Because You Gotta Have Faith

“Now faith is the confidence in what we hope for and the assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

As I was preparing an update on my brother Jacob, to tell you how great he is doing and that he is OUT of the hospital, a bump in the road occurred.  He is back in the hospital, but the trip this time wasn’t as critical as last.  I’ll fill you in along the way.

Two weeks ago, I flew to West Monroe, Louisiana to see him in the hospital where he stayed for 23 days.  My mom had been there since he was admitted, my sister drove from South Carolina, and I flew in from Georgia just for one night.  We were all going to be together and have a party in the hospital room:)

Jake had not seen the Facebook page we created to keep everyone informed of his progress (Jacob Armstrong Updates) .  So many friends, family members, and strangers are following his journey and offered encouraging comments and prayers…the very thing that kept us moving forward.  That day he finally saw it and appreciated the love so much.
2014-03-14_0017

What God has taught me during this really scary, unpredictable time, is to TRUST.  Trust in Him for peace that is greater than my understanding.  Trust in him for physical and spiritual healing regardless of what the doctors say.  Trust in him for joy even when my circumstances tell me to be sad.  Trust in him, regardless.  Just TRUST him.

2014-03-14_0002

When we, as believers in Christ, TRUST HIM…our faith is strengthened.  That truly is what FAITH is…”the confidence in what we hope for, the evidence and assurance of what we do not see.”  I have been confident the entire process that God is going to heal Jacob.  Each prayer request we posted on his Facebook page and lifted up to God was answered!!!  The doctors told us he “may not make it” and “he will need 24 hour care or a stomach pump if he makes it.”  We chose not to believe in man, but in God.  We spoke life, not death.  We got on our knees and prayed and believed…and God heard us.   He chose to answer our prayers and remove the infection from Jacob’s body, protect his brain from damage, and clear his heart from any signs of endocarditis.  He was released from the hospital on March 11, 2014.  What a great day it was for him and we all praised God for answering our prayers.

2014-03-14_0003

Here we are now, exactly one month to the day of his first hospital admittance, he has to go back to the emergency room in Georgia for chest pains and shortness of breath.  The doctors there said his vitals are showing signs that his infection may be back.  How does the make us feel?  Discouraged, but not defeated.  Pressed, but not crushed.  Struck down, but not destroyed.  We are blessed beyond the curse, for his promise will endure, that his joy’s going to be my strength.  Though the sorrow may last for the night, his joy comes with the morning.  Yes, I just quoted Matt Redman’s song “Trading my Sorrows”.  Music can be so healing when you sing, speak, and believe the words that God WILL bring joy after the rain.  God’s joy WILL be my strength.  Even though life will stretch, press, refine, and sift you…it’s all for our GOOD.

2014-03-14_0001

Romans 8:28 says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  It’s all about switching your perspective.  If you think that the end result of difficulties and the “good” that is meant to come out of a trial is only about the PHYSICAL HEALING, GETTING THAT JOB, CONCEIVING A CHILD, FINDING A HOME, FIXING A RELATIONSHIP…. then you are setting yourself up for disappointment.  God never said, “If you love me, I’ll make sure to answer all of your prayers and give you everything you think is good.”  Nope.  God said, “Be holy, because I am holy”.  He allows these trials, set backs, and disappointments to happen in our life to GROW OUR FAITH, STRENGTHEN OUR CHARACTER, and TRANSFORM US TO BE MORE LIKE CHRIST.

2014-03-14_0005

Even if He chooses not to answer a prayer request the way you hope he does, it doesn’t mean good can’t come out of it.  Qualities such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control are GOOD things.  That may be exactly what he wants to give you, to create in you.  A broken marriage, the death of a loved one, a financial loss, and many UNANSWERED prayer requests may actually be the BLESSING God wants for you.  Everything in life should draw us closer to him into a more intimate relationship where we NEED him, we can’t live a day without him, and we rely on him for our very next breath.  Life’s struggles bring us to that point.  When we have no other resources or powers of our own to depend upon, we have Christ.  That’s when we truly become alive IN HIM.  We operate out of his strength and not our own.

2014-03-14_0006

{Back to the visit with Jacob} God uses people to heal, uplift, and encourage.  So many family members and long time friends from West Monroe showed their love and support.  I can’t put into words the gratitude we have for everyone who visited him.  We moved from Louisiana to Georgia in 1995.  The years have not taken a toll on the relationships with certain special people.  To see childhood friends of Jacob’s come by the hospital and give him fist bumps, and then see our former next-door-neighbors who have known us since we were diapers stop by many times…it breathes life into all of our souls.  If you think you can’t make a difference in someone’s spirit by a small act of kindness and love, you’re wrong.

2014-03-14_0007

Lisa and Gary, seen in these pictures, were our next-door-neighbors.  They came by while I was visiting and we nearly cried from laughing so hard at the stories we shared with them.  Reminiscing about old times just warmed my heart and you can see the joy on Jacob’s face, too.  Thank you Lisa, Gary, and the MANY other friends and family members for coming to see Jake. (Dad, Mom, Aunt Crystal, Kristi, Lee Lee, Anna, Jill, Kerri, Tyler, Cole, Robia, Hunter, Kristopher, Jeremiah, Amanda, Alexis, Aunt Dianne, Papaw, and PLEASE forgive me if I left your name off.  Jacob knows and he thanks you!)

