts regardless of what others think they know about us)
I continue reading through the pages and find myself following David as he runs from King Saul. The thing about David is that he didn't always do the right thing. His faith wasn't always strong. Sure the foundation was always there, but as he flees from Saul and fights for his life he begins to look at his circumstance and takes his eyes off of the Father. How guilty I have been of doing the same thing at times in my life! What I love about this book is that I am reminded that David was a man after God's own heart. What? He makes mistakes. He doesn't always do the right thing. He really screws things up at different times in his life. Why? or How? can God consider him a man after His own heart? Because of this: David doesn't allow himself to stay away from God. He repents. He pours his heart out before him. He longs for fellowship to be restored. He doesn't just say, "Oh, well. I messed up. Guess I'm on my own now." He goes to the Father again and again and again and restores his faith and his relationship. How encouraging I am finding this!
I can so relate to David. When I was younger my faith was strong enough to fight lions, and bears, and giants. As I grew older there were periods in my life when I allowed my faith to rest and become weak. I have seen only my "circumstance" looming before me and instead of crying out to the Father I have tried to "fix" it on my own only to make a disaster out of my life. I have lived this way, and even now at times I find myself looking at my "circumstance" and not the Father, but the beautiful thing about our God is that He knows our hearts. He knows that even though I may be struggling to find my faith for the moment my hearts desire is to be close to Him.
My sweet Ashley Kate is a visual reminder to me of what faith can do. Her very life and breath reminds that the God I serve is big enough to sign me up to fight the giants that He allows to come before me. On the days that I struggle and my faith seems to be weak He uses this tiny person to show me what He can and will do if only I will look to Him. I continue to have days of doubt and fear and struggle, but He continues to wait patiently for me to cry out to Him just as David did, " Be merciful, O God. Be merciful to me! For my soul TRUSTS in YOU, and in the shadow of YOUR wings I will make my refuge."
Its been a tough week. Admitting to myself that my faith is feeling weak has been tough. After celebrating her last infusion of chemo, we still have had to watch her go through the side effects of that infusion. Today she is slowly coming out of it. She stayed awake and played for close to 30 minutes this afternoon and then it was back to sleep. She woke again this evening and sat on the bed to play for another 30 minutes or so and now she is back asleep. My giant at this time is fear. Fear while she is so weak. Fear of more tumors hiding in her tiny body. Fear of what is coming next. Is there a Goliath standing on the hill just waiting for me to show up so that he can begin mocking me and my faith? I have no idea. Is there a Saul pursuing my Ashley so that it can attempt to take her life? I pray there is not. My faith is real even when the fear seems to be more real. My God is real and He is near even if I struggle to see Him standing next to me. My prayer is that during my weaknesses He will become strong in me.
Having faith doesn't make us perfect. Feeling weak doesn't make our faith disappear. God is God even when we don't feel strong. Facing giants and admitting to myself that I continue to struggle with them has been a painful but very necessary process for me this week. Thankfully God does know my heart and He does hear me when I cry out to Him. Where would I be if I didn't believe? I would be crumpled beneath the feet of those giants. Instead I am looking to be delivered by the very One who can bring the victory.