2014-03-14_00112014-03-14_00132014-03-14_0012

That day we took Jacob outside the hospital walls for a little stroll.  My sister, Jessica, and I can be overly obnoxious with taking pictures.  Jake wasn’t as amused when we pretended to wheel him into the street like we were helping him escape.

2014-03-14_0010

Jake’s speech therapist came into the room and worked with him on strengthening his speech and face muscles.  His body got so strong so quickly and we thanked God for every new step, new food, and new improved report.  He was proving those doctors wrong!  Our faith continued to grow in God’s miraculous healing powers.

2014-03-14_00082014-03-14_00162014-03-14_0009

I believe that our faith is what activates God’s grace.  When we believe in faith and ask in prayer, God is moved.  God wants us to exercise our faith in him, and many times our faith is what brings the healing.  In scripture, Jesus healed sick people simply because they had the faith he could do it.  Luke tells the story in chapter 8 about a sick woman who had been bleeding for 12 years.  As Jesus walked by her, she touched his cloak and was instantly healed.  He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you.  Go in peace.” I also like James 5:15 that reads, “The prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.  If he has sinned he will be forgiven.”  

Here’s where things get blurry and people lose faith in God.  The scenario:  Someone has cancer, a child is hurt, a tragedy has occurred.  Christians cling together, believe in faith, and pray for healing.  They believe God can and will heal the person.  Instead, he doesn’t answer the prayers and the person dies.  What then?  Did they not have enough faith? Were they not “Christian enough” to move God?  Why didn’t he heal the person?  Are you ready for the biggest revelation ever….. I DON’T KNOW!!!

Really, I don’t know.  Preachers don’t know.  The Pope doesn’t know.  Only God knows why.  Bear with me for a minute on this one. IF we knew the “secret formula” to always get God to answer our prayers the way we want them answered…then we would be just as powerful as God.  IF we always knew the right things to say and do…we would then manipulate God into working things out for us.  God cannot be manipulated.  God is meant to be trusted.  God will never be figured out completely.  God is a mystery. 

2014-03-14_0015

As a Christian, don’t you think the ultimate HEALING for us is to leave this life on earth and truly start living our life with God in heaven?  That’s our home, anyway.  Not this world where pain, shame, and guilt thrive.  But heaven, with God.  Our ultimate healing is departure from this world and entrance into HIS.  We need not to focus on prayer for the physical healing, but on the spiritual healing.  Pray for the soul that lives forever in eternity, not the body that dies here on earth.

God is more powerful, more knowing, and more loving than we can ever be.  That’s why we need faith.  It’s the assurance of what we do not see.  As Jacob has returned back to the hospital, we do not know what’s in store for him.  I have faith God is in charge and in control.  I will trust in Him.  My faith in God may not bring the results that I want for Jacob’s physical healing, but I will trust Him anyways.  Because I DO KNOW ONE THING…Jacob may be healed through faith, but he sure as heck WON’T BE WITHOUT IT.

I’ll choose faith.

2014-03-14_0014

7 thoughts on “Because You Gotta Have Faith

  1. Beautiful Paige! This is so true… though at time it seems God doesn’t answer our prayers, he answers them how he sees fit. We have to trust that his was is what’s best… this is the difficult part.

  2. Dear Paige, I first found you through Ben Rustin’s request for prayer for Jacob. Just wanted you to know the words you wrote are Truth for I have surely learned the very same things on my own journey of Faith. Our world was turned upside down 8 years ago when our 29 year old son at the time suffered a traumatic brain injury while training a horse. After 4 1/2 months of hospitals, we brought him home to care for him. As I have followed Jacob’s recovery, my heart hurts for your parents and you and your sister. It is so very hard to watch a loved one suffer and feel so helpless. But as you know, His Grace Is Sufficient. And just like you, I choose Faith. Will keep Jacob and all of you in my prayers. Blessings to you. Debbie
    Ephesians 3:20-21

    1. Debbie thank you for sharing your story. And the verse you shared is one of my favorites. 4.5 months seemed like an eternity I’m sure. And I can imagine you may have wanted “that cup” to be taken from you. But I’m learning that when we don’t want to remain in our struggle and choose to take an easier path..we cheat ourselves of the growth that comes with it. God bless you and your family!

  3. What a post. I’m so glad I was able to catch up. Thanks for sharing that facebook page as well…I will be keeping Jacob and your family in prayer. Thanks for being an inspiration and encouragement in spite of your pain!

  4. Paige, thank you for sharing all of the news about Jacob. I must say your faith is very uplifting to me in so many ways. I’m so thankful Jacob is ok. Even if he has a long way to go, he is still Jacob and still in your lives and ours. I love you all. Leisha

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s